Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Stockholm smorgasbord and midsummer Minsk

Part of this was first published in RadioUser: Broadcast Matters -July 2008

Last paragraph added online Sept 2008

Radio Sweden maintains its consistency of high quality programmes, these days in just four languages: Belarusian, English, Swedish and Russian. It is approaching its 70th anniversary this summer, as its first broadcast was in Swedish on the first day of July 1938, aimed at Swedish-Americans. Two shortwave transmitters in Motala in southern Sweden were used. English, French, German and Italian programmes began during World War II. In 1952 the well known transmitters at Hörby came into operation and broadcasts commenced in Spanish and Portuguese. Russian started in 1967, and after 1989 Estonian and Latvian languages were added to the mix.

Gaby Katz is the current head of English and she is also a regular presenter on the station, where she has been based for the past 13 years. I recently heard her discussing gender inequalities in Sweden, surprising from what we usually think of as one of the leading liberal nations. Listen out for her dulcet tones at the following times and frequencies to Europe: 1430 to 1530 UTC/GMT daily on 13820 and 15240 KHz; 1530 to1600 daily on 11590; 1630-1700 daily on 1179 KHz medium wave; 1730 to1800 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on 1179 and 6065; 1900 to 1930 daily on 1179 KHZ medium wave; and 2130-2200 daily on 1179 and 6065 KHz.

The station dramatically but accurately describes itself as “a window on the diverse perspectives and issues in Sweden today. Our daily editions offer a smorgasbord of news and current affairs, science and technology, lifestyle, and culture. We explore, debate, analyse and give insight into the way Swedish society and its people are changing to meet today's challenges and opportunities. On Saturdays we review the week gone by and on Sundays we present Network Europe.”

Meanwhile, 525 miles to the south-east in the city of Minsk, there is in fact a restaurant serving Scandinavian cuisine which is called ‘Stockholm’. More to the point, Minsk is also home to Radio Belarus (Belarus translates as ‘White Russia’). The station puts out a powerful signal in English and it is unusual in that it broadcasts for several hours at a time. It makes for a very entertaining listen in the evenings. 7105, 7390 and 7390 KHz from 17.05 to 23.00 UTC/GMT.

Musical programmes offer some haunting and beautiful Belarusian sounds, ‘Land under white stork wings’ covers cultural heritage on Tuesdays. ‘Card from Belarus’ is a travel programme aired each Thursday. The station’s bright young hopes include presenters Catherine Art, Victoria Bondarenko and Kate Cross.

Radio Belarus is one of the lesser known shortwave stations. It started in 1962 but has only broadcast in English for the past ten years. They are keen for feedback, and their address is 4 Krasnaya St., Minsk, Belarus. I love the station slogan of “Broadcasting 19 hours a day with programmes for intellectuals and serious people.” I guess they must mean us, folks! Tune in again next month


From the "State and Society" programme listeners can learn about how ordinary Belarusian people live. The author of the programme is Anna Mokhovikova, the presenter of the programme is Tanya Crimsson.

"Our Compatriots" This programme is about Belarusians who live far away from their motherland. The guests of the proramme are the heads of the Belarusian NGO’s abroad and those who remember their motherland and promote its culture in other countries of the world. The author of the programme is Anna Mokhovikova, the presenter of the programme is Kate Cross.

"Letters to Editor" This is a weekly programme which reviews the letters from our listeners in different countries of the world. The author and the presenter of the programme is Larisa Suares (below) who also presents "Science and Technology"

"Cultural Front" A weekly programme dedicated to the main events, phenomena and figures of the Belarusian culture. The author and the presenter of the programme is Olga Blazhevich (below). Victoria Bondarenko is below that.

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