Vaclav Hollar

This week we read some more views on the role of international broadcasting sent in by our listeners and we announce the winner of our May competition as well as the question for the month of June. Listeners quoted: Stephen Hrebenach, USA; Sergey Kolesov, Ukraine; Miss Farah Anjum, Pakistan; Erik Koie, Denmark, David Eldridge, UK.

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague's Mailbox programme. As promised, today we'll be announcing the winner of last month's listeners' competition and also a brand new question for June. But let's first start with some of your views and comments.

Stephen Hrebenach from Wilmington, Ohio, USA, joined our debate on the role of international broadcasting which we launched in April.

"I believe it remains the same today as it has in the past - to inform and entertain. I am glad that I can turn to some of the larger broadcasters to get news and analysis from around the world, but I feel that it is a shame to no longer get the culture and entertainment programming from these broadcasters' originating countries. It is my opinion that smaller broadcasters can fill a niche not offered by the global news providers by maintaining a diverse programming schedule. When I tune to a station, such as Radio Prague, I want to hear some of the local news as well as the local perspective on global events. But that alone does not keep me tuning in to a station. What I enjoy is learning more about a country through stories about people, places, culture, history, art, music, sport, etc. I feel that overall Radio Prague does a very good job at generating and maintaining this type of diversity and thereby providing welcome insight into the Czech Republic."

Thank you very much, Mr Hrebenach, for your views. And just a reminder, all the contributions to the debate sent in by our listeners can be found on our website,, including this one sent in by Sergey Kolesov from Ukraine's capital Kiev.

"I believe a broadcaster from a particular country must be individual, not copy news from international press agencies but produce its own by its own personnel. It must highlight all sides of living in a country: not only political but cultural, social, business and music of all kinds. Competitions are also a good tool to make foreign listeners research answers to questions about the broadcaster's country. Be polite, try not to insult people of different cultures and mentality. All of these are obvious advices, of course, and Radio Prague, in particular, is one of those who are very close to my understanding of how an international broadcaster should work."

Thanks a lot of that, too, Mr Kolesov, and speaking of competitions, Radio Prague listeners only have 10 more days to send in their entries for the annual contest in which you can win a trip to Prague.

All you have to do is send us a few lines on the following subject:

"What Czech beer means to me."

The winner will receive a week's stay for two in the Czech Republic and there are other attractive prizes for the runners-up.

The winning entry will be aired on Radio Prague in all its six languages.

The winner and a partner will be accommodated in family style in the heart of Prague, at the Hotel Falkensteiner Maria Prag, while your flight will be courtesy of Czech Airlines - your travel partner to the Czech Republic.

Your letters and e-mails should reach us by June 15th at the following address:

Radio Prague, 12099, Prague 2, Czech Republic, or at [email protected]

And now it's time to announce the winner of last month's competition in which we asked you to tell us the name of the 17th-century Czech-born engraver and printmaker who died in London in 1677 (and not in 1667 as I wrongly said at the beginning - but many thanks to Erik Koie from Denmark and David Eldridge from Great Britain for the correction.)

All the answers were correct - the mystery man is, of course, Vaclav (or Wenceslaus) Hollar. And this time the CD goes to Miss Farah Anjum from Shalimar Town in Lahore, Pakistan. Congratulations!

"And for the question for the month of June we cross the Atlantic to the United States where in the 1930s an alternative typewriter keyboard to the QWERTY keyboard was invented and patented by a man of Czech origin. The man, who was born in 1894 and died in 1975, used his extensive knowledge of linguistics and body mechanics to create a simplified keyboard which was supposed to speed up typing and reduce the typists' fatigue. If you think you are totally in the dark, there is a clue: He has the same surname as a world-famous Czech composer, who was actually his distant relative."

Please send your answers to us by the end of June to the usual address, Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic or [email protected]