Mailbox

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This week in Mailbox: Comments on Radio Prague programmes, DRM, question about a Radio Prague reporter. Listeners quoted: Ted Schuerzinger, Brian Kendall, Jonathan Murphy, Tom Lane, Dick Derksen.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. I'm afraid I will disappoint all those who expected to find out the correct answer to the September competition question today and to hear the names of the winners. I am sorry but you'll need to wait until next Sunday as the deadline only passed last night and we would not have been able to include the last minute answers in the draw. You'll find out everything next week including a brand new competition question.

In the meantime, thank you for all those letters and reception reports you've been sending in over the last week. This one came from Ted Schuerzinger, New York, USA.

"I have continued to enjoy listening to your programs. I very much liked the archival program on your 70th anniversary, but unfortunately, I forgot to take down a reception report to get the special QSL card. 'Spotlight' is also interesting, although as I mentioned to another broadcaster recently, all these tourist programs make me want to visit the places profiled - and there are so many places that would be on my list to visit that a lifetime wouldn't be enough to get to them all! I also enjoy the off-beat items you have on 'Magazine'. On an internet bulletin board I visit regularly, another of the posters is the police chief in a small town in Iowa, and so every time weird crime stories come up, somebody or another is bound to post them for the police chief. I find that your 'Magazine' program is an excellent source for crime stories none of the other posters have heard so far. Now if I can just get them to listen to Radio Prague..."

Another reception report came from Brian Kendall who listens to us in the United Kingdom.

"This e-mail is mainly to thank you for covering the story behind 'The Cunning Little Vixen' in the last edition of 'Encore'. I was interested in what you had to say. Next time I go to a concert featuring a Czech composer, I will send you an e-mail again. When I listened to 'Czech by Numbers' today, I thought that it might be helpful to have the word 'cislo' spelt out. It would help us to connect the sound of the word with the way it is written. Just an idea. More importantly, of course, I was sorry to hear of the security alert in Prague. We have had several now in England. I hope that the security forces manage to thwart any attempted outrages."

Well, let's hope everything is back to normal soon. As for spelling out the words in our Czech learning programmes: We realise that it must be difficult to be able to visualise the words, but it would be very time-consuming and cumbersome to spell out even just the most important words in the programme because of the complicated Czech diacritics. But you can always look up the lesson on our website with the correct spelling complete with the diacritics.

And this question was included in a reception report from Jonathan Murphy from Ireland.

"I am about to purchase a DRM receiver in a month or two depending on when the manufacturer launches the receiver in Europe. Can you tell what plans Radio Prague has for DRM if any? Perhaps with the start of the new frequency schedule this coming October?"

As Radio Prague director Miroslav Krupicka said in a recent interview Radio Prague certainly is planning to "jump on the DRM bandwagon" when it becomes a widespread standard. Limited trial operation is expected to be launched some time towards the end of the year but certainly not now with the beginning of the winter schedule. We will keep you informed, of course.

Tom Lane is writing from somewhere in cyberspace in response to last week's Arts.

"I very much enjoyed David Vaughan's review of the Karel Kruis exhibit. One, there should be a catalog for the show so those of us not lucky enough to be there can see a sampling of his photos. Two, David Vaughan should not make gratuitous judgements on the ranking of Czech composers. Much as I like Dvorak, I feel Janacek is the best of the Czech composers with whom I am familiar. My admiration grows with every exposure to his work. But that's only my opinion. And in a review of photographs, I would not offer it as doctrine. Thanks again. And pardon me if I quibble."

I am not sure what kind of catalogue you have in mind but you can see a few of the photos on our website. Of course, we couldn't display the complete exhibition there - what would be the point of the exhibition then?

And finally Dick Derksen listens to us in Canada:

"I often listen to your English broadcast. For me it is in the middle of the night, and when I can't sleep I turn the radio on. The reason I am writing is that I am curious about Ian Willoughby. Is he a former broadcaster for a Canadian radio station? Which one? I would guess it was the CBC. Am I wrong? I live in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada (this is southeast of Winnipeg). I visited the Czech Republic, including Prague in 2005 which has given me an added interest in listening to your broadcasts."

I'm afraid our Ian Willoughby never worked for the CBC but you can hear his voice in Radio Prague programmes which the CBC rebroadcasts in the early morning hours. Outside Radio Prague's frequencies, Ian's reports can also be heard on Radio Prague's co-production programmes, such as Insight Central Europe and Network Europe.

And that's all we have time for today. No competition question this time as the deadline for your answers has just passed and as we said the new question will be announced next week. Till then, thanks for tuning in and keep those letters coming to the usual address: Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic or english@radio.cz.