Wednesday 28 December 2011

New Year radio plans

A very good article which spins through the radio dial on New Year’s Eve is by Fred Waterer and was published in the US equivalent of Radio User, Monitoring Times in the January 2006 edition. “Happy New Year- A round the world in 24 hours” takes you on a wonderful audio journey with programme and station suggestions, frequencies and web links.

Friday 23 December 2011

Praha calling

Radio Prague not being on shortwave has not stopped me from listening, although I do so far less often than when it was simply a case of tuning in. I do listen online periodically via  or through the World Radio Network relay

The station has always covered Christmas and the New Year holidays very well, conjuring up a magical atmosphere that can take you back to childhood in some ways, while retaining a 21st century edge to proceedings.

Try some of these links for a direct route to Wenceslas Square in Prague, where the snow will doubtless be laying deep, crisp and even. A Czech Christmas and its traditions at

A fascinating background to Czech carols is at  and the Radio Prague choir, consisting of broadcasters rather than choristers, is a lovely festive offering. They sound rather good to me  If you think so too then drop them an email to thank them

Thursday 22 December 2011

Winternet radio

From my Radio Websites column  for Radio User, January 2012

I always like to pay a virtual visit to some frozen tundra or other at this time of year and invite you to join me on trips to Canada, Norway and Lapland.

Hans is of Swedish origin and works for Coastal Radio station in Vardø on Vardøya Island which is in Finnmark county in Norway. Located on the Barents Sea he specialises in tropical and medium wave DXing. Read about how he gets on in the most easterly of Norwegian towns. He writes “you will find my reflections regarding DXing in a location this far north, recordings and logs of radio stations received here as well as thoughts regarding receivers, antennas and other equipment needed for this amazing hobby.” His post of 19 November is a rather moving story of finally hearing KJNP in North Pole, Alaska after many years of trying.

The Edmonton Broadcaster website in Canada interests me. As you would imagine it is a social network for those involved in broadcasting past and present in this Canadian city. Although it’s not somewhere I have visited or even listened to, I enjoyed browsing through the information on members’ careers, events and the many links to stations.  Amongst the stations mentioned were CHFA-AM, a 10,000 watts station on 680 KHz just east of the North Saskatchewan River. 1950s QSL cards and a snowy photo adorn the link.

Mika Makelain reports on new DXpeditions to Lapland on the DXing Info website.  Mika’s publicity makes it hard to resist: “Two DXpedition reports from the Arctic, another one spanning two countries. Want to know how hungry bears can destroy Beverage antennas?  Or how hungry DXers can focus on eating, drinking and being merry, instead of DXing?”  

Tuesday 20 December 2011

North Korean radio in English

Follow the news straight from Pyongyang- it will be a fascinating few weeks ahead. Here is The Voice of Korea (North Korea) B11 schedule

0100 GMT (10am local) to North East Asia on 7220kHz, 9345kHz and 9730kHz
0100 GMT (10am local) to Central and South America on 11735kHz and 15180kHz
0200 GMT (11am local) to Southeast Asia on 13650kHz and 15100kHz
0300 GMT (12pm local) to North East Asia on 7220kHz, 9345kHz and 9730kHz
1000 GMT (7pm local) to Central and South America on 11710kHz and 15180kHz
1000 GMT (7pm local) to Southeast Asia on 11735kHz and 13650kHz
1300 GMT (10pm local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz
1300 GMT (10pm local) to North America on 9335kHz and 11710kHz
1500 GMT (12am local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz
1500 GMT (12am local) to North America on 9335kHz and 11710kHz
1600 GMT (1am local) to Near and Middle East, North Africa on 9990kHz and 11545kHz
1800 GMT (3am local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz
1900 GMT (4am local) to Southern Africa on 7210kHz and 11910 kHz
1900 GMT (4am local) to Near and Middle East, North Africa on 9975kHz and 11535kHz
2100 GMT (6am local) to Europe on 13760kHz and 15245kHz

North Korean radio recordings in English are also online at:

Thanks to The Shortwave Post and PCJ Media and the BDXC amongst others.

It will also be worth tuning to South Korea in English, KBS World is online at:
and shortwave to Europe from 1600 to 1700 UTC on 9515 and 9640kHz
1800 to 1900 on 7275kHz
2200 to 2230 on 3955kHz

Friday 16 December 2011

Christmas at Bush House 1984-85

I spent two pre-Christmases working at the BBC World Service HQ at Bush House (above) on the Strand in London. These were way back in 1984 and 1985 when I worked as an assistant and then an interim manager at BBC World Information Centre and Shop.

It was a wonderful time to be there-although frantically busy from when the shop and Information Centre opened at 9.30 a.m. until it closed at 7.00 p.m. From 1st December to Christmas Eve anything that we put on the shelves was snapped up. BBC golf balls, Images of Britain and other traditional style Christmas cards, umbrellas and tea-towels.

More conventional items such as BBC records and audio cassettes, sweatshirts, pens, pencils, T-shirts and diaries sold well needless to say. Christmas 1984 was the year that Fawlty Towers was released on video (VHS and Betamax!) Videos were horrendously expensive in those days, retailing at £24.95 or £99 for the boxed set of Fawlty Towers, but they sold nonetheless.

All the frantic activity was accompanied by the piped live feed from the Bush House Studios, mostly the English service, from Richard Baker’s classical choices to John Peel, DLT to Edward Greenfield, Bob Holness to the World Radio club team, with the news read by the likes of Meryl O’Keefe and John Wing. We could also switch to any of the language services that visitors wished to hear.

Carol concerts at the local churches of St Mary Le Strand and St Clement Danes (below), the latter built in 1682 were another festive feature of December on the Strand.

All in all they were wonderful preparations for Christmas. For more of my tales from Bush House, go to:
Coffee Break at Bush House:
and my 2002 article for Monitoring Times at:

There is also a two part series on the BBC WS's departure from Bush House next year, at:

Wednesday 14 December 2011

A Swiss Christmas

Switzerland in Sound is a wonderful programme, packed full of Swiss info and presented by the lovely Bob Zanotti. Bob was on shortwave with Swiss Radio International for over 30 years and it’s great that he now produces a regular podcast (via PCJ Media in Taiwan.)

Join him preparing for Christmas and baking some Christmas cookies with unpronounceable names at his home in the Emmental region, 750 metres up in the mountains (3rd December 2011 podcast).

So, if it’s as cold with you right now as it is here in north-west England, I suggest you make yourself a hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and indulge yourself with a virtual visit to Switzerland- a different place or topic in every podcast and they are always of interest:

Sunday 11 December 2011

Radio Advent calendar links for 11th to 20th December

Here are some links to last year's Radio themed Advent calendar for 11th December, or you can navigate to the entire calendar via the side panel on the right- click to Dec 2010.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Festive internet radio

A few festive internet radio stations for you to try out include which has scheduled programmes thus eliminating repeated music too often.

There are also lots of portals which list festive music stations, such as 

I have been writing Christmas cards to the sounds of a station by the name of The Christmas lounge-chilled holiday groove, at and some classic sounds from which is less classical and more US crooners such as Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “Joy to the world”. Well worthy of a listen for entertainment value alone.

Thursday 8 December 2011

What to buy the radio fan at Xmas?

Here are a few ideas for last minute presents for the radio enthusiast.
How about a “I love Radio 4” hooded top? I am sorely tempted by this to see me through the winter, although some of the other clothing options on offer are less tasteful. Check for yourself at with the Radio 4 merchandise at

Scott Fybush has been producing a calendar of US transmitter sites for over ten years now, and it is always an artistic piece of work that would grace any radio shack 
It’s time to buy a new diary as well. National radio stations producing 2012 diaries include LBC and Classic FM. The LBC Londoners’ diary  and also at the Book Depository  and Amazon, from around £8. 12 LBC 97.3 presenters including James O’Brien and Steve Allen share their Ultimate London Landmarks

The Classic FM diary is only a click away at  and also at the Book Depository and Amazon. It includes humorous classical music anecdotes on every page, composers' birthdays and on-this-day facts.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Santa Andy

Andy Walmsley is already in the festive mood at his always rather splendid radio blog:

with packages of classic Christmas jingles at: an advent calendar of Radio Times covers on Facebook:!/pages/Random-Radio-Jottings/113123188769904 , and more fascinating all year round features to read than you can shake a striped candy stick at.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Radio themed advent calendar

Last December (2010) I ran an radio themed advent calendar on this blog.

As I am a great one for re-using I'll signpost you to that so you can enjoy -or endure- it once again. Start at: 

I'll also try and post regular Christmas radio themed links and infotmation throughout this December too, as a Christmas gift to my loyal readers ;-)

Sunday 27 November 2011

BDXC Broadcasts In English guide for the B-11 sw season

The British DX Club (BDXC) "Broadcasts In English" guide for the B-11 shortwave season is out now.

It covers all English broadcasts from the end of October 2011 to end of March 2012, in UTC time format, with frequencies and target areas, along with other useful information.
A handy A5 guide to take away with you on your winter travels as well as using at home. 

You can purchase a copy for £2.50 (5 Euros to Europe and US$7 to rest of world) by sending a cheque to BDXC BIE, 10 Hemdean Hill, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SB, UK.

It is also available as a pdf version for the same cost. More details at

Saturday 26 November 2011

Texas questionnaire

Michael Nevradakis is a PhD student in Media Studies. I was one of many contacted by him for a research study being conducted by him and Joe Straubhaar of  The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Radio, Television & Film.

The goal of the study is to ascertain characteristics of DXing which its participants find appealing, the cultural and community aspects of DXing, the experiences DXers have had as part of their involvement in this hobby, and the views of DXers as to the future of DXing in light of the rapid pace of technological change and development. As part of this study, he conducted interviews with DXers about their specific involvement in the hobby and their views about DXing.  I thought I’d share my response with my blog readers, and hope that Michael and Joe get the volume and quality of questionnaires that they need, It’ll be fascinating to read a summary of the whole study.

I’m flattered as it’s the second time recently a student has asked for my input. A young German lady, Sabine, doing an MA in radio at Goldsmiths College in London interviewed me over coffee in September for her thesis on Radio Berlin International.

 1. Describe your involvement in the hobby known as DXing.

Mostly I listen to broadcast stations on shortwave, mw and longwave. I am general editor for the British DX Club monthly journal “Communication”. I also write the “Long, Medium and shortwaves, Broadcast Matters” column for UK monthly magazine RadioUser.

2. Do you attempt to DX broadcast radio signals? Ham and amateur radio signals? Or other types of transmissions? Why did you choose this particular type of transmission to focus on as a DXer?

Just broadcast radio signals, I started decades ago in pursuit of different sources of news entertainment and music when I was a teenager. I am intrigued too by numbers stations but do not really follow them. Not actively interested in hams or utility myself.

3. What initially drew you to become a DXer? When did you first begin DXing?

I used to listen to BBC World Service on medium wave for comedy shows, then realised they were on shortwave and got a sw radio. I then stumbled upon Radio Sweden, Moscow, etc. and all the other delights of English and other language broadcasts and other languages. I started when I was very young, in the mid 1970s.

4. Were any family members also DXers and did they influence your interest in this hobby?

Not really- my father was a wireless operator in the Air Force during his national service in the 1950s but I’m not aware of that really having any impact on my radio interest. There was always a radio on in the house when I was growing up though (BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 and LBC-London Broadcasting Company) so I suppose that had a positive effect on me.

5. What appeals to you about the hobby? What aspects of DXing do you enjoy the most?
 I enjoy hearing news and views from different sources- the British mainstream media is narrow minded and does not cover many areas that interest me. I like to hearing views from Romania, Canada, Thailand etc. I enjoy the international news from shortwave stations that enlightens me, and also local and national news and culture, such as local music and travel programmes. I also enjoy just tuning to frequencies and listening to different music genres and languages.

6. How would you characterize the act of listening to and tracking down distant signals?

I think it is a fascinating thing to do- you feel part of a privileged group of people, hearing sounds and information that the mass population are not really aware of. Sometimes you feel as if the broadcaster is speaking almost solely for your benefit.

7. How do you keep track of the distant signals which you have received?

I tend to write them down in a logbook (This is nothing fancy-I reuse incomplete school exercise books or buy recycled note books). Although I do have periods of time when I don’t do this methodically.

8. Describe the cultural and community aspects of DXing. Do you feel that DXers together comprise a community? Do you interact with other DXers?

There is definitely a large and active DX community, yes. I interact with many other DXers by email with some of those in other countries, websites, blogs, through internet forums such as Yahoo groups and World of Radio DX Listening Digest, Social Media (FaceBook and Twitter) and also through my own radio blog.

More importantly to me I socialise with other members of the British DX Club and am in regular contact with many members through my club activities. Likewise through my writing for Radio User magazine and interacting with readers.

9. Would you describe DXing as a form of “social networking” because of your interaction with individuals from other locations and cultures or because of your ties with other DXers?

Yes, it has been a form of social networking for many decades, before the term was ever thought of. However, Facebook and other forums do enable me to make contacts with DXers in other countries and in my own country that I previously would not have been able to do.
I would be interested to know what percentage of DXers belong to a DX club though, and how many DXers operate in isolation. The advent of the internet certainly enabled anyone to get in contact and be part of the DX community at no cost. Belonging to a club requires an annual subscription, but these are cheap and well worth the camaraderie, information and pleasure that it brings.

10. How would you describe the intercultural communication that you have been exposed to as a result of your involvement with DXing?
Very positive, just gaining a glimpse of other people’s lives in other cultures, as well as their DXing.

11. Does the DXing community have any events or gatherings where you meet other DXers face-to-face? If so, have you attended any such events?

There are regular meetings in the UK. The Reading International Radio Group meets every two months and there are British DX Club Meetings too. There are others around the UK on a more informal basis that I also attend when I can. As a busy woman, in a full time job and with a family it is difficult to make the time I would like to get to these events as most are 200+ miles/kms from where I live.

12. In your estimation, is DXing a “gendered” hobby—in other words, do you feel that DXing is a male-dominated activity? If so, why do you believe this is the case.
Speaking as a woman I am aware of others women in the hobby, although we are in the minority. Sadly it is very much a male-dominated hobby. But many hobbies are. I think this is rooted in gender stereotypes when growing up- which hopefully have changed for current generations of children.

Boys were perhaps encouraged to have “technical” hobbies and play sport whilst girls were encouraged to do more practical activities such as cooking, and fashion. Music is the one area that united us, but there were many overlaps even in the 1970s, with some girls enjoying DXing and cycle maintenance and some boys enjoying cooking and craftwork.

13. How is DXing responding to the growth and rapid pace of technological development, such as internet broadcasting/webcasting and digital over-the-air broadcasting?
I don’t like to generalise but DXing is reacting well in the main- it has to. DXing has always been in a state of evolution, like all technology. From cats whiskers, to the advent of FM, transistor radios, digital readout receivers etc. Broadcasters and policy makers are not always aware of what they are doing though and those that eschew shortwave for internet only are shortsighted, losing listeners as a result. Broadcast stations need to use shortwave and the internet in tandem.

14. Has new technology, such as the Internet, aided your efforts as a DXer in any way?
Yes, the internet offers wonderful ways of communicating and sharing DX tips, QSL card collections etc.

15. What do you foresee for the future of DXing? Is it a hobby that is, in your view, dying off?

There is still a sizeable and active DX community around the world. Some are leaving the hobby because of electrical interference, for instance in the UK the British Telecom (BT) broadband home hub has been proven to interfere with shortwave signals but the regulatory body Ofcom appears to not take it seriously enough.

DXers themselves die and unless younger people get into the hobby it will be gone in another 50 years. It has always been a minority interest- which surprises me as radio is such a fundamental mainstream activity that most people listen to daily, They just need to witch away from the dull local FM station and hear the other wonderful signals that are still out there.

Many international broadcasters are leaving shortwave- mistakenly, but many remain, and there are so many other exotic an interesting signals to be heard when the bands are less crowded. Middle Eastern and African music for instance.

16. Are young people still being attracted to DXing?

I am not sure that they are- as I stated before. I believe all DXers have a responsibility to try to pass the hobby on- to young family members and local youth organisations (such as scouts and guide movements in the UK.).

17. Please share any final comments and thoughts about DXing or your involvement in the hobby.

It has given me decades of pleasure. I have been enlightened, educated and entertained by so many diverse radio stations. Sharing my interest with fellow DXers has been rewarding and being able to write about the hobby too has been a great privilege. To paraphrase the John Miles’ song “Music”, “Radio was my first love, and it will be my last.”

Friday 25 November 2011

Canada choice of champions

Today to Canada, and if you are looking to discover some entertaining podcasts you should head straight for the CBC. The website has what seems an endless choice of quality programmes to choose from.

From Alberta at Noon to Quirks and Quarks, White Boat Black Art to Sportology and Zukerman on Brahms. Other great shows include Thunder Bay -the Great North West, Stranger than Fiction and the Age of Persuasion.

I have been a long time fan of Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe which is amongst the dozens of shows on offer too.

“CBC Radio presents the stories and misadventures of Dave, the owner of the Vinyl Cafe, the world's smallest record store, where the motto is ‘We may not be big, but we're small.’ The show also features Dave's wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie.”

It's all enough to convince me that had I ever emigrated then it would have been to Canada!

Thursday 24 November 2011

VoA for Thanksgiving

The Voice of America website is often worth digging around in, with some interesting features aside from the current affairs you would expect to find

The programme Africa Beat is one I enjoy and can be heard on shortwave, but there is an online option as well. David Vandy is your host and "African Beat is Voice of America’s hottest African music show which showcases the best in African music from the continent. From Benga to Juju, Hip Life to Bongo Flava, Afro Beat to Ndombolo, Bubu to Soukous and Makossa to Kwaito, African Beat has it all from across the continent – the show that brings happiness into your homes.”

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Mozambique Radio


I have been listening to a country via the internet that I don’t hear on shortwave- Mozambique Radio, which is in English online at  

Mozambique's English language “Happy Music Station” began a year ago and I have really enjoyed some of the music and chat. LM Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day on FM to listeners in Maputo, Matola and their surrounding areas, surrounding areas which cover the world if you are online. They are looking for English guest presenters at the time of writing, so if I am not here next month you know where to find me! The site also links to a wonderful radio museum at  

LM used to stand for Lourenco Marques Radio , which was the first commercial radio station in Africa, back in 1936, but these days LM is for Lifetime Music.

First published in my monthly Radio Websites column in Radio User 

Monday 21 November 2011

Radio Romania International’s schedule for western Europe

Radio Romania International’s schedule for western Europe is as follows:

0630 to 0700 UTC on 7310kHz
1200 to 1300 UTC on both 15460 and 17530kHz
1800 to 1900 UTC on 11955kHz
2130 to 2200 UTC on 7305kHz
2300 to 0000 UTC on 6015 and 7220kHz.

Programmes worth listening out for are the Cooking Show, Travellers Guide, Romanian Without Tears and Inside Romania.

As well as English, Radio Romania International (RRI) broadcast in ten other languages, including Romanian, and also in the Macedo-Romanian dialect. You can contact the station at their website which includes an online reception report from.  

Their 2011 monthly QSL card series feature buildings by Romanian artist Vitalie Butesc (see photo above).

The Radio Romania International Listeners club is a great way to keep up with the station and to hear about fellow listeners in a traditional way. Diplomas and prizes are often on offer from this free to join club. Facebook and Twitter are also available.

For the RRI full schedule see their website or the wonderful Monitoring Times blog:

A vintage QSL card from RRI's previous incarnation, which I adore.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Austria Calling

A signal usually very easy to pick up is from the Moosbrunn transmitter on 6155kHz. Radio Austria 1 International (ORF) only carry the news in English for a few minutes a day around 0600 UTC but even if you miss that they can play a wide selection of musical genres, especially classical and jazz which creates a good vibe.

Let the station know how you get on by emailing them at  
Current QSL cards being sent out included one depicting the beautiful city of Salzburg, somewhere I have happy memories of visiting a few times, and once even camping on the outskirts of in my youth. That was the only time we were forced to pitch our tent n a steep slope, so busy was the campsite. By morning I had slid down to the bottom of the hill but luckily I was still in my sleeping bag, as was my trusty little Panasonic radio...

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Polish Radio Warsaw B11

I tracked Polish Radio down on 3955kHz on Sunday 13 November at 1800 UTC. This is their only broadcast on shortwave at present. I prefer to listen on shortwave as that is more convenient than via the internet. I am working at a computer most days so do not wish to spend much leisure time at a computer too.

I disagreed with the Multitouch programme listeners who sing the praises of DRM. DRM is never going to take off- there are no receivers. Stick to analogue shortwave please.

Hoping they remain on shortwave so I can hear what Poland thinks about the world and plan my future trips there... I tried contacting the station via their website form but it would not send ...

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Modern Mechanix blog

The Modern Mechanix blog will keep you amused for hours, (or I will want to know why!). Full of “yesterday’s tomorrows today” it features old magazine adverts and articles for gadgets and inventions. Some came to fruition, many didn’t, but all will raise an eyebrow. The options on the left of the home page enable you to search the back catalogue by subject, “radio” includes a 1962 Sony, an article from 1958 on “What the sputniks said” and a 1929 guide to taking your radio on a camping trip. Al l in all it provides some perfect reading for a damp autumnal evening: 

From Radio User's Radio Websites column Nov 2011

Friday 4 November 2011

Radio Canada International B11

The new frequencies and times for Radio Canada International in English are:

1800 to 1859 UTC on 9740kHz, 9770, 11845, 15365 and 17790kHz.
These are aimed at Africa but hopefully can be heard in Europe.

The station also broadcasts English to Asia, which you are less likely be able to hear, at:
0000 UTC for one hour on 9880kHz
1500 UTC for one hour on 9635 and 11975kHz.

If you are a Francophile then try their French broadcasts to Africa as well, which are:
1900 to 1959 UTC on 9510, 9770, 11845, 13650, 15365 and 17790kHz
2100 to 2159 UTC on 11845 and13650kHz
2300 to 2329 UTC to Asia on 6160kHz.

I've not had the chance to try out these new frequencies yet but hope to do so at the weekend.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Amsterdam radio day 12th November

Photo from:  

The annual Radio Day takes place in Amsterdam on Saturday 12th November. This year it includes presentations and speaks on the forgotten stations from former wartime defence forts, the enticing sounding session called “Get your kicks on 266 - Radio London memories”, and top of the bill for me, the story of Radio Netherlands’ Media Network with Jonathan Marks and Andy Sennitt. Read more about it at
The very first Radio Day of this kind started decades ago, way back in 1978:

Monday 10 October 2011

The end of the world as we know it (Family Radio, again)

Taken from my column Long Medium and Short, Broadcast Matters, Radio User Oct 2011  

There is no Radio St. Helena Day in 2011, due to repairs needed to their antenna mast, which are too expensive to be undertaken on the island. Manager of the St Helena project Robert Kipp hopes that the broadcasts will return another year.

We may miss out on a Radio St. Helena broadcast but an event that is hard to miss will be the end of the world, which is re-scheduled for on 21 October 2011. I shall tune again then to WYFR (Family Radio) broadcasts as that is the revised date for the Rapture and end of the world, according to the station’s President, 89 year old Harold Camping.

I heard one of their evening broadcasts on 15195kHz at 2110 UTC which arrives via Ascension Island. Programmes seem to just consist of various Biblical readings. Mention was made of the Passover, burned offerings, the House of Israel and the 7th day of the month.

American veteran rock band REM have an interest in radio, with songs such as “Radio Free Europe” and “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” I hope another of their songs will see us right this time, namely “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

Thursday 6 October 2011

Radio Afghanistan

Photo from CERF website
Radio and telecommunications equipment in Afghanistan  Photo: IRIN

Taken from my column Long Medium and Short, Broadcast Matters, Radio User Oct 2011

Radio Afghanistan returned to shortwave as an international broadcaster in August, with transmissions in Urdu and English. Other languages will follow, namely Arabic and Russian and then French and German. Programmes are aimed to Asia, Africa and Europe.

It has been logged in Europe on 6100kHz from 1525. One of the first loggings was made by Mikhail Timofeyev in St Petersburg using a Drake R8A and 30m long wire. (source Hard Core DX). He reported the following: Radio Afghanistan from Kabul with local singing then English with news at 1530, Afghan traditional song, a talk about Ramadan, and one western pop song.

There was a tentative identification at 1556 UTC of "The International service of National Radio of Afghanistan." It was also logged in Austria, Bulgaria, India, The Netherlands and the UK in the first days of its return to the airwaves.

Radio Free Libya with news in English was also being logged on 1449kHz at 2030 UTC from Misurata by Guido Schotmans in Belgium and Max van Arnhem in The Netherlands (source Medium Wave Circle). At the time of writing the so-called rebels are surrounding Tripoli. As a consequence it looks likely that there will soon be changes afoot at the Libyan state broadcaster Voice of Africa. Currently you can hear their daily English transmissions at 1400 to 1500 UTC on 17725kHz.

Monday 26 September 2011

Four-ward thinking

BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly BBC Radio 7) plans its schedules three months ahead, so it was not too much of a surprise when last week’s newsletter asked listeners for their preferred Christmas programme options.

As much as I do not like to think about Christmas much before early December, I can understand the need in this case. So my suggestions, in order of preference, were as follows:

Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion- all of the recent years’ festive programmes- the ones broadcast the Saturday before Christmas Day, that is. (NPR)
Any Vinyl Cafe from Stuart MacLean with a festive feel (Canadian BC)
Tony Hawks’ 12 Days of Christmas
Just A Minute
After Henry (the two Christmas specials)
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
Flying the Flag (any series not already broadcast on BBC7)

The first two were regulars on BBC 7 and so should be at home on BBC 4 Extra.
You can e-mail your requests/suggestions to with 'Christmas titles' as the subject. They are already placing bets on the top 3 titles most of us might request, and I imagine they think the majority will want:
Hancock’s Half Hour and various versions of A Christmas Carol, plus Sherlock Holmes. I’m happy with those three too...

Thursday 8 September 2011

Radio Websites September 2011

First published in Radio User, Sept 2011 PW Publishing

Chrissy Brand looks at a wide range of websites with a radio connection. Amongst the websites this month she chooses some radio blogs from three continents, some Big Band and 1940s internet radio stations and finishes in Taiwan where PCJ Media are sharing the old and pushing ever forwards with the new.

It never ceases to amaze me how many high quality websites there still are that appertain to all things radio. Every month I stumble across something new, sometimes through painstaking research, often through a chance diversion on my way to a different website. Here’s a selection of what I have recently been reading, watching and hearing online, and that I think many readers might find useful too.

Blogs of the month
Prithwi’s World is the blog of a DXer in Assam, India. Prithwiraj Purkayastha gives links to schedule and QSL card updates (such as Radio Free Asia) and competition winners (including Radio Prague). These, together with a photo gallery of his DX memories and other radio snippets with an Indian slant, make for an intriguing read.  

Adam Brasher is a young man from Alabama, whose blog details various aspects of his life i words and pictures, be it following local baseball matches or meeting South African volunteers at his local zoo. Needless to say there is a radio element to the blog too, with a simple section on Adam’s QSL card collection (see QSL count). Why not drop by and encourage him in his DXing- it is youngsters like this whose hands the radio hobby will be in come a decade or two.  

“Puppies and Flowers , for when you need to think of something else in a hurry”is the strange name of a blog which pulls together a wide range of mostly advertising video and clips, from the Sopranos to the Simpsons  The 18 July 2011 spoof video of a 1960s look at how life would be in 2000 is entertaining (it woman award at the New York Comedy film festival) , as is the song of the day for 10 July: The Walker Brothers’ track The Electrician.

With a retrospective look at QSLing the World Bands Postcard blog is a bright and cheerful place to brighten up your day. One Helmuth W Kump in Pennsylvania is your host for a trawl through scenic views of mountains and cities, from Finland to Monte Carlo, via some classic QSL artwork that was surely inspired by the flower power generation.  

Over in Santiago Chile, Hernan hosts a passionate blog that majors on collecting postcards. There are many colourful examples, and some QSL cards are included. I appreciate that it is a slight aside from pure radio but as a QSL aficionado I enjoyed this slight diversion into what is after all a parallel hobby.  Herman’s definition is rather charming too: “A postcard is a testimony of a distance travelled, a priceless greeting from somebody far away. Somebody chose it, took their time to write some words and mailed it...A postcard always affixes a smile on your face.”

A radio ham blog worth whiling some time away at is at Captain Luis de Barros is ready to take you on a tour of some international broadcast stations' propagations forecasts for the bands and some amateur radio information. Plenty to click on and learn about here.

Radio Green Earth is a station with a difference and one that is trying to make a difference to the planet, at  They broadcast from Florida on FM with documentaries and features with an environmental nature (pun intended). The station can be heard lonline as well. It is thought provoking material that we should all lend an ear to. For example one recent programme I heard covered the drought in south Florida: “The rains have arrived, but no one is sure how long they will stay – or if they will help offset reported water shortages. Are our water troubles caused by unavoidable droughts – or because we misuse and lose the water we have?”

Internet radio past and present
Alan Wilcox found that as expected the Jazz 24 website I mentioned (  ) contained mostly modern jazz. I suppose it depends on how you define “modern”, but certainly that website would not have held many surprised of the diehard jazz fan. I mentioned it more as a starting point for those developing an interest. My own jazz favourites range from Portico Quartet (see them at the London jazz festival in November)  to the veteran trio of Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack De Johnette. They are still touring even as I write. With Jazz FM now going national on DAB radio there should be a good range in some of their specialist programmes.  

Online,  channels such as Gallery 41 and New Renegade Radio are sites I often tune into for my evening jazz, and sometimes blues, fix. Just search for the station names or artistes you like in the search box and you can be transported. Gallery 41 also has a great You Tube channel with documentaries and some bizarre robotic commentaries on the genre, as well as music at  In particular I mean the “Free Jazz: The Jazz Revolution of the '60s” by Robert Levin piece from Justin TV and Alan Silva at  

Back to Alan Wilcox though and he writes that his “main music interest is the Big Bands and I have found a very good source. If you go to  and click on music, there is a wide range of categories available and I use Big Band and Swing.” There are many other genres available here and I agree that it is a useful website. It is certainly one that I shall explore further myself at some point.

Other Big Band radio stations and shows I have found include Rat Patrol Radio which has sounds from World War II, from Torgen Magnusson in Tampa, Florida at Live 365.

The rather old looking website  also has a lot of links and flashing clipart, in a very 1990s html internet style. It might lead you to the sounds of yesteryear live today, The Big Band Broadcast with Chris Valenti at  

“The 1940s radio station” is one I have listened to before. It is on FaceBook as well as at  With music form the 1920s to the 1950s, jazz, jive, big Band and swing, there is plenty of variety to be heard. You can even hire the station to come along to provide live sound and visuals at events. Worth exploring. Their website links to a radio station in a genre I know little of , that of rockabilly at  I rather enjoyed an excursion into what for me was a new type of music.

On FM on the Isle of Wight and online to the world Angel Radio also plays music from the past / It is a “unique nostalgic radio station broadcasting music recorded from the real beginnings circa 1900 up to a cut off point of the end of 1959, plus documentaries on the artistes and musical styles of this era. The cut off date of the end of 1959 is to allow the station to remain unique with a library of currently 65,000 songs, the majority never heard anywhere else. People who like music from the 1960s onwards are well catered for by other stations.”

Finally this month, a quick visit to the PCJ Media Archive in Taiwan. Among the recent finds that are there to share are a 1960s Radio Sweden Saturday Show broadcast, from a live studio tape. Also video and audio of the 50th anniversary of the Radio Netherland’s Happy Station Show. If you remember these stations and programmes then you are in for a treat. If you don’t, you may well want to have a listen to hear some inventive, innovative and plain good spirited radio from a bygone era sounded. For the other side of that same vintage radio coin, how about some Radio Moscow Transcription Service tapes from the 1960s that are there are and worth a listen as well.  

More up to date news is that the Media Network Plus Show from PCJ Media is now also broadcast on the World Radio Network

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...