I recall that several of the early experiments in Europe wide satellite broadcasting by public broadcasters started on the top floor of one of the villas in the Emmastraat in Hilversum. Its started on the Orbital Test Satellite which required a huge dish to receive it. In this early episode of Media Network we talked to Klaas Jan Hindriks who was one of the early pioneers. The IBA from the UK explains about plans for direct satellite broadcast television in 1986. We suggest to Joop Acda, DG of Radio Netherlands, that this might be an opportunity for RNW. The programme concludes with the BASICODE promo (the famous Sherlock jingle from Pete Myers) and DX News from Victor Goonetilleke.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
This edition of the programme is from the early series of Media Network. We were very much focused on the Falkands War at the time, and this programme was a catch-up show to report on other things. Richard Ginbey was a broadcaster who worked in South Africa, New Zealand, and Namibia. I think he was unique in recording and compiling what he heard on his shortwave radio. In this edition he traces the history of broadcasting in Lesotho. I think he used cassettes, so the editing must have been challenging. I think he cued up the clips and played them in to his live presentation. Some people may also remember him from the DX programme he ran on Radio Portugal - the Voice of the West. Wim van Amstel reports on his visit to the European DX Council in Cologne. This was an era when there was very little contact between shortwave broadcasters and their listeners. We also reviewed the Directory of World Band radio from Sony, concluding that it wasn't of much use. We spoke with Pat Gowen, G3IOR, (pictured) about the work of AMSAT and how the findings may have to modify our thoughts about radio propagation. Pat passed away in August 2017. The programme concludes with Arthur Cushen who had been hearing some amazing transpacific signals on mediumwave.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
We started with a critical letter from William O'Dickerman who wants more tuning tips about English stations. Andy Sennitt also suggests that there isn't enough news. As Leonid Brezhnev was laid to rest, Radio Moscow said that there was a 5 minute silence across the country. We found that it didn't include the jamming stations. Richard Hunt queries if Philips is getting into the domestic satellite TV business. We visit Dennis Powell at radio station WOR in New York and marvel at their recent use of satellite feeds which improve the audio quality. We look at the priorities for news stations in New York. We spoke to the people behind Radio Freedom which was raising awareness for its shortwave broadcasts in the Netherlands. The programme concludes with DX tips from Dan Robinson. (This recording was made off the transmission line in Bonaire which explains the AM sound rather than usual studio quality).
A rather mixed bag this week. Pete Myers reports that the UN may make it difficult for countries to start direct broadcast satellite transmissions. There is a new series of photographs in Amsterdam which show all the various types of domestic broadcasters. DLF in Cologne has doubled its power on LW and you can win a radio. Mike Barraclough reports about pirates that will be testing across the Atlantic. We were quite famous for in-depth reviews of radio equipment. In this edition, we review the AN-1 active antenna from Sony. We found that the antenna totally overloaded the portable radio. (This was a very detailed test). Asian DX News from Victor Goonetilleke is hearing stations in Latin America. We also looked at broadcasting in Suriname. We talked to Victor Hafkamp of Radio Netherlands Caribbean Dept. SRS is calling itself Radio Venceremos.
We did several reports from Yugoslavia as the country gradually broke up. These were the days when we spoke of Serbia and rump Yugoslavia. Eric Beauchemin compiled this excellent feature on the role played by the media, especially television, in the Balkans war in 1983. This edition was actually sent out on transcription to other international stations, which is why it is only 15 minutes instead of the usual half hour.
This was a newsy edition of Media Network in early 1982. KYOI, the SW music station in Saipan is planning to start testing November 1st. 107 people have written to support Radio New Zealand on shortwave. Tunnel Radio is launching in the US. FEBA Seychelles is faced with political problems on the island. Andy Sennitt has news about World Music Radio on 6219 kHz. Capital Radio in Transkei may resite its transmitters. Over the last 18 months we've been looking at what it is like to listen to western broadcasters in Katowice, Poland. We did a quick feature on time signal stations. We find the transmitter of CHU in Canada. Dan Robinson has some tips of African and Latin American stations he has been hearing in Washington DC. Rudy van Dalen reports that the Greek military station has become ERT-2.
It was difficult sourcing audio from South Asia back in 1983. Tape recordings of radio stations were rare and phone lines to just about anywhere were crackly. We started with some frequency changes to our English transmissions. The shortwave equipment news is about the Sony ICF7600D. The new receiver has keypad tuning. Pete Myers has new RF-799 from Panasonic. There a clandestine station in Kabul. Gaither Stewart has news about Radio Free Afghanistan. Radio Nepal has two new transmitters, a gift from Japan. Mohini Shephard has been visiting the station. Pete Myers reports on the National Youth Association in Bhutan using recordings from Adrian Peterson in Poona. ORF Vienna has a Master Morse course. We also talked to Finn Krone, producer of AWR World DX News on 9670. Radio Freedom, the Voice of The Sri Lankan people. Finn thinks it comes from Germany. There is news from Cambodia and Thailand as well. The final report is about the radio battles going on in Andorra. Robbert Bosschart reports from Madrid.
Monday, December 31, 2018
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
We open a new telephone hotline for DX tips (overseas calls were still very expensive though). Professor John Campbell has been to Ireland and discovered why some of the unofficial stations are connected to hotels. Some may be coming back to shortwave. He shares some amazing stories about how these stations survive. We also talk to Bob Zanotti of Swiss Radio International about Radio 24 and the fight for local commercial radio. Venezuela claims it is on the air with a new broadcast for the Caribbean and the Americas. We review a new academic book on International broadcasting by Dr Donald Browne. Voice for the World has been published by the BBC External Services. Richard Ginbey has news that Namibia has appeared on mediumwave.
We started with news about frequency changes. I joined the VRT Open day and a trip to Wavre, the transmitter site of Radio Vlaanderen International. Director Jan van der Sichel has plans for a satellite transponder for Europe. They will not switch off the medium and shortwave. The World Radio Network is also launching its new English network on satellite. Professor John Campbell explains how clandestine stations have changed and why FM is the biggest enemy to clandestine monitoring. John reviews a new book called Danger Signals? by Barry Collins. He questions whether the unofficial stations are really causing interference to utility services. There news about a Sony radio ICFSW30L, and the ICFSW-55 Sony Style magazine.
Note there is a more extensive profile of Radio Vlaanderen International made two years later
A regular edition of Media Network, one which I thought we wouldn’t be making. If there was an 11 cities skating race in Friesland, then the feature programmes were dumped. But in this case in 1986, things started thawing and the event was cancelled. An Ariane satellite will be launched, we spotted the clandestine Radio Bardai in Libya, Richard Ginbey can hear the Voice of Africa also from Libya. On the receiver front, there were free changes to the Philips D2999. Pete Myers joins us with a review of the Philips D2935. We thought it only fair. In clandestines, Prof John Campbell has news of transatlantic tests by UK unofficial station (Radio Medway), and Irish station Radio Ireland International. Andy Sennitt in Copenhagen had news about Mali, and Equatorial Guinea. The results of Media Quiz 1986 with the answers. Bob Horvitz has news about the Woodpecker Projects. Mike Bird says the ionosphere is quiet and the start of the ABC's shower service.
A lot has been written and documented about the growth of UK Commercial Radio. Much less on the growth of commercial radio in Ireland to break the monopoly of the Irish public broadcaster RTE. In 1982, we ran quite a comprehensive survey of the situation in Dublin. The late John Campbell also gave us frequent updates as the pirates tried to provide an alternative.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
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 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.
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.
Saturday, December 15, 2018
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.