Sunday, December 16, 2018

MN.23.12.1982 Christmas Special

This was an era when year end reviews were still popular. There was no internet for research or to act as the memory of great radio broadcasts. So this is the way shortwave international radio was looking in Christmas 1982, the year of the Falklands conflict and the appearance of several clandestine radio stations. This was my first attempt at making a compilation of the year's events, with boxes of reels of tapes that I had been saving. The script was all typed out on a typewriter. It would be another couple of years before the Apple II appeared in the Netherlands. But enjoy what was possible 26 years ago.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.10.04.1997 Test Card Circle

This was an example of interaction with listeners calling in with media news, it seems the timesignal station in Australia VNG is in trouble, we look at 3 new QSL cards from Radio Netherlands, and visit the Test Card Circle in the UK. I see the site is still active in 2018. 


QSL Cards

As from April 15th 1997 there will be three new QSL cards available from us for correct reception reports on any of our radio broadcasts. This series is entitled from wireless to the worldwide web. The first card shows the original wooden antenna masts built in Huizen just north of Hilversum way back in 1937. They were unique in their day because the whole construction was built on a turntable and so one antenna could swing round and serve various parts of the globe. Having built the antenna for external broadcasting, the Dutch tried to blow it up three years later. In May 1940, as Nazi troops crossed the Dutch border to occupy the country, attempts were made to disable the transmitter site before it fell into enemy hands. However, it didn't take the Germans too long to put the system back in order and from records in the broadcasting museum it appears the transmitter of PCJ was used for English and Dutch broadcasts directed to South Asia, most of them produced in Berlin. After the war, Radio Herrijzend Nederland used the site and later Radio Netherlands until in 1957 new facilities were built in Lopik, not far from Utrecht, right in the heart of this country. So, card number one looks back at this historic transmitter site in Huizen.

D:The second card focuses on the Radio Netherlands building.

Officially opened in 1961, the new Radio Netherlands broadcasting centre in the north of Hilversum was a vast improvement. For the first 15 years of its existence, Radio Netherlands operated out of four converted villas on the Bothalaan in Hilversum. Since the newsroom was in one house and the studios across the road, there are lovely stories of people missing deadlines because it was icy outside and newsreaders slipped over in their haste to get to the other building. A special documentary film was made to mark the opening where it clear that the job of the announcer was indeed very much to announce things to the world, rather than the more informal character we use these days.

It's remarkable that in those days women were expected to leave the company if they got married, and the concept of female managers was just unthinkable. Anyway, if you look at the QSL card drawing made in 1961 you'll see there's a bit of virtual reality built in to it if you compare it with aerial photos taken in the 70's and early eighties.

D:     From the air, the building looks like an aeroplane, the studios being at the back end of the body of the plane. But the drawing shows two sets of studios, but in fact only one set was built initially, partly for cost reasons. It was drawing that adorned the sugar bags in the canteen for many years, accompanied by jokes of when are they going to build what they promised. Well in fact the building was extended some 30 years later.

J:     And, last but not least, card 3 in the series shows the production team behind the world-wide web at Radio Netherlands. The department of Strategy and New Media is currently three people, Katherine Farnon, Caroline van Oosten de Boer and is headed by Diana Janssen. And shortly a fourth member of the team will be coming on board. Alvaro Ortiz speaks Spanish and is also an artist.

D:     Yes, and of course it's not a department that's isolated from the rest of our radio and TV productions. So there are literally dozens of people in other parts of the programme division who are helping us build the web site and try out new things. We believe that Internet is content driven not technology driven. Everyone is talking about building the information superhighway, but frankly we're not going to be building the infrastructure, we're using it and we think you need a four-wheel drive approach.

J:     Our company Mission Statement is the map of how to get there, on time and within budget.  We agree with partners on how to meet up at a particular point and then set to get to the goal in a straight-line. Sometimes the information highway hasn't been built yet, so the four-wheel drive comes in handy when negotiating the unpredictable communications terrain in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America.

D:     So that's some detailed background to the three new verification cards being issued as part of Radio Netherlands 50th anniversary. Once again, they'll be issued for reports on or after the 15th of April while stocks last.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, December 15, 2018

MN.29.02.1996 - The Jingle Collectors

It was extremely rare that we prepared 5 Media Networks in February, so we thought of making this programme different from the usual bill of fare. But then, what was usual on this programme!

Looking at the mailbag coming in at the moment, there’s a clear bias from people who want to hear more radio related documentaries, especially along the lines of the expedition to Northern Finland.

Today’s programme comes as a result of surfing on the Internet. While looking through the excellent shortwave radio catalogue compiled by Pete Costello, we came across a link to a jingles society here in The Netherlands. So, every reason to find out more. We invited two guests into the wireless studio Benno Rozen (at that time working for Omroep Brabant in Eindhoven) and Jelle Boonstra. The website (made much later) is still up. And we will be hearing more from them in 2019 when Dutch radio celebrates 100 years.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN. 27.02.1997. Radio Euskadi, the Voice of the Basque underground

We thought we had found the last of the Media Network tapes, but a new batch has been discovered. The late John Campbell mentioned the clandestine radio station, Radio Euskadi several times in the 1980's and early 1990's. But, thanks to the help of Eric Beauchemin, we eventually discovered the secrets of this rebel voice of the Basque underground. And Eric saved the tape, so now we can play it again.

Indeed, in the next half an hour, we’re going to dig deep in to the history surrounding a clandestine radio station, which is now a legal public broadcaster. Like Radio Netherlands, this station is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Radio Euskadi is the public broadcaster in the Basque Country of Spain. The Basque language branch started broadcasting in 1980, when the Basque Country achieved the status of an autonomous region within Spain. The Spanish-language station was officially established two years later. But, in fact, the roots date back half a century and have clandestine radio connections. Recent research in the French and Spanish parts of the Basque Country by Radio Netherlands’ Eric Beauchemin reveals the full story of how the Basque underground fought for an independent voice in Spain.

The Voice of the Basque underground has a colourful history, spread over two continents. If you’ve ever heard of the name Radio Euzkadi before, it could be because you came across a shortwave signal in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s when the station broadcast from Venezuela. The Venezuelan operation went off the air 20 years ago this week, on February 28, 1977. But the first clandestine Basque broadcasts came from southern France.

The origins of Radio Euzkadi date back to 1939 when General Francisco Franco came to power. His army had defeated the forces of Spain’s legitimate government, the left-wing Popular Front.

Franco’s repression was brutal. Trade union leaders and intellectuals were relentlessly persecuted as were the nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country. Both regions had obtained a good deal of autonomy during the Popular Front’s rule, and both the Catalans and the Basques were loath to give it up.

Franco’s repression was particularly harsh in both areas, and many Catalan and Basque leaders and intellectuals fled abroad. Among them was Joseba Rezola who became the exiled Basque government’s information and propaganda director. He was keenly aware that since the Basques only had one source of information, the Spanish government-run media, they might eventually start believing Franco’s propaganda. Rezola got the green light from the Basque government in exile to purchase a surplus transmitter from the American military. José María Lasarte, a member of the Basque government in exile, who was on a visit to the United States, was asked to take the transmitter back with him in his luggage. Inaki Durañona was Mr. Rezola’s personal secretary, as well as a member of the Basque nationalist party.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Media Network 18.03.2018

Today is Sunday March 11 2018 as we record this, I’m Jonathan Marks, the producer and presenter of a programme called Media Network. Early on Saturday morning March 10th, I got a tip off from Rocus de Joode, a colleague who used to work in RNW frequency bureau. He told me to get in the car and drive to see what is left of the Flevoland shortwave transmitter site. There were reports a few months ago that the new owner, the Dutch Ministry of Defence, wanted to take down the towers. It was going to take a couple of months. So I packed a camera and headed for the Juttepeerlaan in Zeewolde, only to discover that everything except the transmitter building has gone. It’s as though the giant antenna masts never existed.

Now I remember that group of us ham radio operators were looking rather jealously at those curtain arrays. And on February 16 and 17th 1985, when the station was doing its first test transmissions, a group of us got permission to misuse the facility for that weekend. I decided to try my hand at live broadcasting for the first time, and so we did all the Saturday transmissions in English live from the new transmitter site. I kept two tapes and if you promise to remember that this is 33 years ago, when there is no mobile phone, no Internet, and no skype. Each show was actually broadcast over the old Lopik facilities. I’ll come back at the end to tell you how you can get in touch with us and we gradually relaunch the programme.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Friday, December 16, 2016

Wandering in the Radio Garden

RADIO.GARDEN ( went live as of 13 December 2016. More details are emerging about project as Alec Badenoch in the Hague writes:

Pictures from official public launch of Radio Garden  in Hilversum on December 13th 2016

RADIO.GARDEN is an online radio platform designed by Studio.Puckey in collaboration with Moniker that allows users to explore an interactive globe filled with radio’s past and present.  The project was developed as part of the European collaborative research project Transnational Radio Encounters (, directed by Professor Golo Föllmer from the University of Halle (Germany) along with Alec Badenoch and Sonja de Leeuw from Utrecht University, Caroline Mitchell of Sunderland University, Jacob Kreutzfeld of Copenhagen University, Peter Lewis from London Metropolitan University and Per Jauert of Aarhus University, and in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. 

In addition, it forms part of The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s run up to celebrating 100 years of Radio in 1919, next to current TRE-related research (see

Radio.Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.  Four different layers of the interactive globe allow listeners to dive into radio’s border-crossing:

In the section Live, you can explore a world or radio as it is happening right now. Tune into any place on the globe: what sounds familiar? What sounds foreign? Where would you like to travel and what sounds like ‘home’?

Jingles offers a world-wide crash course in station identification. How do stations signal within a fraction of a second what kind of programmes you are likely to hear? How do they project being joyful, trustworthy, or up to the minute?

In the section on History. you can tune into clips from throughout radio history that show how radio has tried to cross borders. How have people tried to translate their nations into the airwaves? What did they say to the world? How do they engage in conversation across linguistic and geographical barriers?

Finally, one can listen to radio Stories where listeners past and present tell how they listen beyond their walls. How do they imagine the voices and sounds from around the globe? How do they use make themselves at home in the world?

Following its formal launch, the site received approximately half a million visitors in its first day, 35,000 upvotes on reddit and was the subject of write-up in The Atlantic is designed to be a growing platform – the ‘seeds’ that have been planted here are the first inspiration to filling the globe further.  If you have a story to share or a station to add, please let us know.

For technical or design questions, please contact Jonathan Puckey at
For content questions, please contact Alec Badenoch at

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


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

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

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault


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

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, July 31, 2016

MN.17.1987.Nederhorst Revisited

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

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.30.10.1987. ITU Telecom 87

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

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault