Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: More responses to the end of shortwave broadcasts, Sunday music programmes on Radio Prague, objections to the contents of Radio Prague's broadcasts. Listeners quoted: Jayanta Chakrabarty, Bob Boundy, Stephen Hrebenach, John Covington, Mark Winterton.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, a programme for your views and comments. It’s been almost three weeks now since Radio Prague left shortwave and we are still getting e-mails from you on the subject.

Such as this one from Jayanta Chakrabarty from India:

“31 January was my wife's birthday, a day to celebrate and rejoice. The day will also be remembered as one of the most disappointing days in my life. Never have I imagined that I would be a witness to this tragic end when a legacy called Radio Prague will be dismantled. As rightly pointed out in the concluding edition of Letter from Prague, a fraction of the crowns that is siphoned off in immoral corruption could have helped to keep Radio Prague healthy and running. We, the ardent admirers and well-wishers of Radio Prague shortwave station would have much liked to contribute our mite financially to keep Radio Prague running.

“As I go down the memory lane – Radio Prague has been a part of my life since my childhood days. At the tender age of ten in the 1960s, I accidentally stumbled upon Radio Prague on my newly acquired birthday present of a National Panasonic 4-band transistor radio. It fascinated me to hear the friendly clear and crisp voice coming all the way from far-off Czechoslovakia. It also mesmerized me more than any other foreign shortwave stations. Ever since, Radio Prague has remained very much a part and parcel of my creative life. I literally grew up with it. I am thankful to Radio Prague as it helped to mould my character, my views of life and above all, in helping to perfect my knowledge of the English language. In retrospect, Radio Prague had became an institution in itself, enriching my knowledge of the Czech Republic's history and rich cultural heritage, of its way of life and music. Radio Prague has given me an insight to its talented citizens excelling in music, arts and sciences.

“Only through Radio Prague I have experienced history in the making – be it the rumbling of the Russian tanks of the 1968 Prague Spring or the dynamism of the Velvet Revolution and the tumultuous happenings and joyous experience of the freedom for democracy of 1989. The memorable birth of the Czech Republic in 1993 and the experiences of the present day – when the young republic has been busy in consolidating its economic growth and securing a position of respect and responsibility among the comity of nations and being an active partner in the EU – all have been portrayed by Radio Prague in a subtle way.

“Can we ever dream of a resurrection of our beloved Radio Prague shortwave in the foreseeable future? Are the authorities listening?”

At the moment, as far as shortwave broadcasting is concerned, we have good news at least for listeners in the south-eastern United States: Radio Prague's English and Spanish programmes are being rebroadcast on Radio Miami on the frequency 9955. Please see www.wrmi.net for the broadcast schedule.

Here’s an e-mail from Bob Boundy from New Zealand:

Loket Castle
“In yesterday’s mail I received my first internet QSL card and this made me very pleased indeed as the QSL card was of Loket Castle. My wife and I as well as my Czech friends visited this castle in 1995. It was a very impressive castle and was one of the 15 castles that we visited. I’m enjoying the internet broadcasts and as I’ve been a shortwave listener for many years I must confess that listening by the internet is a lot better. I don’t need an outside antenna and no ugly masts. And no interference like one gets on shortwave.”

Stephen Hrebenach from the US writes:

“This is a follow-up to my comment over the weekend. I was thinking about your programming further and realized that not too long ago there was a story about changing the way you use music due to copyright restrictions with podcasts. (Ok, it was longer than I thought – looking it up, it was September 3.) Perhaps I misunderstood that story or something has changed. But I now wonder how you can offer a program of music on Sundays given the potential copyright infringements. Nonetheless, I will be interested to hear an extended music feature.”

The law only prohibits radio stations from making music available for download. We are allowed to stream it on the internet. So you can listen to the Sunday programmes online but they are not available as podcasts.

John Covington from North Carolina in the United States also commented on the end of shortwave broadcasts:

“I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed Radio Prague on shortwave over the years. I first listened to you in 1972, when I was 11 years old; I even had a QSL card from you (which unfortunately I have lost) from 1973 (I think).

“I have maintained my interest in both shortwave and amateur radio ever since. I have listened to you many, many times over the years. I guess I have been listening to you for about half of the time you have been on the air! Your programs were always interesting and your signals strong.

“I am sad to see Radio Prague leave shortwave, but I am glad I got to enjoy hearing you on the radio for the last 38 years. Thank you, and best wishes to you!”

While we mostly get positive comments regarding the contents of our broadcasts, there’s no pleasing everybody, of course. For instance, Mark Winterton from somewhere in cyberspace is not happy with certain aspects of life in the Czech Republic, namely with the quality of translations, but also with Radio Prague broadcasts:

“Perhaps, instead of pumping out endless propaganda about the Czech Republic, you and the other editors at Radio Prague could do what proper journalists do, and produce some honest accounts of life in your country. I realise that you were brought up in the CSSR: however, the world has changed over the past two decades, even if you and the Czech Republic haven't changed very much.”

That’s the view of our reader or listener Mark Winterton. What do you think – is Radio Prague pumping out endless propaganda? Do you think that this country hasn’t changed in the last twenty years? Do let us know here at Radio Prague, 12099 Prague or english@radio.cz. (By the way, the majority of Radio Prague’s English Section staff weren’t even born or brought up in this country.)

We are out of time now but before I sign off, let me repeat this month’s quiz question:

In February we are looking for the name of the Czech scientist and explorer born in 1898 who took part in Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the North Pole and survived the 1928 crash of airship Italia during an expedition led by Umberto Nobile.

Your answers need to reach us by February 28th. We’ll be happy if you drop us a line and let us know how and where you listen to Radio Prague and what you think about our programmes. QSL cards are still available to verify your reception reports. You can either use the form on our website www.radio.cz/en/report or write to the usual addresses english@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Mailbox will be back on March 5. Until then, stay faithful to Radio Prague.