Media Network Vintage Vault 2015 - 2016
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 470 complete programmes are posted here to enjoy all over again. This is a non-commercial service to media historians done at the initiative of host, Jonathan Marks.

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: 3:54 PM

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: 12:00 PM

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: 9:04 PM

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: 3:59 PM

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: 8:32 PM

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: 2:05 PM

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: 1:54 PM

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: 4:20 PM

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: 5:00 PM

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: 12:55 PM

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: 10:49 AM

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: 7:07 PM

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: 5:30 PM

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: 11:43 AM

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: 1:16 PM

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: 11:07 AM

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: 7:00 AM

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: 8:05 PM

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: 9:53 PM

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: 9:34 PM

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: 6:37 PM

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: 8:36 AM

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: 8:07 AM

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: 7:53 AM

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: 7:40 PM

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: 7:17 PM

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: 8:03 PM

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: 9:30 PM

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: 9:06 PM

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: 12:41 PM

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: 7:30 AM

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: 9:09 PM

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: 7:26 PM

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: 2:45 PM

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: 2:10 PM

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: 1:32 PM

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: 11:54 AM

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: 7:21 PM

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: 6:53 PM

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: 8:02 PM

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: 3:22 PM

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: 3:05 PM

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: 6:28 PM

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: 6:12 PM

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: 6:01 PM

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: 9:49 PM

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: 6:00 AM

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: 1:47 PM

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: 9:42 AM

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: 6:33 PM