by Chrissy Brand, published in PWP's RadioUser :http://www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk/
August sees a mixed bag of websites, all of which I hope you will try and out and enjoy Do share any of your own website findings with readers, by emailing me at: email@example.com or contact me via my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/chrissybrand
Digital developments and FM fightbacks
The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) recently published the Digital Britain Report. You can read it yourself at: http://www.culture.gov.uk/ The sections on radio switching over from analogue to digital are of interest but DAB is a long way short of total UK coverage, let alone acceptable audio quality, at present. Perhaps a more manageable way of digesting the report in small chunks is to watch or subscribe to the DCMS Twitter site: http://twitter.com/digitalbritain It already has 2500 subscribers or followers, in Twitter-speak
The Save FM Campaign has launched a website this summer: http://www.savefm.org/ It
will be an interesting one to watch. Some of the many reasons stated include: Ofcom's market research has shown that over 90% of people are "very satisfied" with what they're receiving on FM, DAB provides far lower audio quality than FM; there has been no public consultation. FM is also greener as DAB radios use more energy, not to mention the fact that there are millions of FM radios in the UK which could theoretically become obsolete for the mainstream public who listen to BBC on FM (that is, DXers aside) if BBC and commercial analogue radio ends.
It is also important to note the Digital Britain report says that the FM band would carry "ultra-local" stations after the bigger FM stations have been switched off, so people should be allowed to continue listening to at least the BBC's stations via FM if they want to without being forced to spend several hundred up to potentially thousands of pounds replacing existing audio equipment that works perfectly well.
Conversely, one of many pro Dab websites that is packed with radio reviews, maps and information is: http://www.oneradiodab.com/ The Electric Pig is also a fan, it being “the UK’s fastest growing tech news website.” http://www.electricpig.co.uk/ A wider view is at World DAB: www.worlddab.org/
Groups and guides
A reminder of the very useful Radio User email group, which you can join at:
http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/RadioUser_Readers/ A variety of topics are discussed and opinions aired, be it the campaign to stop shortwave QRM from illegal power line transmissions: http://www.ukqrm.org/ or readers’ receiver reviews.
The latter is illustrated by a recent review of the Eton G6 Aviator Buzz Aldrin radio. This set, newly released in the UK, is causing quite a stir in the pages of this august magazine as well as the wider DX community. Italian reader Giampiero Bernardini referred the Radio User email group to his experiences of it at his own blog: http://radiodxinfo.blogspot.com/
If, like me you are not an Italian reader, no worries, as Google’s excellent translator tool will do all the hard work for you. It can be found at: http://translate.google.com/ and will translate dozens of languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese. You simply select the languages you want translated to and from, paste the url into the box and lo and behold, you have a translation into very readable English. Other free online translators are also available such as Yahoo’s Babelfish: http://babelfish.yahoo.com/ and http://translation2.paralink.com/
Other interesting radio email groups that I recommend are Skywaves and Shortwave Transmitter sites. Skywaves covers FM and television DX and is useful for tips and catches as well as background information. It comes into its own in these summer months when Sporadic E conditions can pull in FM signals from between 500 to 1000 miles away. http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/skywaves/ It is run by the British FM and TV circle, set up in 1995. Their main website is: http://www.skywaves.info/ where you can find additional information such as DXpedition results and tips on antenna and equipment.
The Shortwave Sites group was “established for Shortwave Radio Enthusiasts, SW DXers & Clubs, Radio Historians & Shortwave Radio Engineers. Its purpose is to provide accurate information about both current & historical domestic & international shortwave (SW) broadcast band radio station transmission site data & topics of interest about SW TXer sites.” http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shortwavesites/
The BBC World Service is preserving some of the sounds of today. The Save our Sounds website at: www.bbcworldservice.com/saveoursounds has launched an innovative interactive sound map. Audiences are able to record, and upload sounds on to the world map to become part of a sonic worldview and an online archive of global noises. It’s a great idea and has been well received so far. There is, unsurprisingly, a radio series too which examined “the impact of sound on people’s lives, and question whether some distinct noises, from street markets, to bells and street hawkers, are actually at risk of disappearing, drowned out by new technologies and generic sounds like cooling fans and traffic.”
Save our Sounds also has a Twitter page: https://twitter.com/BBC_SOS
If you are a regular BBC world Service listener why not join the Global Minds Forum? You can post views and interact with listeners around the globe as well as being part of a panel undertaking regular online surveys, all of which help World Service planning: http://www.bbcglobalminds.com/
Richard Sambrook is an influential BBC Director, and his own blog is a very good read. Called “Sacred Facts” it is at: http://sambrook.typepad.com/ There are plenty of posts, usually links to global media news and views, but it’s not the clearest of blogs in my humble opinion. He also publishes some wonderful photos at his Flickr account, from front seats at various gigs to close up shots of nature: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sambrook/
If you remember, or wish to get acquainted with, the fictional secret agent Modesty Blaise, you will enjoy these downloadable podcast and article of her adventures, many which were aired on the BBC: www.modestyblaisebooks.com/media_radio.html