Saturday, January 23, 2016

DutchJazz in Nagasaki 2001

Part two of the two part jazz show I recorded with Hans Mantel in Nagasaki Japan. I recall it was a very strange time to be in Japan with the aftermath of 9/11 so fresh in peoples' minds.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dutch Jazz in Tokyo 2001

This was the first of two programmes I made for Dutch Horizons, a great show on Radio Netherlands English service. I helped to set up an exchange between NHK Radio Japan and Radio Netherlands. Jazz is extremely popular in Japan. So Hans Mantel and I went with the best of Dutch jazz talent to challenge the Japanese to an improv concert. Did it once in Tokyo, then a few days later in Nagasaki. Glad I kept the tapes. Mantel is a brilliant radio performer as well as being a great musician. He is a fountain of anecdotes, even though his website is always under construction.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, January 17, 2016

MN.23.12.1998. XmasMyersTribute

This was a sad week - presenter Pete Myers had passed away the week before. This programme included a great tribute from Victor Goonetilleke. We made a full tribute to Pete in a programme called A Talent to Amuse which is also archived on this site.
But the programme also included news about media changes in Iraq. And a clandestine station, Voice of the Tamil Tiger is a new AM broadcasting station being heard in Sri Lanka. We also look at the possible link with London based IBC.  Radio Napa in Cyprus is linking with several local stations around Europe for a Christmas special. Peter Walsh in Australia on the future of radio. Andy Sennitt is working on the Real Radio Ezine and came on permanent staff at Radio Netherlands. Media Network's Christmas Quiz wants you to tell us what you like. My son, Christopher who was 9 years old at the time did the intros this time.  Fun times.... Picture shows Pete Myers with Dheera Sujan and Maggie Ayre.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

MN.18.12.1997. LatinAmerica

I personally think the old Media Network was at its best when it mixed documentary features with informed reports from the network of media enthusiasts around the globe. We built all kinds of conversations about our shared passion for international broadcasting and searching for signals between "DC and daylight." This was a typical show from December 1997, which this time featured a new station in Buenos Aires.
Stay tuned to this podcast channel, because news is coming about the return of Media Network in 2016. I am personally intrigued to find out what happened since we reported all this. You heard it here first.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Monday, January 11, 2016

MN.06.04.1988. DXing Indonesia

This programme from April 1988 was a based on my personal trip to Indonesia. I took a shortwave radio and a Walkman Pro on my holidays, making tapes of the local broadcasts off-air to compile this travelogue. I'm glad these recordings have survived because you couldn't hear most of it on shortwave. I recall the Voice of Indonesia kept re-using tape, with the result that the print-through from previous broadcasts was clearly audible. Interested in a copy of DXing Indonesia? Leave a message in the comments section.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.06.08.1981. Pacific broadcast Indonesian Special

A year after I joined Radio Netherlands, I remember making a feature on the different kinds of music you could hear on Indonesian radio stations. Thousands of stations were operating on the lower shortwave bands in those days, which meant the signal would often spill over to other parts of world. Victor Goonetilleke would often report hearing stations, but also Dan Robinson on the US East Coast. I got tape back from some of the stations in the RRI network and compiled the feature you can hear in this release. In fact this was a one-off repeat broadcast via Bonaire to the Pacific. There had been a transmission failure during the original broadcast, and we got letters asking to hear it again. The answer was to do the second of the two Pacific broadcasts live. So that explains why I sign-off the transmission at the end. I wonder if there is interest in posting the brochure "DXing Indonesia" which I still have?

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A few words about the Media Network Vintage Vault


Welcome. I'm Jonathan Marks. If this is the first time you've visited this blog, then I'm glad you dropped by! As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech startups and scale-ups in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven region. I can frequently be found at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, now home to more than 140 extremely interesting companies. I'm particularly interested because this region is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1927.
Radio Netherlands when it was a broadcasting station

Reliving Mainstream broadcast heritageNearly six years ago, in early February 2010, I began an on-line experiment with podcasting to understand how the distribution system works and see whether we could rebuild an audience. We wanted to recreate a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000. It is over 35 years since the Media Network was launched as the name of the media show on Radio Netherlands, building on the rich heritage of programmes that went before it.

We ran on the shortwave wireless from May 7th 1981 until the end of October 2000 with more than 1000 editions. Many of the features are gradually making their way onto the website as a celebration of international broadcasting's second Golden Age.

Radio Netherlands no longer exists as a radio station in English in the way that we knew it. (They signed off at the end of June 2012 as documented on this site). The RN Classical Music station was around for a short while after, but that too had been yanked from the Interwebs. Join me in raising a glass to the great days of analogue adventures!

I release between 6 and 8 vintage Media Network's a month, as time permits. We have now reached more than 538,845 downloads, numbers being boosted by interest in the programmes about China and several documentaries about propaganda, during the Second World War and later.

Media Network was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. I hosted and produced the programme, but a lot of the content was made by a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers located all over the globe. Diana Janssen also joined me as co-host during the last 5 years of the programme. She made a considerable contribution to the programme. 
RNW studios in 2001
I kept copies of most of the programmes, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period. Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have gradually digitized the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting and where it might go after shortwave. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-YouTube, pre-email, when most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them. 

I am always interested in your reactions, especially from people who may be discovering this material for the first time. It will encourage me to post more. Looking at the site stats, it would seem that around 13% of the subscribers are downloading via iTunes. The rest do so directly from the site or using 3rd party apps. Please tell friends about the vault and encourage them to subscribe. 

There are also radio related videos which I made more recently over on my video vault.

Finding a show 

If you want to see what has been put up since February 2010, click on the Media Network Archives orange button on the right and all the editions will be listed. You can also subscribe in iTunes by searching for "Media Network Vintage". As each "new" edition is published, it will download automatically to your MP3-player of choice.

The statistics show that most people download the shows through this site directly or through Facebook. As of the end of December 2015, the most popular programmes have been those on wartime deception, Radio London (offshore station and the train), the MN Jingle collection and the RNI Libya programme. Note that programmes are now archived under the months in which they were published. I know some of the material here is niche stuff - but I also know that people interested in international communications and broadcasting are very passionate people. Because of the politics, it provided a constant wave of stories. I also believe that we developed one of the first collaborative formats on international radio, where individuals could do some detective work, report their results, and share experiences with those with a similar passion

Recent remarks on Facebook and Linked-in have generated all kinds of reactions including a request to share some statistics.

Here are the stats for 2015. When I post series of programmes, the number of monthly downloads goes up considerably. The peak in July 2015 was nearly 80,000 downloads which I think is pretty amazing considering the age of this material and the fact that it was never intended for a mainstream audience.

MN.25.12.1997 Christmas Special

The feature producers at Radio Netherlands were always given the task of making extended pre-recorded Christmas and New Years Day programmes because there were no current affairs magazines like Newsline aired on those days. So Media Network suddenly became 46 minutes long. I'm glad I found this Christmas Day show from 1997 in time for Christmas 2015. It includes a feature about offshore radio. You will hear the voices of Jim Cutler, Lou Josephs, Vasily Strelinikov, Andy Sennitt, Bryan Clarke, Esther van Pluym, Willemien Groot, Ray Anderson et al, Victor Goonetilleke, Katherine Farnon and Mike Bird. Please don't write to those addresses or call the answerline. Although it sounds fresh, this is time travel back to 18 years ago.  Christmas was always a special time at Radio Netherlands, especially for kids of staff and freelancers. The visit of Sinterklaas a few weeks before at the start of December was always a highlight. Wherever you are this year and whatever you celebrate, I wish you peace, happiness and joy.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Monday, December 21, 2015

MN.16.03.1995.Benidorm & BVN

This edition of Media Network includes details of Radio Netherlands summer transmission schedule, an interview with the late Joop Heintz about the project together with Radio Benidorm and Director General Lodewijk Bouwens on the setting up of the BVN Television service. I see that BVN is finally streaming its service online for viewers outside the Benelux, though I am not sure why they are using a rather old-fashioned Flash-based player.

MN.26.11.1981 Live Asian Special

In 1981 we experimented with live special editions of Media Network directed to South Asia. There was a lot of mail coming in from India and Sri Lanka (mainly postcards) which we couldn't handle in the regular show. It was always a balance too - we were talking about technology that was not readily available in South Asia. But the feedback we got was that was an excellent reason to listen. This programme is 34 years old - from an era when phone calls were very expensive and mail sometimes took up to 3 months to arrive in Hilversum.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault