Media Network Vintage Vault 2014-2015 (Radio Netherlands Specials)
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.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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: 10:55 PM
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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: 10:21 PM
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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.

Direct download: ThatRemindsMe1985.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 11:32 AM
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On April 17th 2012, my late friend and former colleague Pete Myers would have been 73 years old. Sadly, this great broadcaster from the sixties passed away all to soon on December 15th 1998. It 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. 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 like the Afroscene, Mainstream Asia and Asiascan. As we busy ourselves with Twitter, Facebook and Google+ 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 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 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 series "Cold Feet", now resident in Australia.

Direct download: Talent_to_Amuse_Pete_Myers.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 3:24 PM
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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: 8:12 PM
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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. 

Direct download: SWofPublicity.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 3:45 PM
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