In today’s Mailbox: response to last week’s Spotlight on Prague’s bomb shelters, the latest development regarding Radio Prague’s shortwave broadcasts, greetings to William Cookson from the UK. Listeners quoted: Rich Burns, Pete Johnson, Ralph Francis, Lenfant Lee, Yukiko Maki, Terje Nielsen, Graham Armishaw.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly programme for your views, comments and questions.

Thank you for keeping our inbox full all the time. It’s always nice to hear that you liked a particular programme. Christian Falvey’s Spotlight on Prague’s bomb shelters last week, for example, inspired Rich Burns from the state of New York to write in:

Photo: Christian Falvey
“It has been a long time since I've contacted Radio Prague – just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your program on bomb shelters in the Czech Republic.”

Pete Johnson from Illinois also enjoyed that particular programme:

“I would like to say that the recent program ‘Inside Prague’s labyrinth of bomb shelters’ was one of the most interesting programs I have heard about the Cold War in a very long time. A job very well done. Thank you very much and keep up the good work!”

Ralph Francis who lives in Prague disagrees with the view of a specialised tourism website that Prague’s Žižkov TV tower is the world’s second ugliest structure – as aired in a recent Magazine programme.

“The weekend note about the Žižkov tower being the world’s second worst structure clearly reflects the prejudiced view by outsiders of the Czech Republic. Every day that I leave the apartment I see the entire structure at the end of our street. As a retired professor of Structural Engineering, apart from the black babies, I find nothing negative about the tower. It was designed to fulfill a design requirement and it has done that extremely well. The design of such a structure is not a simple task but it has stood the test of time. In addition, one can see the tower from various aspects of Prague and we realize that this is where home is located, just down the street. For an ugly tower consider the Eiffel in Paris.”

Žižkov TV tower
What are your views of the Žižkov TV tower – is it a remarkable example of urban technical design or is it an eyesore, a scar on the face of a historic city? Please let us know at

With the end of the year approaching we are getting more and more of your e-mails asking us about the future of Radio Prague’s broadcasts, such as this one from Lenfant Lee from China:

“I’m very pleased to see your website shows you’ve published QSL cards for 2010. Does it mean you’ll continue broadcasting on shortwave?”

This e-mail is from Yukiko Maki from Japan:

“I really hope the decision will be reversed in some way or other. If not, I would like you to at least continue the Internet broadcast or podcast to keep us informed. I would like to continue having any means to get information about Czech Republic.”

Terje Nielsen writes from New Zealand:

“Also, I really do hope that we all get a very nice Christmas present this year: Radio Prague will be on the SW in 2010. Well, at least we can just hope and pray.”

That would indeed be a lovely present for all of us. At the moment all we can say is that the status quo will be maintained until February 1st 2010. What will happen after that date is still the subject of discussion between Czech Radio and the Foreign Ministry. We will, of course, update you on the matter as soon as we know more. In the meantime, thank you very much for your interest and support.

On a different note, recently we were approached by Graham Armishaw from Britain:

“I am writing for a friend that I have in the UK, you once published a letter that he wrote to your English radio service to which he has been a listener for a number of years. His name is William Cookson. Bill is sadly in hospital and it is going to be a long time before he will be listening again. Would it be possible to mention him in your December newsletter please, it would only be a small thing but he would be so proud to have been mentioned on your program again. I copy the newsletters and then post them to him in the UK.”

We are sorry to hear that Mr Cookson is not in good health and we sincerely wish him a speedy recovery. We hope he will get well soon to join again the crowd of our listeners around the globe.

We are almost out of time today, so let me just repeat our monthly quiz question:

In December we are asking you to send us the name of the Austrian author interested in mysticism and the occult who spent two decades of his life in Prague around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. His most famous novel takes place in and around Prague’s old Jewish Ghetto.

Your answers need to reach us by the end of December at or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Please keep those letters and reception reports coming and Mailbox will be back next week at the same time, on the same frequency.