Friday, 24 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 24

Christmas Eve and radio-wise there will be millions tuning to BBC radio and television with good reason. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the Christmas Eve service held in King's College Chapel started in 1918 and has been covered by BBC radio since 1928.



You can read about the service and download a service booklet at: http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/events/chapel-services/nine-lessons.html  


The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on 24 December at 1500 UTC http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wqgmv  
It is also broadcast at 1400 UTC on Radio 3 on Christmas Day http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wlg7m  , and at various times on the BBC World Service: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00cjlc2  
It is also on BBC 1 and BBC 2 tv and you can find it on the Listen Again facility at BBC i-player for seven days aftrwards.


I first heard it in 1989. I remember that Christmas well, as the most politically momentous year of my life to date drew to a close. The Berlin Wall had been torn down six weeks earlier, eastern Europe was becoming free, the peace protestors of east and west had finally been vindicated, and even the apartheid regime in South Africa was having to relent. Sadly democracy in China was still to come, and we still wait today, whilst ruthless western capital of so many kinds, from services to products, greedily makes inroads into the Chinese markets with scant regard to using this to help secure soem kind of democracy for the people.


Tuning into Radio Bucharest’s looped and live announcements when the station was seized by the people after the revolution which overthrew the despotic Ceausescus. Hearing the impassioned pleas and gasps of the taste of freedom live on air (in the pre-internet age remember) was breath-taking.


On a lighter note I remember preparing for Christmas in Surrey, watching Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday for the first time- which was a film that endeared me to Jacques Tati and remains a favourite. And then tuning into Radio 4 or the World Service as the day darkened and cooking and present preparations took place all around. The haunting sounds of the carols from Kings hit me and I realised why it had become such an important starting point to so many people’s Christmas across the globe.


I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a brave 2011.


Thursday, 23 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 23

Glogg (Swedish mulled wine), See Radio Sweden's Advent calendar, for 15 December http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=1687283




Scandinavian radio is often entertaining and informative. The main international shortwave broadcaster in English is of course Radio Sweden, their 60 Degrees North programme is one of the best on the air (and the Internet), and at this time of the year often contains fascinating glimpses into winter celebrations across the Nordic countries: http://radiosweden.org/ 


For the local radio scene try the Swedish northern coastal city of Lulea for Radio Norrbotten: www.sr.se/Norrbotten/  and Rix FM: www.rixfm.com

In the far north of Norway Radio Tromso is at: www.radiotromso.no whilst on the north-eastern border with Finland in Karajsok, NRK Sami radio broadcasts for the Lappish (Sami) community. Maybe this is Santa's local radio station?: www.nrk.no/kanal/nrk_sami_radio/

 
As well as covering the northern part of Norway and Sweden, Lapland extends into Finland. Lapin Radio in Rovaniemi, with a photo gallery of celebrations in the studios, is at: www.lapinradio.fi  


Just south of the Arctic circle in Tornio is a radio station called Radioaktiivenen, (Finnish for Radio Active), complete with studio webcam: http://active.llaky.fi  


Finally from the frozen north why not try national radio on the Faroe Islands, which comes from the capital Torshavn and is online. Ras 2 is at: www.ras2.fo  and Utvarp Foroya is at: www.uf.fo  There are links in English including travel information and maps, ferry timetables should you fancy a winter break with a difference at: www.ssl.fo/  


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 22


There is special place in my heart for the British DX Club, BDXC, of which I have been a member since the 1990s and general editor of the monthly bulletin “Communication” since 2005. I also run the BDXC Audio Circle, a monthly programme available on mp3, CD or audio cassette. Full details including logs, news, downloads frequency guides, social events and DXpeditions, plus the important membership details are at: www.bdxc.org  



From Finland, Mika Makelainen publishes reports on the DXpeditions to Lemmenjoki in Finland's Arctic North. Imagine how deep and crisp the snow is laying there as you read this!


2010 DXpedition in Finnish and English: http://www.dxing.info/dxpeditions/lem295rep.dx and
http://lem298.blogspot.com/  
Check out the details at the ever excellent DXing Info website:
2009 DXpedition http://www.dxing.info/dxpeditions/lem278rep.dx
Also
http://www.tapiokalmi.net/dx/lem/index.html  






Tuesday, 21 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio blog 21


A fascinating look back at Christmas radio during the Cold War from a VoA, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty versus Radio Moscow, Berlin, Kiev, Tashkent etc. perspective, at this great newly launched historical blog, not long up and running and wowing many of us:

Monday, 20 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 20

If it is not easy to escape to the shortwave sets in your radio shack, the chances are that you will have a medium wave radio in the kitchen. Some of my most treasured winter DXing and programme listening has come from evenings spent in the warmth of the kitchen, whilst baking Christmas goodies, writing cards and wrapping presents.



On medium wave it is a treat to hear carols, concerts and other music from around Europe, as well as being very satisfying to be picking up broadcast aimed at a more localised audience. Conditions are best after dark and many an hour can be spent enjoying sounds such as Radio Slovenia from Beli Kriz on 1170 kHz, which includes soothing gospel music in Slovene. VRT Belgium on 1512 kHz is an easier catch.


Deutschlandfunk on 1269 kHz and also 153 long wave has a powerful signal and can capture the essence of the Christmas markets in Germany (you can almost taste the gluhwein), as does Sudwest Rundfunk from Wolfsheim on 1017 kHz, as well as 6030 and 7265 kHz shortwave. Radio Sweden’s medium wave outlet on 1179 kHz supplements their shortwave output in several languages and with Scandinavian music.

For a Spanish twist on the season COPE (1269 kHz) and SER (1026 and 1287 kHz) are amongst the easily heard Iberian stations. And don’t forget French festivities too, by turning that dial to 864 or 1278 kHz for France Bleu in Strasbourg (amongst many other French delights to be heard). Finally, the American Forces Network in Weisskirchen Germany on 873 kHz is likely to be broadcasting lots of goodwill messages, leastways to its troops based in Europe.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 19

Whether or not the snow lays deep and crisp and even on Wenceslas Square in Prague, the radio station offers the snowy landscapes of central European life. Radio Prague http://www.radio.cz/en  with a shortwave schedule at: http://www.radio.cz/en/static/about-radio-prague/frequencies-new  



Try 7345 kHz from 0800 UTC, 9880 from 1130, 5930 from 1700, 5930 from 1800 and 2100.


They also have a clever crossword competition online at http://www.radio.cz/en/static/christmas-contest-2010/  

Saturday, 18 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 18

Amongst the many shortwave stations that I always make a point of tuning into at this time of year is Radio Canada International (RCI) http://www.rcinet.ca/  . ‘Blink’ is RCI’s Saturday amalgamation of the CBC domestic show ‘The Link’. This connects new immigrants to Canada and Canada to the world, and is where you can ‘‘find out what’s new and exciting on Canada’s cultural landscape’. ‘Maple Leaf Mailbag’ can also be relied upon for a Canadian cultural Christmas. 9740,11845, 15365, 17790 KHz from 1800 UTC.


CBC Domestic can be heard from 1600 to 0000 UTC on 9625 kHz.

CBC Radio 2 Christmas programmes: http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/programs/2010/12/radio2-holidayschedule.html
and a musical advent calendar at : http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/programs/2010/12/musicaladventcalendar.html

Friday, 17 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 17

The Classic FM Foundation's Christmas UK appeal helps take the power of classical music to disadvantaged children and adults across the UK.



or to make a donation over the telephone, please call (+44) (0) 207 344 4899 and have your credit or debit card ready. You can post your donation to: The Classic FM Foundation, Classic FM, 30 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7LA, England.




Thursday, 16 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 16




Christmas Tree in Yerevan


The National Public Radio of Armenia (also known as the Voice of Armenia) left shortwave in 2006 and went to an Internet-only service. The nicely accented English, the respectful tone of ‘Welcome dear listeners. This is Yerevan’, and the stop-start strings of their sign-on tune were all a welcome addition (on 9925 and 4820 kHz). Their annual Orthodox Christmas celebrations on our Twelfth Night (6th January) was always a haunting experience. In the meantime a news bulletin in English can be heard online at: http://int.armradio.am  

There is also an interesting blog on Armenia , in English at: http://www.armeniablog.org/ 

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 15



Radio Romania International boosted its shortwave transmitters a few years back and is a very listenable station these days, from the perspective of both signal quality and content quality. They produce a QSL card each month for reception reports and maintain a presence on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter too: www.rri.ro  e-mail to eng@rri.ro  


Tune in online or on shortwave: http://www.rri.ro/art.shtml?lang=1&sec=20&art=68162  
To Western Europe in English from
06.30 – 07.00 UTC on 7370 kHz
12.00 – 13.00 UTC on 15480 11970 kHz
18.00 – 19.00 UTC on 7415 kHz
21.30 – 22.00 UTC on 7380 kHz

23.00 – 24.00 UTC on 6015 7220 kHz


For instance on 13 December 2010 a feature on border trespasses under the Ceausescu regime (which made the Thatcher dictatorship years in the UK seem like a picnic!) http://www.rri.ro/art.shtml?lang=1&sec=9&art=84652  


Or winter holidays in Bran: http://www.rri.ro/art.shtml?lang=1&sec=14&art=83812  


Monday, 13 December 2010

December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 14



Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion (PHC)- one of the many great things about this variety show is that it is always seasonal- so the current broadcasts will be very festive. So stock up with powdermilk biscuits and ketchup at Ralph’s Pretty Good grocery store and settle down with Darlene, the Norwegian bachelors and friends at the Sidetrack Cafe, along with the other English majors, for some Tales from Lake Wobegon. And if you are lucky some snowy trail tales from Dusty and the lives of the Cowboys too. And round it off with a festive mystery for Guy Noir, private eye.
You can listen to archives going back a fair few years at the PHC website: http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/  


Here in the UK, BBC Radio 7 is broadcasting its hour long versions of what is a two hour show on National Public Radio in the States. A 2009 Christmas show is on BBC7 on Saturday 18th December at 0500 UTC, repeated 12 hours later at 1700 BST. Also a good start to Christmas proper with a BBC7 1400 UTC show on 24th December, repeated on 0500 UTC broadcast on 25th December: www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0072tt7  


There is always audio and reading material based on the shows and even DVDs of some. For instance a digital download of a PHC Christmas (2 CDs worth ) for around £20. At the http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/  online shop  


Memorable Christmas moments collected from live broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion®


Selections include music from the Hopeful Gospel Quartet and Anonymous 4; Garrison Keillor singing the Danish carol "Det Kimmer Nu," a hilarious "Twelve Days of Christmas" with sound-effects maestro Tom Keith, and a special Christmas edition of The News From Lake Wobegon®. 3 hours on 2 CDs.

And the above with books at the PHC outlet http://www.prettygoodgoods.org/product/show/72212  
“The Garrison Keillor Christmas Collection gathers together Garrison Keillor's new holiday classic, A Christmas Blizzard along with A Prairie Home Christmas and A Christmas Companion. A Christmas Companion is a Christmas novella in which a man discovers a liking and appreciation for the holiday season after becoming stranded at a North Dakota airport in a blizzard. A Prairie Home Christmas and The Christmas Companion both gather highlights from Christmas shows from the past 20 years. Each features songs, stories and sketches designed to make any holiday gathering memorable and enjoyable."






December 2010 Advent Radio Blog 13




From my Radio Websites column, two years ago in December 2008, in Radio User, PW Publishing Ltd: www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk




Green Greetings this Christmas


Are you are one of the thousands who have vowed not to send Christmas cards this year for environmental reasons but are donating to charity instead? But still wanting to send something festive to friends? There is an easy, relatively environmentally friendly way to send a Christmas greeting to friends without the cards clogging up the postal system. An email greeting with a link is an answer. Try this Deutsche Welle Christmas animation of an igloo complete with satellite dish. Seasonal greetings in many languages, set to atmospheric music, rounds off the perfect salutation:
http://www9.dw-world.de/greetings07/index.html   


There is a choice of e-cards to send over at Radio Prague, from a gang of art-gazing Santa Clauses to a historic lamp-lit wintry street. Simply choose your card, type a greeting and the recipient’s email address: http://www.radio.cz/en/html/christmas_greeting.html  


If you are looking to buy a radio that has eco-friendly credentials then the Ethical Consumer Store believe they have plenty to choose from at their website: www.ethicalsuperstore.com


These include Roberts’ “solarDAB” radio. This costs around £80, comes in festive green or red and is billed as the “world's first solar powered DAB radio. This stylish and compact portable radio has a solar panel integrated into the top of the unit which absorbs direct sunlight in order to power the radio. solarDAB is ideal for use in gardens, conservatories, greenhouses, on suitable windowsills, or away from home while camping, fishing, at the beach, or anywhere that you wish to listen to the radio away from conventional power sources.”


There are a selection of other mp3 players, wind up radios and Roberts radios too, at: http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/products/roberts/  


Sunday, 12 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 12


Dave Michuda “distant transmissions flicker and fade, there's a drift on the signal...a ghost in the phase “



Low Light mixes blog at: http://www.myke.me/  


With some amazing 90 minute long downloads merging ambient music with shortwave Interval signals and Ids, plus atmospherics. Wonderful stuff for someone like me who loves chill out and ambient music and shortwave radio. A treat for dark winter afternoons and evenings.

Friday, 10 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 11

Jazz FM’s Virtual Christmas competition starts from 13 December 2010, at: http://www.jazzfm.com/



Have yourself a merry little Christmas by joining Jazz FM at the Barbican in London on Saturday 18th December for Christmas Swingtime. Guest singers Jacqueline Dankworth and Graham Bickley (above) will deliver a Christmas special as part of The Raymond Grubbay Christmas Festival 2010.




Meanwhile Sarah Ward and Helen Mayhew’ s Dinner Jazz, weekdays from 1900 UTC and Claire Anderson’s Late Lounge from 2200 to 0100 UTC weeknights remain two of the finest programmes on the air, anywhere. They are like a Christmas present all year round.


December 2010 Radio Advent Blog 10

Some links to radio bloopers, ancient and modern, as published in The Media Guardian on 7th December 2010:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2010/dec/06/james-naughtie-jeremy-hunt-radio-4

including the on-air laughter of  disbelief at some of the corrupt expense claims that British MPs were making in 2009:

"Not only did revelations about MPs' inflated expenses claims become one of the biggest stories of the year, it also – unintentionally – provided one of the most memorable radio moments of 2009 as Davis suffered a fit of the giggles over Sir Peter Viggers's £1,645 duck house. "Evan, just shush... it's serious stuff," admonishes co-presenter Sarah Montague – also suppressing giggles."

Thursday, 9 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 9

Some festive radio links you might care to try- Internet radio stations with Christmas themes:



http://www.smoothchristmasradio.co.uk 
http://www.allchristmasinternetradio.com/  
http://www.northpoleradio.com/  
http://radiotime.com/channel/c_253111/Christmas.aspx  




A list at: http://www.listenlive.eu/christmas.html with  radio and internet Christmas stations including some in Germany, Poland and Switzerland


A favourite of mine is the Soma FM Christmas lounge channel, along with others in San Francisco. The space shuttle mixed with ambient music is quite something: http://somafm.com/  


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 8


Radio Slovakia International started broadcasting in 1993, the year it broke away from the Czech Republic and ended Czechoslovakia as an entity. It is leaving shortwave at the end of 2010 but retains internet and satellite broadcasts.

National radio is from Slovensky Rozhlas, part of the group who bring us Radio Slovakia on shortwave. Their QSL gallery is worth a look, covering all the cards issued by the station in their ten years of existence. The 2002 set of Czech radios is especially creative: http://www.slovakradio.sk/


The Tatra mountains in Slovakia don't make it into the Top 100 Snowboarding and Ski resorts guide, but they have long provided good skiing. Starý Smokovic is one such ski town, and from there an hour on a narrow gauge railway takes you from 1025 metres up to Strbske Pleso at 1355m, which was a top ski resort in the 1930s. The Grand Hotel there can be seen at: http://www.kempinski.com/en/hightatras/Pages/Welcome.aspx and they have a Facebook page.

There is an outlet of Lumen Radio in Strbske Pleso: http://www.lumen.sk/
Many moons ago as independence dawned on Slovakia, I bought an Olympia radio in the small Prior Department store in Strbske Pleso for 880 Slovak crowns (£19). The box said it was made in Taiwan, the radio's label stated India. Either way, this mw, sw, lw, and fm receiver served me well as a robust pocket portable for ten years, before its demise.

Local radio in the area may inform you of weather conditions on the ski slopes. Radio Expres 96.5 , Radio Zet 84.5 and Radio Frontinus 104.6 cover the region:
http://www.expres.sk/
http://www.radiozet.sk/
http://www.frontinus.sk/

National station Radio Twist became Radio viva and also has outlets in the Tatra regions towns of Kosice and Zilina: http://www.radioviva.sk/    Another popular national station that has been running for nearly two decades is Fun Radio. Western European pop merges with eastern at: http://www.funradio.sk/  Both stations have live webcams so you can see what's going on in the studio.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 7

Some thoughts of mine from 2003-2004: Festive listening- Christmas 2003.



As ever there was a good selection of programmes over the Christmas and New Year period. The first programme to set the festive mood for me was Garrison Keillor's weekly variety show, coming from New York.
It had the usual blend of folksy singers and groups, with some nice seasonal tunes. There were some poignant, and some just downright funny, reminiscing of Christmas past in the Keillor household. Poverty and a church collection for the family when Garrison was a child, and the year that he managed to burn the turkey to a frazzle, and set the tree ablaze with hundreds of candles. Tall tales or not it is magical stuff.


Christmas songs and tales from Lake Wobegon wound off a great show. With a choice of hearing the show in the UK on the World Radio Network, BBC Radio 7 or the Internet I plumped for the middle option, 'watching' the show on BBC 7 via Freeview digital tv. That was on the Saturday night before Christmas, and I heard sections of the repeat in the small hours on my bedside radio.


Christmas carols from Kings College Cambridge ushers in Christmas for many around the globe. DAB station One Word played a selection of carols from Kings as fillers in its programming over the festive season. BBC Radio 4 also looked at the history of the broadcast in a half hour production.

Christmas Day, 0715, some lovely music on Radio Prague, in Czech, choirs singing. I didn't find much else on shortwave at the time, but with children eager to get at those stockings, time was at a premium. I seemed to miss out slightly on shortwave at Christmas this year, probably distracted by my first Christmas with DAB Digital Radio. You can't beat shortwave though and the variety and multilingual, multi cultural programming. I wish it got a wider press.


Tony Hawk's 12 Days of Christmas was on BBC 7. I assume it was first aired on Radio 4 in 2002. A very inventive and funny 30 minutes, with Tony trying to get hold of all of the things mentioned in the song to give his girlfriend for Christmas. Ornothologist and ex-Goodie Bill Oddie was on hand to help with some of the many feathered birds required. The Nine Ladies Dancing came courtesy of a dance agency, providing Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera lookalikes. A trip to the House of Lords managed to get some of the less senile peers actually leaping, in turn for a donation to charity.


The Masterson Inheritance had two Christmas editions on BBC 7. This improvised show from the mid 1990s with Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence et al, is often a bit hit and miss, but the 'Stuffing of the Mastersons', set in Victorian times, worked well, intertwining Dickensian myth and post modernist humour.


A marathon 3 hour session on the morning and evening of 27th and repeated again at dawn on the 28th had James Follett talking about some of his radio plays, Men, Martians and Machines, with examples being broadcast (BBC7 again). His work was new to me and the Earthsearch series was especially chilling. The storyline in summary is: Earth has disappeared when the grandchildren of astronauts on a space ship launched from earth try to return home. The guardian angels (on board computers) want to gain control of the earth, but the four grandchildren, raised by the angels, and now adults, rebel. Series Two sees them colonise a planet called Paradise, which doesn't live up to its name for long.

Monday, 6 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 6




Adapted from my December 2003 websites column for Radio Active, with some additions:


Winternet radio


It's the time of year when department stores and radio station play a selection of hoary chestnuts in the form of Christmas pop songs. If you have had too much Mistletoe and Wine or can't stomach another rendition of “Last Christmas”, then join me now on a tour of some alternative wintry Internet radio stations, in countries that are guaranteed a white Christmas.


It's back to Switzerland first to Swiss Radio International in Bern. Their shortwave broadcasts ceased with energy being transferred to their web output. I'm not alone in bemoaning the loss of the station and favourite programmes of the past like Swiss Shortwave Merry Go Round, but time moves on, and there is a good selection of all things Swiss on the website at: www.swissinfo.org  


N.B Swissinfo with Bob Zanotti can now be heard at www.pcjmedia.com  )


For local radio in Switzerland, and a mixture of traditional Alpine music and Swiss pop, try Radio Suisse Romande (RSR) Couleur 3: www.couleur3.ch


and Radio delle Swizzeria Italiana (RSI): www.rtsi.ch  They also have a 2010 advent calendar at: http://www.rsi.ch/calenradio/  


Sunday, 5 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 5

Classic FM ask "How much will the 12 Days of Christmas cost you this year? Seriously, a financial services company calculates the cost each year. They ring ballet companies to see how expensive dancing ladies are, and check retailers for geese and jewellers for gold rings. (Clue: French hens and turtle doves have soared in price this year)": http://www.facebook.com/ClassicFM
http://www.classicfm.co.uk


And check out their new Silent Nights CD:
http://www.classicfm.co.uk/shop/cds/silent-nights-nigel-hess/  


There is also a BBC 4 radio programme by Tony Hawks which comically explores this and is repeated on BBC 7 each Christmas- one of the audio great treats over the festive period. Keep an eye out at BBC7 and: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00gd7r5

Saturday, 4 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 4




It’s back to LBC and Steve Allen again. Every year since 1947 the people of Norway have sent a Christmas tree to Trafalgar Square in London, as a thank you for the British help in World War II.


Personally I think they should stop this until Britain stops polluting their forests and fjords with acid rain, as I wrote to the Norwegian Embassy in 1983.

See also this website: http://www.ypte.org.uk/environmental/acid-rain/1 
“One early answer to industrial air pollution was to build very tall chimneys. Unfortunately all this does is push the polluting gases up into the clouds allowing emissions to float away on the wind. The wind carries the pollution many hundreds of miles away where it eventually falls as acid rain. In this way Britain has contributed at least 16% of the acid deposition in Norway. Over ninety percent of Norway's acid pollution comes from other countries. The worst European polluters re Germany, UK, Poland and Spain. In 1994 each of them produced over a million tons of sulphur emissions. Governments have since admitted that acid rain is a serious environmental problem and many countries have taken steps to reduce the amount of sulphur and nitrogen emissions, but they are still a problem”.


But anyway, this year LBC breakfast legend Steve Allen was invited to Oslo’s outskirts to choose the tree: http://www.lbc.co.uk/steve-allens-christmas-tree-adventure-photos-33062/album/steve_allen_s_trip_to_norway/887#13940  


While in Oslo, he recorded a show - Steve Allen's Christmas Adventures - which will be on LBC over the festive period.

Friday, 3 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 3

Listen out for The Happy Station Christmas show with Keith Perron and guests from Taipei, Taiwan. Listen on shortwave or online.

Details at www.pcjmedia.com  and http://twitter.com/PCJMedia  as well as Facebook.

Get any requests in now. It will include a rendition of Winter Wonderland with Keith and the NHK Japan’s Symphony Orchestra directed by Tadaaki Otaka.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent blog 2

Radio New Zealand’s Sugar & Spice


Faeries Sugar and Spice want your help for Christmas Morning. “We'd like your thoughts on what you'd like to hear to get your day off to the right start... fables, stories, drama, music or perhaps updates from stories you've heard during the year.”

Send your ideas to xmas@radionz.co.nz  or write to Christmas Morning, Radio New Zealand National, PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand. More at: www.radionz.co.nz


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

December 2010 Radio Advent Blog 1


A Christmas treat in the shape of a radio related blog for each day of December up to Christmas Eve. But no promises I can manage 24 consecutive days though...


We start in London with the 2008 LBC Advent calendar at:

There is an LBC Steve Allen 2010 advent calendar as well:

“Steve Allen is helping you count down to Christmas with his very own Online Advent Calendar. Every day, he'll reveal an exclusive photo, audio clip or video... anything to help you enjoy the countdown to 25th December".

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Radio Websites November 2010, first published in Radio User, PW Publishing

First published in Radio User, PW Publishing www.radiouser.co.uk/

 
Chrissy Brand looks at websites with a radio connection. This month she picks a selection of sites bringing radio personalities and hardware from the past to a 21st century audience, along with some innovative uses of Morse code and an homage to Bakelite.




Reliving yesterday today


We start off this time with thoughts on a project for you on these long autumn evenings. Why not go back to days of yore and construct a valve wireless? The following website might inspire you: http://www.classaxe.com/wireless/data/demo/  There are some beautiful animations of a valve radio’s workings and a radio dial, compete with World War II news bulletin from Alvar Liddell. This is a fine example of taking web technology and using it to recreate some history and maybe spark some interest amongst younger generations too.


If the mention of Alvar Liddell has got you reminiscing, then there are many references to him online. A gallery of famous voices can be matched to faces at the Whirligig website, specifically at: www.whirligig-tv.co.uk/radio/announcers.htm  Look closely for the link to an interesting potted biography by Alvar’s son.


There are all sorts of unusual recordings at the You Tube channel of one Atlantic 1952. Amongst the less esoteric are Alvar Liddell reading the news of King Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936, with a period Phillips radio providing the images. There is also coverage of a 1938 McMichael 386 radiogram being put through its paces. It cost £21 when new and the woods used include walnut, sycamore and macassa ebony. Lovingly restored a few years ago and now on show to the world: http://www.youtube.com/user/atlantic1952  


Back to the construction of a valve wireless, and the Old at heart website tells a nice story of a grandfather and grandchild talking of this: http://www.oldatheart.co.uk/one-valve.html The entre website is written in a similar tone, with grandfather showing junior all manner of domestic gadgets from eras past, with the occasional photos to click on to illustrate the point. Vintage telephones, pianola, tape decks, and early computers are included: http://www.oldatheart.co.uk/  


A blog I recently found is packed full of interesting radio observations and notes. The Radio Time traveller blog is by an inhabitant of Avon, in New York state, at: http://radio-timetraveller.blogspot.com/  It’s a blog “about radio and radio DXing, antennas, opinions, reviews - basically all things concerning radio. My particular emphasis is mediumwave and mediumwave DXing. I hope to bring some interesting articles, ideas, and facts to these pages, not just dry reception reports.” There are plenty of reviews of radio magazines from days gone by as well.




Somerset sounds


One of the places I visited during the summer whilst passing through Somerset was the Bakelite Museum at Orchard Mill in Williton. Situated off the beaten track in a large old barn, it has a handy tea shop next door and also a 17th century water mill. Pop your entrance fee in the honesty box and wander amongst the hundreds, if not thousands, of Bakelite items, from cups to coffins, - I kid you not (they didn’t catch on due to Bakelites’ high heat resistant properties!), and of course a fine selection of Bakelite televisions and radios (more on these later). Sadly the museum website appears to be redundant but there are plenty of excellent reviews of it elsewhere. My favourite is at the “Nothing to see here” website: http://www.nothingtoseehere.net/ specifically at the entry for April 2008: http://www.nothingtoseehere.net/2008/04/the_bakelite_museum_williton_1.html  


This website suggests all kinds of intriguing places to visit that are overlooked by the masses and the tourist boards. Run by Anne, the site links up with her Flickr (the photo posting and sharing website) page. A lovely set of photos of the contents of the museum: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/sets/72157604637390716/  


An easier way is to click to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/  This is the home page of photographer Anne’s “I like” Flickr page, with dozens of exciting folders to peruse. These contain photos of jukeboxes, and visits to cafés and classic museums amongst many others (e.g. The Laurel and Hardy museum in Cumbria and the Radar museum at RAF Neatishead).


Of the Bakelite museum Anne writes “…Stepping in the door is like walking into a 1950s home. There are cookers, toasters, washing machines, and irons interspersed with smaller items like banks, clocks and egg cups. It is bright and resilient, in the spirit of the times. If the museum had ended here I would have gone home happy, but there's more. Next, a room of televisions, gramophones, radios and telephones is like a mini Design Museum. Plus a colourful display of elegant bowls and vases made from Bandalasta (also known as LingaLonga), a coloured, marbled variation of Bakelite which first saw light in 1925…”


Still in Somerset and just a couple of miles from the Willliton Bakelite museum is the Washford Radio Museum, It has an exhibition of vintage radios at Tropiquaria zoo, in the old transmitter hall of the BBC's Washford transmitting station: http://www.wirelessmuseum.org.uk/  



Going Dutch


Jonathan Marks maintains the Radio Netherlands Media Network archive vault: http://www.jonathanmarks.libsyn.com/  I have mentioned it before and it is such a great resource I am sure I shall be pointing you to its many riches again in the future. 

My current favourite is a vintage Media Network show from 1998 about Bakelite. Jonathan comments that “Bakelite was an early form of plastic which brought radio to the people. When radios were first manufactured in the first twenty years of last century, they looked more like an experiment in a physics laboratory than something which was designed to entertain. Then some firms started using a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin for their cases, formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde, usually with a wood flour filler. It was developed in 1907–1909 by Belgian chemist Dr. Leo Baekeland.” To find this show amongst the many gems at the site, go to the entry for 15 September. Other uploads include Cuban clandestine stations and a 1986 slide show about European and Asian radio.




If you fancy an autumnal weekend away then Amsterdam is always a lively culturally charged city. And if you time it well you could take in the annual Radio Day. On Saturday 13 November the 33rd Radio Day is being held from 1100 to 1700 (central European time) at the New Hotel Casa 400, Eerste Ringdijkstraat 4, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Considered a must for offshore radio experts and enthusiasts, it usually has about 350 people attending. Topics for 2010 include a Radio 390 reunion, 40 years of Radio North Sea International, Radio Mi Amigo and many well known personalities from these famous offshore stations. See: http://www.radioday.nl/  




Gadgets


The rather odd sounding Promo machine website is one of many price comparison websites, although t is quite different from most of its rivals: http://blog.promomachine.co.uk/


Take the following section on half a dozen unique new uses of Morse code for instance, at: http://blog.promomachine.co.uk/morse-code/


It may provide you with some early ideas for your Christmas present list. Starting with a wrist watch, which at the press of a button, will relay the current time by way of Morse code through an in-built speaker. More on it at: http://www.tokyoflash.com/en/  

Also a Morse code blanket, complete with coded messages; a Morse keyboard which fits into the USB on your computer; a Morse RSS reader “A beautiful telegraph sounder that, when connected to a computer, can cleverly, but pointlessly, clack out any chosen RSS feed in Morse code.”; a Morse leather arm guard, and, last but less practical than you might think, a Morse code clock.


Finally this month I guide you, tongue in cheek, to the last page of the internet at: http://www.wwwdotcom.com/  




Wednesday, 29 September 2010

October Radio Related websites

RADIO WEBSITES published in Radio User, OCTOBER 2010

Chrissy Brand looks at websites with a radio connection. Amongst her recommendations this month are a new show from Switzerland and a handful of other quality radio programmes; some online radio museums, catching up with a collector of shellac records and anticipating a new sw radio coming to market.
Radio stations online
Switzerland in Sound is the website where some of Swiss Radio International migrated to when it left shortwave. I make no apologies for mentioning the site again. It’s full of excellent audio material including many vintage Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round programmes and interviews by The Two Bobs: http://www.switzerlandinsound.com/  

Switzerland in Sound has been running for several years now and a much welcomed associated site sprang up in the summer. You can now join a Facebook group for Bob Zanotti's Switzerland In Sound. Simply search Switzerland in Sound at: www.facebook.com/ There you can access new weekly broadcasts of Swiss Merry Go Round / Switzerland in Sound. What joy-a one hour broadcast about shortwave with Bob Thomann and Bob Zanotti. Also at: http://www.radio4all.net/  which is PCJ Media’s podcast site.

Radio Nova 100 is a new radio station broadcasting from Dublin’s docklands that launched on 1st September: http://www.nova100.ie/  It is licensed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to launch a classic rock music service for Dublin city, county and commuter belt. The engineering department was asking for reception reports of its 100.3 and 100.5 MHz transmissions. If you pick it up you should email engineering@nova.ie Another information about Nova 100 can be obtained by emailing info@nova100.ie

Radio Pakistan only broadcast for five minutes news in English twice a day (see this month’s Broadcast Matters), so you could try their website at: Radio Pakistan: http://www.radio.gov.pk/ This gives you the options of reading and listening to details of the impact and the aftermath of the dreadful August floods, straight from the horse’s mouth.

With the endless choice of Internet radio stations from anywhere you fancy on offer, it is easy to overlook the more obvious stations. When you are searching for entertaining and varied programming then you could do worse than click to BBC Radio London: http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/programmes  


Saturday and Sunday evenings are my favourite times to use the “listen live” facility, which is useful when you are about 200 miles from where the 94.9 MHz FM broadcast originates. DJ Ritu presents music from all four corners of the world. “Stay up to-date with all the new world music releases, classic tracks, London's global gigs and exciting international artists and bands in this unique two hour show.”


On Saturdays from 2000 BST you’ll hear Dotun Adebayo on Sundays. “Talking about London's diverse communities and the issues affecting them.” It is of interest whatever community you choose to define yourself in. Dotun Adebayo is also one of the hosts (Rhod Sharp is another) of what in my opinion is the best programme on BBC Radio 5 Live, Up All Night: www.bbc.co.uk/5live/  

 
Back to BBC London and if you prefer big names (metaphorically and physically), then Vanessa Feltz and Danny Baker both have shows on the station too. Weeknights from 2200 to 0200 BST there is a good phone in and talk programme- the Late Show hosted by Joanne Good.


Other BBC radio programmes that are slightly off the beaten track include these for the BBC World Service: Alan Green’s World Football and Africa in Focus, which are excellent angles on sport and news that you don’t get to hear domestically: http://www.bbcworldservice.com/  and go to podcasts: www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts  


Selena, Sarah and shellac
Most Radio User readers are users of a wide range of communication technologies and more likely than most to embrace the ever emerging new gadgets available. iPods to iPads. Twitter to podcasts, scanners to software. However, I suspect that many of us all have a slight hankering for the old style tried and tested too. I enjoy using shortwave radios from the days of my youth, despite smaller and more sensitive versions currently on the market


I recently bought a second-hand Selena B215 radio off of eBay. This 1980s set, made in Belarus (which was in those days part of the USSR), is rather clunky looking in silver and black but there is robust in its boxiness. It covers long, medium and FM bands plus 49, 41, 31, 25, 19 and 16m shortwave. Whilst searching on eBay I declined the an opportunity for an entrepreneur to buy 50 of the Selena B 215, boxed for £1,399.00 from a London seller. For most of us the radio turns up often on eBay at around the £15 to £40 mark plus postage and packing. To gather your own views check out the videos of the Selena in action on YouTube, for instance, at this YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/928GTSR  


There is more interesting Selena information at the ever excellent Radio Museum website, where you are likely to get merrily distracted browsing all kinds of other manufacturers too: http://www.radiomuseum.org/  Over 170,000 radios from antique to modern can be searched for here.


The Hungarian-based website http://oldradio.tesla.hu/  is a cornucopia of radio delights. The Selena is covered but it is one of many: http://oldradio.tesla.hu/szetszedtem/061vef/megradiok/megradiok.htm  


A very informative and enjoyable website dedicated to another radio collection goes under the name of Sarah’s Transistor Radios, and is located at: http://www.transistor.org/  The tiny transistor radios are quite often neglected by collectors in favour of their larger cousins, such as valve radios from the Art Deco era. However a visit to Sarah’s has certainly made me look at the transistor radio in a more favourable light. She writes:


“Welcome to my collection of transistor radios. I have found these small sound boxes to be fascinating ever since I was a small child. The idea that something so small could pull an extremely weak signal out of the air was nothing short of miraculous to a seven-year-old. Now, my fascination lies in the designs of these radios, which bear all the intrigue, change, and yes, kitsch (sometimes!) of the era they were made. The collection is large, but is designed for easy navigation…I would appreciate hearing from people who have visited my page.” The email address is sarah@transistor.org
 
We move onto a record dealer now, who goes by the name of Greg's Greats Records, which is based in Foxton near Cambridge. Greg Butler does not deal in CDs at all, instead having stock of over 140,000 records, the bulk of which are 78 rpm and made of shellac. 45 rpm, 12 inchers, LPs and vinyl make up the rest: www.myspace.com/gregsgreats

His customers include the BBC local radio, film and television production teams. He also supplies DJ Rob Da Bank with a compilation of more unusual 78 sounds - and he occasionally picks out a “Greg’s Great 78” for him to play on his show on a Sunday night/Monday Morning between 0000 BST and 0200 BST on BBC Radio 1. Greg writes: “There are so many records here that twice a year a Record Fair is held at Foxton to display all the records at bargain prices for collectors to get their hands on. At the fairs all the 78 records that haven't yet been priced up are offered at a pound a piece and all 7" singles are offered at one pound fifty. In addition all the priced records are reduced by 25% for the fair and a fun time is usually had by all.” The fair takes place on the second Sunday in August (with a barbeque) and the second Sunday in December (which is December 9th this year), with mince pies free of charge. You just have to let Greg know you are attending.


There is also a Shellac Collective radio show on Harborough FM on the first Wednesday of every month. You can listen live online at this Community Radio station for South Leicestershire and North Northamptonshire: http://www.harboroughfm.co.uk/  


Radio Video
One of the many radio related Yahoo groups I belong to discusses the virtues and otherwise of classic Realistic radios: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/realisticdx/  That is itself is of interest and use to me, but, as with many such groups, occasionally other non-related gems come to light. A recent posting was a link to the following Vimeo clip (Vimeo being website akin to YouTube but usually classier in quality and quantity of many of the YouTube clips, where video clips can be uploaded). Earlier this year on Jay Leno’ television show in the USA a contest was held to see who could send a message the quickest. The two contestants were a teenager texting and a 43 year old radio ham using Morse code. Without giving too much away I was pleasantly surprised by the results. The clip is at: http://vimeo.com/8085304  which is the Vimeo site of a user called MPG : http://vimeo.com/user2770492  


Whilst looking at a US tv channel, if you are a follower of US television dramas and want to know what’s being screened Stateside, before your favourite programmes hit the UK screens, try: http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/  


Another video site now and one that is packed with vintage offshore and free radio memories. A user by the name of Radprog has uploaded 190 videos to their YouTube channel with many new ones uploaded over the summer months:
http://www.youtube.com/user/radprog#p/a  


A new Sangean shortwave radio for the autumn
Radio Netherlands Media Network blog continues to be a source of mainstream and quirky radio news, be it rebel radio in Caracas or a new radio station in Bethlehem: http://blogs.rnw.nl/medianetwork/  (Cool FM launched in July broadcasting English and is “the first foreign language radio station in Palestine, which offers programmes for foreigners residing in Palestine and in the whole world”: http://www.coolfm.ps/  )

A recent Media Network posting gives information on a news Sangean shortwave radio: http://blogs.rnw.nl/medianetwork/new-shortwave-receiver-coming-from-sangean  “Shortwave broadcasting may be on the decline, but it’s not dead yet. Receiver manufacturer Sangean has a new portable shortwave receiver scheduled for release by the end of 2010. The ATS-909X is described by the manufacturer as ‘the flagship of the Sangean line of AM/FM/SW Receivers.’According to Sangean, ‘it provides performance and features generally found in the more expensive table top communication receivers into a very compact and stylish package.” More details are available on the Sangean website.” http://www.sangean.com/

The radio has an alarm which will wake you via a buzzer, radio or humane wake system. Single Side Band, over 400 presets, five tuning methods (Direct Frequency Tuning, Auto Scan, Manual Tuning, Memory Recall and Rotary Tuning), FM RDS, Large LCD Screen with Bright White LED Backlight and much more.




















EDXC Conference 2018 Bratislava, 31 August - 3 September

Chrissy at Scandinavian Weekend Radio in Virrat, Finland,  during the EDXC 2017 post-conference road trip. I'm not as active at ...