Thursday 30 August 2012

Positively Prague

Radio Prague is a station from the past that I still turn to a few times a week for an entertaining daily programme in English, with local news and views and a chance to learn a word or phrase of the Czech language as well.

They now have a monthly quiz too (I recently won a small repro retro radio) and still issue QSL cards, despite being an online only radio station. The series of 2012 QSL cards features Czech artists.

You can listen to Prague live or on demand at: and also via the wonderful World Radio Network at: where there are many more ex-shortwave stalwarts in English awaiting your pleasure. Plus some that were not on air in English in the first place such as Radio Algeria and Radio Banns from Denmark.

The QSL pictured is of Toyen. Radio Prague state that her "real name was Marie Čermínová. 'Toyen' was a nickname invented by Czech poet Jaroslav Seifert. She was a representative of Czech and international surrealism. She spent most of her life in Paris and was part of the circle around Paul Eluard and André Breton".

Friday 24 August 2012

Radio Romania remains resistant

August 2012's QSL card is of an inn in Poseşti-Pământeni, Prahova, (1860)

Extract from my monthly column Long, Medium and Shortwaves, Broadcast Matters in Radio User, August 2012,  

Radio Romania International continues to do a far better job than many of its broadcasting brethren. In addition to shortwave broadcasts in many langauges that are reliable in signal and entertaining in content, they now also have their programmes online, just two hours after the first broadcast goes out over the air. Just as with much of the BBC i-player, the Radio Romania International broadcasts remain online for a week.

English from Bucharest is on seven times every day, starting at midnight UTC for an hour to America on 9700 and 11965kHz; then to Asia and the Americas from 0300 for an hour on 9645 11795 and 11895kHz.

Early risers in Europe can catch the broadcasts at 0530 to 0600 UTC on 9700 17760 and 21500kHz, with some of those frequencies also aimed to Australia. An hour from 1100 is aimed to Europe and Africa on 15210, 15430, 17510 and 17670kHz. Then its the drivetime slot of 1700 to 1800 on 11740kHz to Europe, 2030 to 2100 on 11880, 13800 and 15220kHz to Europe and the Americas, and finally for Europe and Asia on four frequencies of 7435, 9540, 9790 and 11940kHz.

After all the effort that they put in do make sure you contact them with your questions, comments or suggestions. The email address is  and the postal address is Radio Romania International, General Berthelot street, no. 60-64, 010165, Bucharest, Romania.

With a monthly QSL card as well (the 2012 series features vineyard properties), Radio Romania International remain a beacon of light and hope as the lights appear to go out on many other sw international broadcasters across Europe.

Sunday 12 August 2012

BBC WS at The Proms

The summer festival of classical music at the Proms from July to September has long been covered by the BBC World Service. Even in these news-drive days they still fit some concerts into the schedules.  We has tickets to attend a prom the other week and it was a fantastic experience.

The BBC Proms home page is at and there is a fabulous archive at where you can even browse, season by season, way back to 1895.

For instance, on Tuesday 12 Aug 1975 Prom 19 from the Royal Albert Hall was:

Haydn - Symphony No. 96 in D major 'Miracle'.

Schumann - Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op 54.

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Olympics on shortwave

Olympic stadium (photo CB)

Wherever you are in the world, domestic coverage of the Olympics is always biased and dominated by events and news from the broadcaster’s home nation. The BBC’s domestic tv and radio is sadly no exception. Thankfully its worldly-wise and more mature sister, the BBC World Service, as ever redresses the imbalance by reporting on a wide range of nations’ Olympiads and sporting endeavour.

I’ve enjoyed tuning around the shortwave bands to hear what other broadcasters have been saying as well, and here are a few highlights of my radio Olympics so far, mostly heard when waking up about 0600 local time. Times and frequencies that I’ve tuned in are in brackets- each station does of course broadcast at additional times and on other frequencies too.

All India Radio (7550kHz 2100 UTC) carries a regular short feature on the games each day.

Radio Romania International, 9790 at 0530 UTC –covered their gymnasts winning a bronze and a gold in the 10m air rifle shooting as part of their excellent Radio Newsreel programme. At 0340 UTC on 9640kHz on 4th August “no medals for Romania today” but a report on their trouncing of Britain at volleyball, or was it water polo?

China Radio International (11710kHz at 0510 UTC et al.) refuting US and other western accusations that their 16 year old gold medallist swimmer Shiwen Ye was using performance enhancing drugs. “Why has no-one accused Michael Phelps of that?” they retorted- a good point, I thought. They also mentioned the badminton disqualifications of Chinese, Indonesian and South Korean teams for trying to lose and get an easier draw in the knockout rounds (9600kHz at2100 UTC).

The Voice of Nigeria included the latest news from the South African and Nigerian teams on 15120kHz at 0615 UTC.

BBC WS on 12095kHz at 0515 UTC covered the chances of the Rwanda team winning a first ever medal.

Radio Australia was rather quiet about the Olympics when I tuned in- they are underperforming which is a surprise, but they were concentrating on a local live rugby match instead. (15415kHz at 0530 UTC).

Radio Belarus at 2100 on 7255kHz featured the exploits of the Belarussians and will doubtless now be rejoicing at last night’s shot put gold medal thanks to Nadzeya Ostapchuk.

Other broadcasters that I’ve heard Olympic coverage in English include:
Deutsche Welle via Kigali in Rwanda (9850kHz 0500 UTC).
Radio Havana Cuba (6000kHz).
NHK Radio Japan (0500 UTC on 5975kHz).
Voice of America on 12025, 12080kHz.
Radio New Zealand International on 11725Khz from 0500 UTC.
I have made a note to also tune to Taiwan and the two Koreas this week.

Olympic flags of all 204 nations in Regent Street (photo CB)

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