Monday, August 12, 2019

MN.12.08.2019. A visit with Dan Robinson Episode 1

This is the first in a new series of Media Network special video safaris, investigating the long slow fadeout of shortwave international broadcasting. Today's guest is Dan Robinson. We talk at length about the magic of shortwave receivers, international broadcasting and his 34 year career at the Voice of America.

Since Libsyn is an audio podcast network, please watch this episode on vimeo using this link. 

 

I remember filling in US visa forms in the plane and using the zipcode 20547 when asked for a hotel address. 330 Independence Avenue was easy to remember and I had heard it mentioned so many times on the air.

This is an in-depth video, and designed to ensure that important stories about international broadcasting are preserved. We may make a more popular, shorter version at a later stage. But for the moment, I am grabbing the stories long form while I can. Suggestions welcome to a special e-mail address: medianetworknewseries@gmail.com


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, August 03, 2019

MN.15.01.1998. Boundless & RNZI


Crazy opening with Coco Jambo. Radio New Zealand may be axed. We spoke with Linden Clark (photo) who explains the importance of RNZI, producing some 30 bulletins of news each day. Shortwave still makes sense because of the vast distances. There are problems with the license of independent station Star Radio in Monrovia, Liberia. They are funded by USAID. We look at the challenges facing documentary makers. We compare the glory days of radio theatre, programmes like The Shadow and Tales of Two Cities. Lots of quotes from Orson Welles. He explains that most directors and writers are actors. We have another visit to the documentary festival “Boundless Sound” in Amsterdam and hear from Chris Brooks of the CBC. ABC Australia argues that the “Listening Room” project works. Michiel Matszer says there may be too many documentaries being made in the Netherlands. 20-30,000 listeners daily, but each documentary may take a month to produce. Victor Goonetilleke explains the launch of student radio. The SLBC loaned a 50-watt transmitter, especially at science festival. He also reports Myanmar is being heard quite well in North America. Mike Bird’s report comes from a phone box, as Mike is on holiday.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.24.03.1994 -schedule changes and Capital Radio


Shortwave radio stations shifted their frequencies to cope with changing propagation conditions. It was often quite challenging to find where your favorite station had gone to when the summer schedule started. Although it may sound boring to read lists of times and frequencies, as in this edition of Media Network, there really was no other way unless you had one the station's programme schedules. Radio Mozambique is facing severe problems both technical and financial. We promote our "email facility". Radio Norway may close down its Fredrikstad transmitter. The Grundig Yacht Boy 320 and 360 has been announces. These sets costs around 150 Dollars. JIngle Feature: We look at the Dutch evangelist Johan Maasbach and how offshore radio disk jockeys would imitate the style of the religious sponsor. BBC World Service has closed its monthly magazine. Radio Netherlands launches new jingles for 1440 kHz from Hans Hoogedoorn.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.21.12.1994. EBS and Basicode


This was a news update edition of the programme. Tony Barratt pays us a nice compliment. Lou Josephs reports about the newly expanded AM band above 1600 kHz. US Digital Radio is failing. BBC has announced that DAB demos will be made in Berlin in the Funkausstellung in 1995. We also look at the future of the Emergency Broadcast System as the US moves to a digital service. Who remembers the CONALRAD?  Do you remember to BASICODE experiments in 1992? Optimod killed it. What happened to the AM data system to help spread schedule data in real time? Pierre Schwab in Hong Kong explains ID-Logic. Tom Sundstrom reports problems with the Mali transmitter of China Radio International. HAARP in Alaska is getting ready. Louis Slesin of Microwave News is critical. Voice of Russia has started using a new directional antenna on 1215 kHz, causing grief to Virgin Radio in the UK. Radio Free Europe/VOA has a new service from Holzkirchen on 1593. BBC Monitoring has completed an extension of its facilities in Caversham.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.08.12.1994. Veronica and Zambia


A news edition of the programme. Radio Tirana is now hiring out airtime on 1395 kHz. Trans World Radio signs on from the 1 MW transmitter in Albania. This is causing a bit of a headache in the Netherlands where Newsradio1395 is being planned by Veronica. Diana Janssen investigates. Piet van Tellingen from NOS Radio 1 thinks it won’t work – but then he would say that. BBC Radio 1 has left mediumwave. TalkRadio is to launch in its place. Dutch troops captured in Bosnia have been listening to Radio Netherlands as their only way of finding out what was going on. Because they knew their captors might understand the word “radio”, they gave the station the codename strawberry instead. We also play the solarplexis joke. The call of the FishEagle used to be the only identification out of Zambia. That was the government broadcaster Radio Zambia. We now follow-up on a new christian station called Christian Voice which has now gone on the air. We find out the details of how it has been organised and the technical details of the transmitter. A UK singer living in Denmark has released an album of songs about amateur radio called SEEKYOU. James Robinson reported on a new country radio network on Astra. Victor Goonetilleke reports on the 5th anniversary of the South Asian DX-SWL net on 7080 kHz +/-. An amateur radio operator has gone on the air in Palestine backed by Yassar Arafat.. Sam Voran’s Radio Free Somalia is back on the air. Arthur Cushen has been following up.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.02.06.1994 Soros moves to Prague


A news edition of the programme (i.e. plenty of short items). 

Richard Measham of BBC Monitoring Services explains that Radio Metropolis in Prague will start a commercial radio service on shortwave including programmes in English. Jeff White reports about the demise of La Voz del CID, the Cuban clandestine run by Cuban exiles. The FCC has a new bulletin board. VLQ9 Brisbane heard in Europe. Mike Bird investigates and discovers it’s a new channel for Radio Australia. George Soros announces it will take over the 15 million items in the RFE/RL archives and move them to Prague. Radio D-Day from Bournemouth is currently on the air. Radio Kiwi has announced a schedule of test broadcasters. Jeff White explains at WRMI. Radio Dnesti International,  broadcasts three times a week heard on 15290 kHz.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Thursday, August 01, 2019

MN.19.09.1994.WillemBos


A news edition of the programme. Radio Netherlands is closing the Arabic, French and Portuguese shortwave broadcasts after a re-organisation. Holland FM transmissions noted 1224 kHz. Radio Moscow is stopping its broadcasts in several languages including Dutch and Afrikaans. Australian TV’s future is in doubt because of high costs. There were questions when it was revealed that companies had paid to be part of the public service programming. Another review of Radio Australia has been set up. Hans Bakhuizen updates us on DAB’s launch, expected in Berlin in 1995 and the ESA Archimedes project.

Visit to IBC 1994 in Amsterdam. Jeff Cohen explains MPEG compression and the plans for the World Radio Network. Arthur Cushen has been following the crisis surrounding the volcano eruption in Papua New Guinea. We also talk with Dutch radio engineer, Willem Bos, about the trend to launch cheaper communications receivers under 1000 US dollars.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

MN.09.06.1994. Guiana Car Radios


Media Network grew in the mid-nineties because of topical input from its listeners who volunteered information. This was in an age before email and phone calls abroad were very expensive. That may help to explain the shoeshine sketch at the start of this news edition of the programme. This coming winter the lower sunspot numbers will mean difficult reception in the lower frequencies. Radio Thailand external services is now using the VOA Udorn transmitter site. SRI is now operating via French Guiana. SRI talks about its shortwave signal via Monsinery, French Guiana as well as satellite feeds to stations in Brazil. Lou Josephs reports that the Philips car radio DCC811 will only have the 49 metre band on it. Lowe radio is expanding in North America. Universal Radio has published a new utility guide. Lou Josephs explains that audio downloads from VOA are still rather slow through dial-up. Holland FM is to start shortly on 1224 kHz via the Communicator. Some of the stations in the Ukraine appear to be off the air. Also some Russian stations have disappeared. Ghana has also disappeared from Shortwave. Arthur Cushen has tuning tips from Invercargill, New Zealand including news that the BBC World Service AM frequencies are up for sale.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, July 14, 2019

MN.04.08.1994. KGEI


KGEI signed off for the last time. We trace the history of the station from the days when it was started by General Electric on Treasure Island for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. But now the costs of running this religious station out of Redwood City make no sense at all. We also find out about plans for a shortwave religious radio station in Zambia, Christian Voice. They will have a 100 kW transmitter serving a 1500 km radius. Karl Miosga explains expansion plans at World Radio Network in London.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.17.11.1994 East German psyops


We look at a mysterious station OPS which used to operate on 1430 kHz aimed at the US forces in Berlin. It was presumed to come from the Nalepastrasse, home of Radio Berlin International. Jonathan Marks visited to find out more about the BBC Networking Club. A small team of 8 people set up the club including a Bulletin board called Auntie. They started an Archive library. BBCNC started with 500 members. They were also trying to make the schedules of BBC World Service easier to understand. In 1994 there were an estimated 30 million users of the Internet.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.13.04.1994.WashingtonEasterIsland


This edition came from Washington DC where an international broadcasting meeting was being held at VOA Headquarters. There were major cuts announced to US International broadcasting. We did an interview with Worldspace founder, Noah Samara, who had a whole string of promises as a result of working with Motorola on satellite receivers. Gordon Harold of the BBC and an engineer from EBU comment on whether the Eureka 147 standard is suitable for satellite receivers. Terry Hargreaves of RCI says Canada has already made a decision for satellite DAB. In the final part of the programme, we chat with Alfonso Montealegre, media editor for Radio Netherlands Latin American service. He recounts his DXpedition to Easter Island and its radio links with Chile. Mike Bird closes with the propagation report.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.15.12.1994. RadioMoscow


Delighted to discover a cassette copy of this programme because the original Master has been lost. It includes a visit to Radio Moscow by Frans Suasso, former deputy programme chief at Radio Netherlands in the early 1990's. He was an authority on Eastern Europe, especially on the dramatic changes going on in the former Soviet Union. In 1994 he did a tour of Eastern Europe. This was the era where Russia had opened up its transmitting facilities and was relaying Western broadcasters (including Radio Netherlands) to the Middle East and Asia. Frans got to talk to Boris Belitsky, who presented programmes like "Science and Engineering". Boris was remarkably candid about the old days". We also found out more about the vast switching centre in Moscow at the heart of the largest radio transmitting network on the planet. We also had a correction to an item on WQEW which Arthur Cushen had been hearing in New Zealand. Robert Mugabe has inaugurated Zimbabwe's external service. Diana Janssen updates us on disappearance of Radio Gatashia and the role that radio was playing in the Rwandan genocide. Andy James gives us more information about Christian Voice in Zambia which has just signed on. Andy Sennitt has a round-up of tuning tips including the news that Radio Caroline is back on mediumwave.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Friday, July 05, 2019

MN.11.12.1997 - Eastern Europe reportage


After a few programme announcements and the propagation report, we presented a mini-documentary looking at various Western international broadcasters and their role in Eastern Europe. While stations like Radio Berlin International disappeared, stations like Radio France Internationale did deals with local radio stations in Bucharest, Romania. Obviously FM stations had running costs so nothing was for free. But exactly how much stations were paying for distribution on FM was often kept secret.  This programme was made with a lot of input from Eric Beauchemin who was travelling in the region for other Radio Netherlands' programmes. The photo I made in Bucharest in 2007, where it was clear to see that the RFI relay was still going strong. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, January 13, 2019

MN.28.10.1982 European TV


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. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.26.05.1982 EDXC Lesotho


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.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, January 12, 2019

MN.18.11.1982 ANC Radio Freedom


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).


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.25.11.1982 Suriname


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. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.25.08.1993. Media War in the Balkans


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 episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.19.02.1982 Poland


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.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.30.03.1983. Asian Special


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.    


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

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