Tuesday 25 September 2012

From Broadcasting House in Lagos

How about catching up with the Voice of Nigeria over your cornflakes, from 0500 to 0700 UTC? (0600 to 0800 British Summer Time).

Simply tune your kitchen portable shortwave radio to 15120kHz, where on weekdays you can hear Scope, Moving On, News about Nigeria, Africa and the World, Insight and Newsfile.

On Saturdays at 0505 UTC is a 25 minute programme of listeners’ letters, From Our Correspondents at 0630 UTC and Weekend Rendezvous from 0645 UTC. Sundays starts with This week on Voice of Nigeria and finishes with a 30 minute sports show, Talking Sports.

The same frequency of 15120KHz beams a signal to Europe and North Africa for four continuous hours from 1700 to 2100 UTC, with the main course being the weeknight programme Broadstreet. A review of the African Press is on most days at 1845 UTC, followed by Landmarks.
Other programmes of note in the evening from 1915 UTC include Mondays’ Beyond the Poverty Line, Women and Development and Our Environment. On Tuesdays are In Vogue and The Villa, Just a Chat on Wednesdays, and Nigerian popular Music and Time for Highlife on Fridays and Saturdays.

Highlife is that West African genre of music with horns and guitars often led by up-tempo keyboards. I am sure you will recognise the style when you hear it, even if you didn’t know its correct name.

Do tell the station what you think of their signal quality and their programme content by an email to info@voiceofnigeria.org .
There is a fascinating piece in Nigerian station broadcasting Pidgin English in today's Guardian www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/24/nigeria-pidgin-scatter-brain-swagger?INTCMP=SRCH

Wednesday 19 September 2012

The cruellest cuts...but Canada & Netherlands linger on

Some good news follows half way down, it's not all complete doom and gloom!

It’s a sad and familiar tale to DXers. A right wing government is elected and makes sweeping cuts of public services. A few pound, euro, or dollar signs on a budget sheet are spotted by a misinformed minister who knows little and appreciates still less of the worldwide reputation an external radio service has built up over decades. “Let’s cut here” he or she thinks. And the act is done. BBC World Service had a massive cut a couple of years ago with its funding taken away from the Foreign Office and being forced to share the ever shrinking pot that comes from the domestic BBC television licence fee instead.

This summer Radio Canada International and Radio Netherlands were dealt even heftier blows. The effective closure of these two stations amounts to cultural vandalism. The massive Canadian government cuts led to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation sweeping aside Radio Canada International.

Radio Netherlands were dramatically cut by the Dutch government. A world famous international broadcaster, one of the most respected broadcasters for 65 years, was disgracefully axed at the end of June. I hope the September general election in the Netherlands will lead to some saner thinking.
The station say the closure was “a result of steep budget cuts imposed by the Dutch government and a concomitant change in focus. Providing the world with a realistic image of the Netherlands, as we have proudly done since 1947, will no longer be one of our statutory duties."

Its programmes such as Earth Beat and The State We're In were (are!) first class. In the former, Marnie Chesterton and her team look at the footprint we’re leaving on our planet. A typical programme would look at people who turn every bit of green space of town (ditches, roundabouts, abandoned car parks) into glorious edible gardens where the fruit and vegetables are free for all.

Marnie said to me during the station’s last week on air: “It’s really weird how everyone seems to have collectively shrugged and accepted this fate. It hasn’t even sunk in yet, but last week, I went to New York to pick up an award for the show, which proves that we’re doing something right… and yet, we’re being shut down.”

Radio Netherlands will a new format and is going to concentrate on “free speech” stories. By this it means aiming at countries that have a low press freedom ranking. But if this is via the internet and not traditional radio then the chances are the internet will be blocked or turned off in those countries. Anyway, there is a long statement about this at www.rnw.nl/english/article/faq-free-speech  

But some good news!

Greg Kelly of The State We're In (which itself won six medals at the same 2012 New York Radio Festival) emailed me to say that the show is carrying on through broadcast partners and their website and podcasts. I am now a regular listener and reader at their webpage www.rnw.nl/english/dossier/thestatewerein

Greg was considerably buoyant, signing off that “Our ultimate fate is yet to be decided but we’re not quite done yet…”

Also Earth Beat and The State We're In can still be heard online at WRN The World Radio Network: www.wrn.org

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has asked what is left of Radio Canada International to plan a couple of programmes a week online, and you can of course always listen to the domestic CBC services online, but old RCI favourites are gone.

I just hope that there are ways and means of getting some of the quality programmes of both stations back on the air, or at the very least a sensible sized service online, in the future.

Radio Canada's The Link is now online, albeit for a mere 30 minutes a week instead of the previous 7 hours a week on the airwaves, but it's lovely to still be hearing the familiar voices of Marc, Lynn and Wotjtek at: http://www.rcinet.ca/english/web-radio/

Beginning September 22, 2012 PCJ Radio will present Radio Canada International's The Link in a series of special broadcasts targeting the Caribbean and East Asia. The dates are September 22, 29, October 6, 13.
To The Americas on 9955 kHz  at 0300 UTC
To the Pacific on 5860kHz at 1400 UTC

Adapted from my monthly Long Medium and Shortwaves Broadcast Matters column in Radio User, September 2012 www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk  

Monday 17 September 2012

The Voice of Turkey's Anatolian delights

Extract from my monthly Long Medium and Shortwaves Broadcast Matters column in Radio User, September 2012 www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk  

Radio User reader Bradley Allen reports hearing TRT Voice of Turkey on 9785kHz with its DX Corner programme which began at 1844 UTC on a Saturday. He asks if the programme is aired in any other languages.

The station does broadcast in about 35 languages, so I would be fairly sure that many of these carry a version of DX Corner. If you know for sure please do contact me.

Some DX Corners can also be heard as podcasts, as can many other of the excellent programmes such as From Our Correspondents (a popular programme title at many stations) and The Legends of Anatolia via www.trtenglish.com  

Bradley also mentioned extremely good reception of Turkey on 15450kHz at 1235 UTC with a maximum 55555 SINPO, with their Letterbox programme. The Voice of Turkey can be emailed at englishdesk@trt.net.tr  and I know that they really do appreciate your letters or emails, especially as they are marking 75 years of broadcasting in 2012.

The schedule in English is 6165 and 9515kHz from 0300 UTC for an hour; then it’s 15450kHz for an hour from 1230 UTC. This is my lunchtime listening of choice, if I am around and I tune in over a bowl of salad and a sandwich.

Ankara returns in the early evening at 1630 UTC on 15520kHz but this time aiming at the Middle East and Asia. In Europe you are best waiting for the hour from 1830 UTC on 9785kHz. At 2030 they are on 7205kHz but I have not heard this broadcast myself as it is aimed at Asia and Australasia.

If you are awake and still alert you can round off the day at 2200 UTC on 9830kHz with an hour to Europe and the Americas.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Zurich International Radio Festival

It would be nice to head off to the third International Radio Festival at the Schloss Sihlberg in Zurich from 12th-15th September 2012.

It brings together over 30 ground breaking radio stations from around the world, presenting more than 50 unique music radio shows live on-air, and broadcasting such shows to a worldwide audience.

Stations represented include those such as Hoxton FM, Rundfunk FM and Samuel Vuillermoz' Destination Switzerland programme  He is co-founder of the Swiss Music portal MX3.ch.

Find out more at: www.internationalradiofestival.com  and: https://www.facebook.com/internationalradiofestival  

Saturday 8 September 2012

We Funk Radio in Montreal

Extract from my monthly Radio Websites column in Radio User, September 2012, www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk  

We Funk Radio is a station that I listen to when the sun is shining, and find it’s a good soundtrack for a sunny summer afternoon.

It’s been online for 16 years now, with Montreal DJs Professor Groove and DJ Static playing hip-hop, funk and soul from all eras.

They suggest you “tune in any time and experience hip hop’s roots and future along with the rich legacy of funk, soul and jazz.” www.wefunkradio.com  

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Humid late summer nights on shortwave

Extract from my monthly column Long, Medium and Shortwaves, Broadcast Matters in Radio User, September 2012, www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk  

If I have a quiet summer’s evening at home a typical post sundown pattern of listening for me covers a variety of stations. It’s usually around 2000 UTC (2100 BST) that I might settle down with a pot of Earl Grey and tune around the bands. We are still a little spoilt for choice and although there may be some signals that I identify and then move swiftly on from, there are many that I linger with, enjoying the programme content.

There have been two stations in the 60 metre band that have fought for my attention from 2100 to 2200 UTC over the past few months. First up from the horn of Africa is Channel 1 of Radiotelevision de Djibouti on 4780kHz. It plays some exciting local music using instruments such as the tanbura, bowl lyre and oud. In between the music the languages of Afar, Arabic and Somalia can be heard. The best signal that I have coaxed out of my radio with its simple telescopic aerial is a SIO 353. For me, a station like this demonstrates the magic of shortwave listening.

At the same time just along the band is the Voice of America. Not a great catch perhaps, but the fact that this transmission comes via Sao Tome, an African island off of Equatorial Guinea, makes it a little more exciting. There is usually a music programme on at this time, on 4940kHz, for instance on Saturdays we have Music time in Africa. This is a lively request show with some eclectic music that runs until Voice of America signs off at 2100 UTC. You can contact the programme by email musictime@voanews.com  

A more mainstream broadcaster in the 1900 to 2100 UTC time slot is the Voice of Russia, a steady signal on 12040kHz, usually a 444 SIO. Ever since they revised their style a year or two back, there is a more energetic feel about the station from the music bed underneath news items and trails through to actual programmes themselves.
I enjoy the In Focus and Press Review programmes which deal with serious issues, but to juxtapose that are items such as beach football. Russia recently defeated the Netherlands 2-1 on a Moscow beach to qualify for the 2013 Beach Football World Championships. Music and history often combine to make a must listen programme. A case in point being opera singer Fyodor Shalyapin (1873 to 1938). His rendition of the Volga Boatmen song is well known globally but a few minutes of this show made me realise there was more to him than that.

I often turn to All India Radio in the evenings for some interesting commentaries on world situations and the Indian Press Review gives a different perspective too. Interspersed with a healthy mix of classical Hindustani music I am left with a warm glow that only shortwave can bring. 7550 and 11670kHz are good frequencies.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Your retro desk top calendar for Sept & Oct #BBCWS

BBC External Services Audience Research Calendar 1973

A team from BBC External Services South European Services in 1972. The two women on the right look very cool in their groovy attire, the four on the left wear floral outfits typical for the middle aged worker of the era.

Regular readers know the drill. 1973 shares the same dates and days as 2012 (from March as 2012 is a leap year) so you can use this as a desktop wallpaper calendar for September and October 2012- talk about reusing, 39 years later!

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