This week in Mailbox: comments about Czech general elections, Radio Prague broadcasts on CBC, interview with Radio Prague's listener Michel Solis from Canada. We quote from e-mails from: Mary Lou Krenek, US; David Eldridge, UK; Garry Meadows, Canada.

Photo: CTK
Welcome to Mailbox. We're back to our usual weekend schedule after a break last week when we had the general elections for which we broke our normal schedule to keep you updated on the developments. The very first response to our election programmes came from Mary Lou Krenek from Texas as we were broadcasting. Others listened but may have not been able to contact us, like David Eldridge from England who listened to our election programmes the good old fashioned way.

"Away from the Internet for just five days, and what a lot happens. But your transmissions came over loud and clear on short-wave in open territory in East Kent, your election commentaries were much appreciated. I am sure we will now have interesting times in which everybody will be developing their standpoints."

And quite interesting they are as you will have heard in our programmes over the past week.

While most of our audience listens to our broadcasts on shortwave, with an ever rising number of those who use the internet to follow our programmes, there are areas of the world where people can actually listen to our programmes on their local FM stations. Among those listeners is Garry Meadows from Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada.

"Just a brief note to thank you for your English language broadcasts. You are carried by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's early morning radio. I enjoyed the piece this morning about being Slovak and living in the Czech Republic."

We are delighted by the volume of feedback we get from those listeners in Canada who tune in to our programmes on the CBC and we especially appreciate that they do so at a very early hour in the morning. Recently, we had the pleasure of actually meeting a couple of Radio Prague listeners from Canada, when Michel Solis and his wife Michele from Montreal came to Prague for a holiday and visited us here at the Czech Radio building. I invited Michel in to our studio and I first asked how he listens to Radio Prague.

"Radio Prague is presented with other world radios during the night between 1 and 5.30 in the morning on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation station in Montreal, Canada. There will be, as an example, one hour of Radio Prague, then one hour of Radio Polonia, then an hour of the BBC and there is a mix like that that is presented every night."

Is there something that you particularly like about Radio Prague?

"Canada was founded by two peoples, the French and the English, and also, Canada is right next door to this big country known as the United States of America. A past prime minister of Canada once said that when you are sleeping next to an elephant and the elephant sneezes, you catch a cold. I mean we are very much influenced by the United States in many ways, in many aspects of our lives, including news.

"In a normal news programme in Canada, if you listen in English, you will listen to news mostly from Canada, the United States, the UK, Israel, Palestine and maybe once in a while from somewhere else in Europe, maybe also a bit of Mexico. If you listen in French, it's the same thing but you replace the UK by France. When I listen to Czech Radio, I hear about a) events I would not have heard about in any way should I not have listened to Czech Radio.

"And secondly, even if Czech Radio talks about the same events that I have heard on local radio and TV in Montreal, most of the time the aspect, the way of looking at things will be different. Well, in Canada we say that when you have access to many different media it allows you to make up your mind and make your own opinion and in that way Czech Radio helps us make our own opinion."

I understand that this is your first time in Prague. Has Prague and the Czech Republic met your expectations?

"Yes, we have enjoyed Prague tremendously and I would say that we have enjoyed Prague even more once we have somewhat - and I will say somewhat because, of course, our Czech is rather limited - found the way to see Czech people live and work as they do every day and once we have kind of left the tourist buses behind.

"When you walk in the Old Town, or Stare Mesto, it is beautiful, it is wonderful, it is like a fairy tale but there are a lot of tourist buses and a lot groups speaking many languages which is in itself very interesting, but once we have left those behind and once we've been in Nove Mesto and once we've been on the other side and left a bit of the main tourist areas, the trip has become much more interesting because we have felt that somewhat we have better understood what was going on here."

That was Michel Solis from Montreal Canada, talking about his impressions of the Czech capital. And that leaves us with just enough time to repeat our competition question for June.

"Two dozen countries of the world use dollars as their national currencies, with the United States dollar being the world's most widely circulated currency. But not all of those who use dollars may be aware that there is a connection between the dollar and the Czech Republic. What is the connection?"

Please send us you suggestions by the end of June to Radio Prague, 12099, Prague or [email protected]. We'll be looking forward to your answers and there are small prizes waiting for four lucky winners.