This is a really old edition of Media Network, from November 1986 when I visited what was then called Stad Radio Amsterdam. Since then, I don't believe Amsterdam has really been the success story of local public broadcasting. Stations in Rotterdam and Eindhoven sound a lot closer to the people than AT5. And why they put Radio Noord Holland out in an industrial park remains a mystery to me (in the picture). Radio stations need to be seen operating as well as heard. Look at the success of campaigns like the Glass House or the Radio 2 cafe in Holland. Out of site means definitely out of mind. And these days it means out of business.

Direct download: MN.27.11.1986.StadRadioAmsterdam.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:54pm CEST

Media Network 26.12.1996 Boxing Day Show

A radio Christmas spent in the Media Network studio way back in 1996. Sounds like we were having fun! I look back on this period as perhaps one of the golden years for Dutch external broadcasting, producing a range of documentary productions in English and Spanish and recording great concerts, both classical and jazz. 

This programme focussed on answering listeners letters on subjects like satellite television in Australia (DW was organising a bouquet of signals) and the major changes to the commercial radio scene in New Zealand. The auction of FM frequencies in the Netherlands and shortwave stations that sold radios were also topics for discussions. RBI archives have, for the most part, been destroyed. Swiss shortwave listeners were quizzed on their listening habits. The 410 ft tower formerly used by AFN has been dynamited out of existence. Capital Radio in South Africa is in trouble. 

Direct download: MN.26.12.1996._XMas_Show.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 8 of 8

This is the last chapter in the 8 part series telling the story of Radio Netherlands focusing on the English language department. With Pete Myers as your guide we focus on our present decade as it draws to a close. This final episode for was broadcast by several stations, including Radio Netherlands, on December 3rd 1997. It is presented here purely for academic interest. The programme was researched and presented by Pete Myers and Luc Lucas. I supplied some of the recordings from the Media Network archive.

At the end of the 19th century, Oscar Wilde wrote that the only duty we have to history is to re-write it. When this decade is done I wonder what will have changed in the perception of Radio Netherlands in 1990's and the role it played in international broadcasting. The English service signed off in 2012.

Let me draw your attention to the last part of this programme, where we projected what might happen at the start of the new Millennium. In fact, it all came to pass. I still firmly believe that great international broadcasting needs an emotional context in order to bridge the cultural and political barriers. Without it, there doesn't seem much point any more. The days of effective government propaganda are over.

Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_8_-_Conclusions.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 10:04pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 7 of 8

This is edition 7 of the 8-part documentary series on Radio Netherlands focuses on the 1980's and what it meant to the English language department in particular. It was a decade in which many women producers arrived, breaking through what had been a mainly male dominated radio station. Names such as Veronica Wilson, Dorothy Weirs, Dune Porter, Ginger da Silva, Martha Hawley, Marijke van der Meer and Anne Blair Gould. News to Africa and Asia was regionalised.

The decade started with a coronation in the Netherlands and a speech by US President Reagan about the evil empire. The massive delta-works were completed, making Zeeland less vulnerable to flooding from the North Sea. Taboos were broken in Rembrandt Express and the decade ended with fall of the Berlin Wall.

The series was written and presented by Pete Myers, with research from Luc Lucas and audio contributions from the Media Network archive. This programme was originally broadcast by several stations, including Radio Netherlands, in October 1997. It is released here for academic purposes only. 

Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_7_-_the_eighties.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 4:59pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 6 of 8

The sixth part of the history of Radio Netherlands was originally broadcast on October 1st 1997. It's presented here for academic interest.

Radio Netherlands got a shock awakening in the seventies from its cocoon of request shows and Holland promotion. Pete Myers opens with words which could equally well apply to 2012. It was the decade of the attacks on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The age of the common man had passed to become the age of the common crook. The US pulled out of Saigon. A Dutch correspondent was one of the last to leave Vietnam. No baggage allowed. Was Dr Spock was the architect of the permissive society? Spock says it was connected to his opposition to the war in Vietnam. ABBA wins the Eurovision Contest in 1974. After some internal opposition, Radio Netherlands added news and introduced current affairs coverage with Afroscene. 

Tom Meyer took over Eddy Startz at the helm of the Happy Station interviewing the Dutch band Shocking Blue. Roger Broadbent, later head of Radio Netherlands English Department (later Radio Australia) says farewell to Fritz Greveling, the fourth DX editor of DX Juke Box. 

Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_6_-_The_1970s_F.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 9:32pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 5 of 8

This second part of the look at the station in the 1960's was originally broadcast in July 1997. Pete Myers recalls the plans to put a man on the moon before the decade was out, and the Erasmus Prize went to Charlie Chaplin. There are extracts from  the last Happy Station with Eddy Startz and the popular His and Hers Show with Dody and Jerry Cowan. Perhaps you remember  Bed-In for Peace campaign that John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched from their bedroom in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel in March 1969.

Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_5_-_the_Sixties_B.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 3:05pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 4 of 8

This part four of the eight part story of Radio Netherlands, the Dutch international broadcasting service.This first part of the look at the station in the 1960's was originally broadcast in June 1997. It recalls the opening of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the visit of David Ben Goerion to the Netherlands. Radio Netherlands moves from old studios in the Bothalaan to a purpose built studio complex in the North of Hilversum. Reporter van der Steen does an interview with the architects. Pete Myers doesn't recall seeing many rabbits from the studio window.

We also recall thoughts about the European Common Market, the Berlin wall and the assassination of President Kennedy. The second part of the sixties is covered in programme 5.

The programme was written and presented by Pete Myers with additional research by Luc Lucas. I found the clips with the architects buried in the archives.

Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_4_-_the_Sixties_A.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 2:54pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 3 of 8

Third part of an eight part series presented by Pete Myers on the history of Radio Netherlands. It was made in connection with the station's 50th anniversary in 1997 and broadcast by several dozen radio stations back then who were in the Radio Netherlands partner network. This part deals with Radio Netherlands coverage of the 1950's. This included the devastating floods that hit Holland in 1953 and the uprising in Hungary in 1956. I'm posting it here for it's academic value. 

Earlier parts can he heard here.

Direct download: RNW_at_50_-_Part_3_-_the_50s.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 5:20pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 2 of 8

This is the second part of an 8 part series broadcast as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Radio Netherlands in March 1997.

This part covers the period 1947-1950. The programme, presented by Pete Myers, includes fragments from Eleanor Roosevelt during her trip to the Netherlands, George Marshall who came up with the famous plan to help European post-war economies, Winston Churchill on European cooperation. There is also an interview that George Sluizer made with Leonard Berstein. Queen Juliana ascends to the throne. The thorny question of Indonesian independence is also part of this programme. 

Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_2.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 6:00pm CEST

Radio Netherlands - A Golden Anniversary - Part 1 of 8

This is Part One of an Eight part series on the history of Radio Netherlands, the Dutch International Service. Presented by the late Pete Myers, he was in top form when this was recorded.

This is probably the most comprehensive audio compliation of what was achieved in the first 50 years of the Dutch external radio broadcaster. The series was recorded in November 1996 and broadcast in February 1997. It contains the voices and sound fragments from Guillermo Marconi, PCJ-tune "Happy Station"  and Eddy Startz, Radio Oranje , Radio Herrijzend Nederland, Lou de Jong, Henk van den Broek, (the station's first Director), hr. Van Dulken, (the first Head of the English department), Joop Acda (Director in 1980's), Bert Steinkamp (Programe Director), Lodewijk Bouwens (Director from 1994) and myself, Jonathan Marks (Director of Programmes 1992-2003).

I was talking back then about the need for Radio Netherlands to modernise and embrace new technology including the Internet. I was also concerned that the reason for international broadasting was about to change - and that we were not moving fast enough to address the "why".  In the end, they didn't  - so these recordings lasted longer than the station!

About the host

Pete Myers made his name in international broadcasting on the BBC African Service in the 1960's, and at Radio Netherlands as the host and producer of the Afroscene, Mainstream Asia, Asiascan, as well as countless documentaries. There is a tribute programme to him on this site.

Pete wrote the series together with translator and researcher Luc Lucas. They used material from the Radio Netherlands sound archives, as well as recordings that I found in the Media Network broadcast collection. 

Direct download: RNW_at_50_-_Part_1.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 1:55pm CEST

Thanks for your support in 2012.

Welcome to this site. It is pure nostalgia about the era of international broadcasting (mainly radio) from 1918-2000. I would argue that many of the issues discussed in these programmes (such as digital broadcasting, jamming, political clandestines, vintage radio collection, hate media) are still very relevant today. And we have a habit of ignoring the past as being outdated because we're often obsessed by the new and unknown. And as a creative person, my biggest fear is to be trapped by routine. 

There are more than 120 hours of high quality MP3's on this site. All are free to download since they were made for public distribution over shortwave through the Dutch International Service, Radio Netherlands.

Please enjoy. I would love to hear your reaction, perhaps you remember hearing the first airing of these programmes on shortwave? Or perhaps you have been asked to do a student project on political broadcasting? You can either put comments in below or go to my switchboard for more details of other blogs and activities that I'm doing at the moment. 

Some of you are curious as to who is listening. November 2012 was another good listening month. We had more than 3917 downloads, which I think is pretty amazing since this material is unashamedly specialist. The dismantling of Radio Netherlands Bonaire relay station and the Media Wars series were the toppers this past month. 

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:49am CEST

Media Wars Episode 6. Who listens Anyway?

And this is the last in the series of programmes on Propaganda Past and Present. Remember it was made in 1982, probably at the height of the popularity of international radio broadcasting when the Cold War was still very much alive. This edition contains the voice of Bernard Bumpus, who was head of audience research at the BBC External Services. Gerard Mansell, then the Managing Director of BBC World Service points out that the French external service had big plans for expansion by 1985.

We also hear from the late Nevil Gray who worked for Deutschlandfunk in Cologne before joining Radio Netherlands. He recounts a tale of how a programme he made for DLF was taken off the air and rebroadcast by East Germany, but then out of context.

Direct download: Media_Wars_Part_6._Who_listens_Anyway.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:07pm CEST

Media Wars Episode 5. The Method of Attack (in Africa)

This first half of this edition looked at the start of Radio Netherlands in 1947 and the challenges it faced in the questions srrounding Indonesia at the time. Was it an instrument of government propaganda. The second half of this episode looks at clandestine broadcasting across Africa, illustrated with unique off-air recordings from the late Richard Ginbey.

He was based just outside Johnannesburg at the time, but has managed to collect off-air clips from a multitude of stations. This includes the Voice of Namibia, Polisario Front - Voice of Free Africa, and the various stations targeting the warring factions in Angola. I believe the recordings of the Zimbabwean clandestines haven't been heard for years. 

I wonder if anyone recognises the music used by the Voice of Truth (20 minutes into the programme). It sounds like a film score, but although I have tried various services like Shazam, still don't know the title. Be careful - it is very very catchy and even 30 years later I can hum the melody. Wish I knew where it came from!

Direct download: Media_Wars_Part_5._Method_of_Attack.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:30pm CEST

Media Wars Episode 4 - Let Governments Stick to Governing

This edition of Media Wars looks at how governments often make a mess of the message they are trying to put across. We started with Radio South Atlantic, which was run by the British MOD. Gerard Mansell talks about British clandestine radio during the Suez Crisis. It was the Voice of Britain (Sharq-el-Adna) and came from the mediumwave transmitter near Limassol in Cyprus. When this programme was made there was no Wikipedia entry as there is today.

We also looked at the mystery surrounding the Radio Euzkadi transmitter tower and how the Voice of the Basque Underground faked the picture on their QSL card. You can also hear some rare recording of the anti-Russian station NTS which operated from Bavaria in Germany. While Portugal was under a dictatorship, there were no less than two clandestine stations broadcasting to the country, one from Algeria. There are also examples of black propaganda beamed into China. They originated from Soviet Union. Remember Sparks? (Note I am aware of a few tape drop outs around 20'00 into the programme). 

Direct download: Media_Wars_Part_4._Lets_Governments_Govern.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:43pm CEST

Media Wars Episode 3  -  Comparing 1946,1962 and 1982

Pim Reijntjes explains some ways round the "dreary" Sunday programming that was invented in the Dutch East Indies. The programme draws the parallel with the Falklands Malvinas Conflict in 1982. There was also a Dutch equivalent to the British Forces Broadcasting Services operating from Indonesia. Pim Reijntjes explains the secret of the time signal pips. They sounded official but had little to do with time keeping. Sietze van der Werf explains the Dutch position of New Guinea. (Remember this programme was originally broadcast at the time of the Falklands Conflict in April 1982).

There were other programmes broadcast in 1982 (also in this collection) where we talked about Radio South Atlantic, the programme set up by the British MOD to target the Argentine forces. We also discussed "Argentine Annie" which was the Argentine clandestine aimed at he British Task Force. 

Direct download: Media_Wars_Part_3_-_Indonesia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:16pm CEST

Media Wars Episode 2 - You are my enemy. Pass the Sugar Please

This Second edition of Media Wars looks at the rather unique situation that Dutch broadcasters found themselves in at the end of the Second World War in the Dutch East Indies, today's Indonesia. It's ironic that Pim Rijntes was one of the first broadcasters at Radio Netherlands and took part in the last Dutch language broadcast on May 11th 2012. Interesting to contrast the different cultures. Love the story about how the year of 1947 started a little late. And how the technicians for the Dutch broadcasting network were lent to them by the opposition Radio Republik Indonesia.

Direct download: Media_Wars_Part_2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:07pm CEST

Media Wars Propaganda Past & Present. Episode 1 - How it Started

In 1982 I decided to gather some of the interviews I'd made with international broadcasters who had been at the start of it all. It was my first attempt at making a documentary. Bearing in mind the equipment we had was rather rudimentary (it was all recorded on 1/4 inch UHER's), the final result isn't all that bad. It was broadcast in the course of 1982, basically as I found time to make them. The research was the wikipedia being available at the time. The scripts were typed on a typewriter with carbon paper between the sheets to make copies for the engineer. I remember that quite often the letter O would punch holes ever time it was tapped. Thirty Years after the series was first broadcast, it is time to put it back on the wireless. In fact, the recordings lasted longer than Radio Netherlands English Service.

This first edition relies heavily on the input from Bernard Bumpus, who was the Head of BBC International Audience Research at the time, as well as Gerard Mansell, then the Managing Director of BBC External Services. I remember chasing him around London in order to grab the interview, ending up at his home in Golders Green. I remember having a huge argument with the cab driver who wouldn't give me a receipt for the trip. 

Direct download: Media_Wars_Part_1._How_it_all_got_started.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:00am CEST

MN.03.07.1997. The Warm Glow of Wireless

This programme kicks off a series of nostalgic episodes about radio broadcasting. In 1997 we visited Wim Stuiver, a radio enthusiast who built a private museum inside a farmhouse near the Dutch town of Diever. It was one of the best collections I've ever seen, telling the story of the early days of radio. Wim had not only restored each piece to working order, he also knew the history behind each of the set. Sadly the museum no longer exists. Although a foundation was set up to try and preserve the collection in the Plantron in Dwingeloo, in the end the money ran out. Everything was sold off for a song. The display cases are now in the Archeological Museum in Diever. I'm guessing this is the only radio programme that was made there in quite such detail. Happy Memories.

Direct download: MN.03.07.1997.WarmglowofWireless.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:05pm CEST

MN.18.11.1999. Tigers and Chechyna

This news edition of the programme started with a report from Sri Lanka on how the Tamil Tigers were using radio in their fight against the Sri Lankan government. They were sending coding messages in English. Several listeners phoned in with tuning suggestions. Diana Janssen talked to Andy Sennitt about broadcasting in Chechyna. There are also clandestine radio stations run by the Russians targeting this part of the world. Vasily Strelnikov publishes photos from his days at Radio Moscow. Radio St Helena plans broadcasts on SSB. There were rumours that Atlantic 252 in Ireland was going off the air.

Direct download: MN.18.11.1999.Chechyna.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:53pm CEST

MN.15.07.1992. Radio Noordzee Nationaal

We made much of this programme in Naarden at the headquarters of Radio Noordzee Nationaal. The Strengholt company got the licence in the summer of 1992 to broadcast Dutch language music. It later became Q Music and is still on the air. Of course, we were curious as to the connection with the old Radio Noordzee International offshore radio ship.

The show also explained the plans to broadcast Radio Free Burma on shortwave via the transmitters of Radio Norway at Kvitsoy. BBC starts to discuss what later became Radio 5 Live. 

Direct download: MN.15.07.1992.RNI.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:34pm CEST

MN.17.10.1996.Basque Underground Euskadi

This programme includes an appearance from Professor John Campbell. He was a professor of computing science at the University of London, but better known to Media Network listeners as a contributor on clandestine radio. When he popped through the Netherlands in 1996, we asked him about Radio Euskadi, the Voice of the Basque underground. It claimed to broadcast from the Pyrenees, but in fact came from a site in Venzuela. John is referring to the picture on their QSL verification card which had indeed been hurriedly montaged. Guess they didn't have Photoshop in those days. Today, Radio Euskadi is rather different. Not sure if it shares any history with the clandestine station.

Direct download: MN.17.10.1996.Euzkadi.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:37pm CEST

MN.25.04.1991. Peter Skala

An interesting chat in this programme with Olrich Cip, who was still frequency manager for Radio Prague at the time of the interview. Recently did an interview with him in Prague on camera in which he explains a lot about the Prague spring and how they managed to keep Radio Free Prague going. But in 1991, it was still too soon to talk about those times...still too many fresh memories of ruthless security services in one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Olrich was the man behind Radio Prague's Monitor Club, appearing on air as Peter Skala. In 1991 there were already concerns that the new governments would cut back on the extensive use of shortwave that was seen in Warsaw Pact times. 

Direct download: MN.25.04.1991.PeterSkala.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:36am CEST

MN.21.12.1995. American Forces Migrate East

This programme explored the idea of BVN-TV, Dutch language satellite television for Europe. We also looked at why more stations is the US have not moved into the expanded mediumwave band. We examine how the NOZEMA was planning to use lower bit rates for DAB. In the end, DAB never took off in the Netherlands so the research was superceded by events. There was a look at the IBOC alternative. The IBOC camp did not like the way the European's scheduled the Eureka 147 side by side tests. Voice of America is threatened with cutbacks. As AFN closes down it's operations in The Netherlands and Germany, so new stations are starting in the Balkans, Bosnia, Hungary and Uzbekistan. Victor is on the line from Sri Lanka with news about how to follow cricket on shortwave. Just love these early days of the world-wide web...Jim Cutler doing a full URL because browsers needed http:// or you got an error. 

Direct download: MN.21.12.1995.AFN_Berlin.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:07am CEST

MN.12.12.1996 Stock and Shares

Stocks and Shares Radio for Africa was one of the more unusual private shortwave ventures, dating back to 1996. And they got the prize for the most boring sign-on music.

Direct download: MN.12.12.1996.StocksandShares.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:53am CEST

MN.25.10.1984 London Pirates

Yes, this is a Media Network edition dating back to October 1984, which includes a double report from Roger Tidy and Bob Tomalski from London. At that time there were a nuge number of FM pirates, many of them operating out of semi-permanent locations in the tower blocks that dominate the skyline in North and South London. David Hermges reports on the disappearance of Austrian regional station Radio Tyrol on 6 MHz. Professor John Campbell has clandestine news from Tonga, started as pirate. Jim Young of WaveView explains a new type of low power television transmitter for 8000 pounds sterling. We talk to Dutch radio hams who are participating in one of the Friesland DX contexts. We also talked about the first test transmissions from the Flevo transmitter site. Victor Goonetilleke has bad news that the Maldives SW transmitter is off the air.

Direct download: MN.25.10.1984.LondonPirates.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:40pm CEST

MN.01.11.1984  Helicopter at Flevo

This edition goes way back to the time in late October 1984 when they started testing the new Radio Netherlands transmitter site out on the Flevo polder near the town od Zeewolde. I got a chance to take a short helicopter ride as they put the transmitters on low power to measure the antenna radiation pattern. I'll never forget the ride because I learned later the German helicopter couldn't stop the rotors when we landed because the battery had failed and he needed to get back to Germany the same day. It's rather ironic to learn that in 2012, the entire Flevo transmitter site has been sold to the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. The facility will now be converted to operate in the ultility bands, acting as a back-up system to Dutch military abroad incase conventional satellite systems failed or are compromised. Bearing in mind Syria and Iran are both jamming satellite communications at the moment, I can understand why they take precautions. Of course they will need much lower power than the 4 500 kW transmitters used for Radio Netherlands broadcasts.

The programme also discusses the return of Wonderful Radio London International. We spoke with John England from Texas. Enjoy this flashback.

Direct download: MN.01.11.1984.HelicopterFlevo.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:17pm CEST

MN.04.12.1991 AM Stereo

AM (mediumwave) stereo has been trying to take off since as long as I've been in radio. The idea surfaced in the early nineties again and we covered it in Media Network in December of 1991. Rather wierd listening to it 21 years later. Never did take off. Interesting to hear how listeners were calling in their tips to the show even though the cost was rather high compared to today's standards. And some familiar voices from long-time Media Network listeners in this show - Tony Barrett, Julius Hermans, Dave Onley.

Direct download: MN.04.12.1991_AM_Stereo.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:03pm CEST

MN.25.03.1992. Radio Tirana Albania

A rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of the strongest propaganda voices out of the Balkans from one of its smallest countries. Today Radio Tirana is a shadow of its former self when it was the mouthpiece of Enver Hoxha. One of the older female announcers used to fascinate me.

She would sometimes sign-off with the words. And that is the end of our broadcast. "Goodbye dear Listener". Perhaps I was the only one.

Direct download: MN.25.03.1992._Radio_Tirana_Albania.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:30pm CEST

MN.08.07.1999.CBC Fanfare Conspiracy

One of my favorite programmes from 1999 because of an excellent contribution from listener Nevil Coles in the UK explaining how fanfares used by international broadcasters had intrigued him. We voiced his contribution and managed to find most of the interval signals he was talking about in the Media Network Archives. We also looked at how the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was shutting down its AM broadcasting facilities as it transferred to FM. The new FM transmitter was opened with fireworks. But the shutdown of the AM facility in Hornby Ontario was witnessed by DX Audio Service reporter Scott Fybush. I am delighted to report that Fred Vobbe's DX Audio Service is still going strong in 2012.

Direct download: MN.08.07.1999.CBC_Fanfare_Conspiracy.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:06pm CEST

How this site works - an update

Welcome. I'm Jonathan Marks. Glad you dropped by! Thanks for making September a record month for downloads - we had just over 4570 downloads. No bad at all!

This site is a project started nearly two and a half years ago in early February 2010 - an experiment which is so far working well. It is simply a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000.

It is over 31 years since the Media Network was launched as the name of the media show on Radio Netherlands, building on the rich heritage of programmes that went before it. We ran on the wireless from May 7th 1981 until October 2000 with more than 1000 editions. Many of the features are gradually making their way onto this website as a celebration of international broadcasting's second Golden Age. Radio Netherlands no longer exists as a radio station in English as we knew it. (They closed at the end of June 2012 as documented on this site). The RN Classical Music station was around for a short while after, but that too had been yanked from the Interwebs.

Join me in raising a glass to the great days of analogue adventures! Yes, you may have seen this page earlier. I keep moving it up the list because otherwise newcomers can't find it. I release between 6 and 8 vintage Media Network's a month, as time permits.  We have now reached more than 85,000 downloads, numbers being boosted by interest in the programmes about Aspidistra, connected with the ending of BBC transmissions via 648 kHz at Orfordness in March 2011.

Media Network was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. I hosted and produced the programme, but a lot of the content was made by a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers located all over the globe. I kept copies of most of the programmes, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period. Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have been slowly digitizing the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting and where it might go after shortwave. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-YouTube, pre-email, when most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them.

I am always interested in your reactions, especially from people who may be discovering this material for the first time. It will encourage me to post more. This site has a monthly storage limit. Feedback has indicated that people like a regular feed of shows, rather than a monthly flood. Looking at the site stats, it would seem that around 13% of the subscribers are downloading via iTunes. The rest do so directly from the site. Please tell friends about this site and encourage them to subscribe. There are also radio related videos which I made more recently over on my video vault. This podcast publishing system archives editions on a monthly basis, showing only the latest editions on the home page.

Finding a show

If you want to see what has been put up since February 2010, click on the Media Network Archives orange button on the left and all the editions will be listed. You can also subscribe in iTunes by searching for "Media Network Vintage". As each "new" edition is published, it will download automatically to your MP3-player. The statistics show that most people download the shows through this site directly or through Facebook.

As of the end of September 2012, the most popular programmes have been those on wartime deception, Radio London (offshore station and the train), the MN Jingle collection and the RNI Libya programme. Note that programmes are now archived under the months in which they were published. I know some of the material here is niche stuff - but I also know that people interested in international communications and broadcasting are very passionate people. Because of the politics, it provided a constant wave of stories. I also believe that we developed one of the first collaborative formats on international radio, where individuals could do some detective work, report their results, and share experiences with those with a similar passion.

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:41pm CEST

MN. 28.08.1997 - Tudor Lomas Training in Jordan and Lebanon

A Media Network edition from August 1997. One of the items is an interview with Tudor Lomas who used to work for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme in the early nineties, before heading out to start a training centre called Jemstone based in Jordan. I did a training session with him in Beirut in that year. Would be impossible now.

Direct download: MN.28.08.1997.Tudor_Lomas.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:30am CEST

MN.06.11.1997.Chile & Bruce Girard

Media Network's first visit to Chile. This was in connection with a radio festival that Radio Netherlands organized with several hundred partner stations in Santiago. Diana Janssen made the trip - I stayed in the Netherlands working on other projects at the time. She spoke with Bruce Girard who later went on to do a lot of work with AMARC, the community radio organisation.

Direct download: MN.06.11.1997.ChileBruceGirard.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:09pm CEST

MN.27.03.1997. Conet Spy Number Project

The mystery of the spy number stations has been a recurring theme in Media Network. Perhaps the most elaborate project to catalogue them was a 4 CD project set up in 1997.

I see it's still listed in Wikipedia. The edition of Media Network talked with the producer of the CD in the second half of the show. We also looked at how radio was seen in the dim distant past (Remember the TM Century Punk Country Campaign?) and Jim Cutler threw in a surprise T-shirt competition. Perfect proof that the nineties weren't boring, even though no-one had a smart phone.

Direct download: MN.27.03.1997.SpyNumbers.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:26pm CEST

MN.02.03.1995. Hate Media - Burundi and Rwanda

This programme starts with a portrait of Radio Denmark. Then we presented a feature on Hate Media. Recently found the complete edition of this programme, so I am reposting the complete programme.

We knew that Radio Milles Collines incited genocide in Rwanda in 1994. But in March 1995 we didn't know the full extent of the tradegy. That would be revealed several years later at the trials in Arusha, Tanzania. Eric Beachemin did a lot of travelling in the Great Lakes region of East Africa and brought back with him some unique insights into how media could help repair the social damage as well. This version is slightly shorter than the regular Network - was used in transcription to other radio stations. We also noted that some of the later work we did on publishing information about hate speech was used (and credited) by those who made the film Hotel Rwanda in 2004. That was the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Direct download: MN.02.03.1995.Burundi.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:45pm CEST

MN.30.06.1994. Offshore Radio at Dutch Broadcast Museum

In 1994, the Dutch broadcast museum was just that. It was a collection of equipment in a rather nondescript technical centre tucked away in the complex spiderweb of lanes that is Hilversum. It wasn't until 11 years after this recording that everything moved into the spanking new centre on the Media Park (photo shows it under construction).

Arno Weltens was working as a curator of the Netherlands Broadcast Museum at the time and organised an excellent exhibition about offshore broadcasting. This was rather different than some of the other recollections of the offshore days, when several entrpreneurs tried to break the monopoly in public service broadcasting in the Netherlands. Arno illustrated the exhibitions with recordings from the broadcast archives.

Direct download: MN.30.06.1994._Arno_Weltens_Offshore_Radio_Museum.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:10pm CEST

MN.29.06.1995. Grand Dutchy of Luxembourg

In 1995, Radio Netherlands signed a deal with RTL Radio Luxembourg to use the great 208 metres for a few hours each night for it's English language broadcast. We combined that with a visit to the station and made the following documentary. This was one of the first dual presentations we tried with co-host Diana Janssen. Interesting old recordings of RTL which I haven't heard elsewhere in a long time. The picture of the transmitter site at Marnach is shown below. That was were the English transmissions came from.

Direct download: MN.29.06.1995._RTL_Luxembourg.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:32pm CEST

MN.18.02.1988 George Wood Presents

Some mysteries remain unsolved. So let's reveal a rather old one. In February of 1988, George Wood of Radio Sweden visited Radio Netherlands on a duty trip. He was there to see how we were doing things in the English department. He dropped by on a Wednesday. Over lunch we decided on a prank. We'd swap programmes for one week only. He gave me some scripts to read and he read the texts I'd compiled for that week's show. And then Pete Myers, Mike Bird and other contributors played along. We changed the jingles for that week only. It was if George had always presented the programme. 

On the day of transmission I took the day off. After the European transmission at 1130, listeners started to call the station, asking what happened to Jonathan Marks. Had I been fired? Had I said something wrong? The sweet lady operator on the Radio Netherlands switchboard tried to connect the listeners, but there was no answer from my extension. She told the callers that I was not "in anymore", implying that I had left for the day. But that's not what callers assumed.

Within a few days my demise was already being posted in weekly DX newssheets that were around. Until I popped up the following Tuesday on Radio Sweden, presenting Sweden Calling Dxers as though I had always been there. 

Two days later everything was back to normal. George and I both made no reference to the swap. Ever. There's nothing like a mystery. When some people asked me about the incident a few years later, I wondered whether it might have been a trick of propagation? Did anyone have a recording? No-one ever did. But I kept one. Here it is back on the Interwebs. Everyone loves a mystery.

Direct download: MN.18.02.1988.GeorgeWoodPresents.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:54pm CEST

MN.21.09.1995 - Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal Profile

This week back in in 1995 I went down to the open day organised in Brussels by Radio Vlaandern Internationaal, the voice of the Flemish community in Belgium. The radio station has long since disappeared, gradually stopping its foreign language broadcasters, becoming an Internet only radio station, and now only a few pages in English on the VRT Newsroom website. This programme, recorded in September 1995, recalls the early years of the station with guests Frans Vossen (DX Editor) and Jacques van der Sichel (who was the director at the time). Some interesting archive recordings too. This version is slightly shorter than the original transmission (missing Mike Bird's report).

Direct download: MN.21.09.1995.RadioVlaanderenProfile.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:21pm CEST

MN.25.09.1997 - Arthur Cushen Tribute

It doesn't seem like nearly 15 years ago that Arthur T Cuhen passed away. He was probably one of New Zealand's most famous shortwave listeners, having made his hobby of radio listening into a career from the 1960's onwards. He reported regularly for magazines and radio stations, including Radio Netherlands DX Juke Box and Media Network. We broadcast this tribute programme in which I tried to mix tributes with some fascinating stories told by Arthur himself. While we recorded his contributions for the programme he would often reminisce. He also had made excellent recordings of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia even though he was monitoring the events in Prague on the other side of the world. He often spoke of his wife Ralda, who was his childhood sweetheart and faithful companion. They lived at 212 Earn Street in Invercargill, New Zealand - an address that was often read out over dozens of international radio stations.

I was struck by his picture perfect memory in which he could recall his work for the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service during the Second World War. He could hear stations in Japanese occupied Singapore and Indonesia, as well as Tokyo. They regularly broadcast the names of Allied Prisoners of War, which Arthur would transcribe by hand (there were no tape recorders) and pass on the message to grateful next of kin. Arthur was born with poor eyesight which gradually got worse in the course of his life. He not only did a lot of work for the shortwave radio community, he was also extremely active in local groups for blind and partially sighted in the South Island of New Zealand. 

This programme is a celebration of Arthur's contribution to a very important time in international broadcasting. 

Direct download: MN.25.09.1997.ArthurCushenTribute.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:53pm CEST

MN.29.06.2000 - Safari to Santiago Chile

Towards the end of the Media Network radio show series, we did several radio safaris to countries in Latin America and the Pacific. I tried to ensure that they captured the sounds off the air as much as possible, to give a flavour of the radio scene in the country. Argentina went well. And Chile was a fascinating discovery. Santiago had huge smog problems when I visited and it was great to escape to the mountains and the coast. Had long talks with local radio operators who were having difficultly keeping their business going. Slick satellite music networks attracted advertisers away from the smaller operators.

At that time, Christian Voice had also purchased the transmitters of the former Voice of Chile network. In fact government had sold off all its broadcast properties. I remember wandering around a Sunday market in Valpariso and seeing world band transistor radios being offered for sale for a few dollars. Incredible names on the dial. Took a photo in lieu of carrying them half way round the world.

Direct download: MN.29.06.2000.ChileRevisited.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:02pm CEST

MN.07.08.1997 Guam & Sri Lankan Clandestines

Safety officials in the US are studying the navigational black boxes to determine the final moments of the Korean Airlines Boeing 747 which smashed into a jungle covered hill on Guam on Wednesday. Later on Wednesday evening we reached Glenn Scheyhing, assistant news director at KTWR in Guam. Because from the news video it looked as if the plane came down very near their shortwave radio station. Was that the case?

In receiver news, the International Centre for Humanitarian Reporting in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA passes on the results of two major field tests of the BayGen Freeplay radio. These have been undertaken by the BBC Afghan Education Drama (AED) Project in Afghanistan, and the Cranfield Disaster Preparedness Centre (DPC) in Eritrea. Each of the tests was designed to test whether the clockwork radios would match up to the expections and durability claims that we’ve seen widely quoted in the press in many parts of the world. 

Victor Goonetilleke (photo taken in 1997) joins us to discuss  a non-governmental Tamil language station based in London which was starting a series of test transmissions to South Asia. Former members of the BBC have started a station called IBC from the studios of the World Radio Network in South London. 

Direct download: MN.07.08.1997.SriLankanClandestine.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:22pm CEST

MN.01.10.1997. Pete Myers Remembers Radio 1

Enjoyed relistening to this Media Network programme recorded in October 1997. Pete Myers was not only a famous presenter and producer at Radio Netherlands. He had a previous life in London being the main anchor for Good Morning Africa on the BBC External Services. But he also presented evening talk programmes on the new Radio 1 when it launched in October 1967. He went back to London to the reunion and recalls what life was like at the Beeb. In the famous line-up photo, he's the one further to the right sitting behind John Peel. He always wore sun-glasses for this type of photo. I believe this one was made on the steps of All Souls Church next to broadcasting house. Golly, nearly fifteen years have passed since we made this. 

Direct download: MN.01.10.1997.PeteMyersRadio1.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:05pm CEST

MN.21.08.1997 Offshore Radio Follow-up Paul Rusling

A news edition of the programme including items about World Radio Network London,  Radio Netherlands analogue audiosubcarrier update and changes to the RNW webste. 

It seems our efforts to make a different kind of offshore radio special last week did not go unnoticed. We’ve had a nice post bag of reaction, plus a question from Humphrey Macintosh in Leeds in the UK. He notes that many of the offshore radio personalities of the 60’s went on to make a big name for themselves in either BBC or independent local radio. But were there any people who were famous on the high seas but never made it ashore? Well to wrap up our coverage of the scene for the time being, we put that question to Dutch offshore radio specialist Hans Knot. We also talked to Paul Rusling about his various projects in the Isle of Man and the Baltic States (a station targeting Sweden). 

Direct download: MN.21081997.OffshoreFollowup.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:28pm CEST

MN.14.08.1997 - Thirty Years of Offshore Radio

This Media Network is concerned with closedowns rather than sign-ons as we delve back into the archives for a special documentary on offshore radio. Jonathan Marks, Diana Janssen, plus a host of other stars will be tracing one of the most important stages in the development of European Radio.

We now present, “30 years in 30 minutes”.  That’s the voice of the late Paul Kaye, who 30 years ago today made the very last announcement on Radio London, or Big L. Radio London was the most successful of the radio stations which operated from ships and old army forts off the British coast between 1964 and 1967, and which had a major influence on the development of broadcasting in this part of Europe.  A company called East Anglian Productions obtained a so-called Restricted Service Licence, which allowed them to operate the station for one month on mediumwave 1134kHz, using very low power - officially just one watt. 

Back in the 60’s, the original station operated with much higher power and covering a large part of the UK as well as the Benelux countries. To explain how it came to be on the air, we need to go back to Easter 1964.

Direct download: MN.14.08.1998.ThirtyYearsOffshore.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 8:12pm CEST

MN.26.06.1997. Hong Kong Follow-Up & Radio London

Yes, welcome to the last Media Network of June, we’re 26 programmes into 1997 and going strong. Meanwhile in Hong Kong British Forces Broadcasting Service is still going strong, but only for a few more days. You may recall in November last year we did a series of special programmes from Hong Kong, previewing the transfer of power from Britain to China. That will happen next Monday night at midnight local time. With 8.000 journalists currently in the British colony it’s going to be difficult to avoid coverage on many stations around the world. Radio Netherlands Newsline programme will be no exception…..we’re building satellite links right at this very moment. 

When we examined the local broadcasting scene in Hong Kong back in November, BBC World Service had started to dismantle it’s shortwave relay station. That’s now being completed. And the British Forces Broadcasting Service had grand plans about it’s final days of broadcasting. Rory Higgins, stations manager of BFBS Hong Kong told us then they hoped to sail out of Hong Kong harbour, broadcasting as they went. 

BFBS Hong Kong may not be able to re-create the feeling of offshore radio, but between July 18th and August 14th this year, another group in the UK is trying to do just that. You may recall that a Dutch Radio entrepreneur tried to re-create the feeling of Radio London by starting a satellite radio station of the same name from a disused railway carriage parked at a station in the East of The Netherlands. Whilst the project brought in a lot of enthusiastic letters at first, the response wasn't sustained enough for the operation to remain solvent, at least as Radio London. As from next month though, there will be another Radio London, operating on 1134 kHz, or 266 metres if you're a wavelength nostaligist. British authorities often grant what they call restricted-service-licenses for special events.  In this case you could argue that broadcasting from a ship moored off Frinton-on-Sea, in East England is quite unique. It turns out this location is quite close to the original anchorage of the ship, Radio London. A studio will be built on board and a transmitter installed as well. Event organiser Ray Anderson of East Anglian Productions says it’s a short injection of nostalgia connected to an anniversary. 

Direct download: MN.26.06.1997.HongKong_2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:01pm CEST

MN.28.11.1996. Hong Kong Special Looking Forward

Found this interesting montage while searching for something else. It's a show we did from Hong Kong looking ahead to how the Special Administrative Region would change when HK was handed back to the Chinese in July 1997. It's interesting as Chris Patten is currently chairman of the BBC Trust. That quote at the start of the programme is rather appropriate in the UK at the moment.

Between now and July 1st 1997, an estimated 8000 journalists will be passing through Hong Kong examining basically the same story. In January 1841, China and Britain signed a Convention which ceded Hong Kong island to Britain, a year later Kowloon was ceded too and in 1898 the land north of the Kowloon peninsula was leased by the British from the Chinese. Now that lease is coming to an end. As sovereignty of the whole of this area changes from British to Chinese, what will happen to life in Hong Kong as it becomes a special administrative territory. Around 2000 Dutch speaking families are part of the international community living here, most of them working in the banking or electronics sector. 

We've been talking to them as well as to Chinese and English speakers to find out what they think will happen. The answer is the same. China has pledged to preserve Hong Kong's capitalist economy, currency and freemarket policies until the year 2047. But with economy booming in the Peoples Republic of China, home to 1.2 billion people, its no wonder some doubt whether the government in Beijing really needs or cares about the long term fate of 6.3 million packed into the tiny space called Hong Kong. And since the public media is government controlled, many feel than any changes will first be heard over the airwaves. Hong Kong's governor, Chris Patten, stressed this during the recent meeting of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union.

Radio TV Hong Kong puts out a continuous relay of BBC WS in English on 675 kHz.

The majority speak of the residents speak Cantonese. Next year, though RTHK will start programmes in a new language

The name Hong Kong comes from the Cantonese which means "fragrant harbour". Its not so fragrant these days, more rather choppy as hundreds of boats criss-cross across Victoria Harbour between the island of Hong Kong and the mainland tip of Kowloon. The Star Ferry charges 2 Hong Kong Dollars to cross from one side to the other. That means the upperdeck trip costs a mere 28 US cents. It's one of the cheapest rides in the world. It also allows you to escape for a few minutes from the continuous traffic and watch the high-rise skyline. The travel brochures encourage you to shop till you drop and the shops in both Kowloon and Hong Kong island stay open until 10 at night. Shop windows bulge with famous name fashions, electronics and photo goods. Tourists from Europe comment that Hong Kong's relatively expensive. But depends what you're looking for. Shifty looking characters on many street corners near Nathan Road near Tsim Sha Tsui hiss at foreigners in loud whispers. Copy watches, fake clothing? And if you're willing to disappear up three flights of stairs into a dimly-lit backroom, you too can bargain for a fully functional Rolex-looking watch for less than 80 dollars. Its backed by a lifetime money-back guarantee. If you value your life, you won't try and claim your money back. Police in Kowloon at least at currently cracking down on the counterfeits.

But if you take a few stops north on the super efficient underground railway, the MTR, get off at Sham Shui Po. The high rise buildings are the same. But the shop and street signs are only in Cantonese and there are fewer Western faces. Passengers splurge from the high-speed escalators onto the pavement. Across the road, the Golden Arcade has a scruffy sign about the Internet which is flapping in the upward breeze generated by the humid air and exhaust fumes. Inside are three vast floors of computer and video hardware. A sign strongly discourages you to take photographs. Once your eyes adjust to the off-white fluorescent bulbs, you find stand after stand of software. It looks genuine. But its a copy. Often the CD-ROM covers are empty. If you decide to purchase just about all the Internet publishing software available on one CD-ROM, expect to pay 7 dollars, to watch the stall holder call someone on a mobile phone and 20 minutes later someone else taps you on the shoulder and shoves a wafer thin plastic bag at you. Inside, there's a shiny CD with the software you wanted. Further inside, someone is selling software manuals. A sign claims they're original. A man standing in a tiny shop front tries to tempt us to step inside and buy a multi-media PC. It looks like it might work. But is what you see anything like what you get? For there's such a fine line between fake and genuine. Even with bargaining, the real hardware is still expensive by most standards. The illegal software of course costs a few cents to mass produce. Most of it is coming from factories across the border in China. Will the tide really stop in 1997? Making money seems to be more important that authors rights. The packaging often turns out to be more impressive than the contents. The video CD of the latest Walt Disney block buster is the result of someone taking a consumer video into a cinema and filming the screen from his backrow seat. That maybe the hunchback of notre dame shuffling across the TV screen. Its difficult to tell after a videos been copied so many time. And the soundtrack is muffled by the sound of someone munching popcorn and giggling in Cantonese. Short-wave portables from Philips, Grundig and Sangean are easy to find in Hong Kong. Shop salesmen know what they're talking about too. Three hours drive from Hong Kong into Ghanghou province of China, you'll find the joint venture factories making many of the budget portables. China may have diplomatic problems with Taiwan. But more than 10,000 Taiwanese are running factories in Southern China and exporting the products out of the peoples republic. They'd like to exploit the vast domestic Chinese market too. But that's more difficult and means finding more influential friends. 

Direct download: MN.28.11.1996.HongKong.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:49pm CEST

MN.08.06.2000. Christian Voice, DAB in NL & other news

This was a regular news edition of Media Network covering items from the Pacific, we interviewed Bob Edminston (pictured below), the multimillionaire owner of Christian Voice about their purchase of Radio Australia's Darwin shortwave transmitter site. Radio Australia's Jean Gabriel Manguy hopes they will get access to the station. We also looked at the hate radio station Radio Milles Collines in Rwanda and how Western observers didn't understand the influence it was having. This week broadcasters on the stations have been found guilty of genocide. Bryan Clarke has been following the difficult situation in the Solomon Islands. He has been monitoring the SIBC. Lou Josephs has been looking at Low Power FM stations in the USA and we've been looking at how Holland hopes to raise money by auctioning off the FM licences. Bob Tomalski explains DVD regional coding and NTSC/PAL - his advice is still valid. 

Direct download: MN.08.06.2000.DarwinCVoice.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:00am CEST

British Forces Broadcasting Service - 60th anniversary tribute

In 2003 the British Forces Broadcasting Service made an excellent hour-long documentary celebrating six decades of Forces Radio. I was sent a copy as part of a promotional package during the celebrations and kept it because it's the best overview I have heard of what BFBS was trying to do. It contains several well-known voices too who really got their start on Forces Radio, before joining UK commercial or public broadcasters.

If you find this show as interesting as I did, you might want to watch a video I made with the late John Russell who played a key role in BFBS at several locations, but especially in Cyprus. That video contains pictures I made in Cyprus a year after this radio programme was made. 

Direct download: BritishForcesat60.2003.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:47pm CEST

July 2012 - Thanks for the support!

We had around 3800 unique downloads on the Media Network vintage website last month, one of the best so far. Not bad for a vintage wireless site. If you were one of those people, thanks! Nostalgia is certainly hot at the moment. Wish I could say the same for the weather.

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:42am CEST

BBC Says Goodbye to Bush House

On July 12th 2012, the BBC leaves Bush House for the last time, with a world news bulletin at 11 hrs GMT. That iconic building on the Strand has been the home of the World Service since 1941. There have been various tributes in BBC programmes on the network in the last few months. As a World Service listener since 1969, I watched this organisation for the outside looking in.

I was pleased that Newshour honoured the late Pete Myers by including his famous "Goooooood Morning Africa" call in their sign-off piece. I often thought he must have inspired Adrian Cronauer's famous call in Good Morning Vietnam, although,the film was largely fictitious. Pete later came to Radio Netherlands to start Afroscene and Mainstream Asia. I remember him showing me his scrapbook of newspaper cuttings compiled during his days in Ghana and at the BBC African Service. My fear is that these great stories of an intriguing building will get lost and separated in cyberspace as they move down the vast archiving system. It's already happening as BBC World Service moves on to a new life and purpose in New Broadcasting House at the Langham, just by Oxford Circus.

So I've simply combined what I've heard into one compilation in the hope that by putting it together, the context of these stories won't disappear. The photo is of well-known presenter John Tidmarsh, a voice inseperable from BBC World Service in the 70's and 80's.

Direct download: BBC_Says_Goodbye_to_Bush_House.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:33pm CEST

Media Network Jingle Montage 1985-1996

Just found a couple of CDs with examples of Media Network jingles and montages that were used in the programme between 1985 and 1996. They feature the voice talents of Bill Mitchell, Lou Josephs, Jim Cutler, Gene Reich (ex VoA), Pete Myers, Nevil Gray, Peter Barsby (the presenter of BBC's World Radio Club in the 1980's), Rob Groen and that mysterious lady who worked on Radio Tirana. Let me know if you want to hear more. Boy we were having fun then. Radio Netherlands may be a memory now, but they were strong memories weren't they? Photo of Lou Josephs, Jonathan Marks and Jim Cutler was taken in August 2001. We've all got much younger and wiser since then...

Direct download: MNJingleMontage19801990.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:09pm CEST

Radio Netherlands Last Minute Interviews 20-21 UTC June 29th 2012

More photos of Friday's closedown are here on my Flickr account: 

Dropped by Radio Netherlands building for the last few minutes of their broadcasts in English. Did an interview with Jonathan Groubert, host of the State We're In, as he prepared a few words to add to the final broadcast towards Africa. Then went downstairs to an almost empty newsroom where Rob Kievit, producer of the last day, was making a few last minute preparations.

Then, we all joined Jonathan Groubert in Studio Booth Number 4 where English programmes (including news bulletins) have originated for decades. After Dheera's last words, Jonathan added one final thank you. I left a small audio recorder running to capture the moment for the history books. And so a bottle of champagne was opened, knocked back rather hurriedly, and then we all headed for the last train home. So ends an era. This recording captures the moments....before, during and after the final signoff.

I added a stereo copy of the Radio Netherlands interval signal, played on the carillion in Breda. I was actually present in the bell tower during the summer of 1985. It was one of the first all digital recordings we ever made. It replaced a worn out recording of the same tune which had been made in the 1950's at the cathedral in s'Hertogenbosch. The tape had stretched after being copied so many times. 

Thanks to Kai Ludwig in Germany for sending me a better copy of Jonathan Groubert's last words captured from the satellite. I've mixed them in. 

Direct download: RNWEnglishlasthourmix.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 12:55am CEST

Radio Netherlands Farewell Broadcast June 29th 2012

Just got back from watching the very last hour of broadcasting in English from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Holland's external broadcasting service which signed off today on shortwave, satellite, in fact the radio station is no more. Holland has no external broadcasting service as from July 1st 2012. Dheera Sujan presented this final show, which was a farewell and thank you to listeners worldwide. 

Direct download: FarewellbroadcastRNW.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 12:21am CEST

MN.17.12.1981 Longwave Returns & Poland

We kicked off the show with news from Dennis Powell in New York about Radio Marti. We fantasize about Radio Delta, a scheme to start a joint MW/LW project with Belgium and Netherlands. The late Bert Steinkamp explains the plans. Radio Polonia has gone off the air after the declaration of martial law in Poland a few days ago. Warsaw 1 on longwave is the only way of hearing what is going on. African Media News - Richard Ginbey has a profile of media in Bophutatwana. In receiver news there is follow-up to our test of the Panasonic RF-3100. Dan Robinson has North American tuning observations from Washington DC. 

Direct download: MN.17.12.1981.steinkamplongwave.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:52pm CEST

MN.15.08.1991.ORF QSLs and EWTN

This was an example of a listener driven show. We start with changes to Radio Netherlands, Pete Myers talks about Hidden Holland - Emporer's and Engineers. Listener complaint about elitist digital radios! We're printing special QSL cards for a special test transmission 9860 kHz. Satellite news from Paul Balster. Quality Europe FM starts satellite transmissions. Hallmark isn't a new brand though. Sunrise Radio is back on Astra. Holland FM is also active. Eclipse FM is to operate from Jersey! Arthur Cushen has news from New Zealand, including Japanese from RNZI. RNW sends out 15000 QSLs a year. Wolf Harranth explains what the ORF Radio Austria International are doing to keep an archive. Jim Cutler does a promo for Booklist edition 13. Plans have been announced for a large SW station on behalf of the Eternal Word Television Network. Lou Josephs has a transatlantic tip for us and news about 530 kHz in the Caribbean. Gordon Darling phones in from Papua New Guinea. WWV Time announcements have changed.

Direct download: MN.15.08.1991.ORFQSL.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:26pm CEST

Radio Tirana 1990 in Studio Quality

Just before the influence of Enver Hoxha collapsed in Albania, the external service Radio Tirana was one of the largest broadcasters in Europe, with a massive megaWatt transmitter operating on 1395 kHz. My colleague, Wolf Harranth of ORF Vienna, wrote to them and managed to get hold of a studio tape of part of one of the last English broadcasts under the old guard. The Albanian English language announcers had never been abroad. They were apparently trained by an Australian Marxist, which explains their strange Australian accent. This 5 minute tape consists of the opening, a very funny Lets Learn Albanian lesson (what were they thinkiing?) and the grand sign-off. Haven't heard this for years. Anyone else remember this stuff? Makes a change from Glee.

Direct download: RadioTirana1990English.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:55pm CEST

DX Juke Box Brussels Special October 1980

Before Media Network, there was a show on Radio Netherlands (or Radio Nederland as it was called) entitled DX Juke Box. For the period August 1980 until May 1981, Jonathan changed the format of DX Juke Box bit by bitso that it morphed from purely a hobby show into a programme that answered the why of broadcasting rather than just the where and when. In October 1980 we took the show to Brussels for a few days to examine the pirate scene in the Belgian capital. Paul Renard was the DX editor for the RTBF and he introduced us to the pirate stations operating from apartments in the heart of Brussels. By today's standards this programme is rather corny, but it shows how we were trying to push the envelope from very "scripted" shows into something that came from a location. Remember this is 31 years ago!!. Enjoy 

Direct download: MN.16.10.1980.BrusselsSpecial.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 7:26pm CEST

MN.20.05.1999. Norway Returns & CDR

Broadcasters in Germany are not really promoting DAB. Radio Norway returns for a brief period. Bernt Erfjord joins us to explain. 675 kHz. Victor Goonetilleke is hearing Radio National from Angola. Bryan Clarke tells us about an early long distance experiment. I note that the website he mentions is still active. Bryan also explains special tests by Argentine Radio club. Bob Tomalski is disappointed in CD recordables, the CDR765. It has a bug which Philips refuses to admit the problem.

Direct download: MN.20.05.1999.followupTorre.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:56am CEST

MN.25.03.1999. Kosovo and Haarp

This programme starts with the media situation in Serbia and Kosovo with Andy Sennitt, includes various extracts from stations like B92. We try to follow up with the HAARP facility. The Haarp website seems to be in suspended animation these days. Photos date from 2004 and the website has recent updates from 2007. The Truman Show seems to have been inspired by shortwave radio. Victor Goonetilleke explains progress on the shortwave site in Sri Lanka. IBB is also using a network of shortwave receivers and sharing these interested listeners. He is hearing Bhutan this way. Harald Kuhl explains MP3. DAB has been switched off in parts of Germany. Astra Digital Radio is doomed. 


Update: April 2014. NPR in Alaska reports the Haarp facility is to be closed.

Direct download: MN.25.03.1999.Haarpupdate.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:43am CEST

MN.18.03.1999.Voice of Peace and Student Radio

This programme had the news that the Voice of Peace was returning (website still up), AMARC starts a special webcast and radio marathon, Jim Cutler explains the new safari series, Steve Whitt talks about how mediumwave is being down graded in favour of FM. In the UK there have been more low-power special event licences. Radio Caroline though, would not qualify. Frequencies such as 999 kHz. Media Network's MW Test lab: we've been testing the C Crane radio. 

Direct download: MN.18.03.1999.Students.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:22am CEST

MN.18.02.1999. Solar & Satellites

This was a consumer oriented edition. We did a lot about high solar activity and the effect it can have on satellites, especially as there were several satellite failures and the topic came into mainstream news coverage. It started with the temporary loss of the SOHO spacecraft studying the sun. Joe Allen has discovered more than 10,000 examples of satellite failures. So there is no terrestrial back-up for most satellites. We also talked about new recycling projects which were just starting in 1999. Bob Tomalski has story of a digital dogs dinner. Pay-TV set-op boxes have been plagued with teething troubles.

Direct download: MN.18.02.1999.Solarexplosions.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:04pm CEST

MN.04.02.1999. Post Radio Luxembourg

This programme starts with the news about Chris Carey was caught in New Zealand connected with pirate decoders. There's a rather ironic item about public service broadcasting. Steve Whitt generated a nice response about earthing rods. Feb 1st was a landmark day in the end of Morse Code for maritime use. We talked about a Atlantic Hop experiment using Morse Code and involving the old Kootwijk shortwave site in Holland. We also looked at why Radio Luxembourg is still remembered, even though its been off the air for years. Shaun Tilley talked to us from Swansea. He argues that Luxy hasn't really been replaced. There are also the results of the Christmas contest to guess how many hits we had on in 1998. Alan J Knapp got my 1999 copy of the WRTH.

Direct download: MN.04.02.1999.RadioLuxPlus.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:17pm CEST

MN.10.06.1999. Burundi Portrait

Search for Common Ground opened Studio Ijambo in 1995, a year after the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda. For years Burundi media had helped fan the flames of hatred between Hutus and Tutsis. By 1995 more than 200,000 Burundians had been killed in the conflict and it seemed that the country was following Rwanda’s lead in destruction.

The transformation in Burundi was painful and slow, beginning in a small studio known as Ijambo, meaning “wise words” in Kirundi. “Studio Ijambo would become a place where Hutu and Tutsi journalists, writers, producers and broadcasters would together create programs to dispel the rumors, stereotypes, and hate messages that had permeated the Burundian public sphere.

While most media reported atrocities committed by the “other” side, Ijambo journalists covered them all. Teams, one Tutsi and one Hutu journalist, ventured together into conflict zones, refugee camps, and devastated lives, seeking to make sense of events and share their knowledge with their fellow Burundians.

By 1999, Francis Rolt (who used to work for Radio Netherlands) was the manager of Studio Ijambo. We made this portrait of the challenges for media in this country with his help. The programme also had other news in brief, including a tribute to the founder of Sweden Calling DXers, Arne Skoog.

Direct download: MN.10.06.1999.skoogburundi.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:18am CEST


This programme includes updates from Kosovo, the Swatch watch company cancels its Beatnic project on 2 metres from space after protests from amateur radio operators. Bryan Clarke has his report from the South Pacfic. David Smith reports from Bangui on how the project Radio Minurca is going. He explains the problem with the shortwave transmitter. Harry Helms, a popular US radio author, retires and makes an interesting comparison between international broadcasting and railroads. He expects the web to eat shortwave radio's lunch! (Not a bad prediction!)

Direct download: MN.22.04.1999.CARepublic.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:53pm CEST

MN.15.06.2000. DAB, Worldspace & World Radio Network

This was a listener driven edition of the Media Network, asking questions about DAB. We talk to Roberts Radio and World Radio Network in the UK. There's also a link to Professor Doug Boyd (pictured) who has comments on the Worldspace radio system and why it might have difficulty try to fly. They estimate that the potential audience globally is around 16 million listeners, not the 4 billion claimed by Worldspace. Andy Sennitt has a bumper bundle of listening suggestions.

Direct download: MN.15.06.2000._DAB_and_WRN.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:31pm CEST

MN.31.08.2000 Ostankino and Security

More time travel. This programme starts with the news of a fire in the Ostankino TV tower in Moscow, a blaze that later turned out to be very serious indeed. Vasily Strelnikov went off to investigate and was surprised at the extent of the blaze. We talk about security on the web comparing it with spy number stations! Love the Marconi radio joke. Also the Lincolnshire Poacher recording was crystal clear. We also talked to Bryan Clarke in Auckland about the BBC Calling the Falkands programme. Bob Tomalski talks about a new Onkyo hi-fi system. The DVD player with have a digital video output. Onkyo had no clue about copyright issues. Philips announces a delay to its DVD+ recorders.

Direct download: MN.30.08.2000.Ostankino.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:25pm CEST

MN.24.08.2000 - Offshore Remembered in the Millennium

This was the last programme in the Media Network series that looked at pirate radio and the offshore stations. It featured the late Bob Tomalski who, at the time of the recording, was Media Network's UK gadget inspector. 

Direct download: MN.24.08.2000.OffshoreRemembered.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:00pm CEST

MN.13.07.2000 - Radio Swan to Cuba

This programme includes a feature about the US clandestine station targeted at Cuba called Radio Swan. Declassified documents from the CIA reveal how the station was involved in the Bay of Pigs attempted invasion. We hear from a Media Network correspondent at a Blutooth conference in Monaco. Radio Netherlands works with Bush Radio to produce a CD for AIDs awareness. We also look at the MP3 and start the discussion about the best codecs and copyrights. We try to understand how Napster works. Love the parody on the MTV song.

Direct download: MN.13.07.2000.RadioSwan.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:17am CEST

MN.11.05.2000 South African Radio Montage

This show is shorter than usual because it was prepared in Johannesburg and fed to Hilversum. I can't find the original show which would have had propagation news and listening tips as well. But the 20 minute feature on broadcasting in South Africa as it was at the start of the Millennium is interesting in itself. I get the impression that community stations in South Africa have not embraced the new media as well as had been hoped. That's strange in a country where mobile has become so important.

Direct download: MN.11.05.2000.SouthAfricaMontage.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:39pm CEST

MN.13.04.1989. Luxembourg, India & Terrible Frequency Announcements

This news programme starts with a call from Fiji (the furthest we ever got), and we investigate all the various radio projects that CLT is involved in. This included a rather obscure radio service in French on shortwave towards Quebec. CLT was also planning a classical music station as well as Atlantic 252, together with RTE, from County Meath, Ireland. All India Radio tests shortwave out of Port Blair. Pete Myers reports on hopes that HDTV plans will expand.

We also looked into the problems of frequency announcements on shortwave, including the parody from Radio Morania and some bloopers from BBC World Service. Radio Australia spends 2.5 minutes announcing their schedule and have decided to get rid of references to "metre bands". Remember Radio Moscow with announcements that just mentioned metre bands - they had some many tranmitters they didn't need to be more specific. Kim Andrew Elliott, a researcher at Voice of America, had been doing research into receiver coverage. Andrew Piper explains why they add metre bands in some the transmissions to Africa.

Andy Sennitt has news about Namibia and transmissions from Radio RSA. RCI from Sackville (see photo) started using 13 MHz for the first time.  

Direct download: MN.13.04.1989._Frequency_Announcements.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:43pm CEST

MN.29.09.1988. Blackpool Offshore Radio

We didn't go to many offshore radio conventions on Media Network, but those that we did attend were fascinating. I realise now that it is over two decades ago since I last visited Blackpool, the holiday resort in NW England. I remember climbing the tower and that the weather was actually superb for early September. Fortunately, I found this report from Communicate 1988 the seaside. Remember that this was an era where the off-shore radio ships like Laser 558 were still fresh in the minds of many European listeners. I also believe I found where the presenters for the spy-number stations were trained. John Catlett was involved in Laser 558. By the time of the Blackpool conference, he was the consultant to Radio Tara, the name of the project that was later to become Atlantic 252. It was a joint project between Radio Luxembourg and RTE. BBC Radio 1 was changing to FM! So were'nt they trying to flog a dead horse with using longwave?. We also heard that AFTRS (American Forces) signed off from shortwave. A new station was planned to broadcast offshore Israel and Alan Weiner talked to us about the good ship Sarah and his plans for Radio New York International.  BBC is hiring a relay via Radio Bras and also opened their relay station in Seychelles. Wolf Harranth explains their shortwave agreement with RCI in Sackville.

Direct download: MN.29.09.1988.Blackpool.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:29pm CEST

That Reminds Me - Jonathan Marks in 1985

Pete Myers would often come up with great ideas towards the end of the year when the production budget in the English section was running low. Wednesday slots had to be filled. There was no money for in depth documentaries. Each producer was asked to make a 30 minute programme grabbing music from the record library and explaining what it meant to you. I confess that I did my best to get rid of just playing records in DX Juke Box. But those early days working in a foreign country for an international broadcaster was certainly the source of adventures. So this isn't a Media Network, although there are radio stories in the show.

Direct download: ThatRemindsMe1985.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 1:32pm CEST

Pete Myers Remembered - A Talent to Amuse

On April 17th 2012, my late friend and former colleague Pete Myers would have been 73 years old. Sadly, this great broadcaster from the sixties passed away all to soon on December 15th 1998. It seems like yesterday and partly because the Media Network programme now only exists as a nostalgic collection on the Internet I thought it appropriate to add this documentary tribute I made with Luc Lucas in 1999. It is called A Talent to Amuse.

Pete Myers was a regular voice on many editions of Media Network. He made his name at the BBC External Services in Bush House with a programme called Good Morning Africa. He was one of the early presenters on BBC Radio 1 in 1967 and from 1976 onwards one of the regular producers on Radio Netherlands English Service. He was the engine behind many magazine programmes like the Afroscene, Mainstream Asia and Asiascan. As we busy ourselves with Twitter, Facebook and Google+ I just wanted to put this documentary tribute back on the web for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the memories sent in by listeners at the time.

Much of the joy and magic of shortwave radio was ignited by Pete. Mainstream Asia, Asiascan, Happy Station, the specials and a host of other programmes, they all sparked of creativity. That personal touch gave radio sparkle and vitality. It touched many of us here in Asia and rest of the world. His spirit of bringing so much heart and texture to his reports was both a pleasure and inspiration to us. He was more than a voice to me, more than a friend, more than just a broadcaster. Long live the excellence that Pete strived for.

Xavier Gomez, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Not only did he entertain and inform on radio he also kindly wrote me some extremely funny letters. He will be sadly missed.

Michelle Thompson, Australia


Listening in South Africa to the BBC Morning Show in the early seventies, I found Pete Myers an inspirational broadcaster. He ignited my lifelong passion for radio and for Africa. In particular, his programmes opened my eyes to the world north of the Limpopo River which white South Africa tried so hard to ignore in those days. Above all, he enjoyed that rare gift... the genuine ability to communicate with his listeners.

Peter Biles, London, UK

A year ago I returned from serving with the Peace Corps in Romania. One day I discovered Radio Netherlands via shortwave and delightedly, I sent an e-mail to Pete Myers telling him how much I loved R.N. He called me up and interviewed me. Later he sent me a tape of some of his interviews which I played for my classes. The tape exposed my students to stories and sounds the like of which they had never encountered.

Cynthia D. Earman, Washington DC, USA.

All of the troubles I may have had would gently step aside for the duration of Pete's time on the air. I miss him tremendously. He was a reason to get through another week.

Steve Talia, Eugene, Oregon , USA

For how many times, I don't know, I have been amazed at his presentation...December 15th for some unknown reason was missing from diary and now suddenly you announced that he's gone...I just don't know what all this means!

Cui Litang Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, P.R.China

We lost a golden voice on the radio but his various documentaries will still be fresh in mind for all his numerous fans of the radio.

Alok Das Gupta, Calcutta, India


We needed him. We will miss him...

Alexandre Mossiava Moscow, Russia

Pete was one the icons during my growing years. I'll miss him.

Kittu Chennai, India -

I always knew that when Pete was on the air, it was going to be something worth listening to.

Mike Conway Merced California, USA

We are all diminished by his passing, but were most uplifted by his work. Pete Myers has left a fine legacy. He will be missed by all of us, including those of us who were privileged to know him via the radio.

John A. Figliozzi Clifton Park, NY, USA

Pete as a broadcaster not only reached the pinnacle that all broadcasters silently wish to reach, but he will live on in the hearts of us who heard him and through the works of people that he inspired. He was the centre of any gathering and the laughter and good cheer that exploded from him. Even in sadness his voice echoes and the sound of his laughter soothes our wounded hearts.

Victor Goonetilleke, Piliyandala, Sri Lanka

As someone who worked with Pete, I know how touched he would be to read these heartfelt messages from listeners around the world. Their wonderful sentiments are, of course, nothing less than the man deserves. He was a magnificent broadcaster. That rich deep voice of his so enveloping and warming. I am honoured to have known him, better for having learned from him, and proud that he was my friend.

Mike Bullen, former RN producer, writer of the series "Cold Feet", now resident in Australia.

Direct download: Talent_to_Amuse_Pete_Myers.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 5:24pm CEST

MN.26.10.2000. Last Media Network Show on the Radio

This was the final Media Network audio show of all, broadcast in October 2000 just before we went back to winter time. It was really a thank you to the audience for sharing so much time with us over 2 decades. We certainly had worked out the pace of the programme by that time - and I believe it's strength was that it was a true listener participation show. It wasn't live - it was alive. Don't worry, there are still more programmes in the Media Network collection. It just seemed appropriate to issue them now as Andy Sennitt is retiring from Radio Netherlands, and the Media Network weblog will close on March 24th 2012.

The final programme contains a rather comprehensive survey of the media events surrounding the Falklands Malvinas conflict of April 1982. Remember Radio Atlantico del Sur? We also looked at black propaganda stations in Asia, notably those along the Soviet-Chinese border.

Direct download: MN.26.10.2000.Lastshow.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:00am CEST

MN.19.10.2000. Penultimate Edition

I thought I'd post these two shows as a pair. This was the last but one Media Network which contained extracts from the WRUL/WNYW with Lou Josephs and the Prague story 1945/1968. We were celebrating the strength of the documentaries.

Direct download: MN.19.10.2000.Penultimate.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:29pm CEST

MN.01.03.2000. The 1000th edition of Media Network

This was another milestone, at least for me, hosting the 1000th edition of Media Network at the start of March 2000. We used the programme to share some of the behind the scene stories and celebrate anecodotes with our contributors. Andy Sennitt, the retiring editor of the Media Network blog in 2012, explains how he got involved with the programme. And there are plenty of memories from the loyal audience too. Enjoy!

Direct download: MN.01.03.2000._1000thshow.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:22pm CEST

DX Juke Box: Jonathan Marks' First Show

This was my first programme as a host and producer on Radio Netherlands. It is August 7th 1980. I had arrived a few days before from the UK and was on the air within 48 hours. You can hear that I'm already trying to reduce the amount of music, which is why the name of DX Juke Box morphed into Media Network. As the Media Network Blog ends its run on Radio Netherlands this month (March 2012), I decided to share a few milestones from this collection. Don't worry we'll still be digging in the archives even though Media Network is no more.

Direct download: MN.07.08.1980.1stshow.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:05pm CEST

MN.19.07.1990. Colombo International Radio

We start with news of changes in ownership in Soviet media. Victor Goonetilleke reports on a mysterious station calling itself Colombo International Radio. Radio Ulan Batar now on 22 metres, VOA announced that Radio Marti and Worldnet are to be merged. Albanian refugees in Italy demand loudspeakers to listen to VOA Albanian. BBC is planning to start a BBC World News. Tony Barratt reports hearing HCJB from Quito on SSB. A strange story from Vietnam about cable radio and TRT expands. Arthur Cushen has tuning tips including WWCR and Brazzaville. We called Algerian radio to find out more about the Voice of Palestine. Very quiet conditions on the sun, reports Mike Bird in Melbourne.

Direct download: MN.19.07.1990.ITT.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:10pm CEST

MN.30.03.1988. Car Radio Converters and Austria

I owe a lot to Wolf Harranth (pictured), former DX editor at Radio Austria International and now the curator of the world's largest radio documentation centre in Vienna. I made a video with him just before they moved the centre. 

This show starts with a summary of news in brief including clandestine radio into Nicuragua, Over the Horizon Radar in the US. We then launched the Media Network SW Car Radio Investigation. Remember the Grundig converter? We then looked at the cancer scare risks near the Delano shortwave transmitter site owned by VOA. Wolf Harranth talks about plans for commercial radio in Austria.  He explains that many stations from across the border are audible. Richard Ginbey reports on developments in African Media including Angola, Botswana and Mozambique.

Direct download: MN.30.03.1988.Harranth.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:42pm CEST

MN.27.09.1990 Messages to Iraq, Receiver Review ICOM ICR-72 and BBC 648

The programme kicks off with a review by Jeff White of what a range of international broadcasters have been doing to reach their nationals in the Middle East following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces. Frans Vossen reports on changes expected to the French language network RTBF-4. Pete Myers and I review the ICOM-ICR72. The reviews were later hosted by the UK Mediumwave Circle when the Receiver Shopping List on Radio Netherlands site was discontinued. We wonder what South Shropshire communications is doing on 1512 kHz. BBC 648 changes it's name to BBC for Europe. Andrew Taussig explains that mediumwave is no longer the only way to get a signal across. He also argues why they do their coverage in three languages.

Direct download: MN.27.09.1990.VOA2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:05pm CEST

MN.16.03.1989 Big Bang on the Sun, Satellite Experiments and Free Radio in Austria

The programme starts with an analysis of a major solar flare on the sun (like the one this week) with the late David Rosenthal (still miss him). We preview a special programme coming from Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles. Remember the voice of Bruce Parsons. And a call from Rich in California triggers us to experiment with a Heil receiver connected to a satellite dish. We look at a clandestine station which pretended to be Radio Tehran so it broadcast extracts from the Satanic Verses. Wolf Harranth joins us with an explanation of how private radio is trying to get established in Austria. We learn about a summer school for radio in Bregenz, Austria. A snake switches off Radio Uganda and Andy Sennitt has been exploring harmonic signals. Remember VOA Europe? This programme recalls the lesser known VOA Pacific.

Direct download: MN.16.03.1989.PreBonaire.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:00pm CEST

Media Network Blog Goes Silent Soon
Media Network web editor Andy Sennitt announced late this afternoon that their international media news blog is closing down as of Saturday March 24th  2012. Andy is retiring. Radio Nederland Wereldomroep (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) is heading off in a very different direction in the future. So it makes sense to bow out knowing that a job has been well done. Several thousand people a week have relied on Andy’s sharp eye in spotting international media developments and their implications for those who work in the business of international story-telling. I understand the plan is to keep it online as a reference, since it’s a searchable record of media stories over the last decade that has more than academic value. That’s good news.
I hope you’ll join me in thanking Andy for great time and effort he put into editing the on-line version of Media Network. There are over 15,000 stories on the blog going back to October 2003 and he’s continued the tradition of international media reporting in fine style. That can only come from someone who is fascinated by the medium – it’s not a job – it’s a passion. As you can hear in our Media Network vintage radio archive, Andy was a regular contributor from the very start of the programme in 1981. I particularly remember that show we did about the offshore radio days. Andy has spent his career following the media, especially radio. He worked for BBC Monitoring in Caversham Park, UK as well as becoming Editor of the World Radio TV Handbook in Denmark. He moved the HQ of the WRTH to Amsterdam and Diana Janssen recruited him to work on a web-version of the radio programme.   
It’s not going to be possible to replace the Media Network news blog. But I will increase the frequency and focus of this Critical Distance blog to include more international media stories. I have been playing around with the Storyful platform, which allows you to mix video and audio clips to add to the traditional text and photos. So if you’re interested to follow what we get up to, visit the blog (if you're not already there), subscribe and contribute to the next stage of the journey. We’re also on Facebook.  I hope we can persuade Andy to drop by from time to time. But for now, Andy we salute you. Big time!

Andy isn't on Facebook (and only by accident on Twitter). So if you want to contact him with wishes and memories of his time at the wheel, the address is
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:39pm CEST

MN.17.09.1986. Shortwave Caroline, KYOI & Filters

More time travel into the past, to a time when shortwave broadcasting was expanding.

This programme starts with the news of a major solar disruption on the sun (like the one we're experiencing as this is being uploaded). We then catch up on two US shortwave stations KVOH and KYOI, we called Vincent Monsey in New York to find out why Radio Caroline is being heard on shortwave. There's a flashback to the West German pirate station Radio Valentine. We talked to Dick Robinson who at that time was the boss at Electronic Equipment Bank in Virginia. He talks about modifications to filters and the specialized world of the high end of shortwave receivers like the ICOM ICR-71.

Paul Ballister phones in with news about Radio Essex. Andy Sennitt has more news about NDXE. Radio Earth hires time from Radio Milano International.  HRRI in Honduras is on the air. If you're interested in propagation maps, check out this new site from NASA. 

Direct download: MN.17.09.1986.valentine.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:11pm CEST

MN.16.10.1986. El Salvador Earthquake

This programme looks at how amateur radio helped in the aftermath of the two earthquakes which hit El Salvador in October 1986. Around 1000 messages were sent on behalf of official organisation. 14313 kHz is the emergency frequency to monitor. Bob Horvitz reports on the political clandestine stations beaming into the area, including Radio Venceremos. FMLN has declared a truce. 

The programme also looks at stereo mediumwave tests in China. On 10870 kHz Radio Iran Toilers is being heard from transmitters believed to be in Afghanistan. Receiver Development Update deals with Escom 500. Eddy Visser is working on modifications for ICOM receivers with a Phase-locked system. We also looked at what happened to Radio West, an updated AM filter on a Philips D-2935 and a new communications receiver, the SRX-351 from Germany.

We investigated why there is a pitch change to the Radio Netherlands interval signal and changes at RCI for SWL Digest. 

Direct download: MN.16.10.1986.ElSalvador.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:30pm CEST

MN.23.03.1988. Clandestine Special Haslach & Campbell

This programme was one of several in the period to look at clandestine radio broadcasting. Although there were later programmes that went into detail about number stations, the remarks by Professor John Campbell of the University of London Computer Science Dept were spot on. I wonder if there is any on-line evidence of that oil company using numbers for communications with Nigeria?

He also reviews the book Nish No Kaze, Hare by American writer Robert Haslach. I can still see copies of the book listed in antique book shops here in the Netherlands, though I don't know of any English language translations. Robert worked at Radio Netherlands, when it was "Radio Nederland" and later wrote a history of the station.

The programme also includes the news of the start of CFI, a new educational TV network for Africa.The English language pages of the current CFI website must have been done by a machine!

We also discuss the rather confusing Sony shortwave line of 7600 receivers. Sony is launching the ICF7601. 

You can probably skip the RN Hertzian adjustment file - there was no Internet to announce all that schedule information. And even though we printed thousands of programme schedules, the postal services have never been that good at delivering this kind of information. 

Direct download: MN.23.03.1988.Haslach.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00pm CEST

MN.24.07.1986 ANARC Report from Montreal

What were ANARC meetings like 25 years ago? ANARC was the Association of North American Radio Clubs, coming from an era when groups would organise around their passion for listening to distant radio stations on AM, FM, and/or shortwave. I think their peak was in the late 80's, when there were still plenty of stations on the tropical bands of 60 and 90 metres, the Cold War was still on (with all the mystery of clandestine stations) and receiver technology was experimenting with digital processing to dig out weak signals from the noise. I recall this hotel in downtown Montreal because I ended up using the fire-escape a couple of times to get down to breakfast. And on the last day, my pyjamas disappeared from underneath the pillow. I remarked about it in an off-hand way during an edition of the show and a listener in India sent me a new pair!

Direct download: MN.24.07.1986.Montreal.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:30am CEST

MN.18.08.1988. Poland and Radio Solidarity

The photo was taken outside Polish Radio in Warsaw in 2005. The programme that accompanies it was made in August 1988, a difficult time for Poland. There were at least 15 illegal FM stations on the air, trying to combat the official government voice coming out of the Polish Radio building. 

Do you remember international reply coupons? If you were trying to get a reply out of a radio station, sometimes enclosing an IRC would help out. In theory, such a coupon could be exchanged for postage stamps in another country. However, in my experience, they often turned out to be an expesive proposition. We discuss IRC's in this programme. 

This was also the week that General Zia was toppled from power in Pakistan and IRRS was preparing broadcasts from Northern Italy.

If you've arrived at this page from Thomas Witherspoon's SWL Blog, then you may like to know that Media Network's Pubspot talks to John Bryant of Fine Tuning about 9 minutes into the programme.

Professor John Campbell looks at clandestine antennas and reviews a book about Harold Beverage called Genius at Riverhead. 

Direct download: MN.18.08.1988.Poland.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:18am CEST

MN.12.01.1989. David Monson in Berlin & Radio Denmark

This news edition of the programme included news of the WRTH award scheme. We examine Jim Frimmel's computer program which will record audio off air, and talk to German reviewer Rainer Lichte about the Grundig Satelliet 500. There's a short extract from the DX Window programme on Radio Denmark. Jorgen T Madsen explains that they will be hiring airtime on Radio Norway International. For Media Quiz 1989 we invented a spy station and asked you to crack the code. David Monson, then working for the Belgian external service, BRT, explains about his international broacasting conference in Berlin. We were shocked to hear that David Monson passed away in March 2010. He was not only an accomplished musician, he was a master of ad-lib. Dave Rosenthal explains the work of the Space Environment Services centre in Boulder, Colorado.

Direct download: MN.12.01.1989.MonsonDenmark.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:04am CEST

MN.24.09.1986.VOA Europe Closes

February 2012. VOA is 70 years old. The first broadcast was in German to Europe. Later, from studios in Munich, VOA tried to reach Europe again with a "music and more"service called VOA Europe. This operation, launched in 1985, didn't last very long. In the early days it sounded like AM radio on FM. And it was cable radio in the Netherlands, rather than over the air FM. More successful in the Balkans, I believe. The photo is of the VOA entrance was taken last year. I understand the VOA logo is to return to its familiar red, white and blue later in 2012.

Direct download: MN.24.09.1986.VOAEuropecloses.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:12pm CEST

MN.15.09.1988. Forts Radio and SW Receiver Predictions

This programme examines plans for a TV station on Sealand by Roy Bates on one of the disused wartime forts in the Thames Estuary. We talk with offshore radio specialist Hans Knot (still going strong in 2012 - check out the RadioDay website). You might want to skip the frequency changes at the start of the show...those were the days when Radio Netherlands had a major presence on shortwave.

The programme also talks to media researcher Robert Fortner, now teaching in Bulgaria. He'd been commissioned to look into the future of shortwave radios up to 2000 and beyond. Actually, they seem to have got quite a lot of it right. 

Direct download: MN.15.09.1988.Forts.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:50pm CEST

MN.17.10.1985. Scheveningen Radio Reportage

As a student, it was often fun to listen on the radio between the broadcasting bands. You would tune just above the mediumwave (AM) broadcast band, say around 1.8 MHz, and you'd often pick up one half of what sounded like a very personal conversation. That's because, in those days, ship-to-shore communications went mainly via medium and shortwave radio. Ships had a communications officer, and they were responsible for setting up calls from the ship which then connected to the public telephone network on land. 

I still recall the trip to Ijmuiden like it was yesterday, and I find it difficult to believe we made this programme nearly 27 years ago, way back in October 1985. I remember the female operators at Scheveningen Radio were drop dead gorgeous, had fantastic voices and were clearly driving the place. They were often the only female voice men out on the ships had heard in weeks.

The men at Scheveningen Radio were mainly in the Morse code section which, even then, was being phased out. I vividly recall sitting in the canteen and seeing the Morse Code operators looking at the newspaper and their right hand involuntarily tapping out out on the table what they were reading.

There is one anecdote too. In this programme we set up a Morse Code link with the Hoek-Harwich ferry. I had to do it twice because the first time, when we asked the ferry for its destination, they came back with a string of expletives along the lines of - "We're the Hoek-Harwich Ferry, where do you think we're going?". The guy at Scheveningen radio cleaned up what they said, but I knew the Media Network audience had a high chance of understanding what was really said. So we did it again.

If you want to find out why they called it Scheveningen Radio, even though they operated from further up the coast at Ijmuiden, then take a listen to this vintage show. It's in huge stereo. 

Direct download: MN.17.10.1985.ScheveningenRadio.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:41pm CEST

MN.05.03.1992.Vasily in Moscow

Hearing reports that it's 26 degrees below (Centigrad) in Moscow at the moment, reminded me of a programme we did with Vasily Strelnikov, the former Radio Moscow WS presenter. This programme takes you back the start of March 1992, when things are starting to open up, media-wise, in the Russian capital. Did you know that Vasily also has a FaceBook page these days? The show starts with a report by Rosella Strom who went to Geneva, Switzerland as part of the World Radio Congress at the ITU where large chunks of the radio spectrum were allocated. And guess what. They are doing the same thing again right at this moment. Actually, it seems surprising that most of the battles haven't changed a bit in 20 years. 

Direct download: MN.05.03.1992.Vasily.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:25pm CEST

MN.02.05.1986 Chernobyl on the Radio

We had no idea of what had really happened in the Ukraine at the end of April 1986. I remember that when the news broke, we were celebrating Queen's Day in the Netherlands (April 30th). I tuned into Radio Moscow and Radio Kiev, but they didn't give us much detail. I love the offhand way the announcer in Kiev says "and now sports". The programme also had contact with Pat Gowan, G3IOR a radio amateir in the UK who monitors and contacts Russian amateurs on a regular basis. He confirmed that amateurs in Kiev made no mention of the situation.

In other news, the Head of the Russian service of Radio Liberty, Oleg Tumanov turns up in Moscow denouncing the station. It seems he had been a KGB agent - at least according to the book that came out later.

Captain Midnight blocks HBO satellite signal in protest at the new rates being charged. It turns out later that this is a satellite engineer based in Florida. NDXE announces a date for buying the transmitter. KVOH has also hit some delays.  Len Scott of the English service of Radio Budapest talks about plans to have sponsored programmes. Andy Sennitt rounds off the show with a contribution from the WRTH office in Copenhagen.

Direct download: MN.02.05.1986.chernobyl.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.22.01.1988. John Tusa and advertising on World Service

I confess I don't understand the outburst on recent edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme "World at One" by John Tusa. He seems to think that a tiny piece of advertising on the Berlin relay on BBC World Service (where currently promos for programmes are slotted in) is somehow a threat to the editorial independence of the World Service.

John Tusa may be correct in that the Berlin relay won’t raise much of the 3 million pounds that BBC World Servce radio is trying to raise this year to offset the drastic budget reductions announced nearly a year ago. But for years, ads alongside BBC World Service radio output have been heard on many stations that partner with the external broadcaster. Some stations insert their own commercials at 29 and 59 minutes past the hour when London carries programme promos. That's common in Africa where the local stations need to generate revenue because they are not subsidized by the government. Infact these countries will probably never be able to finance the public service broadcast model that survives in parts of Europe, like the UK, Belgium and Germany.

But what's wrong here? Are the radio presenters and editors in London aware that this is happening? Even if they are, do the adverts have any bearing on the editorial decisions being made in Bush House - and later this year in Broadcasting House? No.

BBC World Service has always been looking for ways to supplement its income by charging some stations that can afford it. Stations in the US pay a fee to Public Radio International to rebroadcast programmes from BBC World Service. Companies can also sponsor these relays as PRI is happy to explain on it's website. Again, these activities don't have any bearing on the editorial content coming out of London.

Mind you, none of this is new at all. I recall a clip from the very same John Tusa broadcast by Media Network on January 22nd 1988 (yes almost 24 years ago) in which there were definite plans to make money out of content - he even quotes a figure of how much money they thought they could earn. The clip is short and can be downloaded below. Also note that this was the point at which cable systems in the Netherlands switched off their relays of BBC 648 kHz in favour of a satellite feed.

There are some interesting variations in order to squeeze in commercials. There has been a MW relay in Auckland, New Zealand of BBC World Service since the late 1990's. It is run by a local group of enthusiastic fans who have developed a clever system to raise money to cover their running costs. The automated system puts the feed on BBC WS into a buffer. They carry 2 minutes of ads at the top of every hour and then play back a slightly sped up version of that hour of programming from London squeezed into 58 minutes. Sounds fine to me. Lou Josephs in Washington DC reports that many small stations in the US use the same trick of time compression on satellite syndicated shows so that they can squeeze in local commercials. They call it a "cashbox". 

I am more concerned about the 15 breaches last year by their TV channel BBC World News of the BBC's editorial guidelines. This was reported by the BBC Trust back in November. BBC World News buy in programmes made by production companies who are making disguised PR rather than independent investigative journalism. Nobody seems to be checking that thoroughly enough. I will be curious to see the coverage of the Consumer Electronics Fair in Las Vegas this coming week by BBC World News programme "Click". This is one of the feature programmes that is happy to accept what the BBC terms as sponsorship. It will have to remain strictly editorial independent (i.e. completely opposite to shows like Channel 5's The Gadget Show). If it doesn't, I'm sure viewers will interpret that as breach of trust and that will spill over into their trust of BBC current affairs programmes and investigative documentaries in general. Don't forget you have a situation where BBC World Service radio also has a show called Click (formerly Digital Planet) which is not sponsored and which infact it is a completely different programme to its TV namesake. 

I personally see more potential with ads on their websites, especially if they make websites that mix general BBC entertainment content with the news output. They could be far more creative with their embedded player than resorting to the tedious pre-roll ads before every clip. There have been far too many cases recently where bank ads for HSBC have preceded another doom and gloom report by Robert Peston about banker salaries or the Euro crisis. Now that really is mixed messaging.

Direct download: JohnTusaWS22.01.1988.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:29pm CEST

MN.09.01.1986. Buster Pearson and Eddie Visser

A "Jaws" style opening to this news edition of the programme. There's a report about Offshore Radio Stereo 531 from David Ward in Norwich. Paul Rusling says he is not involved! Buster Pearson has died. VOA English is now on MW. Africa Media News from Richard Ginbey (presented by Mike Bullen). Grove Enterprises has a new publication - The Listeners’ Handbook. Lou Josephs on the Whole Earth Catalogue. New Irish Bulletin Board. Radio Earth is back via Radio Milano International. NRC has a special test on mediumwave. News about the RX99PLL from Escom, we called Dutch engineer Eddie Visser (then in Denmark, now retired in Thailand). What’s going on in the countryside? There has been a break in to the bunker at Lopik. MN Satellite Technology report - the ECS-1 runs into problems.

Direct download: MN.09.01.1986.Buster.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:01pm CEST






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