Today's Mailbox includes Topics: Radio Prague's new listeners' competition, Are there any official monitors of RP programs? Quotes from: David L. Blatt, David Eldridge, Abid Hussain Sajid

Maybe we should be starting today's Mailbox with a fanfare, or some very special music to make everybody sit up and listen, because we have a very special announcement to make.

Yes, today we're announcing this year's listeners' competition and after last year's interest, we're sure that this time there will be just as many entries, if not even more. Actually, Radio Prague has a long tradition of listeners' competitions as many of our long time listeners know. David L. Blatt from Chicago IL in the US reminded us of it in one of his recent letters. His memories go back to 1964:

"Back when RP served the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic I participated in an essay contest on the 20th anniversary of the "Slovak National Uprising". First prize was a trip to the old CSSR. I received a Communist Party pin which I wore to public high school in Indiana! This of course went down real well!"

Well, things have changed since then and we won't be sending any party pins as runner up prizes this time. There will, however be runner up prizes this year, as there were last year, but we've still not said what the competition is all about.

And I've asked Radio Prague's director, Miroslav Krupicka, to do just that, to give the details of this year's competition.

This year we decided to launch another competition, after last year's success. Last year we had a competition with two questions and we got hundreds of replies from all over the world and finally the winner, Mr.Buscaglia from Argentina visited us and we want to repeat this success this year. We have decided to ask our listeners the following question: "Who, or what comes to my mind when I hear Prague?" and we hope to get all kinds of ideas or memories of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, because it's a popular destination and many people come here, many people think of coming and we simply want people to get in touch with Prague, to experience Prague.

But it's not open only to those listeners who have been to Prague, because many of our listeners know Prague from our programs and from various other sources. So it's not limited to former visitors to our capital, is it?

Definitely not, it's open to anyone and we think that Prague is so well known in the world that everyone imagines something when he or she hears "Prague". That's the point. So, we want to collect all sorts of ideas, memories, hopes about Prague. And the winner, of course, will spend a week in Prague, will be transported from his or her capital to Prague and will spend a nice few days in Prague, will visit Radio Prague, as well as the Staropramen Brewery, which is one of the sponsors of the competition, which we think will be another nice and Czech experience - Czech beer, and we hope that the competition will be a success, similar to that of last years.

Now, about technicalities. By when do the answers have to be here and are there any limits as to the number of words, or anything else?

No, it can be an essay of one page, two pages, let's say. The deadline is mid June, that's the deadline by which we have to have all the answers collected here - and that's about it.

That was Miroslav Krupicka, Radio Prague's director with the information on this year's listeners' competition. So, don't forget: The question is: "Who or what comes to my mind when I hear PRAGUE" and we're expecting your entry by June 16th 2002.

And the winner will also be visiting us here, at Radio Prague, but you don't have to win the competition to do that. Many listeners do come to say hello, and we're always glad to meet them. David Eldridge, our listener in Ilford, Essex, in the United Kingdom was one of the many listeners who did come and he writes:

"I visited your offices once, have you still got those revolving lifts without doors? And whatever happened to that move into newly built offices that was imminent some years ago?"

Yes, we do have those revolving elevators and they're wonderful. For those of you, who don't know them: it's a system much like the ferris wheel that you have at fairs. A constant chain of cabins goes up one chute and down the chute next to it at a rather small speed. Each cabin takes two passengers and you get on and off as the cabin reaches your floor, without stopping. When it gets all the way up, or down, it just swings around into the other chute and goes back in the opposite direction.

It's called a Pater Noster - Latin for Our Father and somebody gave it that name because the cabins reminded him of the beads in a rosary. It's wonderfully efficient, and we're glad to have it, but I've heard some rumors that when we join the European Union, we'll have to close it down, because it does not meet international security standards.

I don't see what's dangerous about it, it stops instantly if anything gets caught in it. Besides, there are a number of pater nosters in office buildings all over Prague, and I haven't heard about any accidents.

Anyway, to answer David's question, yes, we do still have the elevator and yes, we still are in the same building where we have been since the beginning. We have built a new building next to the old one, that's where our studios are located, but the offices are still in the old one.

At one time, in the Communist days, we were supposed to move to a new tall rise building in a different part of Prague, but it would have been too big for Radio's needs and the idea was dropped with the fall of Communism.

We talked about that building in last week's Mailbox, when we answered John Snyder's question about skyscrapers in Prague. The building originally planned to house Czech Radio is the tallest building in the Czech Republic and if you missed last week's Mailbox, you can look it up on Radio Prague's web-site:

And while we're mentioning the Internet, I might as well add our e-mail address: [email protected]. Our postal address is: Radio Prague, 120 99, Prague 2, Czech Republic.

Which reminds me: you can send your competition entry either by surface, or e-mail. But if you choose the latter, don't forget to add your full name and postal address, that's so we know where to send the prize.

Let's not go back to talking about the competition, I think we've said enough about it for today, so here is a question on a different topic from Abid Hussain Sajid from Mailsi, Pakistan:

"I am a regular listener of Radio Prague since 1988. It is one of my favourite stations. I like your relaxed, friendly style as well as the excellent variety of programmes. I would like to be your regular monitor. Please send me information and your requirements for an official monitor."

That's a question we keep getting from listeners, and, in fact, answering, so just a brief answer this time: we do not have any regular, or appointed monitors of our programs. We welcome all reception reports, in fact they're a great help, and we send QSL cards as confirmation of every correct and complete report. But we have said that a number of times. And that's just about the last question we have time for today. So, this is Olga Szantova, and Dita Asiedu thanking you for your letters and looking forward to our next Mailbox a week from today.

Authors: Dita Asiedu , Olga Szantová
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