MN.10.09.1987. Cable One & Funkausstellung

This programme looked at the launch of Cable One, a precursor to Sky Radio, started by two Dutch entrpreneurs and record producers. Although it launched, legal problems with the Dutch broadcasting law at the time put an end to the plans. Those were made up jingles by the way - Carl Josephs did the voice-over. The programme also included a piece by the late Dave Rosenthal on solar eclipses, Richard Ginbey has a nice crop of catches which sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. We also managed to visit the Funkausstellung in Berlin thanks to Hans G Janssen and Wolfgang Schulz who wandered around on our behalf. DAT recorders were the talk of the show. John Campbell reports on novelty clandestine stations like Radio Duck. Mike Bird rounds off the show with propagation conditions. Work has started on the Radio Netherlands extension.

Direct download: MN.10.09.1987.CableOne.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:52pm CEST

MN.21.03.1986. Radio Free Suriname

This programme starts with a report on the clandestine station, Radio Free Suriname which was backed by opposition groups in the Netherlands. The principal backer was the late Johnny Kamperveen, who's father Andre started ABC Radio in Paramaribo, but was killed in the December murders. Johnny later returned to Suriname to start the station in 1993 and passed away ten years later. There's also news of the sale of the ship Laser 558. The Admiralty says it will look at the buyer. John Campbell reports that shortwave conditions are improving, just in time to observe the Irish pirates. We also look at brief shortwave broadcasts from Hong Kong during the boat race and talk to Bob Grove about Monitoring Times and the Ten Tec 535. 

Direct download: MN.21.03.1986.RadioFreeSuriname.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:00pm CEST

MN.24.04.1986. EuropaTV & ATS803

Europa TV was a rather disasterous attempt at pan-European satellite television by a group of ex-public service managers working in Hilversum. They underestimated the cultural differences across Europe, wasting a lot of money in the early part of the project. It started off as Olympus TV. The team seemed shocked when Olympus cameras of Japan took out a court injuction to stop them using the name (after all the logos, bumpers, jingles had been produced). They also realised the hard way that live voice-overs in feature programming doesn't work because languages vary in how long it takes to say the same thing. Very quickly dubbed as "Europeless TV". The exception was the music programme "Countdown" hosted by Adam Curry which became very popular in Southern Europe, especially Portugal. Veronica TV was able to get better acts to the Netherlands because of the European exposure the programme gave to international talent. But in general Europa TV was a perfect example of public broadcasters trying to be commercial entrpreneurs with license-fee money. 

The programme also reviews the popular Sangean ATS-803 shortwave radio, which was the Taiwanese company's answer to the Sony ICF2001D.

Direct download: MN.24.04.1986.EuropaATS803.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:57pm CEST

MN.03.04.1986. Asian Special on Radios

In the mid 1980's it was always extremely difficult to balance the programme bearing in mind the varying listener interests. Most of the feedback came from South Asia, North America, Europe and the Pacific, so compiling an edition to interest someone in Bombay as well as Boston was challenging. Following my trip to Victor Goonetilleke in 1985, we experimented with some special Asian editions of the programme which were only broadcast to Asia at 1430 UTC. They had very different content, focussing mainly on South Asia. The programmes brought mixed response. Some said they liked the fact that we highlighted issues affecting South-Asian listeners. But there was an equally strong lobby that said the reason for tuning in to a European station was to find out what new technologies were being used there. They thought we should not single out a particular area as being a special case.

In the end, we limited the number of special opt-out programmes, prefering to do "media safaris" to various regions of the world and making the programmes available to all target areas. 

In this edition we looked at the different approaches taken by foreign radio manufacturers in India. Philips set up Philips of India and made radios locally to match the buying power of that market. The Japanese, on the other hand, did not share their technology and would only build screw-driver assembly plants in India using components shipped from Japan. In the end, the Indian engineers had the last laugh. They quickly became the engineering entrpreneurs in the Middle East, South-East Asia and Silicon Valley leaving the Europeans very much in the shade. On later visits to Delhi it was obvious that operations like TV Today and NDTV didn't need any help from "developed countries". They were well ahead already. Only Indian state TV and radio remains firmly stuck in the 1960's, strangled by its own bureacracy. When was the last time you listened to All India Radio?

Direct download: MN.03.04.1986.Asianspecial.RMC.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:32pm CEST


There have been plenty of fantasy stations on short and mediumwave. Today we'd call them hype or vapourware. Back in the 80's, if someone started advertising the existance of a station in the World Radio TV Handbook (page 45, 1986 edition), then you tended to assume that it looked serious. In fact, NDXE very quickly became a standing joke in the international broadcasting business, boasting that it was going to broadcast in stereo, printing a list of fantasy programmes that were never comissioned and starting a listeners club before it had acquired a shortwave transmitter. By the middle of 1986, the project was falling apart and it was time to expose the nonsense that was Dixon Norman. 

Direct download: MN.27.06.1986.NDXEEnds.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:05pm CEST

MN.30.10.1987 - Telecom 87 Geneva

Towards the end of October 1987, around 70,000 headed for PalExpo in Geneva, Switzerland, an exhibition centre right next door to the airport. The event was organised by the ITU, so despite efforts to attract international broadcasters, it was really aimed at the government controlled phone companies of the day - and information ministers on a junket trip to the Swiss capital. Companies spent millions on making their stands look rather like the motor show held annually in the same building. I mixed a visit to the city with a look around the EBU and a visit to a musical box museum. This show was the result.

Direct download: MN.30.10.1987.Telecom.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:56pm CEST

MN.31.12.1992: Bloopers and Luxembourg

This was a fun show to end 1992, catching up on the media news that was current on the last day of that year. It was a rather momentus day for Radio Luxembourg because they closed down their English service, playing many of their jingles in full so enthusiasts could tape them. But the majority of the show is devoted to a collection of radio mistakes which seemed funny at the time. Remember a lot of international broadcasting was pre-recorded in those days, so many of the fluffs were retaken. Sometimes though, people forgot to edit them out.

Direct download: MN.31.12.1992.Bloopers.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:43am CEST


Satellites helped Radio Netherlands become far more topical in the 1980's. Before that, feature programmes like Media Network were recorded three weeks in advance and then shipped to Madagascar and Bonaire for playback at the transmitter site. By the time I arrived at the station, the programmes were being fed by satellite. But old habits die hard and it took me a while to persuafe the studio booking department that I wanted to record the programme as close to transmission time as possible, i.e. Wednesday evening rather than Monday afternoon. So much could happen. And in January 1986 it did, with the explosion and loss of seven NASA astronauts about the Space Shuttle Challenger. This was certainly a radio moment, since it was possible to follow the recovery operation if you knew where to search on the shortwave dial. As it happened, the feature that I'd prepared that week was on air-traffic control and the use of shortwave by planes. 

Direct download: MN.30.01.1986.ShuttleChallenger.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00am CEST

MN.20.06.1986 Surplus to Military Requirements

Much of this programme is devoted to looking at World War 2 receivers and visits two Dutch collectors who have turned their houses into workshops to restore old receivers. One collects the old German equipment, the other material from the Allies. I remember this programme well having recorded both interviews in Amsterdam on a very wet day and getting absolutely soaked on public transport (was carrying a UHER tape recorder, which is now a collectors item in itself). The photo is from the dial of the famous AR-88 shortwave receiver made by RCA and found in many military surplus outlets in the mid-eighties. 

Direct download: MN.20.06.1986.Militarysurplus.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:00am CEST


This edition starts with a clip of a Radio Netherlands programme I discovered in the archives from 1963 when everything sounded much more dramatic than it really was. We then switch to developments on mediumwave 675 kHz is no longer used by public broadcasters in the Netherlands but an announcement on the frequency by Erik de Zwaart seems to have lead people to jump to the wrong conclusions. Virgin Radio starts testing on the old BBC Radio 3 frequencies and Radio Fax tries to get a shortwave licence again. There's a new guide to Indian broadcasting and John Wilson of Lowe Electronics announces some changes to the proposed HF-250 shortwave communications receiver. The picture is that of the reserve MW mast at the Northern end of the Lopik transmitter site which I watched being dismanted ten years after this show was made. Plenty of calls to the Radio Netherlands - including the new Channel Africa, the new name for Radio RSA. The FCC is trying to decide which system to choose for advanced television standards, to replace NTSC. There's also news from the Society for the Eradication of Televison!

Direct download: MN.11.03.1993.MW675.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00am CEST

MN.10.04.1986.Laser 558

This is an interesting mix of radio news and reportages dating back to April 1986. We started with news about the clandestine radio station Radio Truth which targeted Zimbabwe from a transmitter base in South Africa. There was much speculation at the time as to who was behind it. It broadcast on shortwave, picking a frequency very near to the ZBC. The show encourage listener participation from the start and this programme is yet another example. Engineer and radio enthusiast Trevor Brook took a trip out to the radio station Laser 558 and recorded the experience for us. There was a satellite update on the broadcast satellite TVSAT (what a lemon that turned out to be) and Mike Bullen sent us a profile of changes at Radio Peking. Mike later left Radio Netherlands to become a writer, authoring the very successful comedy series Cold Feet. He now lives in Australia.

Direct download: MN.10.04.1986.Laser558.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:03pm CEST

MN.13.08.1987 - Offshore Radio Remembered

Just found a clean clear copy of this documentary that Andy Sennitt and I made one Saturday afternoon in August 1987 at the Radio Netherlands studio centre at Witte Kruislaan 55 in Hilversum. It had been a busy week, so no time to prepare clips for what would be a nostalgic look back at the offshore era. So we took all kinds of records and tapes into the office and spent most of the day just messing about and putting the extracts into some form of logical order. Andy recalls a cleaner asking us towards the end of the afternoon what we were doing in the building at the weekends. I retorted that this wasn't working it was the best fun in a long time. Thanks to Hans Knot (still going strong as one of the main organisers of the RadioDay each year) as well as the late Buster Pearson. I am glad these clips survived quite well. Hans has published countless books and newsletters since this programme was made. If the nostalgia of that era still brings back memories of adventure, then I recommend checking out his site.

Direct download: MN.13.08.1987.Offshoredocumentary.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:00pm CEST


This was the first show of the New Year 1986, when the talk of the day was John Campbell's report on political clandestines radio stations in Europe, and Marcel Rommerts calls to observe a "numbers station"in the middle of the 49 metre shortwave band. This was probably a switching error by a transmitter site which put out both broadcasts and spy number stations. Later in the programme, Taher Aftab, a listener from Pakistan, explains the shortwave scene in that country, where HF was still used for domestic broadcasts. Andy Sennitt reports on a crackly line from Copenhagen about the plans that Radio Earth (Jeff White) has to build a transmitter in the Netherlands Antilles and Roland Paget does a pitch for the EDXC Conference to be held in Paris. 

Direct download: MN.02.01.1986.KVOH.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:44am CEST

MN.02.01.1993. RadioSweden

This regular show from January 1993 focused on financial problems facing Radio Sweden, changes to BBC Management structure, and Richard Measham from BBC Monitoring updates us on the clandestine station, the Voice of Free Iraq. On a lighthearted note we looked at the problems of printing QSL cards for Radio Netherlands Russian relay.

Direct download: MN.21.01.1993Sweden.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:27am CEST

MN.17.12.1992 Zagreb Reportage

Found another box of reel to reel tapes in the attic, this one dating from December 1992 when Eric Beauchemin was just back from a visit to Zagreb in Croatia. The radio in that part of the Balkans played a crucial role in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. And CNN takes night-sensitive cameras to Somalia to watch the landings of US troops for an operation in the Horn Of Africa. How little has changed. Radio Czechoslovakia International was to be dissolved with the split of the country into Czech Republic and Slovakia and Radio Norway International ponders the future of its foreign service. Enjoy.

Direct download: MN.17.12.1992.Zagreb.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:04am CEST

Media Network at RadioDay 2011, Saturday November 12th, Amsterdam

Since you've found this page, you might be interested to attend the RadioDays nostalgia radio convention. It's a one day celebration of radio, especially offshore radio. and traditionally it's been well attended. Although held in Amsterdam, it's a great mix of people from both the UK and Dutch offshore stations, as well as fans from Germany and Scandinavia. Entrance is a mere 14 Euro, you just need to turn up, and more details are posted at . If you can make it for 11.00, then you might be interested in a chat by Andy Sennitt and myself about the Media Network era 1980-2000 and what we think the wireless show achieved in understanding the international radio audience as well as celebrating radio in the last half of the 20th century. May be I should tape it and put the recording here?

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:37am CEST

MN.11.01.1996: Review Sony ICF1000T

The review of the Sony ICF1000T is still on line though not at Radio Netherlands. In this edition of the programme you can hear us review it on air. I suppose now it seems silly to review equipment over the radio to the level of detail we did back in 1996. But there was no Internet to speak of and most of the audience didn't have access to independent consumer reviews. We spent a lot of time and effort compiling receiver guides and reviewing publications, but it I think it was worth it.

The programme also includes updates on what the BBC was doing to restore services after a hurricane hit Antigua, home of one of the shortwave relay stations (since closed down). And there's a celebration of Arthur Cushen's 30 years of service to the media shows on Radio Netherlands.

Direct download: MN.11.01.1996Sony.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:32pm CEST

MN.18.01.1996. Central Asia Report

A news show with contributions from Andy Sennitt, Victor Goonetilleke, and Arthur Cushen reports hearing Radio Alma Ata from Kazakstan. We interview an old friend of the programme who we last spoke to when he was in the Solomon Islands. Martin Hadlow is now in Central Asia for UNESCO. It is interesting that the radio and TV stations in the area have changed little in the last 15 years since this programme was made, although they seem to be on the verge of making heavy investments in digital television. The TV stations were using consumer video formats of Sony's Hi-8 and Panasonic's SuperVHS. Radio was suffering back then. There's a second chance to enter the Media Network Car Route to visit 12 international stations.

There were also major refurbishment to Radio Netherlands entrance hall! I remember that well - an early attempt to explain the mission to the general public. I think it worked rather well - but then I was involved in pushing for the change to building. The inside of RN was deliberately austere, because the idea was that all the walls were grey or dark green. The people would bring the colour into the building it was thought, at least by the architects at the end of the 1950's.  

Direct download: MN.week3.1996.CentralAsia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.08.02.1996.CBC Overnight

In a regular edition of the programme, we hear about the start of the CBC Overnight service in Canada which relayed various international broadcasters while CBC programmes were off the air. 

The KNVB decides to launch Sport 7. It would cost an extra 12 Euro a year on a cable subscription. Lou Josephs looks at the Telecommunications Reform Bill which removed restrictions on ownership. One company spent a billion dollars acquiring 52 radio stations.

DW ceases from facilities in Malta. Radio Mediterranean also leaves the airwaves, a joint Maltese-Libyan operation. We had 500 pages on the WWW ! All those http's. Arthur Cushen reports Radio North Solomans has been reactivated.

Direct download: MN.08.02.1996.CBCOvernight.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.04.01.1996 - All by myself Diana Janssen

By the time 1996 started, Diana Janssen (see photo) was firmly established as the co-host of Media Network. Had enormous fun putting the show together each Wednesday evening. This was one of the few editions where Jonathan didn't present. But the programme was in capable hands. Smart Lady.

This edition covers modifications to the Baygen clockwork radio in a interview with Trevor Baylis. There is also the first airing of Media Race 1996. Radio Vilnius hires a radio transmitter in Juelich, Germany. HCJB and Radio Norway announce expansion and VOA tests its new site in Sao Tome.

America 1 signed a joint venture agreement to distribute public radio across Europe - remember this is well before Internet audio is good quality was available to the public.

Direct download: MN.04.01.1996.JanssenSolo.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:30pm CEST

MN.05.12.1994 - TWR Albania and Seek You

A pre-Christmas show in which the news of the week was the appearance of religious station TWR from Albania (the old 1 MW transmitter of Radio Tirana) on 1395 kHz. This caused problems to Veronica News Radio on the same frequency. Interesting to hear the old budgets stations had in those days for news production. Radio 1 had 50 million dollars for the network. Veronica was trying to run a news service with no less than 60 journalists. I believe that Business News Radio in the Netherlands currently runs the distant successor to Veronica News Radio with a staff of 36. Adam Curry, now co-host of No Agenda. Talk Radio announced plans for the old BBC Radio One mediumwave network. Transmissions will start in early 1995. 

There's news about "strawberry radio" in Bosnia, the nickname for Radio Nederland. Rick Lansig has a go at Mike Bird on his propagation.  The call of the Fish Eagle used to be the only voice out of Zambia. Now Christian Voice has added a 100 kW transmitter on 6065 kHz.

Andrew Huddleston a British born singer living in Denmark has released a record called Seek You. We also heard about Radio Free Somalia operated by Sam Voron. Arthur Cushen recalls the frequencies.

Direct download: MN.05.12.1994.Veronica.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:58am CEST

MN.05.10.1995.US MediumWave

A Media Network news edition edition from early October 1995 in which we were concerned with the extension of the mediumwave band in the US. Chris Greenway from BBC M looks at news out of Yugoslavia, including a swap with China Radio International. We also lift the lid on DVB and find out how Victor Goonetilleke got into shortwave listening. The photo shown is the mediumwave mast on the Flevopolder used for 747 and 1008 kHz. In those days both the signals were from the public broadcasters in the Netherlands.

Direct download: MN.05.10.1995.LouonMW.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:36pm CEST


This edition is tinged with sadness because the DXer featured in the programme, Bernt Erfjord, passed away in June 2004. The photo is from happier times at NRK Sørlandet, the regional station belonging to the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. In this programme Bernt explains about the student station in Trondheim.

He also reported many times to the Media Network programme on events in the Baltic states which he could hear from this vantage point in Norway. Great guy, still missed.

Direct download: MN.12.10.1995.Trondheim.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:00pm CEST

MN.04.05.1995.750th Edition

Media Network was famous for doing documentaries about broadcasting during the second world war and using recordings you don't normally hear in UK documentaries. To celebrate 750 editions of Media Network in May 1995, we took a look back at the station that predated Radio Netherlands, Radio Herrijzend Nederland. The station became RNW in 1947, with studios in the Bothalaan in Hilversum (see photo).

Direct download: MN.04.05.1995.750editionwartime.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00am CEST

MN.26.10.1995 Path to Persia. From Tehran

I got a chance to visit Tehran, Iran as part of a delegation to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union meeting taking place there in October 1995. It remains one of the most amazing trips of my life. Nothing could prepare me for the visit as a CIP - a commercially important person. The programme includes off air recordings I made in the hotel of what IRIB sounded like in those days on FM. The language lessons were decidedly different. In those days listening to foreign stations was discouraged - there was a giant poster to that effect at the airport. But looking out on the rooftops outside my hotel there was nothing but a forest of dishes.

Direct download: MN.26.10.1995.Iranexpedition.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:58pm CEST

Towards 2000 - Clockwork Wireless & Victor Goonetilleke

Remember Trevor Baylis and the wind-up radio? I organised a conference for Radio Netherlands at the International Broadcasting Convention IBC between September 11-14th 1995. We decided to celebrate the fact that we were 5 years away from a new Millennium by looking at the technologies that would carry us forward. That included a look at different codings for DAB, a reality check on radio by Sri Lankan broadcaster Victor Goonetilleke and a special performance about the Clockwork Radio from Trevor Baylis, the British inventor who turned up in Amsterdam and charmed the audience with his frank, funny and brilliant introduction to the concept of wind-up radios. A few weeks after the conference we produced a special CD for those who took part. This is a copy for those who missed it. It's double the length of a normal Media Network, just over an hour.

Direct download: towards2000plus.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:13pm CEST

MN.11.09.1995. Turkish Police Radio and Zenith SW Radios

Andy Sennitt has some media news updates from the WRTH, the Lowe HF-250 has started to appear in the UK and here in The Netherlands this past week. Kevin Whitehead is the general manager of Lowe Production in Matlock Derbyshire England. Jonathan Marks had a preview of the radio before we do our own test on it to find out more about the philosophy behind the new set and, to the point, what it is made of.

There’s a feature on the rather curious Turkish Police Radio and we review an excellent book about Zenith Shortwave Radios produced by the Radio Professors of P.O. Box 592, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 74076, USA. The ISBN number is: 0-88740-708-0. The authors were John H. Bryant and Harold N. Cones and the title of the book is “The Zenith Trans-Oceanic, the Royalty of Radios” It was published by Schiffer Publishing in 1995. Photo is one I took in Istanbul back in 2004. 

Direct download: MN.11.09.1995.TurkishPolice.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:18pm CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Six - Monitoring the Situation

So here it is then, the sixth and final installment of the HitchHikers Guide to DXing, broadcast a full year after the last episode. The references to a monitoring service not unlike one in Caversham in the early 1980's are purely coincidental.

Just a note to say that the popularity of this 30 year old radio parody has been more than I could have expected. I had more than 5500 recorded downloads in the course of July.

Thanks for the feedback on the material so far. I an very curious to know which epiosde you enjoyed most. It was blast then, and it's a blast now.

Direct download: HHGTDXPart6Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:38pm CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Five - Frequency Police in Geneva

Oliver and Drisopholis escape in a van carrying white books to Geneva. They weasle their way into the auction where frequencies are bought and sold to the highest bidder. At the time the "white book" of frequency registrations was only a guide to what had been registered by stations. There was no guarantee that stations actually used the channels they claimed. The ITU is still based in Geneva, opposiite the UN HQ in Geneva. 

Direct download: HHGTDXPart5Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:30am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Four

In this episode, Oliver Pass and Drisopholis escape to the jamming shed in the grounds of Radio Polizania. They meet the head of jamming and discover how the noise is really generated. The episode also includes clips from Radio Daddy LongLegs, the pirate station with all the latest closedown news complete with home-made jingles. They also get a tour of the QSL verification department where "word-processors"are helping to reduce the workload (Radio Netherlands had no computers in those days),

Direct download: HHGTDXPart4Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Three

The introduction to this episode was a story in itself. I discovered that Peter Jones, the actor who narrated the original HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy was appearing with Arthur Lowe in a TV drama being filmed at the NOS, a short walk from Radio Netherlands. I quickly typed out some copy from the HHGuidetoDXing and ran over to the studio at lunchtime with a UHER tape recorder. Explaining I was a great fan of the original I asked Peter if he'd be willing to record a few lines of text for my little wireless show. He agreed. What a nice man!

In this episode our two heroes are still trapped inside Radio Politzania. This time they visit the advertising department and hear the recording of a DXTel advert with Graham Gill. Thanks to Surge Forward for the make-up. 

Direct download: HHGTDXPart3Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode Two

In this episode, Oliver Pass and Drisopholis discover the secrets behind how DX programmes are made as they explore inside Radio Politzania. How are stations really broadcast on shortwave? And why do DX shows keep interviewing each other? Thanks to George Wood of Radio Sweden and Ian McFarland, formerly of Radio Canada International for agreeing to play along. This episode was originally broadcast on April 30th 1981.

Direct download: HHGTDXPart2Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:30am CEST

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to DXing Episode One

It is thirty years ago since I wrote a rather silly parody on both international radio broadcasting based on my favorite radio series at the time, the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. There seemed to be so much to make fun of at the time...the boring propaganda at the height of the Cold War, jamming, the waste of energy shouting from one country to another, and the variable quality of reaction from listeners. I don't think it was the listeners's fault that most of the feedback was very technical, to do with signal strength and QSL cards rather than comments on the programme. May be people were being too polite. My father would often answer the door to religious groups by apologizing that he couldn't continue the conversation because we were "drisopholia"in this house. It was years later that I looked it up and understood the wry smile on his face as he closed the door. It seems like an excellent name for a character in this fantasy visit to Radio Politzania, the place where all shortwave signals really come from.

There wasn't much time to write radio drama on the second floor of the Radio Netherlands building. And there was no budget to hire actors. So I just rattled it off on a typewriter and asked colleagues to come and read their parts in a lunchtime recording session. This was all two track material, sliced together with a chinagraph pencil and a razor blade. In total we made 5 in 1981 to fit the 5th Thursday in the month, and then one more in 1982 as a Christmas special.

Listening to it now, I find it strange that we managed to predict Freeview, that all the DX programmes would be gone by 2022, and that flash memory would replace tape. It is great hearing the voices of Pete Myers, Harry Kliphuis, Neville Gray, who are sadly no longer with us. But there are plenty of people who went off to do great things elsewhere. Ian de Staines went to Tokyo to become Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce, responsible for public affairs, Roger Broadbent climbed the ranks in Melbourne with Radio Australia, Bob Chaundy went back to the UK and specialised in writing detailed obituaries for the BBC and Guardian, Mike Bullen, co-presenter of AsiaScan later wrote the comedy series Cold Feet, and so the list goes on.

Listen to this for what it was. A bit of fun in the studio when times were very different to now. The series was repeated in 1984 by request. I have also had comments to this archive asking me to put them on line. So, they will all go up one by one in sequence.


Direct download: HHGTDXPart1Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:15pm CEST

Burst of the Worst 1983

This is one of several bloopers shows I made at Radio Netherlands in the 1980's at a time when a lot of material was pre-recorded and making a mistake on air was frowned upon. Sense of humour has changed a lot in over 30 years. But some of the slips still raise a smile. Enjoy

Direct download: MN.BurstoftheWorst.1983..mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.06.07.2000 Radio Austria International profile

This programme contains a profile of Radio Austria International in Vienna. That station holds fond memories for me since I worked at the station briefly 1976-1980 in the days when the shortwave service was part of the ORF Zentrum out in the 23rd district. They subsequently moved back to the Argentinerstrasse across the road for the Funkhaus. Several listeners called and e-mailed after monitoring announcements at the weekend on Radio Austria International. The station is just putting the finishing touches to a new 100 kw shortwave transmitter at its Moosbrun transmission centre. But as Roland Machatschke, director of Radio Austria International, explained to us, it looks as though shortwave output from Moosbrun will be cut by 50%. 5.5 million dollars won’t leave much left over for programming. We also reported on the launch of the Sirius satellite radio system and noted that cassette holders were disappearing from shops, which is usually a signal that a format is coming to an end. We were still trying to work out whether to put old shows onto CD's for listeners before we realised we would never have the budget! 

Direct download: MN.week27.2000.Austria.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:38pm CEST

MN.21.07.1983: The Inside Story II

This second part of the series Inside Story broadcast in 1983 explores the broadcasters who joined the public broadcasting system in the 1960's like TROS and Veronica. Another new broadcaster was the evangelical EO. Amazing that it took 50 minutes to explain Holland's Unique Broadcasting system. No wonder it remains unique. The photo was taken on the Dutch media park in Hilversum very near to the new Media experience building Beeld en Geluid.

Direct download: MN.21.07.1983.InsideStory2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00am CEST

MN.14.07.1983: The Inside Story I

More time travel for you. This programme was an attempt to explain the extremely complex Dutch broadcasting system to a foreign audience. Remember it is 1983! By today's standards, broadcasting still sounds very formal and scripted (because it was!). People still talk about radio, whereas today the political discussion is purely about TV.

In this first episode, we looked at the original public broadcasters AVRO, VARA, NCRV and KRO. The photo shows the KRO building on the Emmastraat in Hilversum. Radio Netherlands used to hire one of the studios for "Ship of the Week" in the 1950's before it had its own studio that could accommodate an audience. I went past the old KRO building in July 2015 on the bus and it seems to be abandoned. There was a plan to convert the place into apartments, but I don't believe that has happened. You can also see it on Google Earth if you use Streetview. The re-release of this programme in 2014/2015 is timely as Dutch public broadcasting goes through a major reorganisation as a result of new legislation going through the Dutch parliament.

There are other episodes in this series.

Episode 2 is here

Episode 3 is here.


Direct download: MN.14.07.1983.InsideStory1.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00am CEST

MN.04.02.1993 - Costa Rica Harmonics & VOA Brazil

This was a "regular"edition of the programme first broadcast at the start of 1993. This week the news is that veteran DXer Adrian Peterson of AWR has been hearing strange harmonics in Costa Rica and the VOA Brazilian Branch has a new lease of life thanks to take-up by Brazilan radio stations of its satellite signal. Shortwave to Brazil was already written off as being no longer viable! Adrian continues with a commentary of what's happening to shortwave services in Central America. Canadian commercial station CKFX, plans a comeback with a low-power transmitter on 49 metres using a single vertical array. We visit Gijs Pappot, then the Chief engineer at Radio Netherlands, who explains how the signal gets to Moscow for the recently started broadcasts to Asia. Victor Goonetilleke has some great recordings of Radio Iraq International plus some other tuning suggestions.

Direct download: MN.04.02.1993.VOABrazil.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:15pm CEST

MN.01.02.1996 Midem, Monaco and Radio Riviera

This edition was recorded in Cannes France and nearby Monaco. We look at the state of the music industry in 1996 (they still don't really understand the Internet do they?) and visit Radio Riviera, a radio station targeting British expats living in the South of France. 15 years later the station is still there although the website looks as though it was built in 1996 and all they changed was the copyright notice. I love the story about the shortwave site, formerly used by Trans World Radio Monte Carlo. The Germans built it originally to blast into North Africa during the war. 

Direct download: MN.01.02.1996.MIDEM.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:49pm CEST

MN.04.05.1995 Radio Hilversum Wartime Occupation

Six months ago we took you on a tour of a special exhibition being held in the Netherlands Broadcasting Museum on the south-side of Hilversum. The great thing about the museum is that part of the collection always changes. The popular exhibition on off-shore radio which we covered last year has now made way for an equally fascinating portrait of wartime radio. It covers the period of German Nazi occupation, starting on May 10th 1940 when German troops crossed the Dutch border.The exhibition looks at the powerful influence that radio had and the way it was used by the Germans and Allied forces to persuade. As you walk through the exhibition there are headphones attached to many of the glass cabinets. They bring the past to life. Arno Weltens has designed the exhibition and he started our tour by explaining that after the bombing of Rotterdam on May 14th 1940 and the capitulation of Dutch forces hours afterwards a German infantry patrol headed for the centre of Dutch broadcasting on Wednesday the 15th.

Direct download: MN.04.05.1995.RadioHilversum.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:20am CEST

MN.11.04.1996 - Profile of Channel Africa

This week most of the programme focussed on a profile of the new South African external service, Channel Africa. Lebona Mosia was its first director and he visited Hilversum in April 1996 to discuss possible cooperation. He had worked as a broadcaster on the anti-apartheid clandestine station Radio Freedom which beamed programmes into the country from neighbouring Zambia and Madagascar. Following the change of government, Radio RSA was renamed Channel Africa and went through a major period of change, having much less money than before. The programme also includes an interview with the then boss of Sentech, Neil Smuts, who explained that the Meyerton shortwave centre was being prepared for jamming operations when the regime collapsed. 

Direct download: MN.11.04.1996.ChannelAfrica.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:48am CEST

MN.25.05.1995 Clandestine Women & Antennas

This vintage edition of the programme contains news of a special amateur radio station PA6RNW to celebrate the Dutch transmission company Nozema, we follow-up on a call from Florida about the clandestine women on the radio, (Tokyo Rose, Hanoi Hannah, Liberty from Argentina). It seems people were suggesting we should re-issue Media Networks on CD (something which had to wait until this site 16 years later). The programme concludes with a feature on magnetic loop antennas with inventor Willem Bos. A difficult subject, but I thought, well explained. The photo is of the replica PHOHI/PCJ towers put up a couple of years ago in the town in which I currently live, a monument to shortwave's glorious past.

Direct download: MN.25.May.1995.Antennas.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:46pm CEST

MN.24.08.1995 Indonesian Radio Part 2

This is part two of the documentary about Dutch broadcasting in Indonesia. The programme begins with a look at the current state of the sunspot cycle and then launches into Part Two of the feature. This part looks at the rather uneasy situation between the Dutch and Indonesian population in the lead-up to independence. Then follows a portrait of the complex radio situation in Indonesia in 1995. I made most of these recordings during a trip there in early 1995. Joe Coman, head of Radio Netherlands Indonesian department at the time, added to the conversation.  

Direct download: MN.24.08.1995.IndonesiaB.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:59pm CEST

MN.17.08.1995 Indonesian Radio Part 1

This is an expanded rewrite and reworking of an episode of Media Wars, first broadcast in the 1980's examining the curious broadcasting situation in the Dutch East Indies from 1940 onwards. When the Japanese invaded Indonesia, the Dutch lost control of the broadcast networks. But there are some untold stories of what they tried to do under such unusual circumstances. 

Direct download: MN.17.08.1995.IndonesiaA.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:09pm CEST

MN.12.12.1991. Hungarian Uprisings 2

This programme starts with a report from Hungary about protests to changes at Radio Budapest. We also learned of the passing of the editor of the RBSWC, Dennis Herner. Andy Sennitt had news of the reactivation of LRA36, the Argentine station on their Antarctic base. Victor Goonetilleke is on the line with news that TWR plans to return to shortwave. Bob Tomalski has some rants about why wide angle televisions are only appearing in PAL, and we look at some of the thoughts behind the Grundig 206 shortwave receiver. 

Direct download: MN.12.12.1991.Hungary2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:30am CEST

MN.23.11.1995. Audio Audio

Great to find a specialist book like Audio Audio by Jonathan Hill still in print after 15 years - and just a few pounds more than when it was published in 1995. This was a follow-up book to the popular book Radio Radio which is illustrated below. This Media Network programme kicks off by interviewing the author and asking him what's the fascinating of Vintage audio. The programme also includes news of changes at BBC Monitoring from Chis Greenway as well as developments in the Spanish service of Radio Netherlands. The jamming situation has changed in Asia - we have a report from Victor Goonetilleke. And the programme concludes with a profile of Radio TV Hong Kong. 

Direct download: MN.23.11.1995.asiajamming.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00am CEST

MN.03.10.1991. AFN Documentary Update

There were major changes going on at AFN Europe at the start of the 1990's. That explains why I revisited the station even though we'd done an extensive profile on them just two years before. Sadly I understand that the great voice of AFN Europe in this documentary, Bob Harlan, is no longer with us. He passed away in Jacksonville, Florida in 2003 aged 77. Youtube has the tribute. You also can hear the voice of Paul van Dyke.

I do admire the get up and go attitude that I found at AFN Shape and AFN Frankfurt. Their mission was clear - and they sounded dedicated to that mission. 

Direct download: MN.03.10.1991.AFNupdate.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:00pm CEST

MN.16.01.1992 - Veil Lifted on Vilnius

This show starts with callers to the Radio Netherlands answerline concerned about changes to Radio Netherlands' European service. A caller from Germany recommends looking for a UN Radio programme to verify Radio Bhutan. A feature on buying a second-hand shortwave radio follows, plus a conversation with the late Bob Tomalski on the introduction of no less than 3 new audio formats. Remember Mini Disc? It doesn't seem like 19 years ago does it? 

The programme also features an interview with the new boss of Radio Vilnius who told us the inside story on what happened when Soviet troops raided the station the year before and how they broadcast from the blind institute not knowing if their voices were being heard. I find that sign-on music they used continues to haunt me.

We also hear about the plans for a special ham radio station to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voice of America. K3EKA is the station based in the VOA HQ in Washington DC.  

Direct download: MN.16.01.1992.Vilnius.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.02.01.1992 Farewell 208 and Thailand Update

This programme was aired a few days after Radio Luxembourg's English service signed off from the highpower mediumwave channel of 1440 kHz, better known as the Great 208 (208 metres). The farewall show went on well into the night and contained some great stories of the English service in Luxy. The mediumwave transmitter in Marnbach is still there - I passed by on a trip to Luxembourg in the car a few years back. RTL German and China Radio International have used it since. 

I find it interesting that nearly 20 decades after this programme was made, Holland still has a mediumwave service. They have reduced the power to keep the coverage down to just the Netherlands and I am sure there must come a day when Radio 5 from the public network vacates 747 kHz.

This programme also contains an illustrated interview with Richard Jackson about the decision by the Thai government to terminate the licences of 5 radio channels in the hope of raising the commercial revenue of the government station Radio Thailand. 

Direct download: MN.02.01.1992Luxemburg.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:45pm CEST

MN.09.04.1991 - VNG and Richard Ginbey

This programme turned out to have a different ending than was originally planned. During the recording session on a Wednesday afternoon came the tragic news that long-time contributor to the programme, Richard Ginbey, had been killed in a car accident. Richard was a true broadcast professional working on several stations in Southern Africa. He also spent some time in New Zealand it seems, as several Dxers in the Pacific recall him as a DJ there in the 1970's. He also ran his own media show on Radio Portugal in the days when it was known as the Voice of the West and had a shortwave service in English. The programme, called Radio Safari, even issued its own QSL cards signed by Richard. This programme simply broke the news of his passing. There were tributes in several subsequent programmes.

Other items in this programme include Radio Netherlands' single sideband tests to North America, changes at Radio Finland (interview with Juhani Niinstoe), a profile of VNG - the time signal station in Australia, Paul Ballster has news about GLR in London, and there are delivery problems with the International Listening Guide.

Direct download: MN.09.04.1991.Ginbeyobit.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:30pm CEST

MN.23.01.1992 - More from Moscow on Russian Bards

I see that Vasily Strelnikov is back on the Voice of Russia, reminiscing with colleagues about the days of Radio Moscow World Service. They have a facebook page (search for "from Moscow with Love"). Richard Measham of BBC Monitoring explains how time changes in Russia have affected the complex external broadcast schedule (curiously time changes are back in the news as Russia has decided to adopt permanent summer time in 2011). 

In this programme Vasily explains about Radio Ala, a station which played Bard folkmusic which popped up on shortwave having hired transmission facilities formerly used by Soviet jammers. It was fascinating while it lasted. There's also an interval signal contest as compensation for Jim Cutler's Impossible Contest which we put out in April 1992. We played three interval signals at once, one of them backwards. But it didn't fool the dedicated listeners. I made the photo on a wet but fascinating day in Moscow. Incredible to see where those programmes were made.

Direct download: MN.23.Jan.1992.RadioAla.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:00pm CEST

MN.07.11.1991.WRNO Rock of New Orleans

This programme contains an interview with the late Joseph Mark Costello III, the founder of WRNO shortwave in New Orleans. He passed away from complications from diabetes in late April 1997 at the young age of 56. His first job after college was at a small radio station in DeRidder, where he became chief announcer. It was, Mr. Costello later said, the only time that he worked for a company he didn't own. In 1967, the son of Algiers grocery-store owners mortgaged his parents' rental property to help raise $25,000 to build WRNO, a pioneer FM stereo rock-music outlet that became one of the city's most listened-to and profitable radio stations. It was a risk. But Mr. Costello said in a 1982 interview, he never was worried. "I didn't know it would be successful," he said, "but I knew I could always make money at something. It's easy. You just don't spend more money than you make." When he couldn't hire a disc jockey, he acted as the station's announcer, too. Even long after Joe Costello became a millionaire with five homes and a 50-foot yacht, his voice could be heard delivering the station's slogan, "We're the rock of New Orleans." In 1991 I remember getting a call from him. He was visiting Amsterdam and wanted to see around Radio Netherlands. That explains his appearance in this programme. 

This show also contains a link up with Richard Measham talking about the wide range of Russian radio stations appearing on shortwave as well as a lab test of the Sony ICFSW-55 which I purchased in Tokyo. The programme actually starts with a promo for a programme by Dheera Sujan and gradually turns into Media Network. I could cut that bit off, but decided not to. Hope you enjoy the show.


Direct download: MN.07.11.1991.WRNOMoscow.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:32pm CEST

MN.06.06.1986 - AM Stereo and Paris FM

This was a regular edition of Media Network in the summer of 1986. We review the Grundig Satellit 400 shortwave receiver made in Portugal from German designs. Roger Broadbent explains about AM stereo and the challenges it faces. We look at the growth of English language radio in Paris - stations are now carryingVOA Europe. Arthur Cushen's tips include recordings of the internal shortwave services of ABC in Australia in Tennant Creek.

I personally remember this programme not for its content but for the panic before broadcast. We used an Apple IIe to write the script and the power supply short circuited a few hours before the recording. Luckily some of the segments had already been recorded but the main script was hastily rewritten before we went to air.

Direct download: MN.06.06.1986._AMStereo.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:41pm CEST

MN.03.08.1995 The Radio London Train

About 90 minutes drive east of Amsterdam towards the German border you’ll come to the city of Apeldoorn. If you turn south-east and drive along the Apeldoornse Kanaal you’ll soon come to the village of Eerbeek. In the summer it is still full of campers, people of walking or cycling holidays. The village has a railway station and parked in the siding in the summer of 1995 were two strange looking coaches. They used to ride around in the days of the German Democratic Republic. Now they’re home to a new satellite station called Radio London. Peter Jansen is the director and sitting inside the carriage I asked him to explain the name. The music on the new Radio London though is very different. It is world music. Look at the countries that have a beach looking out onto the Atlantic ocean and you have some idea of the music now being music from Africa and Latin America, reggae, rhythm and blues, and album tracks from the years 1965 to 85. The station later changed its name to Q Radio and moved from the train to a ship in the Ijsselmeer polder before closing down due to lack of funds. But it was fun while lasted.

This programme also has a review of a Grundig Yacht Boy receiver and there is DX news from the late Arthur Cushen MBE.

Direct download: MN.03.08.1995.Radiolondon.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:28pm CEST

MN.01.06.1995. Internet and SWLs in 1995

This show kicks off with the news that ICRC (Red Cross) reorganises in Geneva. Has Lowe Electronics missed the boat with the lack of passband tuning? Roy Sangren of Radio Scandinavia does another test. I think he has a world record in test transmissions.

We then ran a feature on the Internet for Shortwave Radio Listeners. We chatted with Media Network contributor Jim Cutler about his vision of what could happen next. He was spot on. The problem in those days was the speed. 28.8 kb/sec dial-up modem was the standard. We talk to one station experimenting with 8 kb/sec audio. The commercialization of the Internet could be its downfall! Jim was spot on 16 years ago about how VOIP would develop.

We also talked to Vasily Strelnikov, formerly of Radio Moscow World Service and then of Radio 7. He explains how stations are migrating to the “new” FM band. BBC WS used to have English on an AM station in Moscow. 


Direct download: MN.01.06.1995.InternetexplainedforSWL.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:18pm CEST

MN.06.09.1995. PressNow in Bosnia

This programme looked at the activitiee of Press Now in former Yugoslavia and its work to support independent media in Bosnia. In other news Veronica Radio says they will commence test transmissions of their new Newsradio AM station as of September 18th. Look for low power tests between 5 and 17hrs UTC consisting of news bulletins, weather and traffic reports. The Dutch Transmitting Company, NOZEMA expects the delivery of the permanent transmitter in October so that by the middle of next month the station will move to 24 hr operation. The tests on 1395 will also determine whether the expected interference problems with Radio Tirana which uses that channel in the evening are serious enough to warrant a frequency change to another part of the medium. 

There have been problems in the Caribbean with very bad weather and this has affected the island of Antigua, home to the BBC’s relay station for the region. Geoff Spells is a senior engineer for the BBC’s schedule and frequency management unit and he is on the line from Bush House in London. Geoff says that for the moment, at least, BBC Antigua is silent.

We also review of a new book by Nicolas Negroponte, Being Digital.

Direct download: MN.06.09.1995.Pressnow.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:02pm CEST

MN.27.07.1995. Boundless Sound Documentaries

We visit the Radio Documentary Festival in Amsterdam “Boundless Sound”. More than 100 documentaries from all over the world were played and more than 400 people turned up to hear them, not bad when you realise that it was boiling hot outside. There were some great arguments for theatre of the mind from producers who made documentaries in Bosnia during the war. Radio doesn’t try to simplify the situation – it celebrates its complexity. Somehow it is easier to remember great radio programmes than TV shows.

Across Europe at the moment several laboratories are working to try and squeeze more audio into a smaller space without hearing the difference. Philips DCC digital compact cassette and the Sony Minidisk system are examples of this. In fact the system doesn’t record everything the microphone picks up but only what the ear will detect when the recording is played back. If a loud noise masks a quieter one, then the quiet sound isn’t recorded. Of course its important that there are international standards for this technique and these have been set by so-called Motion Picture Experts Group, or MPEG. All this is very important for the development of digital audio broadcasting.

Later in 1995 at the Funkausstellung in Berlin, RFI, BBC, DW and Radio Netherlands hope to demonstrate how three international radio broadcasts can be squeezed into one DAB channel, very important if international radio is going to compete in the long term when medium wave loses its popularity. Harald Prop, is senior engineer at the Frauenhofer Institue for integrated circuits in Erlangen, Germany where they compress and decompress audio all day in the hope of getting an even better sound out of a lower bit rate. We also look at stations that supply their programme schedules in Braille. Arthur Cushen refers to the Ontario DX Association. Chris Greenway of BBCMS looks at developments in Lithuania. 



Direct download: MN.27.07.1995.Boundless.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:49pm CEST

MN.20.04.1995. Receiver Survey & Web Launch

This edition marked the start of Radio Netherlands presence on the World-Wide Web (21st April 1995) after three years of experimenting with MCI-Mail and participation in bulletin board systems like FIDONET. As Director of Programmes at the time, I remember suggesting as the URL to the head of IT at the time.

We chat with Esmail Amid-Hozour, head of Grundig North America. I think you would be hard put to find someone who has more enthusiasm for AM broadcasting, and shortwave in particular. He was very clever in putting shortwave portables in airline catalogues and Sharper Image. There’s also a visit to the BBC World Service shop in Bush House (long since gone) and a report on Lowe receivers designed and made in Matlock, Derbyshire. Still love those long URLs.

I suppose we really covered the birth of Adam Curry’s love affair with the web, well before podcasting. Then it was called and you could download software to listen to radio stations, like a station in Melbourne, Florida. These days Adam’s devoted himself to producing with John C Dvorak. Haven’t time’s changed?

We also celebrated the 10th anniversary of NDXE, the station that had a listeners club but never built the transmitter. This was a global radio station that claimed it would broadcast on shortwave in stereo. 


Direct download: MN.20.04.1995.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:33pm CEST

MN.21.08.1995. Great Explanations - Victor Goonetilleke

I co-hosted the show with Victor Goonetilleke who was passing through Hilversum on his way back to Sri Lanka.

With recent discussion in January 2011 about funding of the BBC World Service, this flashback to a conference in September 1995 is rather topical.

Sam Younger was the Managing Director of BBC World Service in 1995 and he questioned whether it is desirable for public broadcasters to work with commercial operations, especially in television. He predicted that the growth of international TV would have a major impact on radio transmissions. He also warned against certain types of sponsored programmes.

The programme also contains the voice of the late Pete Myers who explains the reason for ending the run of the Happy Station programme. A nice cup of tea was one of the standard tunes that recurred in the Happy Station programme hosted by Eddy Startz, first on PCJ in 1928, and after the war when broadcasting resumed, Happy Station was a station within the station, Radio Netherlands. Last Sunday saw the last transmission of entertainment in English under that programme title. Pete Myers is one of the four hosts of the show during its 67 year run. Before the recording started he explained why the entertainment will continue, but not under the title of Happy Station. 

Direct download: MN.wk38.1995.victor.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:15pm CEST

MN.10.08.1995.Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal - Belgian External Broadcasting

This programme was made just after Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal celebrated its official 50th anniversary with a great listener get together in Brussels and a visit to the shortwave transmitting centre in Wavre. What a great celebration it was of Belgian external radio broadcasting.

As we looked back in the archives we discovered Belgium has been active on shortwave for much longer than 50 years. Jacque van der Sichel, then director of RVI, has researched into the history and explains that Belgium’s appearance on the dial actually goes back 58 years. Just before the German invasion, the Belgian National Radio had been planning to upgrade the facilities in Ruiselede to improve reception of its programmes in other parts of the world. In fact, with war in Europe, the new high power facilities were moved to Africa, in the Belgian colony of Congo, now Zaire. Frans Vossen, media producer at the English department of Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal takes up the story. It's a shame that nothing seems to be left on line of these radio programmes from Brussels. 

Direct download: MN.10.08.1995.RVI.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:30am CEST

MN.21.06.1995 Lichtenstein & Isle of Man Plans

In this edition:

Chris Greenway of BBC Monitoring reports on RFE-RL moves from Munich to Prague.

Paul Rusling has an idea for a longwave radio station from the Isle of Man (Atlantic 252 for grown-ups) and Wolf Harranth reports on plans to revive a radio station in Lichtenstein.

In other news here in Holland the PTT, quote media and the De Telegraaf newspaper have launched internet access for the general public. You pay 20 dollars a month for 6 hrs access. Meanwhile in London the BBC is in talks with Compuserve with the view to providing news and information to customers of this American online news provider. And in Israel, English programmes on shortwave are being cutback again as from July 1st. But the 19 hrs UTC transmission is being restored to a full half hour. However the feature programmes will not come back because Israel radio is closing its English features department at the end of June 1995.

This week European Digital Radio changed its name to Radio E, ready for a test DAB launch in late August. Thats a group of stations including the BBC, RFI, Deutsche Welle and Radio Netherlands. Does this mean there’s a trend away from individual international broadcasters. You see smaller stations clubbing together and larger ones starting to talk more and more about their own region. There is always a danger than when public money is tight policy makers simply want to broadcast news about their own country, saying that regional news from other parts of the world is too costly to collect. It was a point that our correspondent Victor Goonetilleke raised at the EDXC conference a few weeks back.

Direct download: MN.21.06.1995_Lichtenstein.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:17pm CEST

MN.23.11.1995 Baygen Freeplay Wireless Test

I remember this edition of the programme well because we had one of only ten prototypes made of the Baygen Clockwork Wireless. I bought it in South Africa from the factory. This is rare because it's in grey and the first model issued to the public was actually in black. The spring inside is actually the same spring used in a car safety-belt. Other news from the script...

We also had some e-mail recently asking about "real audio" which was featured at the Towards 2000 interview. This was the way to get live audio from a radio station not through the airwaves but by using an Internet connection and a 14.4 modem. The quality achieved is telephone quality at best, but it appears things are improving. So let’s pick up the satellite telephone and cross to Lou Josephs in Boston, USA who has an update on Real Audio.

The BBC World Service transmitter in Hong Kong, which broadcast news of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Mandarin to China, is to be dismantled before the Chinese authorites take over the colony in 1997. Asiasat2 was succesfully launched into space. It went up from a site in Xichang in south-western China powered by a Chinese Long March 2F rocket. It was a tense time because of recent failures of the Chinese launch vehicle. When Asiasat 2 becomes operational, somewhere late January 96, it will be the most powerful and versatile satellite in Asia, with a lot of capacity to send radio and television pictures right across the continent. Germany’s Deutsche Welle Television is planning to start digital radio and TV transmissions in the course of 1996. Other partners are expected to join them. Already Portugal has announced that they plan to use the satellite for their international television service too.

Direct download: MN.23.11.1985.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:35am CEST

MN.04.04.1996. Endangered Sounds Project

This was one of the first shows to also be broadcast on mediumwave via the 1440 kHz Radio Luxembourg transmitter. These are some of the items mentioned in the programme.

  • Sony Corporation is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the moment. This is reflected in major efforts to get MiniDisc going, major campaigns to boost the switch to 16 by 9 format televisions, plus home entertainment enhancements such as Prologic. As far as shortwave receivers is concerned Sony continues to invest in the travel market. The latest offering is a portable receiver called the ICF-SW-40 which combines digital tuning with the feel of an analogue tuning knob.
  • We looked at the growth of Sky Radio, and Dutch consumer electronics companies are reporting a growth in the sales of the 16 by 9 letterbox format television sets. Most of it is in the top end of the market amongst the larger screen TV. The Dutch Facilities company NOB, which follows the market reports that about 100,000 wide-screen TVs will be sold in the course of 1996.
  • The Dutch pubcaster VPRO wants to set up an archive of endangered sounds. Kees Slager says it started when they looked into the archives at broadcasting house looking for sound effects and discovered many distinctive sounds had been wiped. They couldn't find any sounds of Dutch soldiers on parade, a mechanical hand-driven sewing machine or the sound of metal dustbins being collected early in the morning by the refuse collector. The VPRO programme OVT which specialises in historical subjects has now called on listeners to collect endangered sounds and send them in. I recall the BBC World Service doing a similar thing in 2009.
  • The British DX Club has just published the fourteenth edition of its publication Radio Stations in the United Kingdom.The Dutch consumer association, the consumentenbond has just published the results of an extensive survey into rechargeable batteries.
  • A fire at a receiver manufacturing plant in South Africa has delayed the European launch for Nethold slightly, but the marketing plans continue. Mark Cutten is director of Demand Video at Nethold. We asked him to explain why there's such a push to satellite TV.
  • Radio and TV Hong Kong will again appear on shortwave briefly to cover the China Sea Race. We got in touch with the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for the details.
Direct download: MN.wk14.1996.VPRO.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:49am CEST

Video Tribute to BBC 648

Been cleaning up a video archive and came across video I shot in Ordfordness in 2003. It turns out to be topical because the BBC will cease using 648 kHz which originates from there as from March 27th 2011. This video will never be shown on TV - it is designed for those of us in radio who enjoy the details of high-frequency engineering. This video over on my video vault, therefore, is unanashamedly detailed. There are frequent references to a BBC transmitter site in Crowborough Sussex. This was the home of the most powerful transmitter in the world during the 2nd World War, nicknamed Aspidistra after the song by Gracie Fields.

On this site you can also listen to a couple of Media Network episodes which explain more about this famous transmitter.

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:07am CEST

MN.28.12.1995 Rhodesia - Answering Back From Francistown

I met the late Harold Robin a couple of times at his home in Tunbridge Wells, UK. He was a brilliant Foreign Office engineer who built the wartime Aspidistra transmitter famous for its clandestine work out of Crowborough. Have a listen to the programmes Wartime Deception on this site and you'll see what I mean.

Although his work during the war is well documented in books like "The Black Game"by Ellic Howe, I think we managed to capture the other stories from later in his life. For instance, how he invented the "Picolo" modulation system as used by the diplomatic service to communicate text over shortwave between embassies. He also built the BBC Overseas relay station in Oman, and the external service of UAE Radio from Dubai. This edition, recorded after Christmas in 1995, looked at the story of the British response to the declaration of independence by Ian Smith in, what was then, Rhodesia. Harold talks about setting up a mediumwave transmitter in a matter of weeks in the town of Francistown, in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now called Botswana. Thanks also to Colin Miller for some of the recordings of the RBC. It seems that one of the two transmitters was sent to Cyprus after the World and Rhodesia operation ended, the other ended up in Ordfordness for some experiments on 648 kHz. You might also want to check out the video of Margaret Howard, who refers to a special programme transmitted over this MW sender. It was called the World and Rhodesia and was more of a UK government editorial than any programme the BBC would make. The programme concept didn't work although it seemed to have taken the British government a couple of years to find out. Harold refers to staying in the Tati Hotel River Lodge, about 8 kms outside of Francistown. Sure enough, it's still there.

Direct download: MN.28.12.1985.Rhodesia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:01pm CEST

Thanks a Million!

Hello. Jonathan Marks here. I know from experience that radio stations are notorious for not saying thank you to their listeners. But this isn't a radio station. It's a media archive, made just for fun, because I believe there are so many great media stories that we're quickly forgetting.

We're just coming up to the first anniversary of this audio vault and it looks like we're doing to break the 35,000 downloads mark. This is perfect proof that the long-tail works. What also amazes me is that this content is time-warp material which covers a golden age of international broadcasting, the last 60 years of the last century. Thanks for the comments that you have left, either on this site or on my Facebook  profile. I don't post a direct email address here because of horrific problems with spambots. Once again


and remember comments are always welcome! I really have enjoyed the conversations so far.

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:38pm CEST

MN.27.06.1996. Barbados Special in the Caribbean

Most of this week' s edition of Media Network was narrated from the island of Barbados in the sunny Caribbean. It contains quite a lot off off-air recordings made by plugging a Sony ICF2010 into the professional Walkman WDM6 that I used to carry everywhere (and still own, although there are better recorders now with Flash memory). I think this programme is a good example of armchair radio listening, taking you to places on the dial you wouldn't normally visit. Its pure theatre of the mind. I just love those long URL's. Forgive us. 15 years ago, URL's were still new to us.

Direct download: MN.wk20.1996.Barbados.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:18pm CEST

MN.19.10.1995 - Dutch Medium Wave Pirates and dreams of experiments with satellite DAB

This edition of Media Network includes a feature about a guy in the North-West of the UK who had contact with hundreds of Dutch Mediumwave pirates. Hans Bakhuizen discusses satellite delivered DAB. 15 years later still nothing has happened. This is partly because the cost of the satellite delivered radios proved prohibited. Manufacturers were also not interested in building the chipset. Veronica also plans to rebroadcast the Dutch programme from Deutsche Welle in Cologne. That happened - but not for long.

Direct download: MN.18.10.1995.MWpirates.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:11pm CEST

MN.07.12.1995 - BBC World Service Cuts announced and visit to HCJB Quito Ecuador

Amazing how history repeats itself in international broadcasting.

At the start of December 1995 we reported that BBC World Service has to cut back by 5.5 million pounds in 1996. Interview with Caroline Thompson, then with the BBC WS management. 10 languages were threatened at that time. BBC has also been testing a mediumwave transmitter in Slovakia.

We also reported from a field to the East of Quito in the antenna farm of HCJB. Jonathan Marks attended a conference of local broadcasters in Ecuador and took a side trip to meet those behind a station he'd heard in Europe from the early 1970's. They were also testing a 26 MHz antenna. There are two weather problems - either winds or lack of rain. HCJB also build 100 kW shortwave transmitters as well as small FM transmitters. The site has now been dismantled as reported by HCJB on their blog in 2009.

Direct download: MN.07.12.1995.HCJB.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:25pm CEST

MN.06.04.2000 - DAB Needs a Rethink Too

This is what was news in April 2000 - We had quite a few e-mails reacting to our comments on this show that we believe Digital Audio Broadcasting DAB to be so seriously in trouble that it will probably have to be re-launched in a different form. With less than 10,000 receivers in use across the entire continent and no portable set yet on the horizon, this 10 year old technology needs a rapid re-think. David Aldridge in Northampton agrees with our correspondent Bob Tomalski that DAB lacks a focused publicity campaign and no-one will get excited about an 800 dollar radio. 


We reviewed the ICOM ICR-75 receiver. The ICOM ICR-75 first appeared in North America towards the end of 1999. This is a tabletop receiver for the serious listener. At a price of 610 pounds sterling in the UK, 780 dollars in Canada, or 1775 dollars in Australia, that’s before the options have been selected, you’re not going to be interested in such a set unless you take the hobby of digging weak stations out of the noise quite seriously.


Bryan Clark has some interesting catches from a DXpedition.




Direct download: MN.wk07.2000.IcomIC75.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:33pm CEST

MN.19.08.1999 - Veronica Revival Planned

This programme comes from a park bench in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam - I was testing out a new Minidisc recorder and it was a boiling hot summers day. Diana and I discussed the success of CNN Interactive with the then boss of the Interactive department in Atlanta, there was news of a Radio Veronica revival broadcast, and a parody on QSLing phone conversations. 12 years on, the memories have apparently not faded. is still attracting crowds each November- this year's reunion is set for Saturday November 12th 2011.

In the UK, a discussion had also started about how much of the UK licence fee should be devoted to serving the interests of non-payers living abroad. The BBC made an attempt to offer Internet access in 1994 with its Networking club set up by the Educational branch of this vast organisation. They quickly discovered that answering queries about modems and problems with operating systems wasn’t really their core business. So it was taken over by a commercial company in November 1995. So it is interesting that the BBC Online is about to try it all again but this time going further by launching free Internet access. The Jupiter communications research group has been predicting that free Net access in Europe is imminent, but the major European Internet service providers like AOL Europe and T-Online are not convinced that advertising and electronic commerce can cover the cost of telephone calls. Likewise, the grey area between public and private partnerships raises its head again. There will be some major questions about unfair competition down the bumpy Internet superhighway ahead no doubt.

Direct download: MN.VeronicaCNN.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:18pm CEST

MN. 23.07.1998 - Digital TV needs a rethink!

We talk to Herman van Wijk of Digitag who explains what's right and wrong with the future of Digital television. We also talk about the long running Delta Radio project which planned to move offshore. They wanted 2 antennas of 400 metres to broadcast on Long Wave 171 kHz from the North Sea. The cost was estimate at 12 million dollars. BBC was planning to cut its domestic radio channels by 10%...hey what's new? 

Direct download: MN.digitalTV.wk30.1998.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:56pm CEST

MN.13.04.2000 Radio Netherlands Training Centre

This edition of the programme looked at the work in the garden of Radio Netherlands, the Radio Netherlands Training Centre founded as a joint venture at the end of the sixties by Philips and Radio Netherlands. The electronics company in the south of the Netherlands at that time made a lot of broadcast equipment - and outfitted many of the Radio Netherlands studios. But they quickly got out of that side of things, although I still find some Philips studio mixers in various states of repair during my travels in Africa.

Direct download: MN.RNTC.wk14.2000.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:51pm CEST

MN.24.02.2000 Tonga & Propagation

We talk of propagation and desert islands. There's also a profile of broadcasting in Tonga. Mike Bird appears twice and chooses the kind of music he'd like to take with him on a DXpedition.Martin Allard, is a Project Consultant to UNESCO. Writing in the newsletter of AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. He outlines some of the problems facing stations in the Pacific.


We stay in the Pacific for today’s main feature, following up on several letters. Peter Williamson from London, Ontario Canada, Kurt Gruber from Hamburg and Stefan Hoekstra in San Francisco California are just some of the people who want us to discuss more aspects of the ionosphere and how its affects reception of signals between 3 and 30 MHz.

Direct download: MN.tongapropagation.wk8.2000.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:35pm CEST

MN.17.02.2000. Kerbango & Worldspace test

This programme looks at Kerbango, the Internet radio that (with hindight) never was.At the last count there were three devices promised on the world market to allow you to listen to internet audio on a separate stand alone device. A few days ago (in Feb 2000), a California based company, calling itself Kerbango, showed the prototype of a special radio to be launched in a few months and which is styled a bit like a valve radio of the 1950’s. We asked Marc Auerbach, who’s Vice President of Marketing, why their approach is different.

Clement Stokes of Springfield,Durban in South Africa is a regular listener to this programme via the relay on SAFM on their domestic service. Two weeks ago he heard us mention that today we’d be testing one of the new Worldspace receivers. He is particularly curious because he sees the radio advertised in a hi-fi shop not far from his house, although he points out only one South African broadcaster is so far participating in the scheme. The question is simple, does the performance justify the price of more than US $300 . So we explain our findings on the Hitachi KH-WS1, one of four radios on the market in Southern and West Africa designed to pick up the proprietary Worldspace radio system. I still have the radio on my window sill, but the Worldspace feed is dead. Rather expensive FM radio!.


Direct download: MN.kerbango.wk7.2000.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:19pm CEST

MN.15.04.1999 - Serbia and Changes to UN Radio

We started this week's edition by looking at how Western countries are trying to get signals into Serbia now that the authorities have silenced independent radio stations in their country. On Thursday and Friday of the previous week press briefings at NATO headquarters created quite a bit of confusion in the media. It was first suggested that NATO was planning to destroy Serbian radio and television. In fact, NATO air-raids early on in the campaign had already severely damaged or destroyed domestic TV and radio transmitting masts. But the position was clarified in a briefing on Friday April 9th when NATO spokesman Jamie Shay said that whatever NATO feelings about Serb television, TV transmitters are not a main target. However, Serbian military communications facilities are often co-located with TV transmitters, as in many East European countries, so bombing may well have had a secondary effect.

On Thursday the 8th April 1999 NATO started its own radio and TV transmissions to Serbia and Kosovo from a fleet of specially modified Lockheed EC130E aircraft. The 193rd is normally based at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA where 1100 people have been trained in the mission of psychological warfare. This part of the US Air National Guard reportedly had an annual budget of $35 million dollars, and these flying broadcast platforms have been deployed in previous conflicts in Grenada, Haiti, The Gulf, Somalia and most recently in Bosnia. The programme also looks at what's next for UN Radio. People forget that in 1984, UN Radio was producing a total of 2,000 hours of programmes a year in 25 languages. Some 750 hours were transmitted on short-wave, including a number of SSB feeder frequencies aimed at stations willing to take and rebroadcast items in their own programmes. One of the more unusual outlets among these was a transmission from UN Radio in Geneva, Switzerland, on Fridays only in Russian on a frequency of 14500 kHz USB intended for Radio Moscow.



Direct download: MN.15.04.1999.Serbia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:40pm CEST

MN.14.Jan.1999 - Swatch Attempting to Digitize Time

Flashback to a news show in January 1999 when the capture of Chris Carey in New Zealand were the radio headlines and Lou Josephs explained how Command Audio was planning to bring Internet radio to the home. We explain the difference between UTC and GMT and the leap second. It seems that some of the Millennium countdown clocks are running too slow. We also talked to Swatch who had a strange idea to make the time metric with the Swatch Beat! We review the World Radio TV Handbook for 1999. Deutsche Welle's monitoring station has collected and published a CD of interval signals, including a number from Southern Africa. Brian Clarke talks about the rescue of the BBC World Service on mediumwave in Auckland. The station had an ingenious system of delaying the feed from London and speeding it up slightly, so as to squeeze in some commercials each hour. And the station with a strange name from Azerbaijan. Harald Kuhl reports about a new Peace Station in Ecuador.

Jonathan also reported on a short revival of Kootwijk Radio on the ham bands as part of bit of fun following the closure of facility for maritime communications. 

Direct download: MN.14.01.1999Swatch.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:23pm CEST

MN.02.09.1999. DAB in the home for 800 quid

Yes those early home DAB receivers were kinda expensive. Interesting to hear the thinking behind digital radio as captured 11 years ago. There's a great, spooky recollection in the Memory of the Millennium about listening on an old Hallicrafters' receiver. Q-Radio struggles on 1224 kHz and we asked whether the Euro will encourage more co-ooperation between European international broadcasters. The photo is more recent. I think Radio 538 comes up with some of the most original campaigns (this one on disused gas towers in Amsterdam) and is doing a lot with developing digital radio's hybrid future.

Direct download: MN.02.09.1999.DAB.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:00am CEST

Media Network 10.01.1991 - Radio Moscow World Service is born

Twenty years ago the Media News was centred around changes at Radio Moscow. With no way of doing a direct interview, we called Richard Measham at BBC Monitoring. And there were interesting comments from Vasily Strelnikov on his show.

BBC had also found a new clandestine station, the Voice of Free Iraq.

Radio Tirana, Albania suddenly announced what they were planning next - a sign that there were humans there after all. Richard Ginbey also had media news from Southern Africa, including items about Namibia going onto shortwave. Rudy van Dalen had a question about the Lincolnshire Poacher, a numbers stations believed to be operated by the British from Cyprus. 

Direct download: MN.10.01.1991.MoscowWS.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:21am CEST

Media Network revival needed?

Quora: Is it time to revive a show like Media Network broadcast 1980-2000 on Radio Netherlands? I put this question out on Quora to see what people think. Interested in your comments too. I find the discussions there are stronger than on this site which most people are simply using to download. ... Answer:

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:55am CEST

MN.15.10.1998 - Radio Voyager is the news from America

This programme includes a report from the late Bob Tomalksi about digital television and how bandwidth is being squeezed to cram more channels into a satellite transponder. Bob explained that DAB radios were finally starting to take off. But the BBC had lost its way in marketing the medium. 

Wireless Internet starts to pop up in Japan. But we were evidently confused about how it worked.

Andy Sennitt recalls Radio Pamela and Your Radio of the Sea, both in Eastern England. As from Monday October 19th, Radio Voyager is to be launch to replace the now defunct VOA Europe. It's a commercial venture run by 4 full-time staff in Washington DC.



Direct download: MN.15.10.1998.VOA.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:54pm CEST

MN.16.07.1998. RFE, the CIA and Russian Media Mafia

This programme is typical of a listener supported edition. We talk to Linden Clark of Radio New Zealand International about budget reductions.  Derrick Lynch reported hearing Sri Lanka Clandestine produced in Canada Alan Weiner of Radio New York International fame gets a licence to build a SW transmitter in Maine to beam to Canada. RNW pages have been framed. Brian Clark reports on the Chatham Islands. Andy Sennitt says that FEBA is planning simplified English Bible lessons using no more than 1500 words. We also looked at the CIA public relations campaigns to publicise Radio Free Europe at the start of the sixties. RFE was "the in sound from outside". 

By the way, the photo in this  is actually of the new HQ of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty a little further out from the centre of Prague than it was when this edition of Media Network was made. 

Direct download: MN.16.07.1998.RFE1960.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:40pm CEST

MN.03.12.1998 - Karl Rossiter on the future of Media (1998)

This edition includes a mean Christmas contest promo, Media News from Victor Goonetilleke and we talk to special guest Karl Rossiter, on the future of digital television and radio. At that time, the economic downtown in Asia had actually stimulated the broadcasting business to tighten its belt and look for alternative technologies. Karl predicted that costs could be cut to 1/5th if IP protocols were adopted. TV New Zealand was running a couple of networks on servers as early at 1998. Note Karl's use of the word Hybrid, because that word seems to be very much in vogue again now, 12 and a bit years later. Actually, I would argue that digital radio has been rather slow to see the advantages of a hybrid approach - using broadcast for mass distribution and IP technology to narrowcast things like profile driven commercials or specialist programming. Karl was spot on - and I see he is still in the business (at least according to Linked-In). Towards the end of the programme Mike Bird gets an intro from Jim Cutler like never before (and never since). 


Direct download: MN.03.Dec.1998.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:21pm CEST

MN.16.09.1999 - Jerry Berg & Internet Radio Arrives via the Sonicbox

We came across a fascinating a promo for  "Books from America" broadcast in the US in the 1960's. They were trying to collect books in English to counteract the cut-price propaganda distributed by the "Chinese and Russian communists". We talk to Jerry Berg who had just started a new website called On The Shortwaves, which I am pleased to note is still there and regularly updated. We also talk to the founder of SonicBox - an early form of wifi radio - before wifi had been invented. Professor John Campbell also explains about a low-Power radio station hoax in 1977 which was supposed to have been located on Ocean Island. Radio Guano was in fact closer than they thought. 

Direct download: MN.16.09.1999.sonicbox.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:56pm CEST

MN.09.05.1991. Radio Budapest Hungary Remembered

If the names Laslo Pinta and Charlie Coutts mean anything to you then this edition of Media Network recorded in Budapest, Hungary in 1991 will bring back memories. Budapest no longer has an external radio service like the one described in this programme. I am so glad that once Eastern European became more accessible at the start of the 1990's, I jumped in the car and drove to the places that had only been accessible until then via a shortwave radio. My only regret is not visiting Albania.  The voices in this programme tell some fascinating stories. Dennis Herner was the editor of the Radio Budapest SW Club and probably provided listeners in Eastern Europe with the only paper bulletin they were allowed to receive. Dennis also confirmed that one of the resistance radios in the black propaganda schemes run out of Woburn Abbey actually got through to the target area. It being wartime, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of listeners' letters ! the existence of wartime clandestine radio stations. The other voice in the programme, that of Charlie Coutts, was occasionally heard on BBC Local Radio giving football commentaries when a UK team played the Hungarians. I am glad I captured the stories he tells here about life running the English language department of Radio Budapest.  

Direct download: MN.week19.1991Hungary.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:46pm CEST

MN.08.07.1999 - Indian Radio at the end of the Millennium

This show starts with the news that money troubles are affecting the BBC World TV, Wolf Harranth reports that James Blades who played the drums on the BBC's Victory V campaign passed away. And Bavaria's BR decides to upgrade its 49 metreband channel. (I guess it was one of the last European broadcasters to do so).

This programme was broadcast at a time when independent radio in India still wasn't fully commercialised. Only 13 Indians per thousand had access to the telephone, let alone the Internet.  In those days the Star TV network was losing money. We also reviewed a book by Bob Padula - The Shortwave Guide to South Asia. 

We also got a great contribution to the Memories of the Millennium contest in this edition. including some rare VOA English bloopers and recordings from the BBC World Service when Big Ben was playing up. Jammin' Oldies was the hot format of the day. There's also a flashback to Radio Free Grenada. 

Direct download: MN.wk.28.1999.India.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:23pm CEST

MN.23.12.1982: Christmas Review 28 years ago

I picked this recording out of the archives because it has a nice capsule summary of the major media stories from 1982. The highlight was, of course, the Falklands-Malvinas "conflict". This programme contains clips from the FIBS, RAE Argentina and the BBC's Calling the Falklands Programme. We also looked in some detail at the shortlived Radio South Atlantic which broadcast in May and June 1982 from a requisitioned BBC transmitter on Ascension Island. We asked the British Ministry of Defence to explain how the station was operated. We also analysed a transmission broadcast on May 20th 1982 (the second night of transmission). 

But it was also the last programme in which Wim van Amstel appeared as RNW Frequency Manager. It was certainly not the last time he was heard on the programme, though. Again it is striking to hear some of the predictions - and how they were spot on. The call with Arthur Cushen in New Zealand is rather like making contact with the moon. Cannot believe how fast time has flown.

At the time of publishing this podcast, I was also sad to hear of the passing of BBC correspondent and broadcaster Brian Hanrahan, who famous line when broadcasting under censorship from the Falklands Fleet was brilliant. Unable to reveal how many British aircraft had been involved in the conflict, he reported that after one sortie he "counted them all out and I counted them all back."  

Direct download: MN.23.12.1982.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00am CEST

MN.03.12.1982 - Problems with UK Pirate Radio Stations

Love this programme about the UK Radio Interference service, especially with hindsight. In the 1980's, perhaps stimulated by the offshore stations, the FM band in London was full of pirates. Those were the days when the police also operated in the top end of the FM dial - but in AM mode so it was more difficult to follow what was being said. Also, on the 49 metre short-wave band, just above 6200 kHz, hobby pirates operated with just a few watts on holidays and Sunday mornings. In this programme, we also talked to Michiel Schaay about his hobby of RTTY listening. Richard Ginbey gave an interesting overview of the history of broadcasting in Angola and we talked to Maurice Tainton of the BBC Club in London who explained how staff would celebrate the 50th anniversary of BBC External broadcasting, despite the demise of the BBC's World Radio Club programme.

Direct download: MN.03.12.1982Angola.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:14pm CEST

MN.13.Feb.1992 - Nice Radio and Update from Kiev

This was a news edition of the programme including a portrait of the battle for English language radio on the French Riveria. I remember visiting the studios of Radio Riveria a few years later and discovering it was built by the Germans during the 2nd World War. They had hired space in the studios of Radio Monte Carlo, one of the periphery commercial stations that beamed back into France from border areas to break the monopoly of Radio France. (You may remember Europe No.1, RTL, and Radio Andorra were part of the game too). I remember the studios of RMC had extremely thick walls and the transmitter site up on the hill behind (on French territory) was designed to beam Goebbel's propaganda directly into North Africa. Never went to transmitter site. I was told you could imagine where the Nazi swastika banners had once fluttered. 

Direct download: MN.week7.1992.France.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:12pm CEST

MN.25.06.1992 - Before they were Infamous Aum Shinrikyo In the summer of 1992, if you tuned up and down a shortwave radio in many parts of the world you could hear what sounded like a Yoga meditation class on several dozen frequencies. At this time, the Russian authorities were hiring out shortwave airtime to anyone who wanted to pay for it. Radio Moscow World Service, the Russian external broadcaster had been downsized well before it became the Voice of Russia. As a result, many shortwave transmitters were lying idle. Aum Shinrikyo bought a major amount of airtime....42 simultaneous transmitters. The movement was founded by Shoko Asahara in his one-bedroom apartment in Shibuya, Tokyo as a meditation class known as Aum-no-kai ("Aum club") and began steadily growing in the years that followed. It gained the official status as a religious organization in 1989. Because it attracted such a considerable number of young graduates from Japan's elite universities that it was dubbed a "religion for the elite". The Wikipedia entry goes on to explain that at the end of 1989 there were rumours that some public figures who criticized the "religion of truth" were being eliminated. At the end of 1993, the cult started secretly manufacturing Sarin nerve gas nerve and VX (nerve agent) Aum tested their sarin on sheep in remote parts of Western Australia. Both sarin and VX were then used in several assassinations (and attempted assassinations) in the course of 1994. The most notable was on the night of 27 June 1994, when the cult carried out the world's first use of a chemical weapon in a terrorist attack against civilians when they released sarin in the central Japanese city of Matsumoto, Nagano. The gas killed eight and harmed 200 others. However, police investigations focused only on an innocent local resident and failed to implicate the cult at that point. Flashback to 1992, when enquiries that we did in Moscow revealed that the cult hadn't made much in the way of new programming. All these transmitters were being fed from a DAT recorder put into a continuous playback loop the central transmission control centre in Moscow. It played Side A for 57 minutes then switched over to side B. Little did we realise that these rather poor presented programmes were fueled by such cruel actions. Note that the group reformed in the early parts of this century and the chapter on this Japanese cult is far from closed, even though they are no longer in the headlines.
Direct download: MN.25.06.1992.aumshin.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:46pm CEST

MN.13.08.1992.St Helena & Sudan This programme includes news about jamming in Sudan. What's curious is that in 2010 the jamming transmitter in Sudan would seem to be back on the air, this time jamming the station Radio Debanga aimed at Dafur. We also looked at radio tourism. Jan Taner decided to visit 1548 kHz Radio St Helena and helped to start the Radio St Helena Day. The frequency of 11092.5 kHz Upper Sideband has become synonymous with Radio St Helena - at least if you Google that number you'll find it. They have been several St Helena days since, always on the same frequency. We also looked at cheap shortwave portables like the DAK Industries DMR3000. Reposted 12 December 2010 because of broken link complaints. Seems to work now.
Direct download: MN.13.08.1992helena.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:58am CEST

MN.18.02.1998 - Solar Storms & Terrestrial TV This was a very consumer conscious edition of the show, in which Jonathan and Diana find out why some leading scientists expect the peak in the solar cycle 22 to cause more damage that the millennium bug. We’ll also be exploring why the world’s first terrestrial digital TV service in the UK (the forerunner to Freeview) has more bugs in it than a tropical rain forest.
Direct download: MN.18.02.1999.solarstorms.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:04pm CEST

MN.24.09.1998 - BBC World Service Changes, CNN Stats In late September 1998, we broadcast a news edition of the programme at a moment when the revelations about President Clinton were threatening to overload the Internet. Sam Younger stepped down from the BBC World Service and Mark Byford announced some changes to the UK external broadcasting service. We talked to the Internet department at CNN to find out how audio and video downloads were going and Kim Andrew Elliott, Audience Researcher at VOA has some interesting comments to share. And we did a remarkably silly sign-off. What fascinates me is how international broadcasting got stuck in a time warp since then..
Direct download: MN.Sept.1998.Younger.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:05pm CEST

MN.02.04.1998 Iridium & Arrow Classic Rock In this first Media Network of April 1998 , we kick off a brand new summer season of our weekly communications programme by staring into space. Can a company that has created a virtual country in space deliver a worldwide phone system by the end of the 1998? Iridium thought it could. This programme also has news of a new Democracy Radio station announced by the Clinton Administration (which took VOA by surprise) as well as portrait of the Hague music station Arrow Classic Rock and its fight for a commercial licence.
Direct download: MN.02.04.1998Iridium.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:47pm CEST

MN.07.05.1998. CNET Radio in San Francisco I find Northern California to be steeped in fascinating broadcast history. There's the Marconi transmission and receiving centre in Tomales Bay. Check out this link. Then you there is the mission control centre for the This Week in Tech network in Petaluma, with Chief twit Leo Laporte. The photo shows the cottage which I visited in February 2010 and posted this video. But so much for the present... In 1998 Diana Janssen and I visited San Franscisco where we met Brian Cooley who was heading up CNET radio at the time. 11 years later, Brian is still with CNET but doing video. The radio bulletins are over. This show marked Media Network's 17th anniversary since it hit the airwaves in 1981 and to celebrate we decided to visit a radio station that hadn’t got a transmitter but it has got a beautiful view of the San Francisco bay area. There are not many studio windows that look out on the famous island of Alcatraz. This programme formed part of a trip to examine what was happening in Silicon Valley.
Direct download: MN.wk.19.1998.cnet.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:47pm CEST

MN.29.07.1999. Messing about in boats In this edition of the show we were messing about in boats. For instance, Light Vessel 18, the former Trinity House lightship was nearly ready for her new role as a floating Radio Station to help celebrate the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's 175th anniversary. Radio Northsea International was planning to be heard over in the area of the English county of Essex and beyond starting on 3rd August 1999 on 190 metres medium wave, that is, 1575 kiloHertz. This revivial was only for the month of August. This programme also updated the story about Quality Radio 1224 kHz and quashed the rumour that AFN was planning to close down its Frankfurt transmitter on AM. I also like the preview of the Funkausstellung 1999 from the late Bob Tomalski. He was brilliant - still sadly missed. And he was spot on in his predictions. The photo is taken in Lemmer, one of the harbours on the Ijsselmeer lake
Direct download: MN.29.07.1999.Boats.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00am CEST

MN.07.05.1998 - Inside the CBC in Ottawa, Canada

I have always been struck by the connection between radio and transport, especially trains. Many of my friends in broadcasting have an interest in trains - especially steam. So while at a conference in Canada in 1998 I took the tour of the CBC English service in Ottawa, and learned how trains have been important to the start of national radio in that part of North America. It turned out to be important to me too. I went out to the airport to catch the KLM flight back to the Netherlands. I then discovered that there was no plane. It was a bus to Montreal. Where did the bus leave from? The Canadian National railway station opposite my hotel. This show also contains news on the book series about the great manufacturer of portable radios - Zenith.

Direct download: MN.wk.24.1998.cbcottawa.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:51pm CEST

MN.13.08.1998 - Screaming Lord Sutch CD So who remembers the radio stations that operated from the Forts in the 1960's? They were trying to break the monopoly of the BBC but choosing to use abandoned WWII anti-aircraft defenses built in the North Sea rather than the ships used by Radio Veronica and Caroline. The answer is that plenty of people still remember those broadcast pioneers, as I discovered at the in the Casa400 hotel in Amsterdam on November 13th 2010. That lead to a request to dig up this show from August 13th 1998 in which we reviewed a new CD about the Forts, containing interviews from those involved. I see those CDs are still around - judging from the displays of offshore memorabilia. This show also included a great opening from Jim Cutler hinting at the crowded shortwave bands. Rocus de Joode was in the frequency coordination meeting in KL. Frederick Noronha submitted a piece about community radio in India. It is a shame that it didn't take off as fast as the commercial FM. The programme ends with the review of the double CD about screaming Lord Sutch and his fort adventures.
Direct download: MN.wk.33.1998.Sutch.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:10pm CEST

Thanks for saying hello at the Amsterdam RadioDay 2010 Enjoyed saying hello to several listeners to this podcast. You gave me several useful suggestions about which editions of Media Network they'd like me to upload from the archive. I am always surprised about which editions people remember and to hear how people in Eastern Europe took enormous risks to listen in. The Radioday was held on November 13th at the spanking new Casa400 hotel in Amsterdam. It was packed with passionate people. I think it works because those there realise that offshore radio was a unique era. Many people had enormous fun working on the ships and made friendships that have lasted more than 40 years. There aren't many industries that can attract people to come to a nostalgia day - and I haven't seen as many people smiling about radio in a long time. The next radio day will be November 12th 2011.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:07pm CEST

MN.Tokyo Rose Take 2 (1998) In 1998 we remade a documentary on Tokyo Rose in the light of new recordings and websites that were springing up. This was before Wikipedia of course. I think it interesting to contrast this story about Tokyo Rose (it was more than one person) with that of American actress Mildred Gillars who broadcast from Berlin to North America. I see that she is the subject of a new book by Richard Lucas called 'Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany". There are recordings of her in the US Library of Congress. The original programme is also on this website.
Direct download: MN.wk.21.1998.tokyorose2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:05am CEST





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