Today in Mailbox: Radio Prague is to stay on shortwave! Listeners quoted: Mogire Machuki, Yvonne and Gerwyn Roberts, Dmitry Mezin, Dibyendu Madhab Das.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly programme that answers your questions and queries and responds to your comments.

If you follow Radio Prague closely, you will know that the end of last year brought a huge question mark over the future of our shortwave service. Many of our listeners the world over are still writing in to ask about new developments in the matter. Among the most recent letters is this one from Mogire Machuki from Kenya:

“I am one of the listeners worried about Radio Prague's move to close its international shortwave broadcasts. A few years back Radio Vlanderen international came up with that exact idea and after a few months on air they eventually closed down their overseas signal completely. And now it’s Radio Prague. What is up, our dear friends at Radio Prague? You are our only link to Prague's diverse cultures and lifestyles, we need you. I for one understand that the internet is becoming a challenge to shortwave broadcasts like the FM broadcasts as well the latest mobile phone technologies. However we, the enthusiast DXers, still value shortwave transmissions very much. I hope we will be together for the next many calendar months.”

On a similar note, Yvonne and Gerwyn Roberts from Wales sent us this message:

“Happy New Year to all of the staff at Radio Prague! We are two faithful listeners in Wales. Please give us a New Year present by stating that the broadcasts of Radio Prague are now safe. It is because of your station that we have been regular visitors to the Czech Republic. Please tell your President and the Government that we need Radio Prague to continue.”

And Dmitry Mezin from Russia writes:

“Shortwave is the only reliable way to listen and to know more about foreign cultures. Slow Internet does not permit comfortable listening due to the long pauses.”

Once again, thank you – all of you who have written in in the last few months – so much for expressing your support. As we announced several times, our shortwave broadcasts are to continue according to the current schedule until the end of January. Radio Prague’s management is now working on a new schedule starting on February 1st but the great news is Radio Prague will keep its shortwave broadcasts. There will be a certain reduction but it will not be substantial and the majority of our listeners should not be affected by it. Radio Prague will need to find other ways to save and make ends meet with the slimmer budget for 2010. This is the result of intensive negotiations between Czech Radio and the Foreign Ministry and we hope this is good news for you just as it is for us here at Radio Prague.

And we still have a little time for this question from our listener Dibyendu Madhab Das from West Bengal:

“When was the Prague university established?”

Charles University in Prague
Prague’s Charles University was founded by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1347 and it is one of the oldest universities in Europe. From its very beginnings it was a multinational institution, providing education to students from what today are the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria and even Denmark and Sweden. Ethnic Czechs apparently accounted for only under twenty percent of all students. At the end of the 19th century the institution was divided into a Czech and a German part, the latter then being abolished after the end of WWII. Currently, Charles University has 17 faculties, from arts and humanities to theology.

Yet our January mystery woman, gifted and accomplished as she was, would not have been allowed to study at the Prague University – as the first female students were accepted there as late as 1897.

This month our mystery person is the English Renaissance poetess who came to Prague with her alchemist stepfather. She is said to have been fluent in Czech, English, German, Italian, and Latin – which is also the language in which she wrote her poetry. She died in childbirth at the age of just 31 in Prague where she is buried.

If you think you know who our mystery lady was, please send us your answers to or Radio Prague 12099 Prague by the end of January and maybe you will be lucky to win a Radio Prague goodie bag. In the meantime please keep those e-mails coming and Mailbox will be back again in a week’s time.