Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, September/October 2012

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Radio Station Profiles: RTM Mali

Radiodiffusion Télévision du Mali, according to information on its QSL cards almost three decades ago, carried transmissions in French, English, Arabic and national vernacular languages during the 1980s on about five frequencies – two in the 60-m tropical band, and three from the 49- to the 31-m-band. The broadcasts I used to listen to in Europe back then were usually in French. These days, 5995 kHz in the 49-m band seems to work best in Germany, if recent video uploads on youtube are something to go by. The frequency 5995 kHz (49 m) shown there on youtube was also active during the 1980s, but at the time, the frequency was probably hardly audible, as European broadcasters, too, were rather active on shortwave. The tropical band was my medium to listen to Africa during the 1980s.

RTM Mali, QSL 1986

African domestic stations on shortwave – most of those audible in central and northern Europe came in most clearly in the 60-meter band – differed from each other in terms of formats at the time. Some were mostly boring official announcements and news, on other stations, there were also messages from and between listeners read out, and some stations also broadcasted pretty lively music. If I remember it right, RTM Mali devoted more time to regional music than most African domestic stations I listened to.

Private radio stations appear to be on air in Mali, too. According to Wikipedia, the law has allowed for privately-run stations since 1994. These days, Mali shortwave transmitters also relay broadcasts by China Radio International (CRI). The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company, a state-owned company founded in 1991 for Chinese broadcasting projects abroad, provided Mali with shortwave broadcasting equipment, apparently in 2001, or somewhat earlier, “to help Mali develop a foundation for broadcasting”, and for CRI

to broadcast to Africa in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, French, Swahili, Hausa, and other languages, to let African listeners hear the voice from China more clearly and conveniently, to broaden Chinese influence in Africa, to promote Sino-African friendship and the development of broadcasting in African nations, their public welfare, national education and other important effects.

中广国际总公司 [in full: 中国广播电视国际经济技术合作总公司] 为马里提供并租用当地短波广播设备转播中国国际广播电台对非洲地区广播节 目的卡伊、莫普堤、卡蒂、塞古、锡卡索等地广播发射台工程项目的完成,既为马里国家广播事业的发展奠定了坚实基础,也实现了我国对非洲地区用普通话、广东 话、英语、法语、斯瓦希里语、豪萨语等多种语言在当地广播的目标,让非洲听众更加清晰、更加便捷地收听到来自中国的声音,为扩大我国在非洲地区的影响、促 进中非友谊以及发展非洲国家的广播电视事业、国家公益事业、促进国民教育事业等发挥了重要作用。

The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company seems to work under the auspices of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) and is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

Obviously, during the 1980s, there weren’t too many ways to be familiar with musical genres and their protagonists. Local broadcasters could give you a taste of regional music, but as their target audience was familiar with the musicians anyway, there was no need for the announcers to explain the music they played. Things have changed with the internet, and you can get all kinds of background information now, as a recent blogpost by KT illustrates – it includes a number of samples/videos »

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Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AIA – Anguilla; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; RUS – Russia; TIB – Tibet; TWN – Taiwan.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; G – German; S – Spanish.

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kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time GMT

S I O
7240 CNR TIB C Sep 2 22:42 4 5 3
7240  PBS Tibet TIB C Sep 2 22:59 4 5 3
6090 Caribbean
Beacon
AIA E  Sep 20 01:28 4 4 4
5025 R. Rebelde CUB S Sep 20 01:29 4 4 4
11560 R. Cairo 1) EGY G Sep 22 19:00 4 5 4
15700 Vo Russia RUS G Oct 2 09:00 5 5 5
9955 RTI Taipei 2) TWN G Oct 3 17:00 4 4 4

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No impressive list for September and October, as I was much busier in recent weeks, than in August (see “Related” at the bottom of this post), and spent only little time in front of the radio.
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Notes

1) While modulation was much better on that day than what listeners had previously been used to, readability of the broadcast was still less than O=4. Modulation is still not up to the standards. To give you an idea, here is a short recording from the September 22 broadcast in German.

2) Direct live broadcast from Taiwan on shortwave. Occasionally morse interferences, and growing (unid.) interference from five kHz further down during the last third of the broadcast.

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Related

» Previous Logs, Sep 2, 2012
» A State Secret in North Korea, Aug 1, 2012

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4 Responses to “Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, September/October 2012”

  1. JR. (Tardy response but now have my new internet allowance). As you are aware, Malians use a large hotpot of Manding languages, plus other language groups, so CRI had better opt for French. Honestly, I just can’t see the Chinese govt having anything to say to its target audience which would be of the slightest interest.

    Unless, they provided up to the minute music that would make people tap their feet, and that’s about likely as you or I winning the lottery.

    And if CRI wanted to appeal to a younger audience, they better have a good grasp of souk hip-hop which is rapped and listened to from Algeria right across the Sahelian belt, even if I haven’t encountered any Somalian rappers as yet. Incidentally, the little bit of Somalian music I’ve hear blew me away.

    The Woussoulou contains a large traditional element, even though the musicians use top quality production techniques.

    To explore the -up-to-date in Mali, try this link written by a musical anthropoligist Christopher.

    http://sahelsounds.com/

    Some Taureg guitar which I just adore.

  2. Thanks for the info, KT! Just to give you an idea of what Djibouti sounds like on shortwave, here’s one of my recordings of tonight (only online for a few days). No idea about the musical genre, but it doesn’t seem to sound that different from western Africa.

    [Update/Note: Djibouti recording removed, but available on request.]

    As for CRI broadcasting from Bamako, people probably won’t love it, but may use the broadcasts for their language studies, hoping for a grant from China. Anyway, that SARFT company and CRI in for a long haul – I understand they’ve been there for at least a decade now.

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