This week in Mailbox: Radio Prague launches digital broadcasting, and we talk to a listener from New Zealand who came to visit us here in Prague. As usual, we repeat our monthly competition question.
Hello and welcome to Mailbox. You may have noticed from our news that Radio Prague has launched digital broadcasting on top of our shortwave, satellite and internet broadcasts. Initially, we thought the trial run would be launched later in the year, but we first broadcast within the Digital Radio Mondiale system last Friday. We have even received a reception report for that since. So just to recap, the broadcasts can be heard in Central and South-eastern Europe. English and German broadcasts are from 13.30 to 14.30 UTC on Friday and from 13.00 to 14.00 UTC on Saturday on the frequency 9505 kHz from a transmitter in Rampisham in the United Kingdom.
This week we had a visitor from New Zealand here at Radio Prague. Our listener Colin Law, who is also one of the most regular participants in our monthly competitions, came to see us and I used the opportunity and invited him into our studio. I first asked Mr Law, whether he listens or reads our programmes on the internet.
"It's probably a combination of the two, because I receive the news by e-mail each day and then I may go to the computer to read some more - if there is any more to read - or to download the recorded version, maybe if I want to listen to pronunciation, which is one of my little habits of checking pronunciation and getting it as right as I can."
What is your connection to the Czech Republic? Why did you start reading our news bulletins in the first place?
"Well, what brought our family interest in the Czech Republic was that our son came here teaching English in about 1998. He stayed for 18 months and went teaching English elsewhere. In 2003, he came back to New Zealand for a holiday and in that time people in Prague had said to him, go and see this young lady who is nannying in Auckland because you've lived in Prague and she is from Prague, you may have something in common. Very soon we learned that they had a lot in common because the young lady was coming to our home every weekend to give her a break from nannying for four children and our son and Tereza got on very well together. They came back to Prague and got an apartment together and just over a year later they decided to get married. So we came to Prague in 2005 for the wedding. And so all along from there we have got an ever increasing interest in Prague, the Czech Republic and the Czech language."
What are your favourite programmes on Radio Prague - what are your favourite topics?
"Generally news. Because having read the news the first few times, I found that I began to get interested in it and wanted to follow up on items and what was happening. And in fact, there is quite a similarity, in many ways, with New Zealand - smallish countries and a lot of the interests and problems are similar. So it's very interesting to keep up with the Czech news, related to what we're doing in New Zealand, and also, to be aware of what it is that we're coming to when we visit."
You told me earlier that you listen to our Czech language programmes and that you learned some useful phrases which you actually used at your son's wedding...
"Yes... Well, the first phrase that I used was when I stood up to speak. People thought I was going to speak in English and I stood up and I said: 'Damy a panove'..."
...Ladies and gentlemen...
"...which immediately brought a laugh from the Czech people who had been expecting to hear a foreign language. I also brought in two sayings; one was suggesting that our son had come to the Czech Republic originally because 'Kde se pivo vari, tam se dobre dari'..."
...where beer is brewed, life is good...
"...and the other one that - once he got to know Tereza and Tereza got to know him, then Tereza found a way into his hear because 'Laska prochazi zaludkem'..."
...Love passes through the stomach... Also, you told me earlier that you actually learned the lyrics to the Czech national anthem by listening to it on the internet...
"Yes. On the internet, I found a recording of someone singing the national anthem without music. It was rather a tuneless sort of singing but at least it gave me the pronunciation. It was very clearly a Czech speaker. I took that and also found on the internet an orchestral recording of the Czech national anthem. I dubbed the two of them together and got a passable copy of someone singing with music, put it on a CD and I used listen to it quite regularly on my way to work in the car. So, a ten-minute drive, I would hear the national anthem a couple of times. By the end of a few weeks, I was able to sing it myself."
Have you had a chance to sing it somewhere?
"No, it doesn't seem to be the sort of thing that I would stand on the street corner and sing. If the police stop me in the street, they'll say where's your passport, perhaps, but they certainly don't say can you sing the Czech national anthem. But you never know, it might be useful one day."
Indeed, you never know. That was Radio Prague listener Colin Law from New Zealand who came to visit us here at Radio Prague. We only have a little time left to repeat this month's quiz question which is quite straightforward:
Which US Secretary of State was born in Prague?
Your answers should reach us by the end of October. The address is Radio Prague, 12099, Prague or English@radio.cz. Thanks for listening and till next week, bye-bye.