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.

A very early Media Network just a few months after being relaunched under a new name. The music from DX Juke Box has gone and we're starting to train the correspondents to write and present their own pieces. Richard Ginbey is the first to really compile features about broadcasting in Southern Africa, this time it focuses on Capital Radio 604 in the Transkei. There was also a scandal at VOA after some rather confusing statements by a politician on the station's real role. Robbert Boschart also explains the strange situation about broadcasting in Andorra, locked between Spain and France. You can hear that phone lines were kinda rough in 1981 in the calls to Andy Sennitt and Dan Robinson. Wish we had access Skype in those days. Wim van Amstel reports back on his trip to Oman.

Direct download: MN.19.11.1981.TranskeiVOA.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:00 AM
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This programme was broadcast just before Christmas as rumours started emerging that the Soviet Union was about to stop jamming Western broadcasters like the Voice of America. Richard Ginbey reports on what he could hear from a listening post in Johannesburg, South Africa. The EDXC convention was to be held in Helsinki 1987. We tested the Kenwood R-5000 communications receiver, Andy Sennitt reports from WRTH editorial office and John Campbell discussed how to contact clandestine radio stations. Pete Myers also looked at an automatic car starter launched in Japan in time for Christmas.

Direct download: MN.18.12.1986.SovietJamming.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00 AM
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This programme looked at the launch of Cable One, a precursor to Sky Radio, started by two Dutch entrpreneurs and record producers. Although it launched, legal problems with the Dutch broadcasting law at the time put an end to the plans. Those were made up jingles by the way - Carl Josephs did the voice-over. The programme also included a piece by the late Dave Rosenthal on solar eclipses, Richard Ginbey has a nice crop of catches which sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. We also managed to visit the Funkausstellung in Berlin thanks to Hans G Janssen and Wolfgang Schulz who wandered around on our behalf. DAT recorders were the talk of the show. John Campbell reports on novelty clandestine stations like Radio Duck. Mike Bird rounds off the show with propagation conditions. Work has started on the Radio Netherlands extension.

Direct download: MN.10.09.1987.CableOne.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:52 PM
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This programme starts with a report on the clandestine station, Radio Free Suriname which was backed by opposition groups in the Netherlands. The principal backer was the late Johnny Kamperveen, who's father Andre started ABC Radio in Paramaribo, but was killed in the December murders. Johnny later returned to Suriname to start the station in 1993 and passed away ten years later. There's also news of the sale of the ship Laser 558. The Admiralty says it will look at the buyer. John Campbell reports that shortwave conditions are improving, just in time to observe the Irish pirates. We also look at brief shortwave broadcasts from Hong Kong during the boat race and talk to Bob Grove about Monitoring Times and the Ten Tec 535. 

Direct download: MN.21.03.1986.RadioFreeSuriname.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:00 PM
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Europa TV was a rather disasterous attempt at pan-European satellite television by a group of ex-public service managers working in Hilversum. They underestimated the cultural differences across Europe, wasting a lot of money in the early part of the project. It started off as Olympus TV. The team seemed shocked when Olympus cameras of Japan took out a court injuction to stop them using the name (after all the logos, bumpers, jingles had been produced). They also realised the hard way that live voice-overs in feature programming doesn't work because languages vary in how long it takes to say the same thing. Very quickly dubbed as "Europeless TV". The exception was the music programme "Countdown" hosted by Adam Curry which became very popular in Southern Europe, especially Portugal. Veronica TV was able to get better acts to the Netherlands because of the European exposure the programme gave to international talent. But in general Europa TV was a perfect example of public broadcasters trying to be commercial entrpreneurs with license-fee money. 

The programme also reviews the popular Sangean ATS-803 shortwave radio, which was the Taiwanese company's answer to the Sony ICF2001D.

Direct download: MN.24.04.1986.EuropaATS803.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:57 PM
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In the mid 1980's it was always extremely difficult to balance the programme bearing in mind the varying listener interests. Most of the feedback came from South Asia, North America, Europe and the Pacific, so compiling an edition to interest someone in Bombay as well as Boston was challenging. Following my trip to Victor Goonetilleke in 1985, we experimented with some special Asian editions of the programme which were only broadcast to Asia at 1430 UTC. They had very different content, focussing mainly on South Asia. The programmes brought mixed response. Some said they liked the fact that we highlighted issues affecting South-Asian listeners. But there was an equally strong lobby that said the reason for tuning in to a European station was to find out what new technologies were being used there. They thought we should not single out a particular area as being a special case.

In the end, we limited the number of special opt-out programmes, prefering to do "media safaris" to various regions of the world and making the programmes available to all target areas. 

In this edition we looked at the different approaches taken by foreign radio manufacturers in India. Philips set up Philips of India and made radios locally to match the buying power of that market. The Japanese, on the other hand, did not share their technology and would only build screw-driver assembly plants in India using components shipped from Japan. In the end, the Indian engineers had the last laugh. They quickly became the engineering entrpreneurs in the Middle East, South-East Asia and Silicon Valley leaving the Europeans very much in the shade. On later visits to Delhi it was obvious that operations like TV Today and NDTV didn't need any help from "developed countries". They were well ahead already. Only Indian state TV and radio remains firmly stuck in the 1960's, strangled by its own bureacracy. When was the last time you listened to All India Radio?

Direct download: MN.03.04.1986.Asianspecial.RMC.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:32 PM
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There have been plenty of fantasy stations on short and mediumwave. Today we'd call them hype or vapourware. Back in the 80's, if someone started advertising the existance of a station in the World Radio TV Handbook (page 45, 1986 edition), then you tended to assume that it looked serious. In fact, NDXE very quickly became a standing joke in the international broadcasting business, boasting that it was going to broadcast in stereo, printing a list of fantasy programmes that were never comissioned and starting a listeners club before it had acquired a shortwave transmitter. By the middle of 1986, the project was falling apart and it was time to expose the nonsense that was Dixon Norman. 

Direct download: MN.27.06.1986.NDXEEnds.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:05 AM
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Towards the end of October 1987, around 70,000 headed for PalExpo in Geneva, Switzerland, an exhibition centre right next door to the airport. The event was organised by the ITU, so despite efforts to attract international broadcasters, it was really aimed at the government controlled phone companies of the day - and information ministers on a junket trip to the Swiss capital. Companies spent millions on making their stands look rather like the motor show held annually in the same building. I mixed a visit to the city with a look around the EBU and a visit to a musical box museum. This show was the result.

Direct download: MN.30.10.1987.Telecom.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:56 PM
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This was a fun show to end 1992, catching up on the media news that was current on the last day of that year. It was a rather momentus day for Radio Luxembourg because they closed down their English service, playing many of their jingles in full so enthusiasts could tape them. But the majority of the show is devoted to a collection of radio mistakes which seemed funny at the time. Remember a lot of international broadcasting was pre-recorded in those days, so many of the fluffs were retaken. Sometimes though, people forgot to edit them out.

Direct download: MN.31.12.1992.Bloopers.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:43 PM
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