Jonathan Murphy

In this week's edition: an interview with Radio Prague listener Jonathan Murphy from Ireland; the new competition question for August and the winner of July's competition!

Last week we had a very special visit here at Radio Prague. Jonathan Murphy from Cork in Ireland has been listening to our station for six years. Last week he visited Prague and he also came over to the Czech Radio building to say hello to the Radio Prague team. Radio Prague's editor-in-chief, David Vaughan, invited Jonathan into our studio and first asked him when he had started listening.

"I started listening when bill Bathurst and Petr Kaspar were still presenting here at Radio Prague and I've been listening ever since then."

And you're from Ireland...

"From the south of Ireland, yes."

And what's reception like down in that part of the world?

"It's very reliable on shortwave and with the added bonus of your internet site I can't miss any programme now."

So you listen to us preferably on shortwave but also if you don't catch a programme or if you want to go back to the text you'd go to our website?

Jonathan Murphy
"Yes, indeed. It's easier to listen on the radio and the website is a secondary backup then to the radio."

Tell me, if you're in the south of Ireland what inspires you to listen to Radio Prague? What's interesting for you?

"It's mainly an interest I have - because I study history at university - that I have an interest in Central and Eastern Europe and as well as learning about the past that you can do in your history lectures it's also very important to keep up with the latest news and current affairs as well. It's also nice to know other things, like the cultural aspects about a country as well. And Radio Prague would be the number one source, in some respects the only source, for that kind of material."

So what programmes do you particularly enjoy or find less interesting?

"I think one of my favourites is Czechs in History and One on One is very good as well, the Mailbox programme, generally the current affairs every day is very good as well. I don't really have a least favourite. I mean even though I'm not very much into folk music but the Magic Carpet is still a wonderful programme to relax and listen to. And it's great that there is some detail given behind the music as well."

Jonathan Murphy (right) with David Vaughan in the studio
I notice that you're wearing a Radio Prague T-shirt, that means you must have written in to us at some stage...

"I've probably been writing since day one because I was surprised to hear my letter being read out by Bill Bathurst on air and since then I've been writing in with questions and I still have questions to write in with. It's great that you take the time to answer the listeners on air as well as mailing them things."

A lot of people now often mention Bill Bathurst. Unfortunately, he's gone back home to his native California now but I think he was always one of the great personalities of Radio Prague.

"Undoubtedly, yes."

A lot of people talk about the future of international broadcasting, that shortwave has no future. You as a shortwave listener, do you think that people are right when they write off shortwave?

The Irish flag
"No, I don't think so, because international broadcasting will always continue because there will always be a need for countries to explain more about themselves to the outside world. Shortwave is just a medium, whether it stays as it is now in analogue or evolves into digital, I think it will always stay. There will always be a need for it and there will always be an interest from the listeners' side in hearing foreign stations."

You mentioned that you're interested in history and in Central European history. So presumably Radio Prague isn't the only station from this part of the world that you listen to.

"That's true, yes. All the stations in the Central and Eastern area I would listen to. Your colleagues down in Slovakia and Poland and all the surrounding countries. One of the good projects that you put together is the Insight Central Europe programme which brings them all together and that ensures that I never miss at least the main bits coming from all those countries."

How did you come to start listening to us?

Jonathan Murphy
"It is a quite unusual hobby, especially in Ireland, more so than even in England. My great-grandfather from Canada wanted me to keep in touch with his and as he couldn't travel from Canada to Ireland he told me to start listening to Canadian broadcasts and from there I discovered other stations and started writing in. And from then I have been listening."

Do you have a DX club in Cork?

"No, but I'm a member of a world DX club based in England and we have members in more than 200 countries. We exchange views on programmes and try to find news from stations on what's happening."

And what's the most exotic station that you would listen to?

"Maybe Radio Tashkent from Uzbekistan would be the most exotic. They're in English and what makes them exotic is that they carry local adverts on the radio, offering to sell you things that you never even see, ever in your life."

What sort of things?

"They have ads for anything from property to products like soap. It's quite unusual that they put these on the air for an international audience from time to time."

Jonathan Murphy, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

"Thank you very much."

And of course, we mustn't forget our monthly competition. It's time to announce the winner for the month of July. The question was: "What is the name of the Bohuslav Martinu opera about a girl from a town where no-one can remember their past?"

The answer is "Julietta, or The Key to Dreams" (sometimes translated also as "The Book of Dreams").

And the winner is: Bert Engelbrecht from Christchurch in New Zealand.


The new question for the month of August is:

"What is the name of the famous jazz composer who was born in Prague in 1948 to the family of a famous jazz singer and a jazz musician and left Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Soviet invasion to make an outstanding music career in the United States?"

If you still aren't sure, I can give you a clue: he also wrote the music to the US TV series Miami Vice.

That should be more than enough information for you to be able to identify the personality we're talking about.

Please get your answers to us by August 31st. Send them as usual to the Radio Prague English Section, 120 99 Prague 2, the Czech Republic or by e-mail to