Monday, January 18, 2021

MN. Series Two, Episode 3 - Radio Netherlands Firsts

Episode 3 about Radio Netherlands has now been published on Vimeo and YouTube. It is video so it complements the collection here on Libsyn.  I get mixed reports about YouTube containing adverts, but it is not my intention to try and monetise this archived content which has already been paid for by the Dutch taxpayer.
 
Here is Episode 3 in the new second series of Media Network.
 
or
 
This edition focuses on the forgotten firsts connected with Dutch International broadcasting. I mixed a lot of footage I shot myself with other vintage footage from rescued archives from Radio Netherlands and YouTube. I hope it is a public contribution to a better understanding of what all of us involved in Dutch international broadcasting achieved over 85 years. In the Netherlands. There is a tendency by Dutch domestic media to always pick ancient footage from the 1960s when making documentaries or news items about Radio Netherlands. They ignore the brilliant investigative journalism and wide-ranging music productions from the early ’80s until 2012. We were pioneers in many formats, not outdated laggards. As the RNW studio complex at Witte Kruislaan 55 is sold to a private investor in January 2021, I think it is time to set the record straight. This adventure may be over, but let’s examine what we learned about international communication. I believe a lot of the ideas connected with community media are still valid, especially in a post-Trump world. Enjoy the past, but think about the future!

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Media Network Series Two Episode 2 - Revisiting Vienna 2018

https://vimeo.com/495422288

Media Network videos are hosted on Vimeo for the time being. 

In Episode 1 we visited the largest international radio archive on the planet. That was in September 2009. I kept in touch with its curator Wolf Harranth on and off, while my own career took an entirely different direction. But in May 2018 work took me to Linz in Upper Austria and being so close, I looked up Wolf again. A lot had changed and at the time of recording this episode, the entire future of the collection was uncertain. Their address had changed. They were now in the industrial part of Vienna where the Austrian Radio and TV, the ORF, keeps its logistics warehouse. So, for what seemed the last time, I met up with Professor Wolf Harranth for another instalment of unique international broadcasting history.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Media Network Series 2 Episode 1

This is the link to the first edition of the new series of Media Network Videocasts. Please note they are hosted on VIMEO not Libsyn which is audio only. I owe a lot to the city of Vienna and to the Austrian Shortwave Service for my start in broadcasting. In February 1974, I took part in a quiz that was running on their English service. You had to answer one question a day for a month. I did, and I won first prize. A week in Vienna courtesy of the Austrian tourist board. I went with my father - and it was truly wonderful. It was also where I decided that broadcasting sounded like a very interesting career. Two years later I was back in Vienna, freelancing for the English service.

In 1976 I also met Wolf Harranth, at that time the editor of the German language programme KurzwellenPanorama. So began a life-long friendship.

Fast forward now to the 2nd of September 2009. Austrian Radio’s shortwave service in English has long since gone, and Wolf is now leading the world’s largest Radio documentation project. It’s in a building across the road from ORF Funkhaus on the Argentinastrasse in downtown Vienna. And we have an invitation to visit.

Feedback: There is only one link that accepts constructive comments and feedback. That is medianetworknewseries@gmail.com.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Media Network Series 2 Episode 2 VIDEO has just gone live. Last week in Episode 1 we visited the largest international radio archive on the planet. That was in September 2009. I kept in touch with its curator, Wolf Harranth on and off, while my own career took an entirely different direction. But in May 2018 work took me to Linz in Upper Austria and being so close, I looked up Wolf again. A lot had changed and at the time of recording this episode, the entire future of the collection was uncertain. So, for what seemed the last time, I met up with Professor Wolf Harranth for another instalment of unique international broadcasting history. The original is on Vimeo here. https://vimeo.com/495422288.  I see that Blogger will only let me use a YouTube link, so that is below. What's the difference. There should not be ads in the Vimeo version.

(Next time, in Episode 3, we'll learn more about what happened to Radio Netherlands. If you want to know when that episode is released, sign up for the Media Network Gossip Newsletter




Monday, January 04, 2021

MN.29.01.1998 MW Steve Whitt


During the lifetime of Series One, we had a great relationship with Steve Whitt of the UK’s Mediumwave Circle. They were kind enough to host our receiver reviews when the radio show ended. And they are still there. (If you think we should archive those reviews and other DX Publications, please tell us at medianetworknewseries@gmail.com) In this programme, at the end of a cold, dark January, it was an excellent time to return to the topic of long-distance AM (Mediumwave) reception. Steve reported some strange conditions in the UK, normally only possible for listeners much further North in Finland and Norway. Even in 1998, some stations were closing down. But things were starting to go full circle. And there was excitement around the expanded band with stations like WJDM on 1660 (later WWRL), WCMQ on 1700 kHz. There is plenty more coming about mediumwave – check out the goodbye to BBC 648 which we posted on YouTube 10 years ago. The programme also deals with the failure of Asiasat 3, with expert commentary from Bob Cooper.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, January 03, 2021

MN.08.01.1998. Moscow Mason Numbers


 

This edition of Media Network covered updates on the numbers stations. But we started with news of unusual FM reception in New Zealand from Bryan Clark. Moscow has made a historic cutback to its output. We talk to Elizabeth Fox about broadcasting in Latin America. It was also time renew the phone line to UK Numbers Station specialist Simon Mason to find out the latest on mysteries like the Lincolnshire Poacher, the Buzzer, and The New Star Station. This is an extensive interview with many off-air examples.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.02.01.1998. SW Receiver Survey


Happy New Year 2021. This is THE place for vintage editions of Media Network, the weekly communications programme as aired on the English Service of Radio Netherlands. This edition broadcast on January 2nd 1998 was unusual in that it was just under 50 minutes long because it fell on a holiday when the current affairs programme “Newsline” was missing. Diana Janssen and Jonathan Marks used the time to share the results of a major survey we conducted into sales of shortwave radios. In the early days of DX programmes from Radio Netherlands, it was often cheaper to build your own set. DX Juke Box even sent out plans to make them. But by 1998, it was much better to buy one. Which is why we compiled the “Receiver Shopping List” with quite a comprehensive guide as to what was on the market. In this programme we spoke with dealers like Bob Grove, Martin Lynch, Fred Osterman,  Jack Summers, and contributors Mike Bird and Lou Josephs. These days there are some excellent sites dealing with restoration of these old radios. We recommend Mr Carlson’s Lab, David Tipton and Techmoan in particular. Please remember to support them.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Friday, January 01, 2021

Media Network New Series 2021- some thoughts

Reasons for Relaunching a second series of Media Network

Lockdown has enabled me to devote more time to finishing off several complex video projects which I feel really belong as a collection. It has also taught me the value of my hobbies. In my case, it is the mechanical engineering side of model railways and the restoration of (electric) clocks. 

My third passion is unearthing untold stories about the medium of international broadcasting. I was actively involved in this industry for over 35 years. But the distribution systems I knew eventually faded out.

Radio's problem

The main challenge that intelligent speech radio faces is this: Although international broadcasters spent hundreds of millions of Euros shouting across borders, very little of that huge effort was kept in some form of a coherent collection. There are some truly amazing Youtube channels emerging about restoring vintage radios to their former glory. For starters, I recommend checking out Mr Carlson's Lab or David Tipton. They are brilliant! And if you are interested in the stories from past audio technology in general, just follow (and support) Matt Taylor's Techmoan series. He occasionally picks up radios to explore.

But, unlike physical clocks and OO scale models, radios have no memory. They only pick up what's on right now. And shortwave radio in the last century was the ultimate in appointment listening. You had to be at exactly the right point on the dial, often at a peculiar time, with the right equipment and, even then, there was no guarantee reception would be good. 

Restoring International Radio's memory

I remember the late Gerald Wells, the British vintage wireless enthusiast used to run a low-power mediumwave pirate radio station with dance band music. It broadcast with a few milliwatts to his house in Dulwich, London - an early form of WiFi.  His reason was "you can get the radio working again, but few of the transmitters carved into the dial" are still there". It's true, radio has a terrible memory. This explains why I am publishing old audio editions of Media Network, as well as some of the off-air recordings of stations I monitored in the 1980's and 90's as part of the research for this communications magazine programme. I'm so glad I listened to people like Wolf Harranth, the late Lou Josephs and Jim Cutler because they advised me to keep the tapes. And the recordings outlived the station!

Building on the heritage

Flevo transmitter site in 2002. Towers are gone today

They say the pictures are better on the radio. Indeed it is a true theatre of the mind. But it could never show me everything I was interested in, like what happened behind the microphone. So with an eye on the future, I always took a (video) camera on my radio reportages for Radio Netherlands. 

Entire societies sprang up to remember the North Sea offshore radio pirates of the 1960s. But although thousands of hours of off-air audio recordings survive, the video footage can be counted in minutes. 

In 1997 I started to look for ways to capture more broadcasting stories that need to be told before we all forget. I realise that in making 1000 editions of Media Network, we had only just begun the scratch the surface. I was also amazed at how much help I got from an enthusiastic audience of active listeners and researchers.

Why the new series launches today, January 1st 2021

I've reached a point where it is time to release a series of long-form interviews looking back on the right colourful history of international radio broadcasting. I often thought I'd love to find out what happened to people and stations after the first series of Media Network concluded in 2000. Zoom, fibre-to-the-home and next-generation 4K webcams make a lot possible now.

I have posted extracts from today's Episode 1 before. But Episode 2, which will be released on Thursday, January 7th, has never been seen before.

This new series is designed to appeal to the enthusiast. It explores a depth that you never see on mainstream media. And that's because those channels are governed by audience figures. A lot of what you will see is for the public record because, otherwise, these stories will definitely disappear. 

Exploring the past is key to building a more meaningful future

I am hoping that once people see what people like Wolf Harranth achieved in Episode 2, others will be inspired to help recover and other archives. In the Netherlands, there is currently zero interest in restoring the heritage of Radio Netherlands. But that may be because there are no examples. Fortunately, there are some great initiatives like the Radio Netherlands Archive which have rescued several hundred excellent radio documentaries from the English Section Archive. But there is so much more to do, especially in the era of "fake news". 

I am also looking at ways of combining hundreds of hours of video footage I have made, as well as material from others to make more thematic documentaries. The 1982 propaganda series "Media Wars" and number stations come to mind. These themes are not new, but a lot of it is either incomplete or doesn't contain the sort of detail that I have access to, thanks to a great network of former listeners. My goal is to add to what's already out there adding new material when relevant. 

Constructive Thoughts and Suggestions welcome

I am using the relaunch to test out all sorts of ideas and technologies. 20 years ago, the idea of being able to reach audiences all over the world was just a dream - unless you had access to mainstream media.

I intend to build on this media blog which has been out here on the Interwebs for many years. A lot of it still stands and forms part of the archive I am building. 

NOTE: I need to separate this new project from other things I am involved with. So please use the dedicated email address for ALL constructive comments and suggestions.  It is medianetworknewseries@gmail.com

------------------

Series Two Begins

This is the first edition of the new series of Media Network Videocasts. I owe a lot to the city of Vienna and to the Austrian Shortwave Service for my start in broadcasting. In February 1974, I took part in a quiz that was running on their English service. You had to answer one question a day for a month. I did, and I won first prize. A week in Vienna courtesy of the Austrian tourist board. I went with my father - and it was truly wonderful. It was also where I decided that broadcasting sounded like a very interesting career. Two years later I was back in Vienna, freelancing for the English service. 

In 1976 I also met Wolf Harranth, at that time the editor of the German language programme KurzwellenPanorama. So began a life-long friendship. 

Fast forward now to the 2nd of September 2009. Austrian Radio’s shortwave service in English has long since gone, and Wolf is now leading the world’s largest Radio documentation project. It’s in a building across the road from ORF Funkhaus on the Argentinastrasse in downtown Vienna. And we have an invitation to visit. 

Here's the link to the video.

https://vimeo.com/495421343

Thursday, December 24, 2020

MN.26.12.1996 Boxing Day at RNW


Christmas and New Year were traditionally quiet times at Radio Netherlands, with a lot of pre-taped specials. We didn't really know whether anyone was listening. But apparently, they were because we had plenty of feedback to report on in this last Media Network of 1996. So join us for some time travel, back to the birth of the Internet.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.25.01.1996 Carleton Vobbe


I was delighted to discover in December 2020 that Neil Carleton of  Almonte, Ontario, Canada remembers us. We remember him. We originally got in touch with him because of his fascination for stamps connected with radio and his spot on HCJB, Quito. He must have owned the world's more comprehensive collection. But he also used shortwave radio for teaching. Here are some links to his more recent work.

RADIO IN THE CLASSROOM    Making connections across the curriculum with shortwave listening and amateur radio was a grand adventure each year during my teaching career.  Early one morning nine students, one each from kindergarten to grade 8, had their questions about space answered by the Commander of the International Space Station as the crew passed high overhead in orbit.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0zMn16z8to
 
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER    During my retirement years I've enjoyed volunteering with a variety of community organizations.  https://mvfn.ca/2009-champion-for-nature-neil-carleton/   https://millstonenews.com/geoheritage-park-inaugurates-qr-code/  Creative pursuits and amateur radio have also been special interests.  http://thehumm.com/online/theprinthumm.cfm?id=201901  https://millstonenews.com/neil-carletons-induction-to-amateur-radio-hall-of-fame/
 
We also talked to Fred Vobbe of the US National Radio Club in more detail about AM DXing in the winter months. And Lou Josephs has been reviewing the new book from "shock jock" Howard Stern. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.19.12.1996 Radio Safari


So whatever happened to the world's first green radio station, Radio Safari? In late 1996, we followed up on a report in New Scientist and met up with Andre Waters who had clearly identified a need for such a station in South Africa. But apart from that article and our report 12 months later, I can find no record of what happened to that project. Did it run out of money? Or is it around today under a different name. The same programme reports that Radio Canada International has been saved (again). Kiwi Radio in New Zealand is going to try another international test. We also discuss our methods in testing receivers. Especially figures for the dynamic range are a hot topic for debate amongst other reviewers. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.07.11.1996


This programme includes a visit to the shortwave transmitter site at Meyerton a small town lying 15 km north of Vereeniging in GautengSouth Africa. But the Wikipedia entry doesn't mention the radio towers that once broadcast the external service of Radio RSA during the apartheid era. Later it turned into Channel Africa, and spare airtime was rented out to other stations who wanted to reach Southern and Central Africa with a reliable signal. The trip to Meyerton was fascinating. So imagine my horror when the track with the interview I had done with Blackie Schwartz showed up as only 3 seconds long. Did I eject the disc too quickly? I sent the disc to Sony to see if the recording could be recovered. And 4 months later, they said they had recovered the file. Sure enough, it plays perfectly. These days the towers in Meyerton are silent, though recent time-lapse photos by Cobus van Zyl would indicate that the towers are still there. So what will happen from 2021 onwards?

Meyerton SW Centre


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.02.05.1996 Las Vegas NAB 750th


I remember this edition of Media Network like it was yesterday. It was edition 750. We had many greetings from around the world. And we reminded people that the programme's success was due to a great deal of help from people like Jim Cutler, John Campbell, Lou Josephs, Mike Bird and Victor Goonetilleke. And we celebrated the milestone by going to Las Vegas, NAB. Diana asked me a bit about how it all got started. Internet just starting to roll out to consumers. Big questions were being tabled about t the future of AM radio. We talked to Fred Vobbe, who was producing the monthly DX Audio Service. I'm delighted to discover that they have kept many of those fine programs here.  We also discovered a station in Melbourne, Florida which was one of the first to try broadcasting into the Internet instead of into the ether. We did a bandscan to discover that Las Vegas means "the meadows" and how to tip. The weather station was actually programmed by an automation company called WeatherRadio in Iowa. It uses 10,000 small audio files recorded by Tom Churchill. And I even found some of the early photos we took. Enjoy. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.02.05.1996 Las Vegas NAB 750th


I remember this edition of Media Network like it was yesterday. It was edition 750. We had many greetings from around the world. And we reminded people that the programme's success was due to a great deal of help from people like Jim Cutler, John Campbell, Lou Josephs, Mike Bird and Victor Goonetilleke. And we celebrated the milestone by going to Las Vegas, NAB. Diana asked me a bit about how it all got started. Internet just starting to roll out to consumers. Big questions were being tabled about t the future of AM radio. We talked to Fred Vobbe, who was producing the monthly DX Audio Service. I'm delighted to discover that they have kept many of those fine programs here.  We also discovered a station in Melbourne, Florida which was one of the first to try broadcasting into the Internet instead of into the ether. We did a bandscan to discover that Las Vegas means "the meadows" and how to tip. The weather station was actually programmed by an automation company called WeatherRadio in Iowa. It uses 10,000 small audio files recorded by Tom Churchill. And I even found some of the early photos we took. Enjoy. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.21.03.1996 Bhutan BBS


The main part of this edition of Media Network is a rather unique portrait of the Bhutan Broadcasting Service. Thanks to a duty trip by Radio Netherlands producer Dheera Sujan, we were able to visit the national broadcaster in Bhutan, the BBS. I remember the reason the station had a ping-pong table rather than a bar. Bhutan has an interesting policy on Tourism and there was no regulation in place covering broadcasting law. The radio is aimed at the rural population and at the time of Dheera's visit it had no TV station. They have technical challenges with only a 50kW shortwave transmitter. In winter this landlocked mountainous country had reception problems. They get QSL requests from places but have not printed a QSL as far as I know. They have an interesting policy about the ownership of satellite dishes. For more recent information, check out the Wikipedia page. In 2012, I remember showing a delegation from BBS around one of the Dutch regional broadcasters, Omroep Brabant in Eindhoven.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

MN.06.03.1997 HAARP COMPLETE


Satellite Radio is going to happen in the US, despite opposition from the NAB. Q-FM is the new name for Radio London. There is the first of many features on the (now defunct) HAARP project. This segment is probably the most extensive feature we did on the HAARP tests in Gakona, Alaska 99573.  We interview both those who are pro and against the military project. In fact, the HAARP project was discontinued in 2014. Don’t Cry for Me Arthur Cushen turned out to be a Jim Cutler joke that went further than we expected. We have new publications. Mike Bird says we got the propagation forecast wrong.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.13.03.1997 Yacht Boy 207


We start we extensive tuning tips. High Adventure Ministries Has started transmissions to Europe and opening a postbox in the US. Carl Kruger is hearing Costa Rica. Captain has heard a time signal station from Venezuela on 5 MHz while in the Dominican Republic. BBC. Austria is to resume test transmissions from Bisamberg on mediumwave 1476 kHz. Channel 5 has started up in the UK with test transmission. We test the Yacht Boy 207 and 217 portable receivers. DAB has entered a new phase of testing in the Netherlands. Radio E is also part of the mix. DAB is rolling out in Germany, with the addition of L-Band. WRN’s Jeff Cohen explains the DAB tests that have started in the UK.  He explains what could happen with football communities. South Korea says their broadcast system will convert to digital by 2010. Mike Bird says the prediction was wrong this week.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.13.02.1997 Before Borat


Lots of calls from listeners at the start of this Media Network.  David Ward tells us about a new wind-up radio from Morphy Richards. We compare it with the Baygen motor. Andy Sennitt reports a comprehensive website on AFRTS. http://afrtsarchive.blogspot.com/ . Us backed Radio Free Asia is now on the air targeting Vietnam. Victor Goonetilleke reports that the jammers are active again. Up to 5 transmitters are being used. RFA is using transmitters in Russia(!) and Palo. Esther van der Pluim helps out with the results of Media Quiz 1997. Martin Hadlow of UNESCO reports on the line from Alma Ata in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Lack of newsprint is a problem. Internet access is 12 dollars an hour! Satellite television is important. They are trying to start Silk Road Information Radio between the countries of Central Asia. We cross to a boiling hot Mike Bird in Melbourne.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, November 01, 2020

MN.06.06.1996.Ariane 5 Fails


Channel Africa will lose its funding. The future of the Meyerton. The first Ariane 5 self-destructs. There were four satellites called CLUSTER which were lost. In the end they were rebuilt and launched. Dr Richard Thompson from IPS reports we are passed the end of  solar cycle 22. We visit Montreaux to understand what is happening with EuroDAB. Hans Bakhuizen says that satellite DAB receivers are expected soon. Arthur Cushen and Mike Bird have reports and so does Diana on her Italian holiday.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.18.04.1996 Jemstone


We often spoke with Jemstone founder Tudor Lomas. This was the first time he explains what is happening between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. BBC World Service Arabic TV service has gone off the air because of a break with its partner ORBIT-TV. Professor Doug Boyd says he was surprised that it lasted so long. VOA is also experimenting with Arabic TV. Austria will operate a special Marconi radio station OE1M1M  this weekend. CHNS in Halifax, Nova Scotia has a low power station on 6130 with an official callsign of CHNX. The CH used to stand for the Carlton Hotel. Victor Goonetilleke has news about Burma and Vietian, Laos. SLBC has joined the WWW on June 9th 1996 with a celebration including Arthur C Clarke.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

ShareThis