We had just installed a new answerline recorder. Listeners want to know about the Sony SW600, the existance of a portable MP3 player, frequency changes for RNW, Victor has been hearing Radio Miami International - a rare catch in Asia. Voice of the Tamil Tiger being jammed by Sri Lankan authorities. Michel Schmidt wants to know about DAB in Germany and the Netherlands. 1997 will be the year of introduction. We followed the launch of Radio-E, set up to demonstrate digital radio. Radio Netherlands launches a daily email newsletter. The NOS Gender monitoring unit has been closed down. The Dutch seem to be rather traditional. Only 18% of all experts on TV are women. We got a lot of reaction to our contest. Arthur Cushen recalls a record frost - and excellent mediumwave reception in Invercargill New Zealand.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Sunday, May 10, 2015
This edition of the programme starts with an interview with Jim Vastenhoud. He was one of the authors of a fact finding survey to Asia where Radio Netherlands examined possibilities to build a new relay facility in the region and boost it's signal. Vastenhoud explains the reasons for narrowing down the options.
NDXE says it has approached Voice of America in order to hire airtime on a mothballed SW radio facility in Dixon, California. That reminded me of station WLW in Mason, Ohio which was hired by VOA at the outbreak of war. Its famous diamond-shaped antenna mast is still there.
In other news, Sky channel announces a major expansion plan when the Astra satellite launches later this year. Alan Sugar says he will deliver the dish sets for 199 pounds. A US listener travelling in Europe has heard a strange sound which turns out to be a national paging system. Arthur Cushen has been hearing distant stations on mediumwave from a listening post in New Zealand.
This edition looks at the changes to the receiver market in the 400-700 US dollar price range. Gilfer Shortwave and 47th Street Photo have both gone out of business. Rick Lansing in Colorado has a problem with a time signal station in Caracas, Venezuela. There is a mystery on 1440 kHz. DXers in Finland have been hearing a station on 1440 when RTL closes down. It seems to be broadcasting in Swahili and may be coming from Tanzania. There are major changes to broadcasts from Radio Tirana, Albania. Voice of Mongolia has started using e-mail! Voice of Hope has started broadcasting from Tbilisi. If you want to see new cars being tested, look at the models driving by VOA Greenville, North Carolina transmitter site. Tim Hendel has comments about local radio in the US and the possible threat from satellite radio. Lou Josephs has a survey of changes to international broadcast websites. BBC World Service has cut back on the number of streams and has issues with viewing their site in some browsers. Victor Goonetilleke has news about TWR broadcasting in English on 882 kHz. He is also hearing Angola on 4950 kHz. Radio For Peace International in Costa Rica is making it into South Asia. The first tests from the HAARP facilty have been heard in Europe. Trevor Brook, owner of Radio Fax broadcasting from Ireland, says he is going to the European Court of Law to fight for private shortwave licences in the UK.
This transcription version of Media Network was sent to about 150 stations who subscribed to a condensed version of the show. Obviously propagation reports were not relevant, and we were concious that the items had to be less time sensitive. This edition looks at the rise of rebroadcasting activities and distribution challenges facing BBC World Service, Radio Finland, RFE/RL, Radio Netherlands and Radio Austria International. Interesting to listen to this programme 20 years later, and realise that many of the fears expressed by the international stations actually came true. The rise of the gatekeeper has always been the biggest hurdle to the international broadcasters. If only FM radio could travel over the horizon, the scene would have been different. And this is before the convenience and lower costs of digital satellite television made it into a much more effective medium for many countries.
By the mid-nineties, the Internet was starting to interest many people in the communications business. We made trips to Silicon Valley to figure out what was going on and the role played by Stanford University. This is one of those on-location safaris. Diana Janssen and I spent some fascinating days talking to Netscape and various audio companies working on early mp3 players. We also visited Neil G Scott, who was building the Archimedes project on the campus of Stanford University. He later moved everything to Hawaii. He was busy working out alternative interfaces to the mouse. Remember this is two years before Google went public and speech recognition was in very early stages.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet revolution are starting to have an affect on stations serving Eastern Europe. This programme looked at the major changes announced to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty with budget cuts to staff numbers from 1540 to 705 people. In 1993 the Munich based station had a budget of US$200 million dollars. Services to Afghanistan, were stopped! Melisse Fleming explained they were moving eastwards. Olrich Cip, (in photo), frequency manager at Radio Prague explains the implications of the recent split of the Czechoslovak republic. Wolfgang Pleines at DW has news of changes to Deutschlandfunk. Hans Bakhuizen explains DAB tests about to start in Hilversum and why they are important. Lou Josephs reports that DAB tests are to happen in the US but with their own system. There are problems with the current audio algorhythms. Radio Australia is testing two transmitters from its new facility in Darwin.
For many years, Media Network had a shorter version sent to around 150 foreign radio stations for rebroadcast on FM. That worked better than crackly shortwave, although the fading and static added to the magic of distance in different ways. This transcription edition of Media Network features an interview with Radio Netherlands Dutch Service presenter Wim Vriezen, someone who became one of the leading voices on the programme Newsline Europe. One of the best all-round news presenters in the Netherlands.
This programme carries the news about the launch of Classic FM in the UK and several stations having been recovering from storm damage. Jonathan Marks does a just outside broadcast from his garden, putting several commercial antennas side by side with some off-air examples of what they bring in. (Actually those antennas are still standing 20 years later!) We cross to Oslo Norway to find out the extent of the cutbacks announced at Radio Norway International. There are some rather spectacular videos on YouTube showing the dismantling of the antennas described in this programme. This happened much later.
Monday, May 04, 2015
Yes, I know. I haven't been writing here for a while. Thanks for the messages enquiring after my health. It's simply that a lot of projects have blossomed and every hour of the day is being used at the moment.
Been particularly pleased and proud of a magazine project that might sister Lucy and her partner Darren have become involved in. Edited by Keith Reeves and called In Search of Taste, it's a brand new quarterly for those who enjoy understanding the stories behind great food. Especially interested in the article on the challenges facing olive oil in the first issue. Highly recommended.
And, er, I will resume blogging here very shortly. Lots to tell. Promise.
Monday, April 06, 2015
The programme starts with the voice of the late Paul Holmes, a New Zealand broadcaster who worked at RNW in 1980. I did shifts with him.
International broadcasters usually have friends all over the world, but few in their own country. That's because they don't target their own people - and politicians are often clueless as to what their role is, relying on hearsay. During its life as a broadcaster, Radio Nederland Wereldomroep would regularly become the subject of commissions. One of the most important reports was put together by the Mediaraad (Media Council) in 1992, and triggered a major reorganisation of the station in 1994.
Trans World Radio has hired airtime from Radio Tirana Albania..unthinkable a few years before. WRTH reports that Radio Czechoslovakia International may shortly change its name again as the country splits in 1993. Marcel Rommerts has problems hearing BBC Radio 1 on 1053 kHz. Russian separatists are jamming a station. Andy Sennitt makes me a cup of tea. Lou Josephs says the new transmitter in Costa Rica from Spanish Foreign Radio is difficult to hear. John Catlett of Radio Luxembourg announces the descision to end the English language programming.
The programme concludes with an interview with Pat Gowan, G3IOR, who's fascinated by reception of satellites on the wrong side of the Earth.
This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault