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Today in Mailbox: Where and how you listen to Radio Prague, looking for a long-lost record, the events of 1989 in Czech Radio. Listeners quoted: Ralph Sorrentino, Charles Konecny, Josef Svoboda, Terry Price.

Welcome to Radio Prague's Sunday Mailbox programme in which we read from your letters and answer your questions.

As we have said many times before, we very much appreciate your comments on the form and content of our broadcasts. As Radio Prague broadcasts around the globe and our audience is so diverse, we are always very grateful if you just let us know what you think or even just that you are out there listening to our programmes, like for example Ralph Sorrentino from the state of New York.

"It has been a long time and many years, but I was able to find my old shortwave radio and I cannot wait to tune in to Radio Prague. I haven't listened to my shortwave in probably 25 years but I remember the fun I had listening to you in the past. I remember the QSL cards, the monthly schedules, slides of Czechoslovakia - all great memories. Obviously, since then, many things have changed in the world and in your country, but I cannot wait to begin my hobby again. I thought you would be interested."

Yes, indeed we are and thank you very much for letting us know.

We are aware that not all those who might be interested in what Radio Prague has to offer possess shortwave receivers or have the chance to tune in to our programmes because of reception conditions. That part of our audience can enjoy the benefits of the internet, such as Charles Konecny from Ohio who follows Radio Prague's website regularly and made this comment in his recent e-mail.

"I just wish my parents were still alive so they could enjoy the internet. It would be like going back to the Czech Republic every day."

The internet is indeed a great medium and thanks to its nature it can connect people across time. This week we received an e-mail from Mr Josef Svoboda who lives here in the Czech Republic. He responds to a listener's request which was posted on our website more than four years ago but is still available there, as everything we broadcast. This is the English translation of Mr Svoboda's letter.

"While browsing the internet, I came across your article from October 22, 2002 where you wrote that your listener Marisa Churchward from Ontario, Canada, was looking for any piece of information about a 45 single record by singers PETR AND PAVEL with the songs LASKA LASKA and WENCESLAS SQUARE. I don't know whether someone has contacted you in this matter since but I would be very much interested in it because I have been trying to find out what has become of the Petr and Pavel duo who emigrated in 1968 and released the single in England. As a matter of fact, I own a copy of the record. Could you please put me in touch with Ms Churchward?"

A fascinating story, isn't it? Since it has been more than four years, we no longer have any contact details for Mrs Churchward but if she is listening to us right now or reads this website, she can contact us at English@radio.cz and we can pass on this info to her.

Staying with recent history, Terry Price who is a teacher in Texas, sent us this request:

Czech Radio, 1968
"While listening to Radio Prague archives I found a story about how Radio Prague was attacked and shut down during the demonstrations in 1989 and about other unofficial radio stations that were used to help communicate information about the protests. They were able to remain undetected by only broadcasting for 15 minutes at a time. I have since not been able to find the article. Can you give me information about the article, including the link? I wish to play the recording for my class, if possible."

Now, I am afraid that what you describe in your e-mail sounds more like the events of the summer of 1968 when Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia. As I am told by my colleagues who were working here at the time of the Velvet Revolution, nothing so dramatic was going on here at Czechoslovak Radio. My colleagues can even remember western TV crews recording freely in the studios as the events of November 1989 were unfolding and Radio Prague was reporting on them.


And finally it's time to repeat our competition question for January:

This month we would like to know the name of a Jesuit missionary, born in Brno, who worked as a botanist and pharmacist in the Philippines where he also died in 1706. Half a century later, the Swedish scientist Carl Linne named a genus of flowering plants after him in his honour.

Please send us your answers by the end of January to English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic which are also the addresses for your reception reports. Till next week, thanks for listening.