Thursday 26 April 2012

BDXC Broadcasts In English for A-12

The British DX Club's "Broadcasts In English" guide for the A-12 shortwave season is out now.

It covers all English shortwave broadcasts from the end of March to the end of October 2012, in UTC time format, with frequencies and target areas, along with other useful information.

A handy A5 guide it’s easy to take away with you on your summer travels too.

It is available from BDXC (BIE), 10 Hemdean Hill, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SB. It costs £3 in the UK for a paper copy (cheques to British DX Club) and it is also available as a pdf version for the same cost. More details at

Wednesday 25 April 2012

To the barricades- defend Radio Canada International!

Spending cuts announced in Canada's federal budget reached Radio Canada International on 4th April. Speaking to employees at RCI's headquarters in Montreal RCI director Helene Parent declared that two out of three RCI employees - about 40 people - will lose their jobs by the end of July. RCI's Russian and Portuguese sections will be closed along with the English and French-language newsrooms. All shortwave broadcasts will cease as well. RCI will continue to exist solely on the Internet in five languages - English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin.

Maple Leaf Mailbag, The Link and the news room will all be closed in a completely foolhardy cost-cutting exercise. This is a dreadful shame especially as the new schedule is on such a good time and frequency as opposed to the last winter schedule. The CBC and RCI powers that be are not seeing the bigger picture as they must mistakenly think their African audience (that shortwave was aimed at) can suddenly access their broadcasts online, which many people in Africa simply cannot. Like Radio Prague, Radio Sweden and some other ex-shortwave stations, I shall endeavour listen to them online as they are such a good station programme- wise, but it is of course never the same as hearing them on shortwave.

There is a website to try and curtail the cuts. The RCI Action Committee remind usthat it is the CBC that has imposed the cuts on RCI rather than the Canadian government. They are calling on the government to “step in, stop the cut, and protect RCI”
Read and act now at:

Meanwhile,  until the cuts kick in, Radio Canada International’s summer schedule in English is very promising for us UK fans of the station, with a return of the 2000 UTC (2100 BST) broadcast. This is usually a good time for me to be tuning in and I am sure I am not alone in thinking that. It’s one of four hours spread throughout the day. Starting at midnight UTC for an hour of English with Marc Montgomery, Ian Jones and friends on 11700kHz; then at 1500 to 1557 UTC on 11675 and 15125kHz; 1800 to 1859 UTC on 9530, 11765 and 17810 and a further hour from 2000 to 2059 UTC 15330, 15235 and 17735kHz. Do let the station, and me, know how you find reception.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Once upon a time at the BBC WS: Broadcasting in 40 languages

The back page of a vintage copy of BBC WS  London Calling, from an era when the British Government deigned that the BBC WS should broadcast in 40+ languages, from Arabic to Vietnamese via Finnish, Italian, Maltese and Serbo-Croat.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Classic shortwave programmes past & present

Extract from Long, Medium and Shortwave Broadcast Matters, April 2012, Radio User, PWP  

DXing Explained

I make no excuses for turning this month’s DXing Explained part of the column into a history lesson in part, looking at a classic shortwave show still remembered fondly. Bradley Allen asks what year the Radio Sweden Saturday Show launched. “It has to be said it’s a real pity that no new editions are being produced. Perhaps the only shortwave station that can be compared to it is Radio Canada International’s Maple Leaf Mailbag“.


Radio Sweden’s Saturday Show (1967 to 1981) was to my mind akin to Monty Python although I preferred it to the Pythons myself. Perhaps partly as I always felt I was one of a select group (DXers and SW listeners) that it aired to on Saturdays in the 1970s. Archive editions can be heard at the Radio Sweden website, but the show itself has not been on air for the best part of 40 years.

We should bear in mind that often it is today’s run of the mill, taken for granted programme that becomes a gem we look back on wistfully in future years. Along with DX programmes, listeners’ letters programmes have always been a staple of any shortwave station worth its salt. Some move with the times, others less so.

Bradley asks what the instrumental theme tune to the old Radio Budapest DX programme was, and also wants to know the origins of Radio Austria’s Shortwave Panorama. These are both wonderful blasts from the past and without getting too nostalgic I think such classic programmes to deserve to be remembered and spoken of with a little reverence, both to those who remember them and those newer DXers who might feel the sense of history and wonder in the DX hobby as a result.

I cannot discover what the Radio Budapest theme music was so if anyone knows please contact me at  Their DX programme was transmitted in English, German, Italian and Spanish. In 1965, the Radio Budapest Short Wave Club was set up and had over 12,000 members at its peak in the 1970s and 1980s. I have fond memories of the monthly bulletin that used to be sent out.

Shortwave Panorama started on Radio Austria International in 1975 and ran for 18 years. It was then replaced by a show called Intermedia but that was only for the German language service. Englishman David Hermges was a presenter and producer on the show as well as the Report From Austria programme but sadly died in 2007.


Moscow Mailbag must have answered tens of thousands of questions over the decade, and the BBC World Service’s Letterbox with Margaret Howard was replaced by Write On and has a 21st century equivalent in the shape of Over to You, a weekly 20 minute show presented by Rajan Datar.

Also in the current day, All India Radio’s Faithfully Yours is answering letters and emails and can be heard on Monday evenings, from 2120 UTC on 9445 and 7550kHz. Radio Exterior de Espana’s Listeners’ Club can be heard on 9665kHz from 1900 UTC on Tuesdays and Saturdays. As for the Radio Canada International Maple Leaf Mailbag mentioned earlier, questions from listeners are now answered on the daily programme The Link.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Mix Clouding the water

Glade Festival in Norfolk in  June, a 4 day electronic music experience

Extract from my Radio Websites column in RadioUser, April 2012

Clouds and podcasts are certainly with us to stay, and in a big way. They add to a choice of radio listening which is now wider than at any time in the medium’s history. While I am sure that analogue radio is here for the medium term and DAB will develop one way or another, mainstream radio stations will all have to offer their services on a variety of platforms to maintain an audience share.

Thousands of individuals, be they high profile or unknowns, are producing quality and quantity and building audiences via Smartphone apps, clouds, wi-fi internet radio, as well as creating cleverly on channels such as Vimeo and YouTube. The use of ever emerging new technologies doesn’t have to be a young person’s thing, although inevitably that is where most of the new talent and audiences are. But there is plenty for older audiences to discover too.

Personally I am almost overwhelmed by the daily decisions I have to make when it comes to what to listen to next; talk or music? Which genre? Which station? Which programme? Via traditional radio or an app, online or mp3 player? But it is a rich dilemma to have.

Mixcloud hosts hundreds of innovative (and sometimes dull) podcasts and programmes from all over the world. DJs, music and talk genres are all represented. Just start at and as you would with YouTube, set up an account if you want to keep tabs of interesting programmes you stumble upon. A selection of varied styles I have listened to lately include Jose Padilla’s chilled out Balearikus Electronikus at  

The Musical Festival section is good  and other music sections are by genres, although possibly apart from jazz at  they are aimed at the under 50s or young at heart (I fall into both camps here!), with urban, drum and bass, indie, dubstep, funk, soul and World as examples. As for talk productions you can dip into politics, technology, sport, news, business and comedy to name a few.

Monocle 24 is an online station I enjoy, when I remember to check for their podcasts. It has been running a two hour Sunday show for five years. It looks ahead at the events and people that will shape the week, plus “ to make your day. Monocle is a global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture and design.” You can find them on Mixcloud / Like many up to date media organisations, it’s available as a Smartphone app and on wi-fi radios as well. Headquartered in London with bureaux in Tokyo, Z├╝rich and New York, Monocle also appears 10 times a year in print and is updated constantly at  

Podcasts by The Guardian newspaper and reports from the House of Commons are amongst the mainstream examples at Mixcloud. If you want something more offbeat, and to my mind worrying, the Freedom Bunker is a right wing American channel at  My preferred talk genre at Mixcloud is the culture channel which includes Radio Lab, produced by a New York public radio station  

The Royal Society of arts channel  

and the New Yorker fiction channel  

Tuesday 3 April 2012

The look and the listen

A very useful blog located in Bulgaria but written in English started last autumn at  The anonymous author writes that “I'm going to start posting reception reports of shortwave broadcasters from all over the world, including religious broadcasts, European national broadcasters, programmes from Asia and last but not least - radio pirates. I will also include listings of Numbers stations, military communications, CW beacons and Ham radio operators.”

Another good blog in similar vein is that of Vitaliy, from Kharkiv in Ukraine “of radio-observations of distant, low-power and other interesting radio stations on SW and sometimes MW”.  

The Look 24/7 is an internet based radio station featuring podcasts and personalities with “unique styles and good taste”. Chris Freitas’ Shortwave America programme will appear on the station which you can hear at  Presenters come from all over, including Dundee, Glasgow, Chicago and British Colombia .

Sunday 1 April 2012

BBC World Service App to revisit April 1975

As part of their 80th anniversary programmes BBC World Service are this month revising some of their programming to replicate the month of April 1975.

The specially commissioned retro programme editor Olaf Pilor says "It's a one-off opportunity to remind our millions of listeners around the world that we have long covered international and national news with dignity and seriousness. We also had a sense of humour back then with regular comedy shows and other light entertainment."

The photos above and below are how this London Calling schedules app looks. It's a novel idea and I shall be savouring every moment.  

On a more serious note, the new A12 BBC World Service frequency schedules are available at:

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...