Wednesday 28 July 2010

Radio Websites August 2010

Radio Websites, August 2010 (first published in Radio User )

Chrissy Brand looks at websites with a radio connection, this month clicking her way from the Mediterranean to the Cape, via London and Chicago.

Malta Teasers
Malta is a popular holiday destination and it’s easy to cover the whole island in a week. The radio band is surprisingly crowded for such a small island, and with English spoken by so many Maltese, there is plenty to hear for the holidaying Brit to hear. There are many community stations and some with a religious format

The tiny neighbouring island of Gozo is not neglected, with many Maltese stations easily heard there too, as you can imagine. Gozo even warrants a half page of links to radio stations at the ever reliable Radio Station World website:  Radju Katidral, Radju Margerita and Radju Lehen il-Qala are amongst the stations you can tune to from that link.

There is a good page of radio links at the Malta online portal, which also offers all manner of holiday advice  and there are also radio links at:

Malta Radju is the country’s public broadcaster but there is not much at their website:

You can listen to the likes of Bay Radio, Fantasy Radio and Calypso TEN-18:  , not forgetting Malta University Broadcasting. Campus Radio is the university network at:  It has a good mix of locally produced programmes and rebroadcasts of some of the bigger boys of broadcasting, such as the BBC.

The website is proud of these connections: “Built on a tradition of quality broadcasting, the station has collaboration agreements with a number of entities, such as the BBC World Service and Classic FM in the UK, United Nations Radio, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands and Putumayo World Music. Also, students, lecturers and staff at University are involved in the radio's operations and are contributing towards various productions and initiatives. Campus FM has been the recipient of a number of broadcasting awards since 1995.”

World Music: Cuba to Cape Town

Mention of Putamayo World Music brings me to the website:  You are only a click away from a brightly coloured bus driving on laden with musicians and a sample of the many diverse sounds offered by the record label can be heard. South African band the Soul Brothers were featured when I visited. The latest release is a South African compilation celebrating the “diversity of South Africa, from Afrojazz and township jive to mbaqanga and Afropop.” Founded in 1975 “the label has become known primarily for its upbeat and melodic compilations of great international music characterized by the company's motto: guaranteed to make you feel good!”

The company produce a wide range of very good World Music CDs, each one offering a tester of contemporary sounds from all over the globe and illustrated in a distinctive busy style by Nicola Heindl. I have been enjoying sultry summer nights in the city chilling to their Brazilian lounge CD. They are reasonably priced and available online as well as in the High Street. I first got into the series myself through my local record and CD library, which is always a low risk way of expanding your musical horizons.

If you prefer to hear your World Music from your sun lounger or balcony rather than at a summer music festival such as WOMAD (World of Music and Dance):  (with information throughout the year, not just at the time of the festival in late July in Wiltshire) you might also enjoy World Beat online radio:  It is part of the Live 365 franchise and offers links to a host of World Music stations that you can dip into. If you are already a fan, you will know what I mean. If you are not then give it a whirl and you will be enjoying a salsa in the summer sun before you can say Bossa Cuca Nova.

And other World Music stations at Live 365, the d-i-y radio station portal, include: Radio Abeokuta with Yoruba music from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Cuba and Brazil:  . Music from around the world and all eras at World’s Best Musicians:  Radio Africa online does what it says on the tin, at:  

Barlow Wadley

Back in the dark days of apartheid one of the few good things to come out of South Africa was the Barlow Wadley XCR receiver, made between 1969 and 1981. which emanated from South Africa. There is a dedicated Italian website (in English) packed with details and photos at:  

Paul and Cheryl Wetterhahn are amongst the many fans of the radio who are mentioned on the above website. They also have their own radio museum site at:  with many radios from all over the world including two BarlowWadleys. On their site you will see radios from the early 1920's to now. Grundig, Sony, Eton, Degen, Panasonic, Zenith, shortwave multiband, catalin, wood, pocket transistors boomboxes, and microphones..

“We started collecting radios about 25 years ago. Found one in the garbage, couldn't believe a radio would be tossed out ! That radio is still one of our favorites! Most radios on this site are for sale. They come from all over the world to us here in Chicago, USA.”

The Silicon Chip website has a vintage radio sections including this on Barlow:  and it crops up at the radio museum website:  Not often for sale but there were three at a New Zealand radio website :  And they even crop in up in blog postings. Roy McBride who sails the globe and post many interesting blogs including a posting in March 2009:  

Wikipedia has a short but interesting article on one of the inventors, Trevor Wadley:  After World War II he “invented the Wadley Loop receiver, which allowed precision tuning over wide bands, a task that had previously required switching out multiple crystals. The Wadley Loop was first used in the Racal RA-17 a 1950s top of the range British military short wave receiver still considered one of the finest radio receivers ever made and later in the South African made commercially available "Barlow-Wadley XCR-30" radio. He also invented the tellurometer, which could measure up to a distance of 80 km; it was used in land surveying. Today, it is used in a wide range of equipment but modified with current technology.”


Video helped the radio star
There is a fascinating 25 minute video interview by Jonathan Marks (or Radio Netherlands fame) with veteran broadcaster Margaret Howard on her career with BBC World Service, Radio 4, Radio 2 and Classic FM.:  

Her “Letterbox” programme, complete with Bach theme tune, went into the Guinness Book of Records as the most listened to radio programme, it having 40 million listeners. Also at the website are other great video interviews by Jonathan Marks with radio personalities telling gripping tales past and present, such as radio’s digital future, a visit to Kings Langley and David Smith’s early shortwave memories. One of the many positive things about the internet is the ability for people to upload their own videos and audio as well as text and visual content. Interviews such as those at Jonathan’s website might only get a minute’s sound bite if aired at all by a regular radio station. With websites such as Vimeo and YouTube, people can upload interviews in full and the listener can decide to listen to them in their entirety or to fast forward.

Jonathan Marks has also put the Media Network Vintage Vault online which has complete shows from 1980-2000 for download. These include one on Wartime Deception, a documentary on World War II British black propaganda.

The Wireless Waffler has posted a selection of pictures of the latest building developments at Broadcasting House in London, including one of a information poster which gives a clear run down of building progress, on his blog. I cannot see this on the BBC Site. The building being largely complete, and the fitting out being in progress. Studios are being completed in the basement and should be in use in due course. I was amazed to find that the newsroom area at the front was now open to view. Some very good photos at:  click on one you wish to view in detail and it will appear enlarged. The first one will explain the building progress to date.

Friday 9 July 2010

Radio Websites July 2010 (published in Radio User, PWP)

Radio Websites July 2010 (published in Radio User, PWP)

Chrissy Brand looks at websites with a radio connection. This month she looks at radio corporations on three continents, radio studio tours, radio and the space race, readers’ recommendations and a round up of some online frequency guides.

Corporations Calling

The BBC is not the only broadcaster whose moniker ends with “corporation”. The South African Broadcasting Corporation is one that is in the news at the moment, being the host broadcaster for the World Cup. You can keep up with developments at the SABC news website:  and  

Guyana is a long way across the Atlantic also has a broadcasting corporation. The Guyana Broadcasting Corporation is covered amongst other very interesting radio history in then country. Organisations included Radio Demerara, and the British Guiana Broadcasting Service) in Broadcasting House on the High Street. Then from 1979 came the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation:  and there are some gripping personal; recollections in postings at:  

The Guyana Broadcasting Corporation runs the Voice of Guyana in English at:  

Back to the original Corporation in the shape of the Beeb. BBC Tours are available at many studios and station around the UK, from Radio Cornwall in Truro to BBC Scotland in Dumbarton. More details of which one to choose and how to book at:  

I recently went on the BBC Manchester tour, which was a fantastic two hour trip around the radio and tv studios, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra studio and much more. From next year the 1970s building will close and the BBC will move to Media City in Salford (along with BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC children’s television), and even grander tours will be available. Radio 5 Live presenter Nicky Campbell is one of many BBC who is looking forward to moving there: “It’ll be lovely to live where all the buzz is going on, and I’d like to find somewhere by the waterside.” To see how the dramatic new canal-side development is shaping up have a look at:  

A London museum that I want to try and visit this summer is the much-vaunted British Vintage Wireless and television Museum in West Dulwich. It is by appointment only but I have heard many good things of this paean to radios. The website describes it better than I could: “The Museum has an ever-expanding range of radios, televisions, speakers and radiograms from the dawn of radio up to the last valve model ever made. Items of interest to academics, historians, manufacturers and collectors are on exhibition. The Museum consists of two buildings making thirteen rooms with 1300 wireless receivers on show, along with many display cabinets of components and wireless associated artefacts, also a period shop. There is a valve laboratory enabling the manufacture of early Triode valves (the three electrode valve) plus workshops to demonstrate the manufacture of chassis, cabinets and associated parts for wireless construction.”  

Vintage radios and the space race

Over to the States and an intriguing North Carolina based website at:  It is for users of the Yaesu receiver. As you would expect, it contains modifications, opinions and general information, but dig around and you find other stories to get hooked on. For instance the page at the difficult to type URL of:  

This is all about the Lafayette KY 135 radio and also leads to a section on NHS Radio Japan. NHK stands for Nippon Houso Kyokai, translating as the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation. The author, Carol L. Maher W4CLM, visited the studios and there are photos and insights to the trip. Back to the Lafayette KY 135 radio which Carol owned and enjoyed as a 13 year old in 1969. “Some 37 years later I decided to search for my first receiver and find another KT-135 as my original receiver was long gone. The Lafayette KT-135 is a four band regenerative receiver and if you have never had the pleasure of using a radio like this, it's basically like grandpa's crystal radio set on steroids!” Carol explores the build-your-own Lafayette (encased in a large wooden box, almost like a precursor to the Pure DAB radios of today) in detail along with some well phrased shortwave reminiscing.

Another ripping yarn I enjoyed online was the following:  This is a detailed reference book by Aaron George Bailey in Arkansas. Ten chapters and packed with information about the space race it includes signals from space that Aaron has received, and endless links that divert and delight you, including details of his first receiver, a build it yourself Heathkit GR-91.

Readers recommend

Trevor M5AKA on The Radio User email Yahoo group, which is at:

recommended the following websites. Amateur Radio on the International Space station (ARISS) SSTV picture gallery:  

International Space Station Fan Club:  “During 1996, a group of amateur radio operators involved in the communications with the MIR Space Station, decided to join into the "Mir Fan Club". In a very short time over 1200 enthusiasts from all over the world asked to participate, including Cosmonaut Valery Korzun, while leading crew #22. Nowadays MIR is not flying anymore, but here we are again with the same spirit and the same enthusiasm for the ISS, the new International Space Station.”

AMSAT-UK publish a colour A4 newsletter, OSCAR News, that is full of Amateur Satellite information. Join online at:

David Morris points us to this Alabama site and the history of Birmingham radio station which first hit the airwaves on May 27, 1925:

Read all about the many stations that have served the station for decades. The website is packed with colourful station logos, classic black and white photos of studios and buildings, DJs and roadshows. It’s a really enjoyable read and evokes memories of the USA rock and roll radio eras even for those of us that weren’t around. For example “The WILD studios in 1954, on US 31 beneath Vulcan. When the station became WYDE, and the format rock 'n' roll, the circular driveway became a drive-up request window”.The history of Birmingham television is equally enthralling at:   

Another vintage from yesteryear still in action today is the mobile cinema, striking in its appearance and to my eyes looks like a 1950’s vision of a spaceship: 
 The Ministry of Technology built seven of these custom mobile cinema units in the 1960s, “to tour the country, promoting modern production techniques to British industry. The seven Bedfords were operated by PERA, or the Production Engineering Research Association. Films would be played within the cinema, with supporting displays shown in the trailer that accompanied the towing unit as they toured the nation’s factories.” The one remaining van has been restored and is touring Devon this summer. Featured on BBC1 South West, it is also available for hire if you have a suitable occasion to use it.

Global guides

The World Radio and TV Handbook summer season broadcasting schedules file is now available at:  .Other online international broadcasting guides include that of Eike Bierwirth at:  and The Primetime Shortwave list of English language broadcasts at:  The HFCC (High Frequency Co-ordination Conference) public list which updates each season with all shortwave frequencies, transmitter sites and country codes etc. is at:  

Whether you are travelling in Europe this summer, or if you are staying at home, don’t forget the Euro-African medium wave guide website at:  A list of all the stations on medium and long wave with a recent separate addition of a programme guide, which is very welcome. The Euro-African MW guide is partnered with the UK’s Medium Wave Circle, which you can read about at:  

The British DX Club website always has useful information, As well as its paper-based Broadcasts in English and Radio Stations in the UK publications, there are online guides such as a Media Programme guide, Africa on Shortwave, External Services on Medium Wave, Middle East on Shortwave, South Asia on the Tropical Bands, UK on Shortwave, as well as plenty of articles to keep you informed and entertained:  

Once upon a time: to smartphones and podcast apps

Once upon a time, many years ago, when I was a child, I used to dream of owning a magic book that would contain every comic strip, poe...