This week in Mailbox: Interference with other stations, the tallest building in the Czech Republic, the announcement of the winner of January's competition. Listeners quoted: Chris Bradley, the Netherlands; Alice Minarik Pulsifer, Al Hare, Emily Keating, Teodor Shepertycki, Karen Huelson - all from the US; Mostofa Kamal, Bangladesh.
"We live in the north-west of the Netherlands, and like to listen to the BBC Radio 4 programmes on 198 long-wave. We have interference from a language that I do not understand, but appears to be a Central-European language. It comes and goes, and sometimes has nice music - today we could just about hear a very English tune called 'Roll out the Barrels'. Is it you?"
Well, that "very English" tune was in fact written by a Czech, Jaromir Vejvoda, who was the mystery man in our October quiz. Anyway, I passed that question on to Czech Radio's shortwave expert, Olda Cip, who knows everything about frequencies and the like. He discovered that the interfering station was definitely not Radio Prague, or even a signal from the Czech Republic. But there are at least four potential sources of interference to BBC Radio 4 reception on 198 kHz, two of them in Slavic languages that could be mistaken for Czech, namely: Russia's Radio Mayak and a Polish parliamentary channel. But it could also have been Turkey's Ankara Radio or Radio Alger International, from Algeria.
If listeners have any other questions regarding the frequencies Radio Prague broadcasts on, just send them by post to Radio Prague, English Section, 12099 Prague, the Czech Republic or by email to English@radio.cz. You can also find all our frequencies and times on our website www.radio.cz
But now let's get to last month's competition question. We asked listeners to name the man of Czech descent who was elected Mayor of the city of Chicago in 1931, and two years later was fatally wounded in an assassination attempt at President Roosevelt. We have received a record number of answers to our January question — all of them correct— so I imagine there must be quite a few people glued to their radios right now all over the world. Unsurprisingly, most answers came from the United States. Many were sent in by women, who don't make themselves heard that often. This time, they had nice stories to tell about the unfortunate Mayor of Chicago who was of course, Anton Cermak.
This email came from Alice Minarik Pulsifer, from the United States:
"Anton Cermak is the name you look for. One of his daughters married Frank Yerka who originated the Illinois Department of Health. Frank Yerka, Jr., also a physician, accomplished many things in medical leadership, in the Cook County area, also was a past president of the American Medical Association. Frank, Jr. married Patricia, of Czech extraction, whose father was a pharmacist, with his own shop, and her mother insisted, and won, the right to be the first woman Registered Pharmacist in Illinois."
Al Hare, also from the US, has a similar story about a relative of Mayor Anton Cermak:
"It was good old Mayor Cermak who got in the way of a bullet intended for President Roosevelt. Coincidentally, I attended the wedding of his son in 1945 when he married my high school Spanish teacher in Oak Park, Illinois. It was a very grand wedding that I have never forgotten."
Emily Keating from Nevada sent us this letter:
"The gentleman whom your question refers to is Mayor Cermak. His picture was placed with honor in the Sokol Hall in Omaha Nebraska after this tragedy. My father was from Kladno and manager of the Sokolovna at that time. I was 8 years of age and remember the account vividly."
Some of you, for example, Teodor Shepertycki have pointed out that:
"The city of Chicago renamed 22nd Street to Cermak Street in his honor."
But the lucky winner we drew out of the hat this time is:
Karen Huelson from South Carolina:
"The January question is to name one of the mayors of Chicago who was born in Kladno and of Czech origin - he is Anton Joseph Cermak. How unfortunate that he died as a result of an assassination attempt on someone else - then President-elect Roosevelt. Ironically, I had seen a picture of him last year while looking at books on Czech history, but I can't say I was ever aware of this from my own history classes in the US. It's always interesting what you learn about your own country when viewing the history of others."
Thank you all very much for taking your time to send us your answers and stories and congratulations to Karen Huelson - your prize is in the post.
But February has already started and we have to announce a new competition question. But before that we have to answer the question sent by our faithful listener Mostofa Kamal from Bangladesh:
"What is the tallest building in the Czech Republic?"
The tallest building, although not the tallest structure in the Czech Republic, is the ECM Radio Plaza Tower, built in 1986 — and idle ever since. It was originally intended to house Czechoslovak Radio but after 1989 that plan never materialised. The "radio" tower has 27 floors and is 110 metres tall.
That brings us to the February question.
"What is today the 6th tallest building in the Czech Republic was before the Second World War the tallest building in Czechoslovakia, with its 17 floors and 77.5 metres. It was built in 1938, as an administrative building for a shoe making company that had outlets in many corners of the world and a total of 67,000 employees around the world. The son of the founder and now retired head of the family-run business turned 90 last September having lived mostly in Canada for much of his life. We'd like you to tell us his name." (It happens to be the same as the name of the founder of the shoe making company.)
Send your answers as usual to Radio Prague, 12099 Prague or English@radio.cz