Introduction

Welcome. I'm Jonathan Marks. If this is the first time you've visited this blog, then I'm glad you dropped by! As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech scale-ups in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven region. I'm particularly fascinated because this region is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927.


Reliving Mainstream broadcast heritage

Nearly seven years ago, in early February 2010, I began an on-line experiment with podcasting to understand how the distribution system works and see whether we could rebuild an audience. We wanted to recreate 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 35 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 shortwave wireless from May 7th 1981 until the end of October 2000 with more than 1000 editions of the show. Many of the features are gradually making their way onto the website as a celebration of international broadcasting's second Golden Age.

Radio Netherlands no longer exists as a radio station in English in the way that we knew it. (They signed off 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!

I release between 6 and 8 vintage Media Network's a month, as time permits. We have now reached more than 538,845 downloads, numbers being boosted by interest in the programmes about China and several documentaries about propaganda, during the Second World War and later.

First of its kind

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. Diana Janssen also joined me as co-host during the last 5 years of the programme. She made a considerable contribution to the programme. 

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 gradually digitized 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. 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 or using 3rd party apps. Please tell friends about the vault and encourage them to subscribe. 

There are also radio related videos which I made more recently over on my video vault.

Finding a show 

If you want to see what has been put up since February 2010, click on the Media Network Archives  blue button on the right and all the editions will be listed. Clicking on a particular month shows the editions uploaded that month. 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 of choice. I personally find the Downcast app to be the best for IOS. 

Listening Figures

As of December 21st 2016, 652,306 episodes have been downloaded from this site. The statistics show that most people download the shows through this site directly or through Facebook. As of the end of December 2016, the most popular programmes have been those on Wartime Deception, Radio London (offshore station and the train), WNYW Tribute, the Giant 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 to many broadcasters - 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: 11:49am CEST
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MN.06.12.2016

Hello, this is Jonathan Marks. Welcome to a Media Network prequel. Yes, it’s true while Donald Trump heads for the white house, we’ll be resuming the wireless show about the wireless in 2017, mixing comments about a post-truth media world with regular trips to the vintage radio wireless archives which we saved from the shredders. Our collection has lasted longer than the station it was first broadcast on.

I found a great cassette sent to me by Africa media correspondent Richard Ginbey in 1989. Richard was a music presenter, first in South Africa, later moving to Windhoek. But I guess his passion was listening to his shortwave radio. And with nothing more than a cassette recorder he put together some fascinating portraits of broadcasting history as observed from a listeners’ perspective. Richard also made features which traced the history of broadcasting in Africa, making some recordings which track the path to independence for many countries. I’m pretty sure many of these bandscans from the 1980’s and before have long since disappeared from official archives. So, here’s a chance to listen again to Richard Ginbey’s media view. I’ve put together several episodes back to back. Enjoy. There is over 70 minutes of unique material here. Pretty amazed at the quality too. The cassettes have lasted better than some of the reel to reel recordings.

Direct download: MN.06.12.2016.RichardGinbey_Special.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:53pm CEST
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MN.16.12.1999

With the news that Radio Australia is planning to cease all shortwave transmissions as from January 31st 2017, I searched through some old cardboard boxes and discovered a lost programme which was never uploaded. It was first broadcast in December 1999 which explains the references to Y2K. This programme features an extended conversation with Mike Bird, and ABC's Radio former acting general manager - Arthur Wyndom who I met at several radio conferences in the 1990's. Dame Edna also puts in an appearance, alongside Andy Sennitt. 

Direct download: MN.16.12.1999.Australia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:48pm CEST
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MN.17.1987.Nederhorst Revisited

Nederhorst den Berg used to be the centre for the Netherlands Radio Control Service, the government department responsible for monitoring the airwaves. Part of their job was investigating interference complaints - the other part was monitoring the spectrum for pirates and clandestine stations (read spies). Several of the staff were listeners to Media Network, and so we accepted an invitation to have a look round. The photo shows the monitoring station at the height of its importance, in the 1950's. 

Direct download: MN.17.08.1987.Nederhorstinterference.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:41pm CEST
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MN.30.10.1987. ITU Telecom 87

The Geneva based International Telecommunication Union used to organize huge telecom exhibitions at the PalExpo in Geneva. They were enormous technology showcases, mainly aimed at government officials. International broadcasters used to attend, mainly to lobby for satellite frequencies and spectrum space in other parts of the dial. I tried to liven it up with a musical box....  

Direct download: MN.30.10.1987.ITU.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:20pm CEST
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MN.13.05.1993.Radio Havana

This was a news edition of the programme. Astra 1C is safely launched from French Guiana. The American Forces Antarctica is rare catch a on 6012. There is no need for it any more so it may not come back on the air. NSB Radio Tampa is still on shortwave in Japan with business information. We investigate the mystery about Radio Niege in France. Australian Forces are broadcasting to Somalia. They have switched from using transmitters in the Cox Penninsula and switched to military USB transmitters. Arthur Cushen reports hearing WFLA on 25 Mhz. This is a studio to transmitter link. VOA Sao Tome is testing on mediumwave. And we did an interview with Radio Havana Cuba's DX editor and chief engineer Arnie Coro about changes coming to the Cuban international broadcaster.  

Direct download: MN.13.05.1993.Cuba.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:52pm CEST
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MN. LatinAmericanMontage Special

Just found a cassette of Argentinian and Chilean radio stations taken off the air in 1981/1982. It was sent in by a Media Network listener while we were covering the Falkands crisis and I asked if anyone had recordings of the Argentine stations. This cassette starts with the official sign-on of RAE, Buenos Aires, and includes a longer extract of the clandestine station nicknamed by the Brits as "Argentine Annie". In the 1980's few stations operated 24 hours a day and one of the delights of long distance listening on shortwave was hearing stations in Latin America start and end the broadcast day. They were usually over the top, hyped to the extreme to match the 10 thousand watts of power they were using the transmit. The recording ends with the sign-on of LRA-36, Rado Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel, Base Esperanza in Antarctica as heard in 1982. The radio station broadcasts on 15476 kHz on shortwave and 97.6 MHz for FM.. Radio National Archangel Gabriel is the southernmost international radio station and the first to broadcast from the Antarctic.

Direct download: MN.bothsidesoftheandesmontage1982.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:24pm CEST
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Memories of a Great Friend and Radio Specialist - Lou Josephs

Very sad to learn that my colleague and friend, Lou Josephs, has passed away much too soon. He died after a short illness at 6:13 am Sunday July 10th 2016 at a house on Merritt Island, Florida close to his beloved Cape Canaveral. He was 65. My condolences to his life-long partner Susan Koonin who was by his side. There will be funeral in Washington DC on Wednesday July 13th.

Jim Cutler and Vasily Strelnikov sent their thoughts and best wishes when they knew he was ill. I delved into this Media Network archive to pick some of the contributions which stick in my memory - but it is a fraction of what Lou contributed behind the scenes. 

Lou was one of the first Media Network listeners in the 1980's to step forward and help us develop the programme into a serious media magazine on Radio Netherlands. He made hundreds of contributions to the programme over a period of 15 years, including this great portrait of commercial international broadcaster WNYW, New York. That documentary is one of the most popular editions in the current archive.

 

I think you'll agree that was Lou at his finest. Some of the other recollections about WNYW are also still online.

From Radio Specialist to Internet Expert

I first got to know Lou when he worked as a programme director at music station WROR in Boston. He was using very advanced audience research methods to understand the music mix that his audience wanted - and it made the station a market leader in an era when FM stations had big breakfast talent (Joe and Andy I seem to recall). Lou was always ahead of the game, got out of radio when automation took over, and then moved to Washington DC to work for one of the first US Internet companies. But he never lost his interest in broadcasting - championing on-line listening.

 

As others have pointed out, the Media Network programme in 1992 was actually a remake of a profile Lou originally made in 1985. As a kid living in New York, Lou got a Saturday job working at WNYW, Radio New York Worldwide and (thankfully) made some unique off the air studio recordings,

 

Space

Lou's first love was space - he was an authority on all the missions and found ways to follow launches from the early days. He was delighted at the success of the NASA Juno Jupiter mission and was hoping to witness the SpaceX launch this week.

 

Lou's second love was radio and in my Skype conversations with him over the last few days,  I've been reminiscing about how his predictions about digital AM, on-line audio and satellite television were spot on. I know of few other people who were so well read on the global media, yet willing to share their knowledge and expertise with friends and colleagues around the world. And he competed with our Australian propagation specialist Mike Bird knowing his California wines like no other.

 

Lou was not on Facebook or other social media platforms. But over the last few days, I did manage to pass on greetings from those who reacted to an earlier post on FB. Susan says those thoughts made him so happy. So long, Lou, and thanks for your being a great friend to many people around the world.

 

Other tributes from former MN contributors:

 

Many best wishes came in over the last few days, all of which were read to him by Susan. This included: 


Victor Goonetilleke in Sri Lanka writes: I enjoyed the clever jingles he made but also the many contributions to Media Network on changes to digital radio. I was happy to meet him in Washington DC after an SWLFEST and Lou helped me fulfill a teenage DX dream as I listened to VOA and JFKs final rites in 1963; To visit the Eternal Flame at Arlington National Cemetery. Lou took me there and then gave me a fantastic tour of DC. We always remember great friends like that with great affection. It is friends like Lou who make the hobby (?) of DXing, SWLing so fine..the highlight is not only in the signals that come through sitting alone in your shack. Take care Lou and all the very best my friend.

 

Tom Sundstrom in New Jersey: I am very sorry to hear of Lou's illness and I hope he recovers quickly. Lou and I often exchanged phone calls and notes while we were both associated with MN. The MN work was fun and interesting. I can't believe so many years have intervened. Space interests me too; the JUNO precision orbit insertion was bloody amazing!

 

Richard Cuff: I remember Lou joining us for an SWL Fest in Pennsylvania in the mid-2000s, where he presented a great retrospective on WRUL / WNYW, the commercial shortwave station with its heyday in the 1960s. And, of course, I remember him very well from Media Network. Lou, hope you get well soon!

 

John Figliozzi: Lou, I too recall with great fondness the presentation you gave at the Winter SWL Fest now several years ago about WNYW--Radio New York Worldwide. It was one of the first shortwave stations I tuned in on my then brand new Heathkit GR-54 receiver. I listened to the station regularly and it was great to experience such a thorough history and background of the station that only you were able to provide. It was clear that we shared a love for that broadcaster. It was great to meet you then and to link a face with a voice that I heard regularly on Radio Netherlands' Media Network. I am sorry to hear of your health issues and hope that this small message of support can help in some tiny but significant and ultimately successful way. Godspeed.

 

 

Direct download: loujosephstributeJuly10th.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:20pm CEST
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MN.24.09.1992.Firato News Show

We visit the 1992 FIRATO, one of the last public audio/video fairs to be held in Amsterdam. 131,000 turned up to see widescreen televisions. The analogue MAC system is running into trouble. Sony demonstrates a MiniDisc but fakes the demo. Grundig will expand its range of Satellit receivers. Bob Grove says there will be a slight delay to the SW-100 communications receiver. This is a 100% US product. There also working on a spectrum display unit. Julius Hermans has some tuning tips. Steve Whitt has a guide for ICF2001 owners. BASICCODE is to be discontinued alongside (Hobby)Scoop.  Lou Josephs explains how stations are using databases for customer marketing. (Not bad for 1992). NAB Superradio is the most expensive piece of garbage we’ve ever seen. David Hill dropped by our studios to explain the future of Radio Australia. Victor Goonetilleke reports that SLBC is testing to North America. We discuss why Iran might be interested in building a relay station in Sri Lanka.

Direct download: MN.24.09.1992Firato.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:41pm CEST
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MN.16.04.1992.ChinaTaiwan

This edition of the programme from 1992 has news that Kuwait has started up 2 250kW transmitters, BBC World Service television to Asia has been spotted in the clear. Then we reexamine the war of words across the Straits of Taiwan. We look at stations like Radio Democracy. We also examine the rise and fall of the Christian Science Monitor World Service in Boston. Includes clips from the World Monitor channel. BBC is expanding its Pay TV service to Africa. CNN has also appeared on Astra. Lou Josephs reports that several MW frequencies are being blocked with English transmissions from Havana. Voice of Europe has also been testing. Mike Bird wraps up with propagation. 

Direct download: MN.16.04.1992.China.Taiwan.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:40pm CEST
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MN.12.06.1987.LondonTrain

Sections of this programme were recorded on a train heading for Harwich-Hook of Holland. We start with the news from BBC's Peter Udell that they are starting to feed radio as well as TV signals on the satellite. Spain will build a relay station in Costa Rica. Philips and Dixons have launched a Get into SW campaign at 60 stores. Sony reworks Tony Hancock's Radio sketch. Andy Sennitt has been to see the Cable-Sat exhibition in Brighton but was disappointed. The UK is also planning to extend its marine broadcasting offences act from 3 to 12 miles offshore. Britain has published a Green Paper on Broadcasting. Roger Tidy reports on the views of the community radio lobby. Carl Josephs reports on the data signals being sent over 200 kHz longwave to switch domestic electricity meters between a high and low tariff. 

Direct download: MN.12.06.1987.TidyLondon.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:39pm CEST
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MN.12.03.1992.Rosenthal

The late Dave Rosenthal was a regular contributor to the Media Network programme in the 90's. He was fascinated by the sun and propagation - as well as being a US airforce pilot. What a great friend he was. In this programme he reviews a new specialist book about the subject. Then we go through the new Radio Netherlands summer transmission schedule in English (remember this is pre-Internet!). Victor Goonetilleke has been hearing Kashmir on 6300 kHz. And there's a report on the Kosuth radio network from Hungary about some strange observations. 

Direct download: MN.12.03.1992.RosenthalonProp.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:37pm CEST
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MN.10.09.1992.ICFSW15

This programme from 1992 starts with the news that Radio Netherlands board of governors has approved relays of its programmes via transmitters in the Former Soviet Union. Broadcasts to Asia should have improved reception quality. BBC World Service had fire-alarm at Bush House. BBC will also hire airtime in Russia. DW likewise. We review the Sony ICFSW15. Nick Meanwell is the new presentation manager at Radio Netherlands, ex BRMB. Jeff White is on the line to report Radio Recovery, to serve those affected by Hurricane Andrew. 

Direct download: MN.10.09.1992.ICFSW15.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:36pm CEST
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MN.09.04.1992.Satellites

Radio Netherlands starts feeding radio stations in Latin America and the Caribbean with a satellite signal. We profile the first commercial radio station in Bulgaria which has just started up; Radio Aura. A listener in Gwent brings up the start of TV Marti. We test the Lowe HF150 communications receiver in some depth. Radio Australia is talking about a television service.  

Direct download: MN.09.04.1992.Bonairelink.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:35pm CEST
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Dutch Jazz in Tokyo 2001

This was the first of two programmes I made for Dutch Horizons, a great show on Radio Netherlands English service. I helped to set up an exchange between NHK Radio Japan and Radio Netherlands. Jazz is extremely popular in Japan. So Hans Mantel and I went with the best of Dutch jazz talent to challenge the Japanese to an improv concert. Did it once in Tokyo, then a few days later in Nagasaki. Glad I kept the tapes. Mantel is a brilliant radio performer as well as being a great musician. He is a fountain of anecdotes, even though his website is always under construction.

Direct download: DutchJazzTokyo2001.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 11:41pm CEST
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DutchJazz in Nagasaki 2001

Part two of the two par jazz show I recorded with Hans Mantel in Nagasaki Japan. I recall it was a very strange time to be in Japan with the aftermath of 9/11 so fresh in peoples' minds.

Direct download: DutchJazzNagasaki2001.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 11:39pm CEST
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MN.23.12.1998. XmasMyersTribute

This was a sad week - presenter Pete Myers had passed away the week before. This programme included a great tribute from Victor Goonetilleke. We made a full tribute to Pete in a programme called A Talent to Amuse which is also archived on this site.

But the programme also included news about media changes in Iraq. And a clandestine station, Voice of the Tamil Tiger is a new AM broadcasting station being heard in Sri Lanka. We also look at the possible link with London based IBC.  Radio Napa in Cyprus is linking with several local stations around Europe for a Christmas special. Peter Walsh in Australia on the future of radio. Andy Sennitt is working on the Real Radio Ezine and came on permanent staff at Radio Netherlands. Media Network's Christmas Quiz wants you to tell us what you like. My son, Christopher who was 9 years old at the time did the intros this time.  Fun times.... Picture shows Pete Myers with Dheera Sujan and Maggie Ayre.

Direct download: MN.23.12.1998.Myerstribute.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:48pm CEST
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MN.18.12.1997. LatinAmerica

I personally think the old Media Network was at its best when it mixed documentary features with informed reports from the network of media enthusiasts around the globe. We built all kinds of conversations about our shared passion for international broadcasting and searching for signals between "DC and daylight." This was a typical show from December 1997, which this time featured a new station in Buenos Aires.

Stay tuned to this podcast channel, because news is coming about the return of Media Network in 2016. I am personally intrigued to find out what happened since we reported all this. You heard it here first.

Direct download: MN.18.12.1997.LatinAmericaFeature.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:36pm CEST
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MN.06.04.1988. DXing Indonesia

This programme from April 1988 was a based on my personal trip to Indonesia. I took a shortwave radio and a Walkman Pro on my holidays, making tapes of the local broadcasts off-air to compile this travelogue. I'm glad these recordings have survived because you couldn't hear most of it on shortwave. I recall the Voice of Indonesia kept re-using tape, with the result that the print-through from previous broadcasts was clearly audible. Interested in a copy of DXing Indonesia? Leave a message in the comments section.

Direct download: MN.06.04.1988.IndonesiaExpedition.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:08pm CEST
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MN.06.08.1981. Pacific broadcast Indonesian Special

A year after I joined Radio Netherlands, I remember making a feature on the different kinds of music you could hear on Indonesian radio stations. Thousands of stations were operating on the lower shortwave bands in those days, which meant the signal would often spill over to other parts of world. Victor Goonetilleke would often report hearing stations, but also Dan Robinson on the US East Coast. I got tape back from some of the stations in the RRI network and compiled the feature you can hear in this release. In fact this was a one-off repeat broadcast via Bonaire to the Pacific. There had been a transmission failure during the original broadcast, and we got letters asking to hear it again. The answer was to do the second of the two Pacific broadcasts live. So that explains why I sign-off the transmission at the end. I wonder if there is interest in posting the brochure "DXing Indonesia" which I still have?

Direct download: MN.06.08.1981.PacificIndonesiaSpecial.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:01pm CEST
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