Tuesday, December 10, 2019

MN.10.December 2019. The Lifeline Video Documentary

From 1980 to 2000, I produced and hosted a communications magazine on Radio Netherlands, the Dutch International broadcasting service. We made over 1000 editions of Media Network. Just over half of those shows still survive and are now on-line. Since then I have travelled the world several times in search of the stories of what made shortwave international broadcasting such a fascinating place to be towards the end of the 20th century. I am currently exploring what’s left of the Radio Netherlands archive.

Here’s one discovery. In 1997 I contributed to a documentary commissioned by Radio Netherlands TV department, released on the 70th anniversary of international broadcasting, or so we thought at the time. It looks rather slow paced by today’s standards of documentary producing. But there is some rather rare footage of Radio Tirana in Albania. If you were listening to a shortwave radio at the end of the last century many of these names will be familiar.

Monday, December 02, 2019

MN.07.03.1996. The AOR 7030 Review

Silly girlfriend opening. Tim Hendel asked about the Sony ICF100T. Irish Eyes are smiling in County Mayo. MidWest Radio, Box 1, Mayo Ireland is making programmes in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Irish, St Patricks Day starts at 12 -16 UTC.  11715 kHz using 250 kW. We broadcast our in-depth review the AOR-7030 first production line. Retails in the UK at 799 pounds. Our review proved to be quite controversial in the UK, even though the conclusions were very positive.  Arthur Cushen has news about the Cook Islands.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Friday, November 15, 2019

MN.21.11.1996 ICFSW1

A warm welcome on a wintry day. Receiver survey feedback reveals shortwave sales are dropping. Voice of Nigeria has returned to the air.  WRTH reports that Radio Jordan has expanded its output. Independent receiver review Sony ICFSW-1.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.12.12.1996 Baygen

A week of shifting emphasis. Radio Vlaanderen International cancels German, Arabic and Spanish. They have decided to use Juelich site in Germany for broadcasts to Europe. In Indonesia private stations will, at last, be able to air their own news programmes instead of just relaying RRI. Donald McDonald of the ABC explains how they are going to cut 27 million AUS dollars from their budget. We look at the end of Sport7, a shortlived commercial network in the Netherlands. We investigate the strange new business network called Stocks and Funds based in Atlanta. Dennis Thompson, ex BBC Frequency Manager has been asked to set up the schedule. The programme concludes with a visit Diana made to the Baygen Freeplay clockwork radio factory in South Africa.  

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.24.10.1996. soho

A news and science features edition of the programme. Victor Goonetilleke reports a problem on Radio Netherlands CIS relay – a loud hum. Arthur Cushen reports wider distribution of Radio Netherlands Dutch language material in New Zealand via Echo Radio. Space feature: We report on the European SOHO project and the results of the coronagraphs. Interview with Piet Maartens on the line from the Goddard Space Centre. We investigate a new top-level communications receiver one of the first software driven DSP receiver the Kneisner+Doering KWZ 30. We never got the chance to review the set because shortly after introduction one of the founders passed away. Interview with Hans Juergen Kneisner. Mike Bird comments on why shortwave receivers in Australia are so expensive. There is a 37% tax on sets and the market is small. Lou Josephs updates online audio. There has been a problem with compatibility. Netscape announces several new versions of their browser suite.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.20.07.1995. SES ASTRA

Will Ireland to return to shortwave? Michael Collins advises us of a radio conference in the West of Ireland where the keynote speaker will be Simon Spanswick. There is an extensive visit to SES Astra in Luxembourg. We get the tour from Yves Feltes. When the steel industry went down, the Luxembourg government looked for ways to diversify its economy. Satellites were the answer. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Thursday, November 14, 2019

MN.08.06.1995 Peru

A regular edition of the programme. Across the Americas opening. We take a call from Lima Peru and talk to George McLintock station manager WWCR which has been airing some controversial programmes on shortwave. Victor Goonetilleke reports what’s going on in the Sri Lankan conflict between the government and the Tamil Tigers. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.22.11.1990 - Prague Velvet Revolution

One year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, radio colleague Kim Andrew Elliott jumped in my car and we toured some of the famous Eastern European radio stations. We went to Budapest, Prague and Berlin sending faxes in advance in the hope of getting the station tour. In Prague we were given a grand tour of Radio Prague and heard from several people what it was like to work in the English section. We also went to see Radio Free Europe (photo) operating from the old Czech parliament building. Studios were inside mobile vans on the floor of the building because permanent changes to the building were not allowed. I thought this edition of the programme was lost because the tape went missing. Luckily a CD copy has survived. Nice to hear the voice of the late Olrich Chip (Peter Skala) once again.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

DXJB.7.01.1981 - Hunt for USSR Stations

Many recordings of the predecessor of Media Network were not preserved. There was pressure on producers to recycle tapes since the large 30-minute reels cost 25 Euro each in those days. However, I quickly argued that many of the documentaries and Media Network specials would have value later - and I'm glad I put tapes aside for later. When I took over "DX Juke Box" in August 1980, the first thing I did was replace the music with features about broadcasting. The quality of phone calls was still poor, but we could be far more topical. In January 1981 I made this feature with several guests, including Richard Measham of BBC Monitoring, where we explored the changes at Radio Moscow and also spoke with those who were fascinated about the complex Soviet media scene. Remember that very little was published about this vast network of transmitters in the West. The programme concludes with off-air recordings of several Soviet stations. Remember this is a programme I made 38 years ago. No Internet. No Facebook. Just a shortwave radio and a tape recorder. The episode photo was taken in 2010 at the offices of the independent media publishers in Moscow. Fascinating to hear those stories too. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, October 26, 2019

MN.25.07.1996. Not Atlanta

While the rest of the media was focussing on the Olympic Games in Atlanta, we ran an "Olympics Free" Programme...well almost. Problems for journalists in Atlanta with reporters being refused access to events. Lou Josephs discusses Macromedia and ActiveX technology. We link up with Christian Voice in Zambia and ask why it decided to broadcast only in English. Incidentally, as of 2019, the station is still on the air https://onlineradiobox.com/zm/christianvoice.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN,26.09.1996 Receiver Survey

Richard Richter announces the new name for US surrogate broadcasting to Asia: Radio Free Asia They keep quiet about the transmitter sites and the frequencies. We dip into your letters including insights from Japan. AsiaSat is going to have difficulty getting listening in Japan.  We launch a challenge for listeners to find an MPEG-2 satellite receiver in their city – no-one could find one. Apart from the news that Ireland is returning to shortwave for sports commentaries, most of this edition is devoted to calling up shortwave receiver dealers to get a feel of how things are changing.

The Internet is having an impact on the level of shortwave listening, at least in the USA.  Bob Grove in Brasstown North Carolina explains that the hobby of shortwave listening is in trouble. Fred Osterman of Universal Shortwave, though, was more optimistic, pointing to the softness in the US economy. John Day runs a shop in Australia. The Kenwood R-5000 receivers are popular there. Hans Doeven in the North of the Netherlands says his sales market is shifting towards the maritime market. Lowe Electronics says the German market is soft. They are promoting their HF-150 in Asia. Richard Robinson from EEB in Vienna, Virginia says the high-end portables are doing well.  

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.10.10.1996 Grand Antenna Show

Complete schedule of RNW in English in advanced of the winter transmission season.  Interesting to see how extensive the schedule was in 1996. Also, there is an extensive explanation by Jonathan Marks giving tips on how to build an antenna in your garden. It updates a publication that Radio Netherlands published in the 1970’s. Perhaps you remember - Give your antenna some air? There is a curious sign-off from voice over champion Jim Cutler.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.22.08.1996. New Season

An interesting catch-up show as we re-convene for a new season of Media Network. Diana Janssen is back from Asia and has some concerns about how the pace of change is leading to discussions of censorship. Andy Sennitt explains about challenges in Belarus. WorldSpace seems to be expanding. Karl Miosga of WRN explains a plan to carry their network overnight on SAFM. Alok Das Gupta has a new edition of his South-Asia listening guide. ORF KurzwellenPanorama (photo of editor Wolf Harranth) and MN celebrate 15 years of collaboration. Lou Josephs has been testing Shockwave from Macromedia. NOS has abandoned plans to produce a regional TV magazine

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.20.06.1996. Channel Africa

Plenty of radio news in this edition of the programme. We talk to Flame Nieuwenhuizen about the future finances of Channel Africa. The station has been saved and moved to become part of the SABC. Radio ABC Denmark is to start up in 7570 kHz using 150 kW via Kaliningrad. The Voice of Tibet has started up from studios in Oslo, Norway. It goes out via the Seychelles. They are on 15445 kHz at 1145. They claim to have funding from private investors. Victor Goonetilleke reports the station is coming from FEBA in Seychelles. We review the Sony ICFSW600 receiver which has 9 SW bands on it. Jelle Boonstra reports a new series about Jingles on Dutch domestic radio.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.01.08.1996. Pacific Island Stations

This edition focused on the future of digital satellite television. We started with an Interview with Scott Zimmer of Echostar about the growing direct satellite television service. They have just launched the DISH network. They also plan data services including educational programmes. All this was the forerunner of what was the set-top box. But the price? Between 1000 and 2000 US dollars. 30% of US households have purchased PC’s of one type or another. There is controversy as to whether these systems will ever be two-way. We linked up with Arthur Cushen to find out about the sale of stations in New Zealand. There is also accusations of censorship and financial problems for stations on the Pacific islands. We talk about the new ATS909 receiver from Sangean. 9590 kHz has some interference problems from Channel Africa. Leo Kohl explains they had to go off the air in Bonaire for a few hours because freak weather threatened to push sand into the heat exchanges. Radio Australia’s Carnavon transmitters.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault