Mailbox

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Today's Mailbox includes Topics: amount of e-mail quoted in Mailbox, listening conditions in Egypt, formula 1 motor racing, the town of Telc, one of the historic sites shown on this year's Radio Prague QSL cards Quotes from: Jaakko Haapamaeki, Emad Azkal, Paul Karassarlidis, Mrs. Jyotsna Banu, Matthew Weitendorf, Danny Jameson, Ben Loveless

Yes, here we are with listeners' letters and questions - we, that's Nicole Klement and Olga Szantova. And it's not only questions we have from listeners, but comments as well, and, of course, some critical comments, too. Jaakko Haapamaeki, our regular and faithful listener from Filipstad, Sweden has words of praise for Letter from Prague, but about Mailbox he says

"Too much on web sites, Mailbox is lost to websites."

And other listeners have commented on the fact that we quote too many listeners who write via e-mail and we do not even know where they live. Yes, we ourselves have noticed that more and more listeners contact us via e-mail and that more and more of them know Radio Prague thanks to its web-site. That's a fact of life and I'm afraid we cannot do much about it. Mailbox can only react to the mail we get and to the interest shown by listeners.

But it's always great to receive letters from various parts of the world, real letters, in envelopes and with stamps on them. It makes us realize we really are being heard all over the world. Here is one letter from a country we don't often hear from - Emad Azkal is a 20 year old organic chemistry student in Egypt says

"I'd like to thank your sound engineering staff for a job excellently done. Your signal is strong and clear."

And I'll just add that Emad listens to Radio Prague on 22 MHz in the 13 meter band. He is a new listener and writes that he intends to listen regularly.

We have another new listener in Greece. Paul Karassarlidis from Edessa, Macedonia writes that he visited the Czech Republic some months ago and that he met a beautiful girl here, and he'd like us to play a song for her. It's not the only request of its kind, so I'll just say, once more, that Radio Prague is a short wave station beamed to listeners abroad and with the exception of the biggest Czech cities, where our program is transmitted on FM, we are not heard on Czech territory.

And besides, the English Section only has 30 minutes of broadcasting time, and, obviously we try to give as much general information about the Czech Republic as we possibly can, and as it is, have problems getting everything in. As it is, some listeners are complaining that we don't cover more topics, or those that we do, not in sufficient detail.. Mrs. Jyotsna Banu from Murshidabad, in West Bengal, India writes:

"On behalf of our club I would like to inform you that we are regular listeners of Radio Prague. I really like your news coverage. It is helpful for us to know what is going on in various corners of the world. You are doing a fine job for us who are not able to visit your country. I would, however, like to know more about the Czech Republic's history."

And Matthew Weitendorf from Parma, Ohio, in the United States writes:

"Please include more cultural features in the future."

Sports is another topic many listeners would like to hear more about. Danny Jameson, from Cheshire, England has a special interest

"As a fan of Formula 1 motor racing, I wonder whether there is much of an F1 fan base in the Czech Republic. Has there ever been a Czech F1 driver?"

Well, that, obviously, is a question for Ian Willoughby, our sports analyst to answer.

I would say that Czechs are just as interested as people around the world in Formula 1. There has been one Czech Formula 1 driver, his name is Tomas Enge. At the end of last season he was a substitute on the Prost team and he took part in three races. Actually, Enge's father was also a racing driver, but that was in the days before Formula 1. I met Enge about a month ago, he seemed like a nice guy.

Thanks, Ian, and I'll just add that Tomas Enge is taking part in the lower category Formula 3000 this season.

Well, we are trying to include as many aspects of life in the Czech Republic, as we possibly can in our programs. Listeners with special interests can find information about our various features in our program schedule, which we'll gladly send them, if they're not on our mailing list and haven't already received it, or they can find it on our web-site - and I hope Jaakko Haapamaeki has noticed this is the first time we've mentioned it today.

But, having mentioned our web-site, I'd like to correct an error, this time, not ours. To explain what I'm talking about, I'll start with a quote from a letter sent us by Ben Loveless, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA

"I was reading a very good article on Radio Prague in the January 2002 issue of the Monitoring Times. As your broadcasting schedule was part of the article, I thought I would listen to your station for the first time in many years."

And Ben sends a reception report to confirm that he really did tune in.

So, where is the mistake you mentioned?

It's in the Monitoring Times, they do not give the correct web-site address of Radio Prague. It should be www.radio.cz. That's just to set the record straight.

But, as I promised, enough on that topic for today. We are, first and foremost a short wave radio station, and a number of listeners have written to tell us that they are re-discovering us as such. Ben Loveless, who tuned in on the basis of the article in the Monitoring Time says that he used to listen, and sends a copy of a Radio Prague QSL card from 1968, when he first started his hobby of shortwave listening.

And Lars Olsson writes that he has a Radio Prague QSL card dated September 1960, when he listened to our Swedish program.

"I was about 15 years old when I began listening to shortwave programs from foreign countries. I interrupted listening for about ten years, but now I have started again. I'm 62 years old and retired. I was a technician at Telia, the Swedish telecommunications company."

It's wonderful, how many listeners keep Radio Prague's QSL cards over the years.

And many of them will obviously be collecting this year's cards, too. The series consists of photographs of 8 of the historic sites in the Czech Republic, all of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

And every week in Mailbox we talk about one of those sites, so that listeners who receive the carda have more than just the photograph. Today I'd like to choose the card that shows the town square in the South Moravian town of Telc.

It's one of the most beautiful squares in the Czech Republic, certainly one of the best preserved.

Practically all the buildings date back to the late Middle Ages. They have tall Renaissance gables and a complete, uninterrupted row of arcades, so that people could - and still can - walk in rain and sleet without getting wet.

And inside many of those buildings you can still find the historic large pubs, known under the German name of Mazhous.

And there's more than architecture to admire in those. The beer there has always been excellent, because the houses have deep cellars, hewn in rock, with a constant temperature, just perfect for maturing beer.

And, like most historic towns, Telc has an old chateau, dating back to the 16th Century. And in the Southern outskirts of the town you can still find the ancient fortification walls, because Telc used to be part of a fortification system built to protect the Moravian border in the South.

So, much, then, about Telc, one of the sites shown on this year's Radio Prague QSL cards. All you have to do to get the picture of the historic town square, or any of the other cards, is to send us a reception report.

And while you're at it, let us know how you like our programs. This is Nicole Klement and Olga Szantova looking forward to hearing from you.