Media Network Vintage Vault 2014-2015
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 400 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.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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