Wednesday 18 December 2013

Kitchen radio

A simple swirl along the dial at this time of year brings a host of wonderful variety from European stations. 

For me, baking festive treats in the kitchen and wrapping up last minute presents are made all the sweeter with an ear tuned to some of the following stations’ own festive fare:

Mayak Radio on 549kHz from Russia; Czech Radio from Prague on 639kHz; Croatian Radio on 1134kHz and Magyar Radio 4 from Hungary on 1188kHz are just a few suggestions. At the very least you will surely hear the strong signals from stations in Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands beaming out on medium wave. They can light up a dark evening as they reach the British Isles too.

I have been tuning into medium wave a lot lately- there’s something about the winter nights that adds to the atmosphere of mw for me- as I listen I picture swathes of historical regions of Europe blanketed in snow. On Saturday nights Deutschlandfunk on 1422kHz airs a play. Even though my understanding of German is weak, I can get a feel of the programme and I can sometimes eke out some of the storyline (especially with some online research and preparation in advance). 

Recent delights from DLF have included a play called Russian Salad which was supposedly set at the BBC in London. A Russian presenter drops dead at the mike during a live broadcast. Chaos breaks out among the editors, less because of the death as how to fill, pardon the pun, dead air. It is determined the presenter was poisoned… Another play was about a trapeze artist from Bristol and another about a gambler who is kidnapped in Hollywood. It’s gripping stuff in any language.

Other medium wave frequencies that I pick up clearly on the car radio as well as on a basic kitchen set include Czech Radio on 954khz. Radio Maria from Lopik in the Netherlands on 675kHz plays a mix of folk and religious music, Dutch station NOR5 on 747kHz from Flevo has news bulletins which you can pick out odd sentences of and translate quite easily. The old Radio Sweden frequency of 1179kHz is used by various stations from Antenne Saar in Germany including Radio France International at 1700 UTC. 

For a selection of French music try France bleu on 864kHz while France Info delivers interesting programmes on 945 and 792kHz among others. BBC Radio Scotland is always an entertaining listen for me and easy to catch on medium wave from here in the north of England on its 810kHz frequency.

1 comment:

Jim Davies said...

I used to really enjoy DLF on 1422 on a regular Friday night drive up the M1 to Leeds. They often had good music programmes on at that time of night. Similarly France Inter on 162 has had some interesting music stuff on a Friday night, and as you mentioned France Bleu on 864 has a very French perspective on music. I speak no languages other than English but that doesn't stop me from tuning into the emotion and character of the broadcasts.

Sadly my car radio is badly affected by the other onboard systems, so weak stations get pummeled by pure engine noise, and my home QTH can be noisy too.

But you are right, there is something about travelling across Europe and North Africa by tuning across MW that is quite magical on a dark winter's eve.

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