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

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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