Tuesday, June 15, 2021

MN.14.08.1980 Afghanistan and the Soviets


This is the second edition of DX Juke Box that I hosted, having joined Radio Netherlands a couple of weeks earlier. The programme in those days was a mixture of music and tuning tips contributed by others. My goal, together with Wim van Amstel, was to do more investigative reporting. There was no production budget, but there were plenty of enthusiastic reporters. Before leaving BBC Monitoring I had also recorded several items with people like Richard Measham. In this edition we discussed how the Russian's had taken over Afghan media. Richard revealed that it all started with a tip off from Andy Sennitt. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, February 28, 2021

RadioMoscowWarmongers


Look what I found. When I was working for the ORF Shortwave Panorama, BBC Monitoring Service and later Radio Netherlands, I learned the importance of taping everything I was listening to. Radio has no memory. And back in the 70’s and 80’s there was no Wikipedia, no Youtube, no means to check a story on the wires. If you wanted access to Reuters or the wire services you had to monitor radio stations for news. I was collecting media news, so I used to tape colleague broadcasters. Many of the cassettes have gone, but then I discovered a box of mystery cassettes including an edition of warmongers monthly with the familiar voice of Vasily Strelnikov. This is an edition from December 1987 I think. And this is Radio Moscow poking fun at the Americans. It was completely out of sync with the rest of the station's output. 

 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

DXJB.25.09.1980


Another early edition of DX Juke Box, with input from my good friend Victor Goonetilleke. I sent him a tape recorder and plenty of cassette. I would phone him and he would record his answers on cassette and send them in. Phone lines were useless in those days. In this edition, Victor was still sending contributions on reel-to-reel tape, recorded at the studios of TWR. Photo when Victor visited RNW about 15 years later.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.18.09.1980 Early days


A little over a month after taking over the programme, I was starting to phase out the music in DX Juke Box and bring in more equipment tests to replace the construction lessons. I got a lot of help from Wim Van Amstel. Basically just fooling around. And learning that editing was supposed to be done electronically in studios. So I found an old machine on the 1st floor and pirated it.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.23.01.1986 Radio Fryslan


For some reason this trip up North to Friesland to visit Radio Fryslan was digitized but never uploaded to this Media Network collection. So time to put that right. The picture is the modern studio centre. Very much smaller back then.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Media Network reflects on BBC World Radio Club


Going through some cassettes on the last day of February and I discovered several cassettes of BBC's programme for shortwave listeners. World Radio Club and Waveguide. The earliest recording turned out to be from July 1977 which I recorded while at a DX camp in Austria. Nice to hear the voices of Peter Barsby and Henry Hatch. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Media Network reflects on BBC World Radio Club


Going through some cassettes on the last day of February and I discovered several cassettes of BBC's programme for shortwave listeners. World Radio Club and Waveguide. The earliest recording turned out to be from July 1977 which I recorded while at a DX camp in Austria. Nice to hear the voices of Peter Barsby and Henry Hatch. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, January 30, 2021

MN.01.12.1998 Longwave China


This edition had another Longwave update. We talk to John Ross Barnard about the attempts to get longwave radio out of the Isle of Man. Delta 171 seems to be a non-starter though. Web TV has challenges too. A personal computer program has been launched for the Lowe HF-150.  Phil Murphy has comments about the program we did from Shanghai. Harald Kuhl sent a post-script on his trip to Shanghai. Long-distance trains have their own radio station. Lots of announcements discouraging spitting. And Jonathan picked up a Chinese wind-up radio - no spring like the Baygen version though.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.05.03.1998 Tahiti and Boyd


In this edition, Lodewijk Bouwens launches DRM at a conference in China on behalf of other Western broadcasters. (This is the earliest announcement we know of concerning digital shortwave radio). We also look at USA Digital Radio. Some good signals came out of RCI in Montreal this week on their 53rd anniversary. Bryan Clark has news that Tahiti has suddenly returned on 15170 kHz. The second half of the programme features an extended interview with Professor Doug Boyd, who is a specialist on Middle East Broadcasting. Satellite Television is booming. But what happened to the BBC’s attempts? When the first attempt failed, it spawned the launch of Al Jazeera. Radio is becoming increasingly FM orientated.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.12.02.1998 Campbell Cooper


Ignore all the email address and phone numbers mentioned in this edition of the programme. They are all obsolete. However, we have revived a new email address for reactions on these vintage editions as well as new video editions of the programme for 2021 - please email medianetworknewseries@gmail.com

We started the Feb 1998 edition by previewing the results to the Big Survey. We investigate the first Audible Player (yes they are still going strong). In this case, the 1998 Audible player had a built-in FM radio. Fred Osterman will be in our Lightning special at the end of February 98. Andy Sennitt has news from Paraguay, where a military uprising was reported as a joke. Community radio has the go-ahead in Brazil. Radio Astronomers are complaining about interference from broadcast satellites.  Professor John Campbell has an update on increasing bandwidth but network operators have responded. Campbell had some interesting predictions on the future Microsoft. He thought it would go the way of IBM. (I think he is right – in 2021 look at the popularity of Zoom compared to Microsoft Skype and Teams). Jonathan tells the story of the big bang at Flevo. And we were amazed at how many pirates had a transmitter ready to transmit on 5955 Khz. John Campbell has news about the pirates in the Eastern part of the Netherlands and North America. 6955 kHz is a popular channel.  There are 500 new satellite transponders. We talk to Bob Cooper in New Zealand about the Euro bouquet and what it costs to get into satellite. He had some very disparaging comments about Australian satellite TV. I am delighted to note Bob’s website is still around.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

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

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