Monday 30 March 2009

Quotes of the week - Tony Benn on Offshore Radio

Quotes of the week

From Tony Benn, MP and Postmaster General -the now defunct post is these days Ofcom's responsibility-
Tony Benn was responsible for the 1967 Marine Offences Act which aimed to close the pirate radio stations.
An interview that has taken 40+ years to happen-finally on Dave Cash’s BBC South Pirates’ Special show 28 March 2009.

Given his time in that post again, Tony Benn said how he would have tried to create a framework earlier where people could talk more easily across the airwaves.

“Everybody loved the [1960s] pirates. I loved the pirates. [Prime Minster] Harold Wilson rang me on a Sunday and said ‘What are you doing about the pirates?’ I said, ‘I’m listening to them’ .”

Benn's teenage children also listened to the pirates, and Benn felt that the offshores should be legalised and on land. "I was presented as a killjoy, which was a load of rubbish...I was presented as Joe Stalin- I was actually quite the opposite."

Mr Benn also stated how the computer age has put communication into the hands of the people. Instead of relying on what the newspapers or government say they will be communicating with each other. The vegetarian, libertarian stalwart, now aged 84, is about to start a video blog.

This fascinating interview with the great Tony Benn on Dave Cash’s BBC South Pirates’ Special show, about one hour in. On ‘Listen Again’ for seven days from 28 March 2009 at:

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Recession-proof radio

Radio Websites- March 2009

By Chrissy Brand, first published in Radio User, PWP Ltd

Recession-proof radio

With the recession it is timely to turn to the online auction sites such as eBay and the lesser known eBid: and If you are looking for radio bargains then it’s a good place to shop, especially for the more obscure items.

You might be surprised at what sells online. QSL cards from hams, broadcast stations and offshore stations often feature. There were over 90 cards on sale in the UK alone when I last checked, including a 1957 Radio Peking QSL going for £1.99 and a Radio London 1997 postcard combined with a Radio North Sea International QSL card for the same amount. Radio components can sell well too. A random box of miscellaneous unmade components was going for £10, whilst three brown bakelite radio knobs could be yours for a fiver.

Regarding vintage radios if you look for “bakelite radio” on eBay you’ll find plenty of sets. Bush, Pye, and other British makes are usually in abundance, both working and not working. Zenith, Ferranti and Philips are other good makes that crop up often. American makes like Fada are more expensive. It depends what you want- even if it is working many only have medium wave and long wave, sometimes shortwave but rarely FM, which arrived in the 1950s. If you want a stylish objet d’art and/or a working piece then you can pick up a bargain. Of course you can also sell parts of your collection that are no longer required, and raise some cash that way.

Ham rallies are also good places to sell components and parts of home brew projects at. The Radio Society of Great Britain lists the rallies that take place usually at weekends all over the UK: and specifically at their rallies and events page:

For buying and selling regular modern radios then the classified and advertisers in Radio User are the best starting point.

Escape Pod
Are you feeling struck low by the credit crunch? There were of course times of hardship in the 1930s. Wireless offered a temporary escape back then, and you might enjoy the website on Radio Orchestras of the 1930s at:

This website is masterminded by Brian Reynolds who details the various radio orchestras up to the 1960s. He has even written a book on the subject called “Music while you work- An era in Broadcasting.” Brian introduces his website as “an antidote to the rock and pop scene which has virtually removed melodic music from the airwaves. The light orchestras and dance bands of yesteryear are missed by many people. As an amateur musician I have composed a number of light pieces which used to be broadcast by orchestras and military bands and possess a substantial collection of vintage music broadcasts.”

Argentina has had economic woes on and off for many decades. Join the locals and escape for a while by dipping into Argentinean radio. A tango or two, a glass of Argentinean white wine and financial woes can be put to one side, for a while at least.

There are many places to start which will lead you from the Pampas to Patagonia via Buenos Aires and the Parana river. Portals include the German: and go to: where you can click to Buenos Aires 1350 AM or dozens of others including Radio Uno 103.1 with its very flash website:

Lyngsat is another leading portal that lists all satellite radio stations. A good list of argentine radio is accessed via their South America page: Radio Station World is always reliable as a starting point: Radio Estereo 2000 plays tangos at:

Pick of the podcasts
The American website Radio Time contains a good range of links to interesting global radio programmes that you can hear for free:
I have recently enjoyed the rather zany, if conservative, Phil Hendrie show from Springfield Massachusetts via: and This is a syndicated comedy show whose website which has podcasts, archives, one minute clips and more.

A million miles away, but through the same website, Radio Pulsar in Burkino Faso plays an enchanting mix of chants, hip-hop and local music. The station has its own website at:
Radio Time also hosts and links to the now internet–only programmes of Radio Vilnius in Lithuania (see also this month’s Broadcast Matters), at:

The Radio Vilnius site itself is at: in Lithuanian, but you can click on English at top of the home page. For podcasts and downloads of programmes go to:

“This English radio broadcast is popular with the staff of foreign embassies and tourists seeking information on the latest developments in Lithuania. But most of the listeners live abroad. News from Lithuania often gives them the first idea about our country and is an encouragement to know it even better. Translated and presented by Vladas Dobilas, Violeta Karpavičienė, Diana Kukainytė.”

In Canada Marc Dennis has a cool 1970s retro page featuring Montreal radio station CKGM:
This “98 CKGM Super 70s Tribute Page” also has some excellent links to other sites, including USA Airchecks at: and Radio London memories and lost classics at

The latter website, the Oldies project, plays old music with a twist and includes a Big L Fab 40 from 43 years ago each Wednesday between 1800 and 2200 UTC and Sundays 1100 to 1500 UTC. There is a blog with a list of what’s been played at:

Monday 9 March 2009

International Women's Day- radio

Not typed by my own fair hand but copied and pasted, as I feel it should be noted

Posting on International Women's Day

"Dear Ladies of Radio
To my dear correspondents in Albania and Belarus I send my kind regards on the occasion of International Women's Day. Kate Cross gave me examples of the importance of this day in Belarus,Larisa Suarez started her weekend "Letters to Editor" with a tribute to women. Drita Cico has mentioned the day too. But indeed, this day is not much celebrated in Sweden. There are some activities related to the day, but not so much. I checked in vain for something in the weekly "Arbetaren" (The Worker) which I receive on free subscription (due to article contributions). This Syndicalist weekly is feminist, always full of material picturing women's questions, but strangely they do not write on the International Women's Day.

My favourite medium - radio - here in Sweden this morning talked about a matter of discrimination against Swedish women. Then we got a verydepressing report about the situation in the Ukraine, which is especially difficult for the women. That's all.But on a Women's blog I found something nice - A salute to the sisters of the 1920'ies. This will be my gift to you, dear friends. I know you will appreciate it. The 3-minute display, a tribute to these women of those days, is accompanied by the melancholic and beautiful Swedish song of the time "Regntunga skyar" - Heavy skies of rain (it's a sad love song). You will find it at

Dear Ladies of Radio, I am proud to announce that at the end of last year I published in "Eter-Aktuellt" (Sweden's DX Federation) and in "QTC" (Swedish Radio Amateur Federation) an article with pictures about "Female Pioneers in Amateur Radio" in which I presented two young women from USA and one from England who were in radio (one of them also in broadcasting) in the early 1920'ies. This article has resulted in three additions of magazine articles! I received e-mails, phone-calls and letters --- dozens of them, all but two from men!! The interest in this matter is fantastic.

From Finland I even got especially for our needs the translation from Finnish of an article about Marjatta, first Finnish Female radio amateur in 1931, when she was 20 years old. So in Finland they were so enthusiastic about my article in a Swedish magazine that theysupplied us with material! It was a case of collaboration between Anne(modern female radio amateur in Finland) and two other Finnish (male) radio amateurs.Well, this will be all, I am writing while my two dear ones are stillasleep. We were up very late last night. So now I will go to attend to them. Goodbye for now, and all the compliments of the day! "
(Ullmar in Sweden Qvick, March 8, via Drita Çiço, Albania, DX LISTENING DIGEST)

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Radio Warsaw, Radio Polonia, Polish Radio

Just three of the names the station has had. But these are IMHO the best of the QSLs they issued. Mostly from 1980 around the 35th anniversary of their "glorious revolution."

Brain of Britain…

Today I received the bloopers below in an email that is doing the rounds, highlighting the state of the nation through quiz answers on BBC and Independent tv, BBC, and local radio.

Some of them are rather amusing but once the laughter subsides you are reminded at the sorry state of minds of some the UK’s general public, and it makes you want to cry rather than laugh. Education, education, education? Whetever happened to that one?

Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Jamie Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester

Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: I don't know.
Stewart White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm
Stewart White: Correct And if you're not weak, you're...?
Contestant: Strong.
Stewart White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?
Contestant: Louis
Stewart White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy?
Contestant: France .
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris.

Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: - Prison, or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.

Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Jeremy Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

DJ Mark: For 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

Bamber Gascoyne: What was Gandhi's first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM ( Bristol )
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963 ?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

Phil: What's 11 squared?
Contestant: I don't know.
Phil: I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.
Contestant: Is it five?

Richard: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
Contestant: Forrest Gump.

Richard: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er. .. ..
Richard: He makes bread . . .
Contestant: Er . ....
Richard: He makes cakes . . .
Contestant: Kipling Street ?

Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona .
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain .

Question: What is the world's largest continent?
Contestant: The Pacific.

Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Steve Le Fevre: What was signed, to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta?

James O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... ER. ER ... Three?

Chris Searle: In which European country isMount Etna?
Caller: Japan .
Chris Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er ..... Mexico ?

Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (long pause): Fourteen days..

Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland ?
Daryl Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland ? Ireland ?
Daryl Denham: (helpfully) It's a bad line. Did you say Israel ?
Contestant: No.

Phil Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er. ... ..
Phil Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . .
Contestant: Blimey?
Phil Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . ..
Contestant: (Silence)
Phil Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . .
Contestant: Walked?

Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?
Contestant: Jewish.
Presenter: That's close enough.

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus.

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