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.

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