In this week's programme: inconvenient broadcasting times, the length and structure of Radio Prague programmes, a possibility to go on long wave. We read from letters written by: Raihan-ul-Morshed, Bangladesh; Lenfant Lee, China; Nick Sharpe and D.R. Ansell, United Kindom.

Welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague's feedback programme. Another week has passed in which we received many letters and emails from various remote corners of the world. Among them were emails from Mr Raihan-ul-morshed from Bangladesh and Lenfant Lee from China. They both complain about inconvenient times of our broadcasts.

We are going to deal with that issue in one of our future Mailbox programmes and we'll talk to Czech Radio's shortwave expert, Olda Cip, who is the person to talk to concerning these types of comments. So if you think that Radio Prague broadcasts too early in the morning or too late at night in your region or perhaps at just the right time, please, do let us know. And please don't forget to specify in your letters whether you're referring to your local time or GMT. That will help us a great deal.

We'd also like to hear what you think about the length and structure of our programmes, for example the way we alternate two types of programmes at different times on Saturdays. We already got a detailed letter from Mr Nick Sharpe from England.

"I'd suggest that if you were to do audience research on the typical Radio Prague listener you'd get a number of listeners with Czech roots listening to your station on and off with another group of listeners who have no ties with the Czech Republic but want to gain a greater insight into your country. Now this second group of listeners, I'd suggest, are more likely to be listening at the weekends in their leisure time and away from the hassle of the working week. It seems logical for you to go down the route of Radio Finland in the early 1980s and have extended programmes on Sunday but you might like to extend this to include Saturdays as well. Then make the transmissions one hour long but not extend the number of broadcast hours."

An interesting comment, thank you very much, Mr Sharpe. If anyone shares that view or has other suggestions, please drop us a line. The address is as usual, Radio Prague English Section, 12099, Prague 2 or English@radio.cz

Which reminds me of another thing: please, try and make sure that you mention the country you are writing from in your emails. It is not always possible to work it out from the email address and it helps us a lot to sort our mail and find where we get our response from. Thank you in advance for that.

The following question came from a listener, who gave us the full address, Mr D.R. Ansell from Sussex, England:

"I read in a radio magazine that you may be going to use long wave. Is this true?"

I passed that question on to the director of Radio Prague, Miroslav Krupicka.

"It is an idea. It is not reality at this moment but we are considering going on long wave in English and German. It's a long wave that is used by a domestic channel of Czech Radio, Czech Radio 1 - Radiozurnal, which broadcasts on the FM network and on long wave. We are in talks with this station to give us a certain space on long wave in order for us to be heard beyond the border of the Czech Republic in, say, Germany, Austria and Poland because long wave travels further than medium wave, for instance, or FM, so we would be heard in Central and Eastern Europe on long wave quite well. Of course, this is an addition to shortwave broadcasting. We are always on shortwave, we will stay on shortwave, but in addition we are looking for tools in order to be heard both in the Czech Republic and in Central Europe. In the Czech Republic we are currently on FM in Prague in English, this is a service for tourists, people visiting the Czech Republic, businessmen and so on. It's quite appreciated by the audience from what I have heard. And to expand on long wave would be quite nice, so we are working on it, but it is not yet reality."

You spoke about Central Europe but Mr Ansell is from England - would he be able to listen to us on long wave in England?

"Well, if the weather conditions and the sun spot cycle are ideal I would say probably yes, at certain times of the day, at certain times of the year. But as a rule, I would say no, because as I have just mentioned, it would be well received in the neighbouring countries, such as Poland, Germany, and so on, but it does not travel that far. In ideal conditions possibly, but not usually."

Thank you very much. That was Radio Prague's director Miroslav Krupicka responding to a question by Mr Ansell from England.


And all we have time for now in Mailbox is the December competition question.

"A well-known English-language Christmas carol sings about a kind monarch who was in fact a historic figure, a Czech prince and a saint. We'd like to know who he was."

Please send us your answers by the end of December to Radio Prague, English Section, 12099 Prague or English@radio.cz