Tuesday, 4 August 2015

British DX Club’s Broadcasts in English

All of the summer shortwave schedules appear in the British DX Club’s Broadcasts in English publication and I keep a copy by my radio to remind me of when to tune to some of my favourite regular broadcasters, such as the Voice of Turkey and Voice Vietnam by following the schedules. 

For those who are more adventurous it offers tantalising glimpses of ever more exotic sounding stations. Just taking some of the 35 options that are in the English during the 1300 to 1400 late lunchtime slot, you may be tempted to seek out signals from Ovozi Tojik, the Voice of Tajik in Dushanbe who target the Middle East on 7245kHz. 

Or maybe Pyongyang’s latest proclamations will liven up your lunch on 9435, 11710, 13760 and 15245kHz. Radio Tunis Chaine International’s domestic service is on 963kHz medium wave in English for an hour while, on Tuesdays, domestic station Radio Nikkei 1 from Tokyo offers the intriguing prospect on 3935, 6055 and 9595kHz of “Let’s Read the Nikkei” (Japan’s stock market) in English and Japanese. 

If you want to order a copy of Broadcasts in English then send a cheque for £3 made payable to British DX Club to  British DX Club, 10 Hemdean Hill, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SB. A pdf version is also available as well as the paper one for the same price (email bdxc@bdxc.org.uk ). More details including overseas rates are at http://bdxc.org.uk/bie.html

Monday, 6 July 2015

So much radio, so little time…

Extract from my columns in Radio User July 2015

There is so much radio to choose from and never enough time to hear everything I would like to, but you just have to make the most of every spare moment. I have found a new radio station by accident when I was at Live 365 looking for some acid and fusion jazz. http://www.live365.com/genres/jazz

The new station I refer to is KSBR 88.5 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California which I have added to my long list of favourites. http://www.ksbr.net/ It was a breezy Saturday afternoon in the UK but a bright morning in California and I was transfixed by wonderfully gentle and moving jazz-chill out music such as an unreleased track called Orange Sky by John Luttrell (https://soundcloud.com/john-luttrell ); New Day from David Arkenstone’s Sketches From an American Journey album (www.davidarkenstone.com) and Santa Fe by Deuter, from the Land of Enchantment album. (http://www.newearthrecords.com/artists-items/deuter/)

If I ever gave it all up to live in the USA I think, having been to 25 states in my five visits, the Californian coast would have to be where I make my home. Elsewhere in the USA, Eargasm in Texas is another online station I have enjoyed with a mix of jazz fusion, art rock and indie. Give it a whirl at www.live365.com/stations/fuzoid

With the return of Radio France Internationale to shortwave I have been grateful for online information about the station. There is a series of English programmes on their Soundcloud channel which will supplement your shortwave listening and which includes programmes you won’t be able to catch during their one hour of English each day on shortwave. https://soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/sets/rfi-english 

These include features on the Nelson Mandela memorial and an interview with D’Banj who is a Nigerian rapper, entertainer and cocoa farmer. While with RFI there is a You Tube channel, that of one Yohann Chauvin, which includes old RFI identifications and also a range of other French radio stations, news and old. See https://www.youtube.com/user/joggeli78 The official RFI You Tube channel meanwhile is always full of engrossing excerpts, at https://www.youtube.com/user/rfivideos.

Monday, 22 June 2015

A voyage to Vietnam

“What do you know about Vietnam” contest 2015

The Voice of Vietnam is holding a competition and entries must be sent by 30 June 2015 (email to vovworld@vov.org.vn). As well as the station’s 70th anniversary the contest marks
other occasions including the 70th anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day, the 85th
anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the 125th birthday of President Ho Chi
Minh and the 40th anniversary of the liberation of southern Vietnam and national

The contest’s theme is “What do you know about Vietnam?” and it’s a proper competition which needs some careful thought (unlike the simple phone-in quizzes so beloved of UK domestic television). The prizes are worthwhile, with a free week-long trip to Vietnam for first place and runners up prizes of a five day trip, a four day trip and ten consolation prizes

You have to answer the following questions, if you are struggling then a short amount of research online should set you straight: 
(1) What were Vietnam’s most outstanding achievements in economics, external relations, social welfare, society, and poverty reduction in 2014?; 

(2) Vietnam is a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the 2014-2016 term. What have been Vietnam’s contributions and activities during the first year of its two year term?; 

(3) In 2014 UNESCO recognised two relic sites and/or art forms in Vietnam as tangible or intangible cultural heritages of humanity. What are they? How many tangible and intangible cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO does Vietnam have? What are they?; 

(4) What do you know about Vietnam’s 2015 National Tourism Year themed “Connecting world heritages”? Name the most prominent cultural and tourism events during the year. 

(5) The Voice of Vietnam will be 70 years old on 7 September 2015. What have been the major developments at the station over the last five years? 

(6) How many people will participate in this contest?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

School of Oriental and African Studies

Extract from my columns in Radio User May 2015

I attended a UNESCO World Radio Day event on 13 February at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) at the University of London. It was an interesting occasion and one of many taking place all over the world. I recommend you put the date in your diary for next year. At SOAS there were seminars and a trade fair showcasing the latest research and innovations in the field of radio and development communication and, as you would hope, coverage from a great radio station, in this case the in-house SOAS Radio. SOAS Radio has been on air for a decade now, providing education and training to its students, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in media.

This year’s World Radio Day theme was youth and radio and there were four presentations at SOAS from academics and professionals working in the field of radio in Africa: Kevin Perkins of Farm Radio International which is a Canadian non-profit organisation which for 35 years has working in partnership with more than 500 radio partners across Africa to fight poverty and food insecurity. Dr Sharath Srinivasan from Cambridge University, Will Snell of Development Media International and Daniel Bruce from Internews Europe.

See http://soasradio.org/ for regular podcasts from the station including their World Radio Day output. Elsewhere, Vatican Radio and Radio Romania International were among shortwave stations taking part in the day and audio can be found at many places online including https://soundcloud.com/world-radio-day

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Good Friday on the Cam and on 6070kHz

Photo from Facebook

There is a relay of community station Cambridge 105 on shortwave over Easter (one day only, Friday 3 April). In a special broadcast the station takes over the river boat Georgina and broadcasts from the River Cam in an attempt to recreate offshore radio days. It is supported by a local record store, Lost in Vinyl. Ex-BBC presenters including Trevor Dann and Mandy Morton joined former pirates Julian Clover and Steve Potter.

The Deutscher Amateur-Radio-Club (DARC) are relaying this on 6070kHz. Keep tuning to that shortwave frequency as Radio DARC also transmits (via Channel 292) programmes in English about amateur radio, hosted by Ed Durrant, DD5LP G8GLM, from 1400-1500 UTC on Mondays on 6070kHz. You can email Ed at eddd5lp@gmail.com.

With thanks to the BDXC for the alert to this fascinating broadcast.

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. http://sputniknews.com/radio_from_moscow_with_love 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 (http://sputniknews.com/radio_agree_or_disagree ) Red Line (http://sputniknews.com/radio_red_line) Living Room (http://sputniknews.com/radio_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 http://transom.org/2013/jonathan-groubert-the-talkumentary/ 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!” https://www.facebook.com/groups/redhetarchiefvanradionederlandwereldomroep/

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 http://savertelongwaveradio.com 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. https://www.facebook.com/enda.okane

There is also an article of support for the Dutch archive at an Arts and Culture website. http://www.cultureelpersbureau.nl/2015/01/archief-wereldomroep-volgend-slachtoffer-van-bezuinigingen/ 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 www.rnw.org 

SEE also the unofficial archives at https://rnwarchive.wordpress.com and Media Network archive at PCJ Radio plus at http://jonathanmarks.libsyn.com 

Monday, 9 March 2015

Long Medium and Shortwave Broadcast Matters, Radio User

Extracts below from Long Medium and Shortwave Broadcast Matters  by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, March 2015. 

We cover a lot of ground this month, including Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean, Thailand and Turkey on shortwave before an intriguing look at what two Radio User readers in Ireland and South Africa have been hearing on medium wave.

From Bournemouth Andrew Kirby has a query regarding a station on 3946kHz which he has heard open at 2000 UTC and thinks may be Radio Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. He has not been able to identify it in the brief 30 second window before the signal is obliterated by a transmission coming on air on nearby 3955kHz. If it is Radio Vanuatu they broadcast mostly in the vernacular of Bislama but also in the colonially-imposed languages of English and French (the country only gained independence in 1980). They broadcast with 1kW on 3945kHz from 1830 to 1230 UTC and on 7260kHz for 24 hours a day.

Owned by the state-run Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation, Radio Vanuatu started life as Radio Vila, then became Radio New Hebrides. It now broadcasts 16 hours a day of news, information programmes, music and entertainment. The station’s email is technical@vbtc.com.vu with a postal address of Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation, PMB 9049 Port-Vila, Republic of Vanuatu.

The Voice of Turkey broadcasts in several languages, many of which reflect its neighbouring countries, for example Arabic, Azeri, Persian Tatar, Uyghur and Uzbek. Among the languages more familiar to most of us it also transmits in Spanish to South America, Spanish to southern Europe (at 1730 UTC on 9495kHz), Italian to south east Europe (the latter is on 6185kHz at 1500 UTC) and German to Europe on 7205kHz at 1830 UTC.
If you want to try listening to Turkish then get up early for the 0500 to 0655 UTC broadcast on 9700kHz or at 0700 to 0855 UTC on 15350kHz. These emanate from the Emirler transmitter in the town of Gölbaşı (which is in the province of Ankara) and are aimed to Western Europe. Turkish is then aired to Europe at 1300 UTC on 15350kHz but you will doubtless be tuned to TRT The Voice of Turkey in English by then, on 12035kHz from 1330 to 1425 UTC. You have another chance to hear them at 1930 UTC for 55 minutes on 6050kHz followed by French at 2030 UTC on the same frequency and also on 5970kHz. English programmes to South East Asia are on air at 2130 UTC on 9610kHz and later to North America at 2300 UTC on 5960kHz.
Radio Thailand to Western Europe is still on its usual frequency of 9390kHz aimed at western Europe. English can be heard at 0530 to 0600 UTC (which is beamed to Africa as well as Europe) and from 1900 to 2000 UTC. German is on at 2000 UTC; English again for 15 minutes at 2030 UTC and then it’s in Thai from 2045 until 2115 UTC.
Radio Exterior de Espana’s return to shortwave is sadly only in the Spanish language with relays of Radio National de Espana. They have been logged on 9620kHz at 2200 UTC and 11940kHz at 2100 UTC.

Reader Steve Nichols
G0KYA notes that WRMI in Florida now broadcast on a whole range of frequencies. This includes a relay of Radio Slovakia International in English at 0030-0100 UTC on 5850 kHz to North America. WRMI also relay the weekly Sputnik Radio (formerly Voice of Russia) show "From Moscow With Love" with Vasily Strelnikov and Natalia Stefanova. Aimed at North America it’s on at 0400 UTC on 9955 kHz; at 1000 UTC on 5850 kHz; 2100 and 2130 UTC on 7570 kHz and 15770 kHz. Radio Scotland International is a Dutch station which was logged by Bradley Allen on 6290kHz at 0830 UTC with a brief test transmission. He also heard mention of what I presumably another free radio station called Radio Columbia and wonders who they are? Free stations logged on the 6290kHz frequency so far this year include Radio Rode Adelaar in German and Dutch, Radio NMD, Radio Hitmix, Radio Powerliner and Radio Quadzilla and Radio Caroline Rainbow.
International Radio Serbia’s programme content is usually too dry and dull for my tastes but at least they are always there on 6100kHz for those that choose to listen. There are seven languages beamed to western Europe every evening from a transmitter at Bijelina in the neighbouring country of Bosnia-Hercegovina. If you sit by your radio at 1830 UTC and tune to 6100kHz you will hear Italian followed by Russian at 1900 UTC, English at 1930 and 2200 UTC, Spanish at 2000 UTC; Serbian at 2030 and 2230 UTC, German at 2100 UTC and French at 2130 UTC.
The BBC World Service has done well to maintain shortwave services after the crippling cuts by the coalition government. You will recall that for decades (82 years of existence in fact) their entire funding was through a grant-in-aid from the Foreign Office Department. But since last year all World Service funding now has to come from the BBC television licence fee. It’s hard to fathom how this can work without major cuts to many other BBC services but it is sadly true. However, as you see from the logs, BBC World Service in English is still a regular catch (and, of course, if you just want to hear the station for the programme content there’s a national DAB channel). Special programmes on Ebola have been aired for several months now, aimed at the countries and regions affected most by the disease. English programmes have included a BBC public health broadcast on Ebola and regular updates on local, regional and international efforts to contain and combat Ebola. There is a dedicated Ebola information webpage at the World Service too, along with a Facebook page and Twitter feed http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02749tj

Another way is which the BBC World Service is maintaining an international reputation as a provider of vital news and information is in its Afghan Service. This has recently been expanded with three new audience participation programmes in the Dari and Pashto languages: Word of the Day in the morning and News and Views in the evening; and Global Newsbeat bulletins in Dari and Pashto.  News and Views is a daily programme at 1600 UTC split into two half-hour Dari and Pashto sections. Popular presenters, Abdullah Shadan and Mohebullah Mudessir (Dari) and Spin Tanay and Saeeda Mahmood (Pashto), bring their own unique style to the programme, making a smooth transition from one language to the other.  The morning live interactive show, Word of the Day which started in December connects the global with the local, listeners to share the news closer to home.  Younger audiences are at the heart of the Global Newsbeat bulletins launched in late December. 

Meena Baktash, Editor of the BBC Afghan service, says:  “With the Global Newsbeat bulletins we are reaching out to young people – those who will make up our audience base in the years to come – while also retaining the core standards and values of the BBC that have made us such a trusted news source in Afghanistan. We want our listeners to live the news with us.” Research suggests that the BBC’s international news services reach 6.5 million people (about 42% of the adult population) in Afghanistan on radio, TV and online each week (2013).

Saturday, 7 February 2015

World Radio Day Friday 13 February 2015

The 4th UNESCO World Radio Day is Friday 13 February. This year it focuses on radio for, by and with youth (i.e. people under 30 years old).

There are various events around the world and hopefully the day will engage with radio stations large and small too. I never understand why UK commercial stations and most BBC stations seem to ignore it. Considering the amount of air time they have to fill and judging by the mediocre content that many produce, you would think a chance like this would be a golden opportunity: Interviewing young people, hooking up with other stations, playing music from around the world suggested by young people and other stations, giving a show or two across to people under 30 to produce and present- the potential is great.

PCJ Radio International’s Media Network Plus show of 31 January was ahead of the pack as usual. It interviewed UNESCO Chief of Section, Communication and Information Sector, Mirta Lourenco. She emphasised a need for greater social inclusion of the young generation. A speech from and BBC World Service Director Peter Horrocks stated his commitment to youth radio but I can see and hear nothing to back this up in actual content- it sounded like he was reading a script and giving empty platitudes but I look forward to being corrected.

Broadcasters from around the world will be on air live from UNESCO HQ in Paris on Friday, 13 February. These include MC Doualiya (ar) | Radio Orient (fr) | Radio VL (fr) | RFI (fr) | and Vivre FM (fr).   The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and UNESCO are also hosting a joint live broadcast all day, which will be streamed online. Visit the ITU website for more details.

There are also other events going on all over the world - see what's happening near you by visiting the World Radio Day Crowdmap. I am attending an event in London. 
Radio Romania International as always, will be hoisting a special programme for its shortwave and online audiences.

Check out the World Radio Day Soundcloud page too, now, on the 13th and after.

Happy World Radio Day for the 13th February, fellow listeners!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A plea to UK commercial and community radio stations

My message to CAT Radio in Cheshire on their launch.

Good luck with the launch of CAT Radio- Hope you follow the example of quality community stations such as Salford City Radio, ALL FM Manchester and Resonance FM in London, and produce diverse, informative, interesting programmes. Please don’t be tempted down the route of most commercial radio stations and many community radio stations and end up relying on playing jaded old singles from the past. You have a chance to open your audiences’ (and sponsors’) ears to exciting new (and old) music and intelligent speech programming. 

These opinions are my personal views and not necessarily those of any publishers, music organisations or clubs that I work with. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sunday, Lounge Masters

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

I have time in the afternoon to catch up with emails while listening to a Japan-based station called Oasis Radio. It has a Sunday chillout programme, (recent and archives) presented by Tim Angrave at http://www.oasis-radio.net/radio-shows/chillout-lounge-mix-tim-angrave/ 

Another laid-back musical option is to explore the Lounge Masters download which started at the end of October at http://www.loungemasters.org/  but which has been established on social media, including YouTube, for a few years. 

On Sunday evenings The Prog Mill from the windmill which is home to Stafford Radio is a must-listen for me. Presenter Shaun Geraghty’s two hour show features new melodic progressive rock music, with a few old classics thrown into. 

It has gone from strength to strength and clocked up a three year anniversary in the autumn. If you miss it live on Sundays at 2200 UTC, then you can hear it again thanks to the Stafford Radio Rewind facility. Have a look at http://www.staffordradio.com/index.htm and http://www.staffordradio.com/presenters/shaungeraghty.htm If you use Facebook then the show has its very own page, full of track listings, competitions and band news. https://www.facebook.com/theprogmill

Friday, 2 January 2015

Friday, shortwave podcasts

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

The working week is over for most of us and I am on the tram to Cheshire to see family. I block out the noise of the commuters around me by listening to the last of the podcasts which I loaded onto my mp3 player at the weekend. Views, news and features from the English services of Radio Sweden (http://sverigesradio.se/sida/default.aspx?programid=2054 ), Radio Prague (http://www.radio.cz/en/static/about-radio-prague/how-to-listen-to-radio-prague ), Radio Slovakia International (http://en.rsi.rtvs.sk/ ) and Radio Bulgaria. See http://bnr.bg/en and the wonderful 80 years feature at http://bnr.bg/en/80years/list

Although Sweden and Bulgaria are no longer available on shortwave, I am still as entranced and informed by these countries as I was when first encountering them decades ago on the radio dial.

Just before meeting some friends for dinner there’s time for me to explore Soundcloud and hear a few new offerings in my feed. These include DJ Zed’s glorious six minute dark and mysterious track called “Mystery”, which reminded me a little of radio interference and ionospheric noises at https://soundcloud.com/di_zed/mystery Other aural ambience that may well lift you include tracks called Ravel, Ether and The Symbols. Check out https://soundcloud.com/di_zed. 

I also catch up with the latest podcasts from The Mouth, a UK magazine which has regular interviews with established and up and coming bands. https://soundcloud.com/themouthmagazine

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Happy 75th anniversary Radio Sweden! #RadioSweden75

Radio Sweden celebrates 75 years on 13 December. It was that grim first December of World War II that the station took to the airwaves in English (a Swedish service started a year earlier). They were mostly heard on shortwave back then,  although the English service of the station left the airwaves a few years back, I listen to their weekday 30 minute podcast several times a week.

The hashtag #RadioSweden75 is being used on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as listeners are encouraged to share their stories and photos of station memorabilia.

I am fairly sure that Radio Sweden in English with its lovely interval signal and identification was the first station I heard on shortwave back in the 1970s. Their programmes have always shown me an intelligent, liberal-minded and culturally rich country. I was hooked as I became a teenager and have not veered far from their delightful Nordic news and views of the Nordic countries ever since- they remain a favourite and are a voice of reason on what is often an otherwise propaganda-led, rather dumbed-down radio dial. 

I have a smattering of QSL cards which I must photograph and put on Instagram this week, I also have happy memories of their paper schedules, and of proudly wearing a “Keep In Touch - Radio Sweden” T-shirt in dark blue with that familiar Radio Sweden font in yellow, in the early 1980s. I wonder if they still produce such clothing items- a tote bag is available?

The 2014 Swedish General Election coverage was fabulous, as was the Green Party forming the collation government. I hope the 22 March 2015 snap election produces similar successes.

It would be nice to hear relays of Radio Sweden programmes return to shortwave on Global 24 Radio. I hope they sign up, as many other stalwart shortwave stations already have re-established a shortwave voice this way since October 2014.

Happy 75th anniversary Radio Sweden! Have a listen to them, both their daily programmes and their archive material.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Good news on SW: Global 24 & Voice of Mongolia


Some good shortwave news for a change!

Hats off to Radio 700 in Kall, Germany. Their trial relays of the Voice of Mongolia’s English service in early autumn resulted in such a deluge of correspondence to both Radio 700 and The Voice of Mongolia that the arrangement is continuing to the end of 2014 (and hopefully beyond).

Don’t miss out on these three opportunities every day to hear the Voice of Mongolia. Tune to 7310kHz at 1600 to 1630 UTC; 6005kHz from 1700 to 1730 UTC; and 3985kHz at 2000 UTC.  You can email reception reports and comments to vom_en@yahoo.com or write to: Voice Of Mongolia, English Section, CPO Box 365, Ulaanbaatar 13, Mongolia

Good news too that from today, 31 October, at 2300 UTC  you can tune to 9395kHz for hours of quality English  programming from Global 24.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

"Eire viva España"- sign RTE and REE petitions!

Fight the cuts to Radio Exterior de España on shortwave and also the proposed end to Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE 1) on 252kHz  long wave.

Please sign these two petitions, links below.

"We are requesting that RTE keep its broadcasting services to the Irish in Britain. This move was done with no consultation with its listeners, and will be a significant loss to the whole Irish community." https://www.change.org/p/rte-don-t-cut-off-the-irish-in-britain

The petition against the closure of Radio Exterior de Españ is at http://tinyurl.com/ka2vegt Although the station has been taken off of the air, Radio Exterior de Españpresenter Alison Hughes asked people to sign this petition to the Spanish government, to try and reverse the decision.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Adios amigos, Good night Madrid

Radio Exterior de Espaňa QSL card 

Extracts below from Broadcast Matters by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2014. 

Two autumns ago Radio Exterior de Espaňa was under threat of shortwave cuts but it managed to hang on. A new management structure was implemented at the station in the summer and it was announced on the Listeners’ Club programme that from later this month the Radio Exterior de Espaňa are giving up use of their shortwave transmitter site at Noblejas, due to the vast amounts of electricity that it uses. The Nobeljas transmitter site, in the province of Toledo, first came into operation in 1971, replacing a weaker transmitter which was sited at Arganda del Ray.

I hoped that the station’s new management would not take the decision to close the English service. It has always been small in number with Alison Hughes, Frank Smith and Justin Coe being the mainstay of the presenting team, however, the range of quality programmes has always been stunning. 

I’ll be downloading podcasts when their shortwave services close (http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/emision-en-ingles). I hope that an online presence with the same programming is retained.

Programmes and features I enjoyed on REE over the summer included North by Southwest visiting La Case del Lector in Madrid for a European publishing conference, the weekly press reviews, and other bizarre items such as the falling cedars and pine trees in Madrid’s Retiro Park. I enjoy REE’s musical features too, such as offerings from the summer Mar de Músicas Festival in Cartagena.

Listeners’ Club was a must-listen, although sometimes I feel sorry for the presenters having to explain time and again that they are no longer in a position to send QSL cards out (although they did issue one for their 70th anniversary a few years back). The English Service (and I daresay their other language services too) receive letters from all over the world. Listeners and DXers from Bangladesh, Canada, India, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USSA had written or emailed in to recent editions of Listeners’ Club that I heard but it was almost embarrassing to hear so many of them seemingly writing in solely in pursuit of a QSL card.

Although comments were made on the programme content too, it served as a reminder to me that the remaining shortwave stations are often dependent on listener contributions to make up such programmes: we should try and ask interesting questions and give feedback. It helps a station monitor and estimate its audience numbers and I would think a station has a better chance of survival (whether that is on shortwave or online) if it can prove its audience is engaged with successively and is responsive to the programme content rather than only requesting freebies, such as pens, stickers and QSL cards.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Radio in Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal...

Extracts below from Radio Websites by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2014. 

It's time to track down some former shortwave broadcasters and see what they are up to. Radio Bulgaria is running a series marking 80 years of radio in the country. It will last for 80 weeks and you can hear the latest and previous programmes by going to  http://bnr.bg/en/post/100423681/bnr-80-years-in-80-weeks-peter-uvaliev-and-the-bnr-international-service

Radio Bulgaria and their Facebook page cover more recent events too at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Bulgaria-English-Service/314692588565772 The exploits of tennis star Grigor Dimitrov, a jazz festival in Stara Zagora (the city of the linden trees) and young Bulgarian rock band PSS have all featured of late. PSS are fronted by Sandra Petrova and cover the genres of alternative rock mixed with blues and progressive motifs. There is also a great online magazine called Zoom which almost makes up for Bulgaria's lack of shortwave activity (almost!) http://bnr.bg/en/page/zoom

The Greek state broadcaster ERT was replaced last year by NERIT and has still been heard on shortwave. NERIT now has a website at http://www.nerit.gr/ Like many other radio stations' websites it's modern, clear and easy on the eye; packed with photos and news stories. In the absence of Greek radio in English I go here instead to read up on Greek news and views, although as with all state-run broadcasters I also search out alternative opinions from people on the street via social media.

Radio Portugal's English service left shortwave late last century. RDP has a website at http://www.rtp.pt/radio/where you can hear the eight national broadcasters in Portuguese- with a range of music stations. For English you have to head for the Algarve and Kiss FM's programmes for holidaymakers at http://www.kissfm.pt/

London Shortwave is a blogger I've mentioned before at http://london-shortwave.blogspot.co.uk/ who is more active these days with his videos on You Tube . The channel has the over complex address of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOX41wIS1Qk&feature=youtu.be I created a shortened url of http://tinyurl.com/prsa6qo for you through Tiny url

He shows in various videos how he is set up receive shortwave in every room, based on "a drawing from the 1930s issue of a shortwave listening magazine, my way of listening to what's being received in my radio shack wirelessly around the house." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCTrSZdZOGk

Another YouTuber who uploads interesting radio recordings and videos can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/qwertyamdx with recent catches of Polish Radio, Radio France International and a wonderful sign on from Oblastnoye Radio Mogilev in Belarus on 7255 kHz.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Amoeba, Jersey City and California

Extracts below from Radio Websites by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2014. 

The Amoeba blog covers music and sometimes radio from California. There are several contributors which ensures plenty of different views. http://www.amoeba.com/blog
Recent posts include gig reviews of an amazing band from the city of angels, called Kan Wakan (http://www.kanwakan.com ) They are hard to describe but the combination of organ, guitars, strings and a melodic female vocalist all make for a heady sound. Their new album "Moving On" is already one of my summer favourites.  Amoeba major in music but other arts are also covered, mostly in the USA but also globally.

They have links with the great alternative radio station from Jersey City, WFMU, which has been on air since the 1950s. http://www.wfmu.org It's also streamed online of course and is a station I often turn to when I am in an eclectic mood. Their playlist covers "flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, cooking instructions, classic radio airchecks, found sound, dopey call-in shows, interviews with obscure radio personalities and notable science-world luminaries, spoken word collages, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than English as well as Country and western music." So that is just about something for everyone. If you use Facebook there are extras snippets posted there too. https://www.facebook.com/wfmuradio

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

International Radio Festival Zurich 21 August to 7 Sept #irfradiofest

Several international radio stations will meet to celebrate all things "Radio" and broadcasting live as part of the “On Air” programme at the 5th International Radio Festival.

They include BBC Radio 1, Kiss92 Singapore and Dubai Star FM Dubai coming to Zurich to celebrate all things radio.  This year’s is running from 21st August to 7th September 2014 transforming Zurich’s Kaufleuten Club & restaurant into a place for music lovers. The IRF radio studio will host live shows by international radio broadcasters presenting a multi-faceted programme with guests, food and drinks on the terrace and of course lots of music.

The International Radio Festival can be heard on 104.1 MHz (Zurich Nord) and 96.9 MHz (Zurich South) and online around the world, and back home where the IRF radio guests originate from.

Radio stations broadcasting as part of the “On Air” programme include; BBC Radio One, Kiss FM Berlin, Kiss92 Singapore, RTL102.2 Milano, Star FM Dubai, Radio Nova Paris, Radio Romantika Moscow, XFM UK, SRF Virus Switzerland, Soho London Radio, Radio 24 Zurich, Ibiza Sonica, Radio Fiume Ticino, and web radio Creatures Of The Night.

Each station will broadcast a radio show with its own music programme in their local language. The IRF is the only international radio festival in the world which broadcasts an on-air program, celebrating the most consumed and most influential medium in the world – radio. The boutique event has blossomed into one of the most important meetings of the global radio landscape, welcoming radio producers, industry professionals and radio jockeys from around the world to join together in Zurich.

One of the show highlights will be Tony Prince presenting "Flashback Radio" the best of 50 years of Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg with many original interviews from the past. 50 years ago the ship was anchored under the Panamanian flag in the North Sea and Prince aka "Your Royal Ruler" was a crew member infamous MV Fredericia. Radio Caroline was a fundamental part in the revolution of the British music industry giving young people to access pop music, which had previously been withheld from them.

Other highlights include Kiss FM creator Gordon Mac and his new Mi-Soul internet radio, Acid Jazz founder Eddie Piller from Soho Radio and film and music composers Lionel and Diego Baldenweg of Great Garbo.

On Wednesday, 3rd September the IRF will celebrate SwissRadioDay with a programme designed by Swiss radio stations including; Switzerland’s number one station Radio24 Zurich, SRF Radio Virus, Radio GRRIF, Radio Fiume Ticino and Radio 105.

IRF B2B Forum
In addition to the live broadcasts the IRF also features an exclusive B2B Forum, bringing together people who are passionate about radio from around the world to deliberate, collaborate and network to discover the future trends and evolution of their Industry. This year’s forum will be an informal round table discussion headed up by Tony Prince and new and IRF Advisory Board President Gordon Mac on "UK radio yesterday and tomorrow".

All frequencies and the detailed programme can be found at www.internationalradiofest.com
www.radioday.ch and www.kaufleuten.ch/

Listen to shows from previous editions on Mixcloud here: www.mixcloud.com/IRF
See photos from the event here: www.flickr.com/photos/internationalradiofestival/
See what people in radio say about the IRF here: www.internationalradiofest.com/what-the-radios-say/

Friday, 1 August 2014

Where are they now? Former shortwave broadcasting giants & minnows

Photo above from Public Radio of Armenia Facebook page

Extracts below from Radio Websites (August 2014)  by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2014. 

Where are they now?

This is the part of the magazine where I track down and remind you of where former radio shortwave broadcasting giants and minnows have now gone to. The Voice of Russia left shortwave to park its bus in cyberspace but can be heard on DAB in south east England, and online at the special UK service website. It’s today’s equivalent of those mighty shortwave broadcasts that Radio Moscow used to target to listeners in “Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.  If you go to  http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/  you can see how the Voice of Russia  still has the variety of exciting programmes that it used to air on shortwave. With current world politics it will pay to keep an ear to that station.

The Voice of Armenia still broadcast on shortwave but not in English, on 4810kHz. The next best thing is that you can watch Armenian television at http://www.armeniatv.am/en/voice with programmes such as The Human Factor, Sharp Angle and Inner Kitchen. It’s also available on a Russian version of You Tube, called Ru Tube http://rutube.ru/  and you can follow the tv channel on Twitter at @armeniantv 

When you mention The Voice of Armenia these days it is more associated with the tv singing show The Voice which started in the USA and has spread globally.  

There is sport as well which doesn’t require too much in the way of knowing the local lingo. It all looks slick and there is a even a little English to help us poor saps. The Armenian alphabet and script looks very elegant I must say, as do some of the presenters you’ll see. It’s a long way from the “This Is Yerevan” identification calls that used to echo across the shortwaves with more regularity than they now do, but I enjoy staying in touch with a country I learned so much about through radio.

Of course, as well as current day audio and video from former international broadcasters, there is an ever-expanding archive being compiled by DXers around the world, and uploaded to You Tube, Vimeo and doubtless other similar video and audio social media sites. You can spend many a happy hour wallowing in the snap crackle and pop of shortwave’s golden era when you search for archive material online. 

For example D Firth has a You Tube channel laden with off-air recordings clips from the late 1960s which feature Radio Australia, Radio Moscow, Radio Peking, Swiss Radio International and the Voice of America at https://www.youtube.com/user/dfirth224  

Our good friend of the DX community SWLDX in Bulgaria, along with a regular blog, has over 2,000 videos online at https://www.youtube.com/user/SWLDXBulgaria which include vintage as well as current catches. Listen to his 40 minute long audio from “The Glory Days of Shortwave Radio”, if you fancy a trip down memory lane. 

Others I’ve enjoyed recently include John Doe’s YouTube channel 
https://www.youtube.com/user/RWObservatory which has current recordings of shortwave stations such as the BBC and Vatican Radio plus some older material including  vintage Brother Stair clips – in full preacher mode- from the 1980s.

Friday, 25 July 2014

EDXC 2014, nice in Nice

Nice in Nice (As the Stranglers sang). Photo: Pete Tomsett

How would you like to round off this summer with a few days in the south of France , talking to your heart's content about all things radio? Well, you can if you attend this year's European DX Conference which takes place from 19 to 22 September. See http://edxcnews.wordpress.com/ for details including registration and accommodation. Their main website is at http://www.edxc.org .

There are conference events for two days in the village of Saint Delmas de Tende then two days 80km down the road in Nice. Presentations and talks about DXing plus excursions to Radio Monte Carlo and beyond. If you want to bring a friend or other half who is not as interested in radio as yourself, there are plenty of non radio sights to see too, with a three countries in one day excursion which visits Ventimiglia in Italy, Monaco and of course, Nice. See you there!

Saturday, 19 July 2014


The exhibition of the month for me is at GRAD (Gallery for Russian Arts and Design) in London. 

Work and Play Behind the Iron Curtain shows consumer items from children’s toys, dolls and model Zils, through fizzy pop vending machines (above) to a space age vacuum cleaner, record players, telephones and, of course, radios. 

There are just a couple of radios, a ladies portable transistor and a Red Star Zveda 54, which all good citizens would gather around in the evening in their cramped Stalinist apartment to hear news of bumper harvests and the latest conquests of space.

I am writing more on the exhibition in the Collectors’ Corner feature in August’s Communication- journal of the British DX Club, so I won’t say more here for now, except, do go to GRAD! (Current exhibition is on until 23 August, with 'A Game in Hell'  The First World War in Russia,  from 27 September to 30 November 2014).