Ольшанское кладбище (Фото: Штепанка Будкова)

Today in Mailbox: Ways of listening to Radio Prague, Radio Prague's signature tune, earthquake in New Zealand, Prague's Olšanské Cemetery. Listeners quoted: Hiroshi Kawamura, Nobuya Kato, Avinash Premraj, Soumya Bhattacharjeem, Bob Boundy, Barbara Ziemba.

Pernštejn Castle | Photo: CzechTourism
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, a Radio Prague programme which gives you, our listeners and readers, a chance to voice your comments.

Although Radio Prague went off shortwave earlier this year, we still send out QSL cards to verify your internet reception reports. Many of those come to us from Japan, such as this one from Hiroshi Kawamura:

“This is the first time that I have listened to your internet broadcast. I enjoyed the Czech-related topics. But I am sorry that your shortwave broadcast has been discontinued. I hope your shortwave broadcasts will be restored someday.”

Also from Japan, Nobuya Kato wrote:

“When I was a high-school student, I would often listen to Radio Prague from Czechoslovakia. It was in the late 1970s. I still remember that both your English and Czech services could be heard well on 11990 kHz. At that time, during my high school days, I sent you several reception reports.”

Avinash Premraj from India is another old-timer:

“I was a long time listener of Radio Prague on shortwave. Now with SW broadcasts off the air, I am trying to follow you on the internet. I work in the Middle East and now I am on a six week vacation in my native country, India, and I managed to find some spare time and tuned to Radio Prague broadcast on the net.”

We do appreciate that so many of you have remained faithful to Radio Prague even on a different medium; your QSL cards are on their way.

Soumya Bhattacharjee from West Bengal only recently started listening to our internet broadcasts, after years of shortwave listening:

“Happy to listen to your station. The programme is still so enjoyable. Now it is very satisfactory to note that the programme content can be easily received. Downloading the content has made our listening easy. But I still miss you on shortwave and I am constantly requesting you to please include the signature tune of Radio Prague only once in the programme. This will be a great tribute to the days when Radio Prague was talking to us via shortwave.”

There have been a number of signature tunes over the years and we are not sure which one you mean exactly. Our signature tune was recently changed for copyright reasons. We are now going to play one of the older ones so please let us know if this is the one you mean.

Our regular listener from New Zealand, Bob Boundy, keeps us updated on the situation in his hometown of Christchurch which has suffered repeated earthquakes in recent months:

Sumner,  near Christchurch,  New Zealand,  June 13,  2011,  photo: CTK
“We are still both okay here even after the two big earthquakes that we had on Monday the 13th. One was M 5.6 and the other was 6.3. Many houses were badly damaged and buildings destroyed, many suburbs will be unable to be built on, roads are a mess with sink holes everywhere and liquefaction mud and silt everywhere. We have some in our back yard. Our neighbours’ front yard is covered in it. On Monday afternoon we were watching it bubbling like mad. It is all very scary.”

Thank you for finding the time to keep in touch with Radio Prague even under those circumstances, we really appreciate that.

Barbara Ziemba from the United States has returned to one of our older stories, about a Prague graveyard:

“Quite some time ago I read an article on your website regarding Father Szabo and a group of volunteers, who are working at Olšanské Cemetery clearing away vegetation, uprighting monuments and documenting and mapping gravesites. When the article was written they had completed three sections of the cemetery. I was wondering if you would consider doing an update on the story and let your readers know how they are progressing.

“I visited the cemetery last year and felt some of the same emotions that Father Szabo and his volunteers feel. It is such a beautiful place but in some of the older sections a ‘painful sight’ as Fr. Szabo stated. If you decide not to do a complete story I would appreciate a short update in your weekly letters from readers.”

Olšany Cemetery,  photo: Štěpánka Budková
Father Szabo definitely continues in his work, but with the help of only a handful of volunteers and very little money available, the work is progressing slowly. He has meanwhile published a book – the first one of a planned series – covering the two oldest sections of the cemetery, complete with photographs and short biographies of the notable persons buried there. In the parish monthly he currently publishes articles on the third oldest section. Despite all his efforts, however, Father Szabo is unable to stop the degradation of some of the monuments.

Thank you very much for your comments and questions and I have one for you as well, a quiz question that is:

Earlier this month the US Space Shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth carrying a furry toy of the popular Czech cartoon character Krteček or Mole. Another Czech-related piece of art was launched into space onboard another NASA space shuttle several years ago but was destroyed in a disaster in which all crew members were killed. We would like to know the name of the artist who himself had a tragic fate.

Please send us his name by the end of June and there will be a small Radio Prague prize for one of you whose name will be picked in a lucky draw. The address for your answers, comments, questions and reception reports remains as usual [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Mailbox will be back on July 2. Until then, thanks for listening.