Saturday, 31 May 2014

Where are they now?

Extracts from Radio Websites by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2014. 
Photo is a 1980 Radio Kiev (Kyiv) QSL card of the Ukrainian capital enjoying a halcyon summer.

Where are they now?

It’s time now to trace down some of the international broadcasters who left us in the lurch as they fell away from shortwave over recent years. RTBF or Radiodiffusion Television Belge no longer has an English language service so you will have to make do with French audio at but you can easily translate their webpages into English which will certainly give you a clear idea of what is happening in Wallonia and the French speaking part of Belgium.

Radio Vlaanderen International was the Dutch-speaking counterpart of Belgium’s external broadcasting output. The broadcaster’s main network comprises Radio 1, Radio 2, Klara, Studio Brussel and MNM, with no English speaking station, which is disappointing. But there is a button which translates everything at the site into English. Just as I used to, still do in fact, turn the radio dial to find programmes and DX of interest, I also click around on websites in a similar fashion. I was pleased to find a few minutes’ video footage of Belgium TV celebrating its 60th anniversary last autumn. Have a look at

In recent months you may well have wished that Radio Ukraine International was still available on shortwave. Sadly it’s not but you can read and listen to English from Kiev/Kyiv online at  The station provides over a dozen different English programmes include, such as Hello Kyiv on Saturdays which airs listener’s letters, Ukrainian Diary (a weekly news round-up), Famous Ukrainians, Panorama and music. On a light hearted note, Sports and Fun is about “sports and activities that turn into passion and people who dare to push the limits”.

Polskie Radio from Warsaw is still very much part of my regular listening at,The-News/65,Podcast where there are several podcasts to subscribe to or choose from. I find that a problem with subscribing to so many podcasts is that they then arrive on your computer quicker than I can actually listen to them, so I end up with a monumental backlog. Back when there were just radio broadcasts to tune to, you either heard it or you missed it, and if you missed it there was no guilt. It’s harder for me to press “delete” when an unheard podcast is sitting on my computer- I want to hear everything that is sent to me but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. There are a few programmes I try to catch from Warsaw including Dateline Poland, Polish Society and Culture and Central Europe Today.

For me there’s nothing like coming in from work, cooking up a stir fry or chilli and while doing so, tuning into news from Europe, such as Polish Radio’s Central Europe programme or Radio Sweden’s daily news.  Perhaps it’s because I associate these programmes with exciting cities that I have visited, coupled with the nostalgia of shortwave listening as a teenager. Maybe the food association is that I was comfortably fed by parental home cooking back then. But somehow listening to these stations on a grey day gives me a cosy and happy feeling.

The Tune In app also provides online radio live or archived from many former shortwave stations, and is worth remembering, especially if you want a quick news or culture fix via your smartphone.

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...