Sunday 29 March 2015

Radio stations: archives and angels

Extracts below from Radio Websites by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, 2015. 

In the past few weeks I have finally listened to some of the online output of Radio Sputnik. The former Voice of Russia now only has a handful of programmes in its canon. It is a far cry from the culture of Russian history, folk music, tales of great composers and classical musicians at the Moscow and St Petersburg conservatoires that once graced the airwaves. However, at least From Moscow With Love is still in the schedule, hosted by Vasily and Nataly. The pair cover similar topics to the Moscow Mailbag show of old, answering for instance questions such as what do average Muscovites look like and what do they wear? How hard is it to get a Russian visa? Who needs doctors when we have folk medicine? An item on classic Soviet radio shows for kids on cable radio in the USSR may quieten some of the station’s critics. STOP PRESS Inexplicably this was taken off air and offline for good in March Shame on you Sputnik!

Other programmes which I have yet to download or listen online to are Agree or Disagree ( ) Red Line ( Living Room ( ) and Looking Forward. The latter is a positive programme in that it looks at emotional intelligence and how to avoid getting more bogged down in negativity.

Another Sputnik programme I have enjoyed is called Brave New World, presented by John Harrison, a Brit with many decades of living in Russia it seems. And, yes, the show is named after Aldous Huxley’s Magnus opus. It looks at the dehumanising aspects of the world today and in many ways reminds me of the much-missed award-winning Radio Netherlands’ programme The State We’re In.

One of the presenters of The State We’re In was Jonathan Groubert and there is a very readable article from 2013 which details the history and background to that show at It includes a masterclass for programme makers and links to previous shows, both good and bad. I spent a happy evening enthralled by this page and investigating its links.

In a moment of bad judgement in January the management team of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW, Radio Nederland Wereldomroep) removed the entire audio archive (of shows which included The State We’re In), taking it all offline. A campaign was quickly launched to get the archive reinstated, as it was a public resource with an audience of loyal listeners as well as current researchers, not to mention as yet unidentifiable future users. Bert van Riel is one of those who has set up a Facebook group to campaign for the restoration. He writes: “The internet archive of former broadcaster Radio Netherlands Worldwide is put offline. Tens of thousands of journalistic texts are now untraceable, years of work by many, hard-working and honest journalists. Archives are a part of history and have historical value. Therefore the Wereldomroep internet archive should be saved. Please join this public group to join forces. The archives of Radio Netherlands Worldwide belong to everyone!”

Such campaigns can work, as we have discovered in recent months, with RTE longwave getting a temporary reprieve whilst a public consultation takes place. See the excellent campaign to save the frequency website at which gives updates, a blog, audio and video, technical details, a history and even RTE on DRM. There is also a Facebook page protesting against the proposed closure.

There is also an article of support for the Dutch archive at an Arts and Culture website. It is in Dutch but worth translating. Meanwhile the bland face of what Radio Netherlands has become, merely a dull media company working in developing countries, is at 

SEE also the unofficial archives at and Media Network archive at PCJ Radio plus at 

Monday 9 March 2015

Long Medium and Shortwave Broadcast Matters, Radio User

Extracts below from Long Medium and Shortwave Broadcast Matters  by Chrissy Brand, for Radio User, March 2015. 

We cover a lot of ground this month, including Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean, Thailand and Turkey on shortwave before an intriguing look at what two Radio User readers in Ireland and South Africa have been hearing on medium wave.

From Bournemouth Andrew Kirby has a query regarding a station on 3946kHz which he has heard open at 2000 UTC and thinks may be Radio Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. He has not been able to identify it in the brief 30 second window before the signal is obliterated by a transmission coming on air on nearby 3955kHz. If it is Radio Vanuatu they broadcast mostly in the vernacular of Bislama but also in the colonially-imposed languages of English and French (the country only gained independence in 1980). They broadcast with 1kW on 3945kHz from 1830 to 1230 UTC and on 7260kHz for 24 hours a day.

Owned by the state-run Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation, Radio Vanuatu started life as Radio Vila, then became Radio New Hebrides. It now broadcasts 16 hours a day of news, information programmes, music and entertainment. The station’s email is with a postal address of Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation, PMB 9049 Port-Vila, Republic of Vanuatu.

The Voice of Turkey broadcasts in several languages, many of which reflect its neighbouring countries, for example Arabic, Azeri, Persian Tatar, Uyghur and Uzbek. Among the languages more familiar to most of us it also transmits in Spanish to South America, Spanish to southern Europe (at 1730 UTC on 9495kHz), Italian to south east Europe (the latter is on 6185kHz at 1500 UTC) and German to Europe on 7205kHz at 1830 UTC.
If you want to try listening to Turkish then get up early for the 0500 to 0655 UTC broadcast on 9700kHz or at 0700 to 0855 UTC on 15350kHz. These emanate from the Emirler transmitter in the town of Gölbaşı (which is in the province of Ankara) and are aimed to Western Europe. Turkish is then aired to Europe at 1300 UTC on 15350kHz but you will doubtless be tuned to TRT The Voice of Turkey in English by then, on 12035kHz from 1330 to 1425 UTC. You have another chance to hear them at 1930 UTC for 55 minutes on 6050kHz followed by French at 2030 UTC on the same frequency and also on 5970kHz. English programmes to South East Asia are on air at 2130 UTC on 9610kHz and later to North America at 2300 UTC on 5960kHz.
Radio Thailand to Western Europe is still on its usual frequency of 9390kHz aimed at western Europe. English can be heard at 0530 to 0600 UTC (which is beamed to Africa as well as Europe) and from 1900 to 2000 UTC. German is on at 2000 UTC; English again for 15 minutes at 2030 UTC and then it’s in Thai from 2045 until 2115 UTC.
Radio Exterior de Espana’s return to shortwave is sadly only in the Spanish language with relays of Radio National de Espana. They have been logged on 9620kHz at 2200 UTC and 11940kHz at 2100 UTC.

Reader Steve Nichols
G0KYA notes that WRMI in Florida now broadcast on a whole range of frequencies. This includes a relay of Radio Slovakia International in English at 0030-0100 UTC on 5850 kHz to North America. WRMI also relay the weekly Sputnik Radio (formerly Voice of Russia) show "From Moscow With Love" with Vasily Strelnikov and Natalia Stefanova. Aimed at North America it’s on at 0400 UTC on 9955 kHz; at 1000 UTC on 5850 kHz; 2100 and 2130 UTC on 7570 kHz and 15770 kHz. Radio Scotland International is a Dutch station which was logged by Bradley Allen on 6290kHz at 0830 UTC with a brief test transmission. He also heard mention of what I presumably another free radio station called Radio Columbia and wonders who they are? Free stations logged on the 6290kHz frequency so far this year include Radio Rode Adelaar in German and Dutch, Radio NMD, Radio Hitmix, Radio Powerliner and Radio Quadzilla and Radio Caroline Rainbow.
International Radio Serbia’s programme content is usually too dry and dull for my tastes but at least they are always there on 6100kHz for those that choose to listen. There are seven languages beamed to western Europe every evening from a transmitter at Bijelina in the neighbouring country of Bosnia-Hercegovina. If you sit by your radio at 1830 UTC and tune to 6100kHz you will hear Italian followed by Russian at 1900 UTC, English at 1930 and 2200 UTC, Spanish at 2000 UTC; Serbian at 2030 and 2230 UTC, German at 2100 UTC and French at 2130 UTC.
The BBC World Service has done well to maintain shortwave services after the crippling cuts by the coalition government. You will recall that for decades (82 years of existence in fact) their entire funding was through a grant-in-aid from the Foreign Office Department. But since last year all World Service funding now has to come from the BBC television licence fee. It’s hard to fathom how this can work without major cuts to many other BBC services but it is sadly true. However, as you see from the logs, BBC World Service in English is still a regular catch (and, of course, if you just want to hear the station for the programme content there’s a national DAB channel). Special programmes on Ebola have been aired for several months now, aimed at the countries and regions affected most by the disease. English programmes have included a BBC public health broadcast on Ebola and regular updates on local, regional and international efforts to contain and combat Ebola. There is a dedicated Ebola information webpage at the World Service too, along with a Facebook page and Twitter feed

Another way is which the BBC World Service is maintaining an international reputation as a provider of vital news and information is in its Afghan Service. This has recently been expanded with three new audience participation programmes in the Dari and Pashto languages: Word of the Day in the morning and News and Views in the evening; and Global Newsbeat bulletins in Dari and Pashto.  News and Views is a daily programme at 1600 UTC split into two half-hour Dari and Pashto sections. Popular presenters, Abdullah Shadan and Mohebullah Mudessir (Dari) and Spin Tanay and Saeeda Mahmood (Pashto), bring their own unique style to the programme, making a smooth transition from one language to the other.  The morning live interactive show, Word of the Day which started in December connects the global with the local, listeners to share the news closer to home.  Younger audiences are at the heart of the Global Newsbeat bulletins launched in late December. 

Meena Baktash, Editor of the BBC Afghan service, says:  “With the Global Newsbeat bulletins we are reaching out to young people – those who will make up our audience base in the years to come – while also retaining the core standards and values of the BBC that have made us such a trusted news source in Afghanistan. We want our listeners to live the news with us.” Research suggests that the BBC’s international news services reach 6.5 million people (about 42% of the adult population) in Afghanistan on radio, TV and online each week (2013).

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