Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Media Network Vintage Vault 2017-2018


September 2017 - A message from Jonathan Marks

Welcome. I'm Jonathan Marks. If this is the first time you've visited the vault, then I'm glad you dropped by! There are over 485 editions of Media Network, representing about half the episodes that we made and broadcast from Hilversum.

As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech scale-ups in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven region. I'm particularly fascinated because this region is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927.


Reliving Mainstream broadcast heritage

In early February 2010, I began an online experiment here on Libsyn with podcasting to understand how the distribution system works and see whether we could rebuild an audience. We wanted to recreate a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000. It is over 35 years since the Media Network was launched as the name of the media show on Radio Netherlands, building on the rich heritage of programmes that went before it.

We ran on the shortwave wireless from May 7th 1981 until the end of October 2000 with more than 1000 editions of the show. Many of the features are gradually making their way onto this website as a celebration of international broadcasting's second Golden Age.

Radio Netherlands no longer exists as a radio station in English in the way that we knew it. (They signed off at the end of June 2012 as documented on this site). The RN Classical Music station was around for a short while after, but that too had been yanked from the Interwebs. Join me in raising a glass to the great days of analogue adventures!

We have now reached more than 738,409 downloads, numbers being boosted by interest in the programmes about China, North Korea and several documentaries about propaganda, during the Second World War and later. On average, this site logs around 11000 downloaded episodes a month, which isn't bad for vintage material.

First of its kind

Media Network was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. I hosted and produced the programme, but a lot of the content was made by a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers located all over the globe. Diana Janssen also joined me as co-host during the last 5 years of the programme. She made a considerable contribution to the programme.

Where do these shows come from?

I kept copies of most of the show, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period. Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have gradually digitized the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting and where it might go after shortwave. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-YouTube, pre-email, when most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them. 

I am always interested in your reactions, especially from people who may be discovering this material for the first time. It will encourage me to post more. Looking at the site stats, it would seem that around 13% of the subscribers are downloading via iTunes. The rest do so directly from the site or using 3rd party apps. Please tell friends about the vault and encourage them to subscribe. 

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

Finding a show 

This is a new form of the website now that Libsyn has updated the style of the podcast feeds. You can also subscribe in iTunes by searching for "Media Network Vintage". As each "new" edition is published, it will download automatically to your MP3-player of choice. I personally find the Downcast app to be the best for IOS. But other podcast apps are available.

I know some of the material here is niche stuff to many broadcasters - but I also know that people interested in international communications and broadcasting are very passionate people. Because of the politics, it provided a constant wave of stories. I also believe that we developed one of the first collaborative formats on international radio, where individuals could do some detective work, report their results, and share experiences with those with a similar passion.

As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech photonics scale-ups in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven region. I'm particularly fascinated because this region is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927.

There are still plans to relaunch a podcast version of Media Network later in 2017. I have been very busy with all kinds of other projects so far, but there is progress. Watch this space.

Jun 3, 2014

In 1989, satellite television was in its infancy. I remember watching events in China unfold on CNN, which had only just been added to the cable system in Holland. Then in the early hours of June 4th, shortwave listeners in North America started calling the Radio Netherlands answerline with an off air recording of Radio Beijing. Apparently an announcer at the English Service of Radio Beijing had spliced a short but very clear message onto the front of the transmission tape. A very courageous thing to do. When he'd finished, the programme continued with the usual political commentary. We rebroadcast out this clip. I've reprocessed it again for clarity.

At the time, the story in Western Media (and later in publications) was that the voice you hear in this clip belonged to Li Dan, then Head of the English Service at Radio Beijing. He disappeared for a time, but did return later as on-air 

Keith Perron, now living in Taiwan, supplies this version. Impossible for me to verify, but sounds more plausible.

"Li Dan like other heads of department at Radio Beijing were sent to what the Chinese call Communist School for a bit, but then returned to RB. 

The two who did the story. The writer being the deputy director of the English Service Wu Xiaoyong who was also the news editor on duty was placed under house arrest for many years. When he did manage to leave China a few years later. He moved to Hong Kong and became one of the key people at Phoenix Television. Wu Xiaoyong was only placed under house arrest, because his father was a high ranking government official. 


The guy who read that announcement on air Yuan Neng didn't fare so well. He was sentenced for 14 years in a prison labor camp and was banned from ever working in media in China.


After Li Dan returned from Communist School he resumed his position the new deputy director was Xu Huazhen who was a nobody in the English Service in 1989. But she had reported to the officials who in Radio Beijing was a supporter of the students. Not long after she became the deputy director she was promoted again to the party secretary of the English Service. Around 1994/95 Li Dan was promoted to one of the vice-president positions around the time the station changed its name from Radio Beijing to China Radio International. a few years later he became the president of CRI and in 2003 was promoted to CCTV as a vice president."