Sunday, 29 March 2015

Radio stations: archives and angels

Extracts below from Radio Websites by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2015. 

In the past few weeks I have finally listened to some of the online output of Radio Sputnik. The former Voice of Russia now only has a handful of programmes in its canon. It is a far cry from the culture of Russian history, folk music, tales of great composers and classical musicians at the Moscow and St Petersburg conservatoires that once graced the airwaves. However, at least From Moscow With Love is still in the schedule, hosted by Vasily and Nataly. The pair cover similar topics to the Moscow Mailbag show of old, answering for instance questions such as what do average Muscovites look like and what do they wear? How hard is it to get a Russian visa? Who needs doctors when we have folk medicine? An item on classic Soviet radio shows for kids on cable radio in the USSR may quieten some of the station’s critics. STOP PRESS Inexplicably this was taken off air and offline for good in March Shame on you Sputnik!

Other programmes which I have yet to download or listen online to are Agree or Disagree ( ) Red Line ( Living Room ( ) and Looking Forward. The latter is a positive programme in that it looks at emotional intelligence and how to avoid getting more bogged down in negativity.

Another Sputnik programme I have enjoyed is called Brave New World, presented by John Harrison, a Brit with many decades of living in Russia it seems. And, yes, the show is named after Aldous Huxley’s Magnus opus. It looks at the dehumanising aspects of the world today and in many ways reminds me of the much-missed award-winning Radio Netherlands’ programme The State We’re In.

One of the presenters of The State We’re In was Jonathan Groubert and there is a very readable article from 2013 which details the history and background to that show at It includes a masterclass for programme makers and links to previous shows, both good and bad. I spent a happy evening enthralled by this page and investigating its links.

In a moment of bad judgement in January the management team of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW, Radio Nederland Wereldomroep) removed the entire audio archive (of shows which included The State We’re In), taking it all offline. A campaign was quickly launched to get the archive reinstated, as it was a public resource with an audience of loyal listeners as well as current researchers, not to mention as yet unidentifiable future users. Bert van Riel is one of those who has set up a Facebook group to campaign for the restoration. He writes: “The internet archive of former broadcaster Radio Netherlands Worldwide is put offline. Tens of thousands of journalistic texts are now untraceable, years of work by many, hard-working and honest journalists. Archives are a part of history and have historical value. Therefore the Wereldomroep internet archive should be saved. Please join this public group to join forces. The archives of Radio Netherlands Worldwide belong to everyone!”

Such campaigns can work, as we have discovered in recent months, with RTE longwave getting a temporary reprieve whilst a public consultation takes place. See the excellent campaign to save the frequency website at which gives updates, a blog, audio and video, technical details, a history and even RTE on DRM. There is also a Facebook page protesting against the proposed closure.

There is also an article of support for the Dutch archive at an Arts and Culture website. It is in Dutch but worth translating. Meanwhile the bland face of what Radio Netherlands has become, merely a dull media company working in developing countries, is at 

SEE also the unofficial archives at and Media Network archive at PCJ Radio plus at 

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