Sun, 17 January 2016
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 CET
Sun, 17 January 2016
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 CET
Sat, 1 November 2014
Radio South Atlantic was a short-lived clandestine radio station started by the UK Ministry of Defence with programmes aimed at Argentine troops on the Falkland islands. This programme was broadcast from a transmitter on Ascension Island which was temporarily taken away from BBC World Service.
The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas), also known as the Falklands Conflict, Falklands Crisis and the Guerra del Atlántico Sur (Spanish for "South Atlantic War"), was a ten-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British overseas territories in the South Atlantic: theFalkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It began on Friday 2 April 1982 when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands (and, the following day, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had long claimed over them. On 5 April, the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.
This is a studio copy of Radio South Atlantic. In May 1982, the British government decided to set up a Spanish language radio station targeting Argentine troops. This was probably in response to an Argentine radio station (nicnamed Argentine Annie by the UK press) which appeared on shortwave some weeks earlier using the Beatles theme "Yesterday" as a signature tune.
I was editing the Media Network programme at the time. We could hear Radio South Atlantic in Hilversum - but the signal was very weak. So I rang the British embassy in the Hague and asked if it would be possible to get a studio copy of the programme to use in a documentary feature we were making. A few days later, a courier riding a large motorbike arrived at RN's reception and asked for me. I went down to the front-desk to sign for the tape. "But you can't keep this tape. You can only listen to it" was the message from guy in the helmet. "I have to take it back to the Hague in about half an hour". I said I'd look for an empty studio, gave the guy a large coffee and wandered casually round the corner. Then I made a mad dash to the fast copy-room used to make tape copies of RNW transcription programmes for other radio stations. It had a machine that could copy tapes at around 8 times faster than normal. Luckily, Jos, the guy in charge, saw my challenge, set up the machine immediately and 15 minutes later I was back in reception to return the tape to the messanger. And I had a copy.
It seems the British dropped leaflets over the Falklands to try and spread the word that this shortwave radio station existed. And we later analysed the programme. It was classic Sefton Delmer (Black Propaganda), although rather poorly presented. Bit like calling up Vera Lynne if the British had a dispute with France.
But this is one of the few surviving recordings of Radio South Atlantic. You be the judge of how effective it all was.
Direct download: RadioAtlanticodelSur.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 5:28pm CET
Tue, 25 December 2012
This is the last chapter in the 8 part series telling the story of Radio Netherlands focusing on the English language department. With Pete Myers as your guide we focus on our present decade as it draws to a close. This final episode for was broadcast by several stations, including Radio Netherlands, on December 3rd 1997. It is presented here purely for academic interest. The programme was researched and presented by Pete Myers and Luc Lucas. I supplied some of the recordings from the Media Network archive.
At the end of the 19th century, Oscar Wilde wrote that the only duty we have to history is to re-write it. When this decade is done I wonder what will have changed in the perception of Radio Netherlands in 1990's and the role it played in international broadcasting. The English service signed off in 2012.
Let me draw your attention to the last part of this programme, where we projected what might happen at the start of the new Millennium. In fact, it all came to pass. I still firmly believe that great international broadcasting needs an emotional context in order to bridge the cultural and political barriers. Without it, there doesn't seem much point any more. The days of effective government propaganda are over.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_8_-_Conclusions.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 10:04pm CET
Sat, 22 December 2012
This is edition 7 of the 8-part documentary series on Radio Netherlands focuses on the 1980's and what it meant to the English language department in particular. It was a decade in which many women producers arrived, breaking through what had been a mainly male dominated radio station. Names such as Veronica Wilson, Dorothy Weirs, Dune Porter, Ginger da Silva, Martha Hawley, Marijke van der Meer and Anne Blair Gould. News to Africa and Asia was regionalised.
The decade started with a coronation in the Netherlands and a speech by US President Reagan about the evil empire. The massive delta-works were completed, making Zeeland less vulnerable to flooding from the North Sea. Taboos were broken in Rembrandt Express and the decade ended with fall of the Berlin Wall.
The series was written and presented by Pete Myers, with research from Luc Lucas and audio contributions from the Media Network archive. This programme was originally broadcast by several stations, including Radio Netherlands, in October 1997. It is released here for academic purposes only.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_7_-_the_eighties.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 4:59pm CET
Wed, 19 December 2012
The sixth part of the history of Radio Netherlands was originally broadcast on October 1st 1997. It's presented here for academic interest.
Radio Netherlands got a shock awakening in the seventies from its cocoon of request shows and Holland promotion. Pete Myers opens with words which could equally well apply to 2012. It was the decade of the attacks on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The age of the common man had passed to become the age of the common crook. The US pulled out of Saigon. A Dutch correspondent was one of the last to leave Vietnam. No baggage allowed. Was Dr Spock was the architect of the permissive society? Spock says it was connected to his opposition to the war in Vietnam. ABBA wins the Eurovision Contest in 1974. After some internal opposition, Radio Netherlands added news and introduced current affairs coverage with Afroscene.
Tom Meyer took over Eddy Startz at the helm of the Happy Station interviewing the Dutch band Shocking Blue. Roger Broadbent, later head of Radio Netherlands English Department (later Radio Australia) says farewell to Fritz Greveling, the fourth DX editor of DX Juke Box.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_6_-_The_1970s_F.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 9:32pm CET
Mon, 17 December 2012
This second part of the look at the station in the 1960's was originally broadcast in July 1997. Pete Myers recalls the plans to put a man on the moon before the decade was out, and the Erasmus Prize went to Charlie Chaplin. There are extracts from the last Happy Station with Eddy Startz and the popular His and Hers Show with Dody and Jerry Cowan. Perhaps you remember Bed-In for Peace campaign that John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched from their bedroom in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel in March 1969.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_5_-_the_Sixties_B.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 3:05pm CET
Mon, 17 December 2012
This part four of the eight part story of Radio Netherlands, the Dutch international broadcasting service.This first part of the look at the station in the 1960's was originally broadcast in June 1997. It recalls the opening of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the visit of David Ben Goerion to the Netherlands. Radio Netherlands moves from old studios in the Bothalaan to a purpose built studio complex in the North of Hilversum. Reporter van der Steen does an interview with the architects. Pete Myers doesn't recall seeing many rabbits from the studio window.
We also recall thoughts about the European Common Market, the Berlin wall and the assassination of President Kennedy. The second part of the sixties is covered in programme 5.
The programme was written and presented by Pete Myers with additional research by Luc Lucas. I found the clips with the architects buried in the archives.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_Part_4_-_the_Sixties_A.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 2:54pm CET
Tue, 4 December 2012
Third part of an eight part series presented by Pete Myers on the history of Radio Netherlands. It was made in connection with the station's 50th anniversary in 1997 and broadcast by several dozen radio stations back then who were in the Radio Netherlands partner network. This part deals with Radio Netherlands coverage of the 1950's. This included the devastating floods that hit Holland in 1953 and the uprising in Hungary in 1956. I'm posting it here for it's academic value.
Earlier parts can he heard here.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_-_Part_3_-_the_50s.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 5:20pm CET
Mon, 3 December 2012
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.
Sun, 2 December 2012
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 compilation 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 General), hr. Van Dulken, (the first Head of the English department), Joop Acda (Director General in 1980's), Bert Steinkamp (Programme 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 broadcasting 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.
From the Independent Obituary, written by Mike Popham.
Pete Myers, broadcaster: born Bangalore, India 17 April 1939; died Utrecht, The Netherlands 15 December 1998
Pete Myer's decision to leave the BBC while at the height of his popularity robbed listeners to the African Service and what is now the World Service of one of the most innovative and magnetic broadcasters to grace the international airwaves.
In the mid-1960s, as the first presenter of the African Service's controversially revamped breakfast programme, Good Morning Africa, Myers was an immediate hit with the huge new audience which had just been opened up by the mass-marketing of cheap transistor radios and, particularly in West Africa, by the start of the BBC's Atlantic relay station on Ascension Island. Within months, he was being accorded pop-star treatment whenever he arrived on tours to meet his fans in person.
Pete Myers was born in 1939 in Bangalore of Anglo-Indian parents but as he grew older enjoyed shrouding his origins in mystery. Consequently, and much to his delight, few people knew whether he was a Latin American, or an exotic blend of English, German, Jewish, Lebanese and Chinese. His father had in fact worked on the Indian railways.
Myers's feel for Africa resulted from his arrival in Ghana in 1957, around the time of independence. His broadcasting career began unexpectedly in Accra when he was 17. He had got to know the presenter of a jazz programme who allowed him to listen in the studio while the show was being broadcast. Then came the day when the presenter remembered, just as he was about to go on air, that he had left his script at home. Dashing out of the building to retrieve it, he was knocked down and killed. The panic-stricken producer had no choice but to ask the teenage Myers to take over.
Myers did so with such natural assurance that after five years he became Ghana's top music DJ and radio personality, and a favourite of the country's president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Away from the microphone, Myers pursued a parallel career as one of the founders of what subsequently became Ghana's National Theatre. During the Congo crisis, he and his companions risked their lives entertaining UN troops in Katanga. As Myers like to recount, the high spots of his thespian activity were taking the part of Elvis Presley in a musical called Pick Me a Paw-paw and playing Hamlet in Moscow at Nkrumah's behest.
Leaving Accra for London in the mid-1960s, he was snapped up to become the presenter of the BBC's Good Morning Africa. In stark contrast to what had gone before, his resonant baritone and slick mid-Atlantic informality soon made him a household name throughout the African continent.
A year or so later, while increasing his workload at Bush House, he became one of the founding presenters of Radio 1's Late Night Extra. But with a restricted playlist, and without the freedom to indulge his sometimes anarchic sense of humour, he failed to make the same impression on his domestic listeners. However, at the beginning of the 1970s, as a result of his spectacular success with African audiences, Myers was entrusted with transforming Good Morning Africa into a flagship breakfast show for the world.
He presented The Morning Show, with its mixture of pop, politics and personalities, four days a week, and at the weekends hosted PM, his own show-biz interview programme. His treatment of celebrities like Peggy Lee, Shirley Bassey and Ingrid Bergman - his favourite - heralded that of Michael Parkinson on BBC TV. Myers was thrown by Dame Edna Everage, for once impersonated across the microphone by a dapper Barry Humphries in suit, monocle and trilby.
Having broken the mould of broadcasting at Bush House, Myers felt he needed a change of scene and went to Lebanon to become the manager and resident impresario of a nightclub, the Crazy Horse Saloon. Unfortunately, he arrived just before the outbreak of the civil war.
Bombed out of Beirut, he returned to London to find that The Morning Show had been relaunched as Network Africa and a new presenter, Hilton Fyle from Sierra Leone, had taken his place. Through ex-colleagues, he found a job opening Radio Nederland, in Hilversum. From 1976 onwards, he produced and presented hundreds of programmes in the Asian Service (Mainstream Asia, Asiascan), African Service (Afroscene) as well as the general English department. He eventually took over the helm of one of its most popular programmes, Happy Station.
Pete Myers last visited London in 1987 for the 30th-anniversary recreation of the original Radio 1 group photograph on the steps of All Souls', Langham Place.
Direct download: RNW_at_50_-_Part_1.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 1:55pm CET
Sat, 30 June 2012
More photos of Friday's closedown are here on my Flickr account:
Dropped by Radio Netherlands building for the last few minutes of their broadcasts in English. Did an interview with Jonathan Groubert, host of the State We're In, as he prepared a few words to add to the final broadcast towards Africa. Then went downstairs to an almost empty newsroom where Rob Kievit, producer of the last day, was making a few last minute preparations.
Then, we all joined Jonathan Groubert in Studio Booth Number 4 where English programmes (including news bulletins) have originated for decades. After Dheera's last words, Jonathan added one final thank you. I left a small audio recorder running to capture the moment for the history books. And so a bottle of champagne was opened, knocked back rather hurriedly, and then we all headed for the last train home. So ends an era. This recording captures the moments....before, during and after the final signoff.
I added a stereo copy of the Radio Netherlands interval signal, played on the carillion in Breda. I was actually present in the bell tower during the summer of 1985. It was one of the first all digital recordings we ever made. It replaced a worn out recording of the same tune which had been made in the 1950's at the cathedral in s'Hertogenbosch. The tape had stretched after being copied so many times.
Thanks to Kai Ludwig in Germany for sending me a better copy of Jonathan Groubert's last words captured from the satellite. I've mixed them in.
Direct download: RNWEnglishlasthourmix.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 12:55am CET
Sat, 30 June 2012
Just got back from watching the very last hour of broadcasting in English from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Holland's external broadcasting service which signed off today on shortwave, satellite, in fact the radio station is no more. Holland has no external broadcasting service as from July 1st 2012. Dheera Sujan presented this final show, which was a farewell and thank you to listeners worldwide.
Direct download: FarewellbroadcastRNW.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 12:21am CET
Mon, 9 April 2012
Pete Myers would often come up with great ideas towards the end of the year when the production budget in the English section was running low. Wednesday slots had to be filled. There was no money for in depth documentaries. Each producer was asked to make a 30 minute programme grabbing music from the record library and explaining what it meant to you. I confess that I did my best to get rid of just playing records in DX Juke Box. But those early days working in a foreign country for an international broadcaster was certainly the source of adventures. So this isn't a Media Network, although there are radio stories in the show.
Sun, 8 April 2012
On April 17th 2012, my late friend and former colleague Pete Myers would have been 73 years old. Sadly, this great broadcaster passed away all too soon on December 15th 1998. It still seems like yesterday and partly because the Media Network programme now only exists as a nostalgic collection on the Internet I thought it appropriate to add this documentary tribute I made with Luc Lucas in 1999 shortly after his passing. It is called A Talent to Amuse.
Pete Myers was a regular voice on many editions of Media Network. He made his name at the BBC External Services in Bush House with a programme called Good Morning Africa. He was one of the early presenters on BBC Radio 1 in 1967 and from 1976 onwards one of the regular producers on Radio Netherlands English Service. He was the engine behind many magazine programmes but also excelled at making radio documentaries. As we busy ourselves with Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat I just wanted to put this documentary tribute back on the web for everyone to enjoy.
Here are some of the memories sent in by listeners at the time.
Much of the joy and magic of shortwave radio was ignited by Pete. Mainstream Asia, Asiascan, Happy Station, the specials and a host of other programmes, they all sparked of creativity. That personal touch gave radio sparkle and vitality. It touched many of us here in Asia and rest of the world. His spirit of bringing so much heart and texture to his reports was both a pleasure and inspiration to us. He was more than a voice to me, more than a friend, more than just a broadcaster. Long live the excellence that Pete strived for.
Xavier Gomez, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Not only did he entertain and inform on radio he also kindly wrote me some extremely funny letters. He will be sadly missed.
Michelle Thompson, Australia
Listening in South Africa to the BBC Morning Show in the early seventies, I found Pete Myers an inspirational broadcaster. He ignited my lifelong passion for radio and for Africa. In particular, his programmes opened my eyes to the world north of the Limpopo River which white South Africa tried so hard to ignore in those days. Above all, he enjoyed that rare gift... the genuine ability to communicate with his listeners.
Peter Biles, London, UK
A year ago I returned from serving with the Peace Corps in Romania. One day I discovered Radio Netherlands via shortwave and delightedly, I sent an e-mail to Pete Myers telling him how much I loved R.N. He called me up and interviewed me. Later he sent me a tape of some of his interviews which I played for my classes. The tape exposed my students to stories and sounds the like of which they had never encountered.
Cynthia D. Earman, Washington DC, USA.
All of the troubles I may have had would gently step aside for the duration of Pete's time on the air. I miss him tremendously. He was a reason to get through another week.
Steve Talia, Eugene, Oregon, USA
For how many times, I don't know, I have been amazed at his presentation...December 15th for some unknown reason was missing from the diary and now suddenly you announced that he's gone...I just don't know what all this means!
Cui Litang Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, P.R.China
We lost a golden voice on the radio but his various documentaries will still be fresh in mind for all his numerous fans of the radio.
Alok Das Gupta, Calcutta, India
We needed him. We will always miss him...
Alexandre Mossiava Moscow, Russia
Pete was one the icons during my growing years. I'll miss him.
Kittu Chennai, India -
I always knew that when Pete was on the air, it was going to be something worth listening to.
Mike Conway Merced California, USA
We are all diminished by his passing, but were most uplifted by his work. Pete Myers has left a fine legacy. He will be missed by all of us, including those of us who were privileged to know him via the radio.
John A. Figliozzi Clifton Park, NY, USA
Pete as a broadcaster not only reached the pinnacle that all broadcasters silently wish to reach, but he will live on in the hearts of us who heard him and through the works of people that he inspired. He was the centre of any gathering and the laughter and good cheer that exploded from him. Even in sadness, his voice echoes and the sound of his laughter soothes our wounded hearts.
Victor Goonetilleke, Piliyandala, Sri Lanka
As someone who worked with Pete, I know how touched he would be to read these heartfelt messages from listeners around the world. Their wonderful sentiments are, of course, nothing less than the man deserves. He was a magnificent broadcaster. That rich deep voice of his so enveloping and warming. I am honoured to have known him, better for having learned from him, and proud that he was my friend.
Mike Bullen, former RN producer, writer of the award-winning TV series "Cold Feet", now resident in Australia.
Direct download: Talent_to_Amuse_Pete_Myers.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 5:24pm CET
Sun, 2 October 2011
This was a documentary I made in 1993 looking back at the floods in the Netherlands in the winter of 1953 and what had happened since. It contains many broadcast extracts from broadcasters that used the station's facilities to broadcast to the US. UK listeners may recognise the voice of Brian Matthew, who worked for Radio Netherlands in the 1950's and then went on to a career at BBC Radio 2. The documentary won a prize at an Asian Broadcasting Union meeting a year later. Bearing in mind the floods that affected New York and New Jersey in late October 2012, I am beginning to wonder whether we have learned all the lessons from these tradgedies. Yes, we have understood how to build barriers. But we don't know how to communicate disaster preparedness. Wrote this blog post with more information.
Direct download: RevengeoftheTide1993.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 10:12pm CET
Sun, 3 July 2011
It's ten years since Radio Netherlands organised a "short wave" of publicity stunt targeting English speakers in North America. On July 1st 2001, BBC World Service ended its broadcasts on shortwave to North America. Mark Byford, then the Director of BBC World Service, decided to pull the plug rather abruptly instead of quietly phasing out the service. It caused quite a commotion in shortwave-listening circles. As programme director at Radio Netherlands at the time, I was rather curious to see what would happen if we hired the same BBC transmitting facilities from Merlin Communications for a short period after sign-off to see what the reaction would be. I made a simple shortwave showcase programme explaining that there were other stations on the dial apart from the BBC. The programme got a satisfactory response, so much so, that after two weeks we decided to add a regular morning broadcast to North America, following on from the success that the RN Latin American service had enjoyed. At the time, there were high hopes for Digital Radio Mondiale, a digital standard for AM broadcasting. I also pointed out in the programme that broadband was not available for the majority of the audience which is why shortwave still made sense. The situation is very different today. Today, shortwave broadcasting to North America makes no economic or strategic sense at all. But it was fun while it lasted.