Media Network Vintage Vault 2014
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 370 complete programmes posted here to enjoy all over again. This is a non-commercial service to media historians done at the initiative of host, Jonathan Marks.

Satellites helped Radio Netherlands become far more topical in the 1980's. Before that, feature programmes like Media Network were recorded three weeks in advance and then shipped to Madagascar and Bonaire for playback at the transmitter site. By the time I arrived at the station, the programmes were being fed by satellite. But old habits die hard and it took me a while to persuafe the studio booking department that I wanted to record the programme as close to transmission time as possible, i.e. Wednesday evening rather than Monday afternoon. So much could happen. And in January 1986 it did, with the explosion and loss of seven NASA astronauts about the Space Shuttle Challenger. This was certainly a radio moment, since it was possible to follow the recovery operation if you knew where to search on the shortwave dial. As it happened, the feature that I'd prepared that week was on air-traffic control and the use of shortwave by planes. 

Direct download: MN.30.01.1986.ShuttleChallenger.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00 AM
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Much of this programme is devoted to looking at World War 2 receivers and visits two Dutch collectors who have turned their houses into workshops to restore old receivers. One collects the old German equipment, the other material from the Allies. I remember this programme well having recorded both interviews in Amsterdam on a very wet day and getting absolutely soaked on public transport (was carrying a UHER tape recorder, which is now a collectors item in itself). The photo is from the dial of the famous AR-88 shortwave receiver made by RCA and found in many military surplus outlets in the mid-eighties. 

Direct download: MN.20.06.1986.Militarysurplus.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:00 AM
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This edition starts with a clip of a Radio Netherlands programme I discovered in the archives from 1963 when everything sounded much more dramatic than it really was. We then switch to developments on mediumwave 675 kHz is no longer used by public broadcasters in the Netherlands but an announcement on the frequency by Erik de Zwaart seems to have lead people to jump to the wrong conclusions. Virgin Radio starts testing on the old BBC Radio 3 frequencies and Radio Fax tries to get a shortwave licence again. There's a new guide to Indian broadcasting and John Wilson of Lowe Electronics announces some changes to the proposed HF-250 shortwave communications receiver. The picture is that of the reserve MW mast at the Northern end of the Lopik transmitter site which I watched being dismanted ten years after this show was made. Plenty of calls to the Radio Netherlands - including the new Channel Africa, the new name for Radio RSA. The FCC is trying to decide which system to choose for advanced television standards, to replace NTSC. There's also news from the Society for the Eradication of Televison!

Direct download: MN.11.03.1993.MW675.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM
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This is an interesting mix of radio news and reportages dating back to April 1986. We started with news about the clandestine radio station Radio Truth which targeted Zimbabwe from a transmitter base in South Africa. There was much speculation at the time as to who was behind it. It broadcast on shortwave, picking a frequency very near to the ZBC. The show encourage listener participation from the start and this programme is yet another example. Engineer and radio enthusiast Trevor Brook took a trip out to the radio station Laser 558 and recorded the experience for us. There was a satellite update on the broadcast satellite TVSAT (what a lemon that turned out to be) and Mike Bullen sent us a profile of changes at Radio Peking. Mike later left Radio Netherlands to become a writer, authoring the very successful comedy series Cold Feet. He now lives in Australia.

Direct download: MN.10.04.1986.Laser558.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:03 PM
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Just found a clean clear copy of this documentary that Andy Sennitt and I made one Saturday afternoon in August 1987 at the Radio Netherlands studio centre at Witte Kruislaan 55 in Hilversum. It had been a busy week, so no time to prepare clips for what would be a nostalgic look back at the offshore era. So we took all kinds of records and tapes into the office and spent most of the day just messing about and putting the extracts into some form of logical order. Andy recalls a cleaner asking us towards the end of the afternoon what we were doing in the building at the weekends. I retorted that this wasn't working it was the best fun in a long time. Thanks to Hans Knot (still going strong as one of the main organisers of the RadioDay each year) as well as the late Buster Pearson. I am glad these clips survived quite well. Hans has published countless books and newsletters since this programme was made. If the nostalgia of that era still brings back memories of adventure, then I recommend checking out his site.

Direct download: MN.13.08.1987.Offshoredocumentary.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:00 PM
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This was the first show of the New Year 1986, when the talk of the day was John Campbell's report on political clandestines radio stations in Europe, and Marcel Rommerts calls to observe a "numbers station"in the middle of the 49 metre shortwave band. This was probably a switching error by a transmitter site which put out both broadcasts and spy number stations. Later in the programme, Taher Aftab, a listener from Pakistan, explains the shortwave scene in that country, where HF was still used for domestic broadcasts. Andy Sennitt reports on a crackly line from Copenhagen about the plans that Radio Earth (Jeff White) has to build a transmitter in the Netherlands Antilles and Roland Paget does a pitch for the EDXC Conference to be held in Paris. 

Direct download: MN.02.01.1986.KVOH.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:44 AM
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This regular show from January 1993 focused on financial problems facing Radio Sweden, changes to BBC Management structure, and Richard Measham from BBC Monitoring updates us on the clandestine station, the Voice of Free Iraq. On a lighthearted note we looked at the problems of printing QSL cards for Radio Netherlands Russian relay.

Direct download: MN.21.01.1993Sweden.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:27 AM
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Found another box of reel to reel tapes in the attic, this one dating from December 1992 when Eric Beauchemin was just back from a visit to Zagreb in Croatia. The radio in that part of the Balkans played a crucial role in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. And CNN takes night-sensitive cameras to Somalia to watch the landings of US troops for an operation in the Horn Of Africa. How little has changed. Radio Czechoslovakia International was to be dissolved with the split of the country into Czech Republic and Slovakia and Radio Norway International ponders the future of its foreign service. Enjoy.

Direct download: MN.17.12.1992.Zagreb.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:04 PM
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Since you've found this page, you might be interested to attend the RadioDays nostalgia radio convention. It's a one day celebration of radio, especially offshore radio. and traditionally it's been well attended. Although held in Amsterdam, it's a great mix of people from both the UK and Dutch offshore stations, as well as fans from Germany and Scandinavia. Entrance is a mere 14 Euro, you just need to turn up, and more details are posted at RadioDay.nl . If you can make it for 11.00, then you might be interested in a chat by Andy Sennitt and myself about the Media Network era 1980-2000 and what we think the wireless show achieved in understanding the international radio audience as well as celebrating radio in the last half of the 20th century. May be I should tape it and put the recording here?

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:37 AM
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