The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Five - Frequency Police in Geneva

Oliver and Drisopholis escape in a van carrying white books to Geneva. They weasle their way into the auction where frequencies are bought and sold to the highest bidder. At the time the "white book" of frequency registrations was only a guide to what had been registered by stations. There was no guarantee that stations actually used the channels they claimed. The ITU is still based in Geneva, opposiite the UN HQ in Geneva. 

Direct download: HHGTDXPart5Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:30am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Four

In this episode, Oliver Pass and Drisopholis escape to the jamming shed in the grounds of Radio Polizania. They meet the head of jamming and discover how the noise is really generated. The episode also includes clips from Radio Daddy LongLegs, the pirate station with all the latest closedown news complete with home-made jingles. They also get a tour of the QSL verification department where "word-processors"are helping to reduce the workload (Radio Netherlands had no computers in those days),

Direct download: HHGTDXPart4Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Three

The introduction to this episode was a story in itself. I discovered that Peter Jones, the actor who narrated the original HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy was appearing with Arthur Lowe in a TV drama being filmed at the NOS, a short walk from Radio Netherlands. I quickly typed out some copy from the HHGuidetoDXing and ran over to the studio at lunchtime with a UHER tape recorder. Explaining I was a great fan of the original I asked Peter if he'd be willing to record a few lines of text for my little wireless show. He agreed. What a nice man!

In this episode our two heroes are still trapped inside Radio Politzania. This time they visit the advertising department and hear the recording of a DXTel advert with Graham Gill. Thanks to Surge Forward for the make-up. 

Direct download: HHGTDXPart3Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Two

In this episode, Oliver Pass and Drisopholis discover the secrets behind how DX programmes are made as they explore inside Radio Politzania. How are stations really broadcast on shortwave? And why do DX shows keep interviewing each other? Thanks to George Wood of Radio Sweden and Ian McFarland, formerly of Radio Canada International for agreeing to play along. This episode was originally broadcast on April 30th 1981.

Direct download: HHGTDXPart2Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:30am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode One

It is thirty years ago since I wrote a rather silly parody on both international radio broadcasting based on my favorite radio series at the time, the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. There seemed to be so much to make fun of at the time...the boring propaganda at the height of the Cold War, jamming, the waste of energy shouting from one country to another, and the variable quality of reaction from listeners. I don't think it was the listeners's fault that most of the feedback was very technical, to do with signal strength and QSL cards rather than comments on the programme. May be people were being too polite. My father would often answer the door to religious groups by apologizing that he couldn't continue the conversation because we were "drisopholia"in this house. It was years later that I looked it up and understood the wry smile on his face as he closed the door. It seems like an excellent name for a character in this fantasy visit to Radio Politzania, the place where all shortwave signals really come from.

There wasn't much time to write radio drama on the second floor of the Radio Netherlands building. And there was no budget to hire actors. So I just rattled it off on a typewriter and asked colleagues to come and read their parts in a lunchtime recording session. This was all two track material, sliced together with a chinagraph pencil and a razor blade. In total we made 5 in 1981 to fit the 5th Thursday in the month, and then one more in 1982 as a Christmas special.

Listening to it now, I find it strange that we managed to predict Freeview, that all the DX programmes would be gone by 2022, and that flash memory would replace tape. It is great hearing the voices of Pete Myers, Harry Kliphuis, Neville Gray, who are sadly no longer with us. But there are plenty of people who went off to do great things elsewhere. Ian de Staines went to Tokyo to become Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce, responsible for public affairs, Roger Broadbent climbed the ranks in Melbourne with Radio Australia, Bob Chaundy went back to the UK and specialised in writing detailed obituaries for the BBC and Guardian, Mike Bullen, co-presenter of AsiaScan later wrote the comedy series Cold Feet, and so the list goes on.

Listen to this for what it was. A bit of fun in the studio when times were very different to now. The series was repeated in 1984 by request. I have also had comments to this archive asking me to put them on line. So, they will all go up one by one in sequence.


Direct download: HHGTDXPart1Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:15pm CEST

Burst of the Worst 1983

This is one of several bloopers shows I made at Radio Netherlands in the 1980's at a time when a lot of material was pre-recorded and making a mistake on air was frowned upon. Sense of humour has changed a lot in over 30 years. But some of the slips still raise a smile. Enjoy

Direct download: MN.BurstoftheWorst.1983..mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.06.07.2000 Radio Austria International profile

This programme contains a profile of Radio Austria International in Vienna. That station holds fond memories for me since I worked at the station briefly 1976-1980 in the days when the shortwave service was part of the ORF Zentrum out in the 23rd district. They subsequently moved back to the Argentinerstrasse across the road for the Funkhaus. Several listeners called and e-mailed after monitoring announcements at the weekend on Radio Austria International. The station is just putting the finishing touches to a new 100 kw shortwave transmitter at its Moosbrun transmission centre. But as Roland Machatschke, director of Radio Austria International, explained to us, it looks as though shortwave output from Moosbrun will be cut by 50%. 5.5 million dollars won’t leave much left over for programming. We also reported on the launch of the Sirius satellite radio system and noted that cassette holders were disappearing from shops, which is usually a signal that a format is coming to an end. We were still trying to work out whether to put old shows onto CD's for listeners before we realised we would never have the budget! 

Direct download: MN.week27.2000.Austria.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:38pm CEST

MN.21.07.1983: The Inside Story II

This second part of the series Inside Story broadcast in 1983 explores the broadcasters who joined the public broadcasting system in the 1960's like TROS and Veronica. Another new broadcaster was the evangelical EO. Amazing that it took 50 minutes to explain Holland's Unique Broadcasting system. No wonder it remains unique. The photo was taken on the Dutch media park in Hilversum very near to the new Media experience building Beeld en Geluid.

Direct download: MN.21.07.1983.InsideStory2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00am CEST

MN.14.07.1983: The Inside Story I

More time travel for you. This programme was an attempt to explain the extremely complex Dutch broadcasting system to a foreign audience. Remember it is 1983! By today's standards, broadcasting still sounds very formal and scripted (because it was!). People still talk about radio, whereas today the political discussion is purely about TV.

In this first episode, we looked at the original public broadcasters AVRO, VARA, NCRV and KRO. The photo shows the KRO building on the Emmastraat in Hilversum. Radio Netherlands used to hire one of the studios for "Ship of the Week" in the 1950's before it had its own studio that could accommodate an audience. I went past the old KRO building in July 2015 on the bus and it seems to be abandoned. There was a plan to convert the place into apartments, but I don't believe that has happened. You can also see it on Google Earth if you use Streetview. The re-release of this programme in 2014/2015 is timely as Dutch public broadcasting goes through a major reorganisation as a result of new legislation going through the Dutch parliament.

There are other episodes in this series.

Episode 2 is here

Episode 3 is here.


Direct download: MN.14.07.1983.InsideStory1.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00am CEST

MN.04.02.1993 - Costa Rica Harmonics & VOA Brazil

This was a "regular"edition of the programme first broadcast at the start of 1993. This week the news is that veteran DXer Adrian Peterson of AWR has been hearing strange harmonics in Costa Rica and the VOA Brazilian Branch has a new lease of life thanks to take-up by Brazilan radio stations of its satellite signal. Shortwave to Brazil was already written off as being no longer viable! Adrian continues with a commentary of what's happening to shortwave services in Central America. Canadian commercial station CKFX, plans a comeback with a low-power transmitter on 49 metres using a single vertical array. We visit Gijs Pappot, then the Chief engineer at Radio Netherlands, who explains how the signal gets to Moscow for the recently started broadcasts to Asia. Victor Goonetilleke has some great recordings of Radio Iraq International plus some other tuning suggestions.

Direct download: MN.04.02.1993.VOABrazil.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:15pm CEST

Radio Netherlands Shortwave of Publicity July 1 2001

It's ten years since Radio Netherlands organised a "short wave" of publicity stunt targeting English speakers in North America. On July 1st 2001, BBC World Service ended its broadcasts on shortwave to North America. Mark Byford, then the Director of BBC World Service, decided to pull the plug rather abruptly instead of quietly phasing out the service. It caused quite a commotion in shortwave-listening circles. As programme director at Radio Netherlands at the time, I was rather curious to see what would happen if we hired the same BBC transmitting facilities from Merlin Communications for a short period after sign-off to see what the reaction would be. I made a simple shortwave showcase programme explaining that there were other stations on the dial apart from the BBC. The programme got a satisfactory response, so much so, that after two weeks we decided to add a regular morning broadcast to North America, following on from the success that the RN Latin American service had enjoyed. At the time, there were high hopes for Digital Radio Mondiale, a digital standard for AM broadcasting. I also pointed out in the programme that broadband was not available for the majority of the audience which is why shortwave still made sense. The situation is very different today. Today, shortwave broadcasting to North America makes no economic or strategic sense at all. But it was fun while it lasted. 

Direct download: SWofPublicity.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 5:45pm CEST






July 2011
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30