Pope John Paul II

This week in Mailbox we talk about Insight Central Europe with the programme's producer, Dita Asiedu, and we repeat the questions for Radio Prague's listeners' competitions. We quote from an email from Mary Lou Krenek, USA.

Welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague's weekly listeners' feedback programme. Spring has started in earnest here in the Czech Republic and also wherever you listen to us in the Northern Hemisphere - which I suspect is the reason why we haven't received quite as many letters this week as we are used to getting. But spring or no spring, Radio Prague is here for you seven days a week, and waiting for your questions and comments. But now let's hear this email from Mary Lou Krenek who listens to us in Texas in the USA.

"Thank you for publishing my comments about the death of Pope John Paul II. It meant very much to me because of my great respect for him and my deep interest in his role as a champion of peace. We must continue to follow in his ways. I have now discovered that an organization exists called ICE that combines the interests of all countries in Central Europe."

This letter gives us a good opportunity to talk in more detail about ICE or Insight Central Europe, which actually is not an organisation but a programme that you can hear on Radio Prague's airwaves every Saturday. Last week's edition featured some reflections on Pope John Paul II from Central Europe which is what Mrs Krenek was referring to. My colleague Dita Asiedu is the producer of the ICE programme and she found a few minutes to talk to Mailbox.

"ICE - or Insight Central Europe is a weekly current affairs radio magazine in English, and it's a co-production between five Central European broadcasters - Radio Polonia, Radio Budapest, Radio Slovakia, Radio Slovenia International, and Radio Prague. The programme aims to inform audiences worldwide on political, economic, social and cultural developments and is made up of contributions prepared by international radio journalists from all the stations that I just mentioned. At the moment, it's being put together in Prague. Of course, alongside the various reports featured, each edition of the programme also includes a bulletin of news from the region."

And how can listeners tune in?

"Insight Central Europe is broadcast on the frequencies of all the participating international radio stations through a combination of short wave, medium wave, FM and satellite, as well as through various re-broadcasters. Unlike Radio Prague, we don't have a brochure that lists all the stations and frequencies but those who are interested can visit our website, where each programme - by the way - is also archived in audio, and in a full transcript including photographs."

Dita Asiedu
Could you tell us how it's put together, how it's coordinated?

"We hold a telephone conference with the heads of every department every Monday at which we discuss what stories should be in the next edition of the programme. The individual contributions are then produced in the studios of the participating stations with their own technical facilities and staff sometimes. That is why they vary in style and technique. The items are uploaded into a shared online system or sent via ISDN or FTP to us here at Radio Prague, where they are put together into one programme."

That was Insight Central Europe producer, Dita Asiedu.

And you have a chance to see how our programmes are being made here at Radio Prague if you enter Radio Prague's annual competition.

To enter this year, just send us a few lines on the following subject:

"What Czech beer means to me."

The winner will receive a week's stay for two in the Czech Republic, while runners-up will receive other attractive prizes.

The winning entry will be read on all six Radio Prague's different language broadcasts, in the original and in translations.

The winner and a partner will be accommodated in family style in the heart of Prague, at the Hotel Falkensteiner Maria Prag, while your flight will be courtesy of Czech Airlines - your travel partner to the Czech Republic.

Please send your entries to the following address before June 15th:

Radio Prague, Vinohradska 12, 12099, Prague 2, Czech Republic or you can use our e-mail address [email protected]

So once again, the topic is: "What Czech beer means to me."

And if you're not lucky in the big annual competition, you have a chance every single month to win a CD of Czech music in our monthly quiz. This year we ask about famous people of Czech descent. The question for April is:

"The Battle of Prague was once a very popular piece of battle music. It was composed in 1788 in London and published in the same year in Dublin. The descriptive piece quickly gained enormous popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. The author of the piece was born in 1730 in Prague and died in 1791 in London. What is the name of the composer?"

You still have two more weeks to send your answers to Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic or [email protected] - that's also the address for your questions and comments.