WRTH 1959-70 on CD

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.


Publisher: ADDX e.V., Scharsbergweg 14, D-41189 Moenchengladbach, Germany.
Web: www.addx.de
[email protected]
Price: €50 including shipping worldwide. (Bundled with WRTH 1947-58 CD €80)
Methods of payment:
1) Send the money in cash to the above mentioned ADDX-address in Germany.
2) Send your order via email (including your full postal address etc.) to
[email protected] and transfer the money to the ADDX bank account:
Account No. 8686800
BLZ (Bank Code): 300 700 24
IBAN: DE25 3007 0024 0868 6800 00
Bank address: Deutsche Bank Duesseldorf, Ritastrasse 1, 40589
Duesseldorf, Germany
The CD will be sent out after the money is received.
3) In North America the CD can be ordered by sending a check to the NASWA Company store: Jim Strader, 74 Miller Street, Middleborough, MA 02346-3216, USA ($60 or bundled with WRTH 1947-58 CD $99).


Review by Andy Sennitt


The German shortwave listeners' association ADDX recently released a second volume of old editions of the World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH). Scanned and converted to PDF files, the CD contains another 12 complete editions of the annual publication. While the first volume was of personal interest to me because I spent 19 years working on the WRTH before coming to Radio Netherlands, the second volume is, if anything, even more interesting because it covers the whole of the 1960s, the decade in which I became hooked on shortwave listening, and which included the rise and fall of the legendary offshore broadcasters in the North Sea.


The CD also fills the remaining gap in my personal collection. The first edition of the WRTH that I bought was in 1967, just before the close of most of the offshore stations. I never had copies from earlier in the 1960s, and the collection at the editorial office in Denmark was also incomplete. It was a boom time for radio, and the listening hobby, and every last copy seems to have been sold.


I had a detailed look at the 1965 edition. One of the great things about the CD is the speed and ease at which you can move around the publication using the latest version of the Acrobat Reader.


RNW in 1965
A look at the entry for Radio Netherlands Worldwide reveals that in 1965, we had a daily programme in Afrikaans. The Dutch entries were listed under the heading Holland, something that didn't change until after I joined the editorial team in 1978. Sundays in English and Spanish were very much the preserve of Eddie Startz, who already in 1965 had been presenting the Happy Station programme for 35 years! An advertisement for Radio Nederland (as we were then called in English) mentioned a "relay service twice a week for stations in Africa, Latin America and the US". The programmes mentioned are "European Review" and "Transatlantic Profile."


The African section is especially interesting, as that continent has changed politically more than any other part of the world since 1965. There are entries for Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Dahomey, names that have long since disappeared from the map. Ghana had an external service that broadcast to all parts of Africa as well as the UK and Europe, in Arabic, English, French, Hausa, Portuguese and Swahili. I remember listening to them with a good signal, and I enjoyed the highlife music they played. To a young man growing up in rural Eastern England, it sounded quite exotic.


New shortwave transmitters
One of the things that's noticeable in the 1965 edition is how many international broadcasters had just purchased, or were on the point of purchasing, new transmitters. This was a boom time for shortwave transmitter manufacturers as well as those companies who produced shortwave radios. One of the latter was Braun of Germany, which offered its T1000 Universal All Band Radio.


It wouldn't win any prizes for design, but it boasted what was considered ease of use in 1965: "The short wave section is particularly well developed. Spread over eight bands, it permits the entire short-wave range from l.6 to 30mc to be received. Large, easy-to-read dials provide easy tuning. The instrument’s bandspread affords precise station selection. A drum-type band selector with high repeat-exactness permits even weak stations to be quickly re-tuned." Digital frequency readout on consumer radios was still a decade or so away.


Satellite TV broadcasts
1965 also saw the early stages of intercontinental TV broadcasting by satellite. I still remember the early satellite broadcasts, black and white of course, but I don't think anyone at that stage envisaged Direct to Home broadcasting with hundreds of channels. Also in the 1965 edition, although already off the air by the time of publication, was TV Noordzee, the short-lived Dutch offshore station broadcasting from REM Island that later became the TROS, now one of our public broadcasting organizations. It's interesting to note that the station was listed to have an RCA transmitter and a power of 250 kW - though this was surely the Effective Radiated Power.


Those are some of the things that particularly interested me. You will undoubtedly find different things of interest - because in a reference work like WRTH there's always something new to discover, even if it's over 40 years old. Amassing a collection like this would be difficult, and certainly quite expensive. The print run for the Handbook in the early years was lower than the 55,000 which it averaged in the 1980s, so there are less copies of these older editions lying around.


One of the advantages of having the books in PDF files on a CD is that it takes so little space. As one who has the habit of hoarding books and magazines, that's a big advantage - and less of a fire hazard. At a cost of less than five euros per edition, it's incredible value, and if you order the two CD's together (see my earlier review of the 1947-58 editions) it's even cheaper. If there were such thing as a "coffee table CD", this would be it. Highly recommended!