Posts tagged ‘Deutsche Welle’

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, August 2014: WRNO – “a Piece of the USA”

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1. WRNO Worldwide

WRNO Worldwide, New Orleans, was a North American shortwave radio station. It was on the air from 1982 to the early 1990s, with rock music and program slots by a number of organizations, such as Pete Bergeron‘s La Voix de la Louisiane program, featuring Cajun music, or Glenn Hauser‘s World of Radio. During the 1980s, with programs really worth listening to, WRNO might have become a heavy competitor to the Voice of America (VoA), if its signal reach had been greater.

QSL, veri-signed by Costello

QSL: the operators and their ham callsigns, 1987

The owner, Joseph Costello (Joe Costello III), born in or around 1941 in Algiers/New Orleans, Louisiana, became a millionaire in the media business, according to this  (source unverified) 1997 obituary in the Times Picayune. The history of the shortwave station doesn’t seem to suggest that WRNO ‘s shortwave station added greatly to his wealth, although according to this (unverified) account, it became profitable within months, . From the original rock format, the station went on to leasing airtime to religious and political broadcasters, and Costello’s heirs put the shortwave station up for sale, according to the October 1998 edition of NASB Newsletter. The sales notice also provides hints as to why WRNO would never reach an audience as sizable as VoA did – at least as of 1998, there was only one transmitter site, and a log periodic antenna oriented towards the eastern half of North America.

But Costello’s ambitions hadn’t been small. While he apparently acknowledged that the last thing they [i. e. listeners abroad] need is another station playing their local music, Costello was a fan of shortwave radio, according to this account by one of his former (unverified) employees, who also quotes him as saying that people outside America admire us and want to come here; I’m giving them a piece of the USA – a piece of the USA complementary to, rather than a competitor of, VoA, according to the same account.

WRNO is now a religious broadcaster. The DX Listening Digest of April 5, 2001 reported that

WRNO Worldwide shortwave is sold to a non-profit religious group, whose directors include a citizen of Zimbabwe and a citizen of Australia. The New Orleans operation was one of the very few attempts to create a viable commercial shortwave operation (doing CHR). It was an offshoot of WRNO-FM, and has recently been in the hands of executor and New Orleans communications attorney Ashton Hardy. Looks like the Ft. Worth-based Good News World Outreach will run WRNO Worldwide as a non-commercial proposition (Mstreet Daily Apr 5 via Lawrence rec.radio.shortwave via Lamb, Cumbre DX via DXLD)

(Most recently tuned to on July 20, 2014, 02:36 UTC, 7505 kHz.)

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2. Recent Logs, August 2014

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; AUT – Austria; B – Brazil; CHN – China; CLN – Sri Lanka; CUB - Cuba; D – Germany; E – Spain; F – France; GRC – Greece; INDHOL – the Netherlands; IND – India; J – Japan; KOR – South Korea; KRE – North Korea; LTU – Lithuania; NIG – Nigeria; ROU – Romania; RRW – Rwanda; S – Sweden; SVN – Slovenia; THA – Thailand; TJK – Tajikistan; UGA – Uganda; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

Am – Amharic; C – Chinese; Ca – Cantonese; E – English; F – French; G – German; Gr – Greek; Hu – Hungarian; Pan – Panaji; Pe – Persian; Po – Portuguese; R – Russian; Sp – Spanish; Sw – Swedish; T – Thai.

Many logs this time, thanks to the summer vacation.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 11510 Radyoya Denge Kurdistane  F Ku

Aug

1

17:25 5 5 4
 11540 Radio Farda  CLN Pe

Aug

1

17:30 5 5 5
  6165 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

1

04:00 5 5 4
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

2

04:30 5 5 4
 17860 Voice of Khmer M’Chas Srok  1)  

Aug

3

11:30 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)2)  IND  E

Aug

4

18:21 4 5 4
 12020 VoA Deewa Radio  CLN Pa

Aug

7

01:00 5 5 5
 15344 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  F

Aug

7

20:00 3 4 3
 15344 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG  G

Aug

7

21:00 4 4 4
  3905 (Dutch pirate radio)  HOL  E

Aug

9

20:15 5 5 5
 13760 Voice of Korea  KRE  E

Aug

9

21:01 5 5 4
  9540 IRIB Tehran  IRN  J

Aug

9

21:34 2 4 2
  9570 Radio Exterior de Espana4)  E  S

Aug

9

22:00 4 3 3
  6000 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

11

03:59 3 4 3
  6165 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

11

04:00 4 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

11

18:20      
  9540 Radio Japan5)  J  C

Aug

12

15:30 2 2 2
 15235 Channel Africa  AFS E

Aug

12

17:00 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

12

17:45 5 5 4
 15650 Voice of Greece6)  GRC Gr

Aug

12

19:00 5 5 4
  6165 Radio Japan  LTU  R

Aug

13

04:30 5 4 4
 17770 Radio Thailand  THA  T

Aug

13

10:35 3 5 3
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

14

09:00 4 4 4
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

14

09:35 4 4 3
 15000 WWV (NIST), Colorado  USA  E

Aug

16

12:46 2 3 2
 15000 WWVH (NIST), Hawaii7)  USA  E

Aug

16

12:46 2 3 2
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

16

18:00 4 4 3
 15220 China Radio International (CRI)  CHN Hu

Aug

17

10:03 3 5 4
 15440 China Radio International (CRI)  CHN Ca

Aug

17

10:07 2 4 2
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

17

17:40 5 5 5
  4765 Radio Progreso  CUB  S

Aug

18

02:17 4 4 3
  5015

Radio Miami International

(RMI) / RG Stair

 USA  E

Aug

18

02:22 4 4 4
  5980 Channel Africa  AFS  E

Aug

18

03:06 5 5 5
  5040 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

18

05:00 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

18

18:15 5 5 5
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires8)  ARG  E

Aug

19

02:00 4 4 4
  9540 Radio Japan5)  J  C

Aug

19

15:38 2 2 2
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG  E

Aug

21

02:00 5 5 4
  5025 Radio Rebelde  CUB  S

Aug

21

03:00 4 3 3
  4976 Radio Uganda  UGA  E

Aug

21

03:12 3 2 2
  5040 RHC Cuba  CUB  S

Aug

21

03:45 5 4 4
  9800 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW  E

Aug

21

04:30 5 4 3
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

21

09:00 4 4 3
 3775.1 DARC / DLØDL Deutschlandrundspruch  D  G

Aug

21

17:30 3 4 4
 15120 Voice of Nigeria  NIG  E

Aug

22

08:03 3 4 3
 15120 Voice of Nigeria9)  NIG  E

Aug

22

15:20 3 4 2
 15175 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND Pan

Aug

22

15:30 3 4 3
  4976 Radio Uganda  UGA  E

Aug

22

20:15 3 2 2
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

23

04:30 5 5 4
  6065 Radio Nord Revival10)  S

E/

Sw

Aug

1

05:20      
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN  E

Aug

26

20:30 3 3 2
 15345 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  G

Aug

26

21:01 4 4 4
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  E

Aug

28

02:00 5 5 5
 10000 Observatório Nacional  B Po

Aug

28

06:04 2 2 2
 15120 Voice of Nigeria  NIG  E

Aug

28

09:00 3 5 3
 15275 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW Am

Aug

28

16:40 5 4 4
 15275 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW  F

Aug

28

17:00 4 4 3
  3770 DARC / DLØDL Deutschlandrundspruch  D  G

Aug

28

17:30 5 5 5
 15435 RRI Bucharest  ROU  C

Aug

29

13:05 5 5 5
 15542 Voice of Tibet (Norway/Tajikistan)  TJK  C

Aug

29

13:15 4 3 3
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

30

18:00 5 5 4
  9800 Deutsche Welle Kigali  D  E

Aug

31

04:00 5 5 4
  6155  Adventist World Radio (AWR)  AUT  F

Aug

31

04:50 5 4 4
 6155 Radio Austria International (German)  AUT  G

Aug

31

05:00 5 4 4

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Footnotes

1) The transmitter site is said to be Dushanbe-Yangiyul, Tajikistan, but that’s unconfirmed by the “clandestine” station itself. The organization behind it also runs a website which seems to suggest that they are don’t like Vietnamese Cambodians, or anything Vietnamese for that matter.

2) Receivers used were a Sony ICF2001D with a number of outdoor antennas, a Silver XF-900 with a built-in telescopic antenna or connected to outdoor antennas, and a Grundig Satellit 300 with a bit of wire instead of a long-gone telescopic antenna. Currently, AIR would usually come with S=5, unless your receiver is very  simple.

3) Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) has rarely kept exactly to its scheduled frequencies (11710 and 15345 kHz) recently; deviation seems to remain within +/- 1 kHz.

4) Radio Exterior de Espana has been a constant companion of many shortwave listeners for many decades – here in northern Germany, Spanish and English programs could be easily picked up at daytime and nighttime. For a while, they even ran a German service. New bosses (taking office on September 1) reportedly intends to scrap shortwave. REE English service hosts Alison Hughes and Justin Coe informed their listeners about a slew of rumors, from the 23rd minute of this recording. (Found via DX Aktuell.) There’s also information on changes at REE in Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio audio magazine 1733 of August 7, 2014, from the 26th minute – you can currently pick the 1733 edition from there.

5) Jammed by China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka CNR), as described in this post.

6) The Voice of Greece may not be on air regularly.

7) This may look confusing, but the two transmitters, with the same frequency, coexist reasonably well.

8) See also FN 3)), for deviations from scheduled frequency. Not only the frequencies, but the choice of music, too, has shifted somewhat – from classical Tango to more modern songs, including some Argentine rock music. Worthwile listening, especially with reception conditions as good as currently.

9) Fair signal, but modulation issues, as frequently the case with Voice of Nigeria. However, the program is also easily audible at times, as in the morning (previous line).

10) Many things are not as dead as first reported, and this is true for Swedish shortwave broadcasting. Radio Sweden International (RSI) abandoned shortwave years ago, but once a year, Radio Nord Revival is on the air from several locations in Sweden. On August 23, there was a live broadcast, but before and after that, test broadcasts were made, on a number of frequencies as stated here. Radio Nord was an offshore commercial station in the Baltic Sea, in operation from 1961 to 1962, with an interesting (mostly American) background story. The Radio Nord Revival is apparently organized by old fans of the former offshore broadcaster.

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Related

» WRNO WW recording, E. Feaser/Youtube, of December 14 (UTC), 1983

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Related tag:

» shortwave radio

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deutsche Welle: the Pendulum Swings back (and strikes again)

While a comparatively early report by Guanchazhe (Shanghai) came across as sort of neutral, a report by Huanqiu Shibao (the Chinese-language sister of the “Global Times”) on Monday used the Su Yutong vs Deutsche Welle story for a bit of domestic nation-building. Using purported netizen comments, Huanqiu criticizes Su for being “naive”:

“You are reporting negative news about China all day long and think Germans will like you for that? Naive! You are planning to sue Deutsche Welle for violating local labor laws? What a joke. You don’t understand Germany and German law. When you leak a company’s internal information, the company has every reason to discharge you”, some netizens said.

“你整天报道中国的负面新闻,德国人就喜欢你?幼稚! 还准备起诉德国之声违反当地劳动法?笑话。太不了解德国和德国的法律。光泄漏企业内部的信息,企业就完全有理由开除你。”有网友说。

The paper leaves much of the criticism to “netizens”, but adds some message of its own, too. According to a BBC survey [probably Globescan], China’s image in Germany had been deteriorating for a decade, and 76 percent of Germans currently held a negative view of China, writes Huanqiu. That journalists like Su Yutong, from important positions, were blackening China’s name had something to do with the country’s negative image. When Chinese people badmouthed other Chinese people, ordinary people abroad tended to believe them.

We, too, hate some dark phenomena in our country, but we also hope and believe our motherland will improve. Reasonable overseas Chinese people will be happy and proud about China’s economic construction and development during the past thirty years. China has its shortcomings and you can criticize them, but not with a maximum zoom, and opposition against everything.

我们痛恨自己国家的一些阴暗现象,但更希望并坚信,我们的祖国会越来越好。任何一个有良知的海外华人,都会对中国这30多年来的经济建设发展感到万分的庆幸与骄傲。中国有缺点可以批评,但不能无限放大,更不能逢中必反。

The article also describes the development of Sino-German trade and adds that during the sanctions on and from Russia, Germany’s economy had shrunk by 0.2 percent during the second quarter this year. And using comments on overseas-Chinese social media, Huanqiu suggests that “constant negative headlines at Deutsche Welle about China wouldn’t help bilateral cooperation”.

The Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) would probably agree. When German chancellor Angela Merkel visited China during summer, the APA had recommendations for the two heads of government, Merkel and Li Keqiang, concerning a better climate for Chinese investment in Germany. Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported:

It was “the common task of governments and companies on both sides to promote a good reputation of Chinese companies in Germany”, the recommendations, on hand at dpa newsagency in Beijing on Tuesday [July 8], say. This was about a “fair and accurate” presentation. Background [of these recommendations?] is Chinese criticism of German media which “irresponsibly and inaccurately report about Chinese human rights and political issues”, a position paper still in progress says.

APA chairman Hubert Lienhard, talking to journalists, resolutely denied the existence of this paragraph in the raft. However, only a week ago, a draft of the paper containing this criticism circulated in the German embassy in Beijing. Accusations like these were, however, not adopted in the recommendations to the two heads of government, recommendations the APA commission does not want to publish. [...]

The APA doesn’t need to be “behind” the most recent events at Deutsche Welle, and if the links are as crude as suggested both by Huanqiu Shibao and some of Su Yutong’s supporters remains an open question. But there seems to be a trend towards cozying up to Beijing – and the pendulum that hit Zhang Danhong in 2008, and four more of her colleagues at the DW Chinese department in 2010 on its way to more “China-unfriendly” coverage, now seems to have hit Su Yutong, on its way back to more “China-friendly” coverage.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“Bild-Zeitung”: Matthias von Hein to be replaced

Germany’s biggest tabloid, the Bild-Zeitung, has published a notice in its newsticker at 19:22 UTC (21:22 local daylight saving time), quoting a statement of DW-spokesman Johannes Hoffmann of today. Hoffman is quoted as saying that Deutsche Welle would remain “a voice of freedom”, and that there would be no change in the station’s China coverage.

Head of the Chinese department, Matthias von Hein will be replaced in September, but that was a coincidence, “Bild” quotes Hoffmann.

Von Hein had been replaced as head of the Chinese department in 2008, too, but returned to the position in January 2012.

The wide coverage is similar to that of Zhang Danhong‘s case in 2008, but in marked contrast to 2010/11 when four editors at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department lost their jobs. The German press remained widely silent three to four years ago.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Deutsche Welle: Su Yutong’s Dismissal

I focused on a German blog today, concerning latest developments at Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department. So if you can read German, there’s something to read there.  (And if you can’t, maybe a translation machine will make some sense of it.)

Apart from the New York Times, German news magazine Der Spiegel, the BBC’s Mandarin service and Guanchazhe (Shanghai) also reported about Su Yutong getting the sack.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Does Deutsche Welle work like a Musical Request Show?

One could get this impression. In 2010/2011, four Deutsche Welle editors were reportedly fired for being too CCP- or too China-friendly. Granted, the official reasons cited were different. Now, Su Yutong, a blogger and an editor with Deutsche Welle, has gotten the sack – her contract ends in 2015 and won’t be renewed, reports the New York Times.

The paper quotes Deutsche Welle spokesman as saying that Su had tweeted about internal issues, in a way that no company in the world would tolerate. But the internal affairs look interesting indeed. Because this time, it appears that this time, members of the DW Chinese department would be under pressure for not being friendly enough.

As is frequently the case, Su Yutong’s contract with Deutsche Welle wasn’t permanent, which makes it easy to get rid of unwanted or no-longer-wanted employees once their contracts expire. I wrote about this issue and the cases of quasi-employees at DW in some deteail in June last year, when Zhu Hong, one of the two former employees of the DW Chinese department who lost their jobs in 2010/11, lost her case at the Federal Labor Court – see second half of the post.

Just a reminder to myself that I’ll need to read this closer tomorrow:

New York Times, August 21, German Broadcaster fires Chinese Blogger.

Many thanks to the reader who drew my attention to the article.

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Related

» Chronological Link Collection, Nov 2008 – Febr 2012
» Helmut Schmidt/Frank Sieren, March 1, 2012

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, April 2014: Radio Japan

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1. Radio Japan

A radio equipped to receive domestic shortwave radio service does not have a wide enough shortwave band (usually between 3.9 MHz to 12 MHz) and is not adequate to receive RADIO JAPAN,

according to the how-to-listen page on the NHK World (Radio Japan Online) website.

It depends, though. Radio Japan’s broadcasts in Chinese on 9,540 kHz (9.54 MHz), daily at 15:30 UTC have, arrived in moderate or good quality recently. They certainly did every time I listened in April – on nine different days, that is. It’s a signal that travels across seven time zones, on a shortwave band that counts as the most heavily used one.

"Winter in Kenrokuen Park, Kanazawa" - Radio Japan QSL, re December 1985

“Winter in Kenrokuen Park, Kanazawa” – Radio Japan QSL, re December 1985

Reception of the station’s signals directly from Japan was much more difficult in the 1980s, and maybe the remarks about the inadequacy of bands around and below above 25 meters were made back then, and copied into the website later on. In the 1980s, the Cold War was still alive on shortwave. The overkill was never applied in nuclear terms, but it was exercised on shortwave. Monster transmitters of 1,000 kW were most probably first introduced in the USSR, and the Soviet network of “normal” shortwave transmitters, too, was globally unrivaled. The gaps Radio Moscow did leave on shortwave were filled by the Voice of America (VoA), the BBC World Service, Radio Peking (the former name of what is now China Radio International / CRI), and with Germany’s Deutsche Welle “only faintly beeping in a few places” on the radio dial, as Der Spiegel put it in 1984.

Radio Japan wouldn’t even faintly beep in northern or central Europe – or when they did, that would be a very, very special day. Unless when the signal came from Moyabi, Gabon, where the Japanese broadcaster began using a relay transmitter in 1982 or 1983.

Soviet radio megalomania wasn’t the only thing to blame for the rarity of a noticeable direct signal from Japan to Europe.  There were home-made difficulties, too. The shortwave transmission sites were run by KDD (nor merged into KDDI), rather than by NHK or Radio Japan itself, and the  telecommunications corporation’s decisions were chronically ill-founded, according to German journalist and shortwave listener Hermann Jäger (1921 – 1993), who noted in 1987 that the station’s morning broadcasts in German had been fairly audible in the late 1970s, but not after that, and that with few exceptions, the evening broadcasts had been inaudible for many years. Jäger blamed incomprehensible frequency choices:

When a broadcaster in Japan, with 100 or maybe 200 kW at best, chooses a frequency on or right next to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty‘s from Munich, it won’t work. The [Soviet] jamming stations alone will “make sure” about that.

6070 kHz for another broadcast in German was no good try either: Radio Sofia from Bulgaria blew everything away.

Hermann Jäger wrote his article in 1987, on the 50th anniversary of Radio Japan’s German service*). Another issue he raised was that only earlier that year, in 1987, transmitters of more than 100 or 200 kW had been taken into operation. Until then, Radio Japan had continued working as if the bands were as “empty” as in 1937, 1955 1950, or maybe in 1955.

That has changed. The bands have emptied a lot during the past twenty years. In fact, Japan appears to be one of the rather few OECD countries which haven’t abandoned shortwave as a means of propaganda, public diplomacy, or information. Radio Japan broadcasts on much “emptier” shortwave bands these days, powered with up to 300 kW from Japan, and 500 kW from a French relay station.

Since March 30, Radio Japan has also added broadcasts in Japanese to eastern Europe, on shortwave frequencies, from relay stations in the UK, the UAE, and directly from Japan – see Japan/UAE/U.K. Additional broadcasts of Radio Japan here. The broadcasts have apparently been added for Japanese citizens in eastern Europe.

_____

*) According to Wikipedia (zh) and Chinese online encyclopedia baike.com, Radio Japan started broadcasts in Chinese in 1937, too. According to zh.wikipedia.org, it was August 23, 1937. On NHK’s website, I didn’t find a specific date. The Chinese programs are mentioned on NHK’s English website, as a caption to a picture of program schedules in 1940 – third photo from top.

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2. Recent Logs (from/after March 29)

[Update/correction: two sentences deleted - part of March 2014 log]

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South AFrica; ARG – Argentina; CLN – Sri Lanka; D – Germany; IND – India; IRN – Iran; J – Japan; OMA – Oman; SNG – Singapore.

Languages (“L.”):
Be – Bengali; C – Chinese; Ca – Cambodian; E – English; G – German; Pa – Pashto.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
15140 Radio
Oman
 OMA E Apr
3
14:47 4 5 4
  9540 Radio
Japan
 J C Apr
3
15:30 4 5 4
  9540 Radio
Australia
 SNG E Apr
3
16:00 4 5 4
15235 Channel
Africa
 AFS E Apr
4
17:00 4 5 4
  4880 SW1)
Africa
 AFS E Apr
4
17:30 3 4 3
  9780 VoA/
Deewa
 CLN Pa Apr
5
18:04 4 5 3
  9485 MV Baltic
Radio2)
 D G Apr
6
09:00 5 5 5
  7550 AIR
Delhi
 IND E Apr
73)
18:27 5 5 4
15235 Channel
Africa
 AFS E Apr
83)
17:00 5 5 5
15345 RAE
Buenos
Aires
 ARG G Apr
8
21:00 3 3 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
 ARG E Apr
11
02:08 2 5 3
  3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D G Apr
12
09:00 4 4 3
  7365 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D G Apr
12
09:17 3 3 3
17820 IRIB
Tehran
 IRN E Apr
12
10:23 4 5 4
17860 Vo Khmer
M’Chas
Srok
 4) Ca Apr
12
11:30 4 5 4
15345 RAE
Buenos
Aires
 ARG G Apr
18
21:07 4 2 2
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
 ARG E Apr
25
02:55 5 5 5
  5980 Channel
Africa
 AFS E Apr
25
03:05 5 5 5
  9540 BBC
World
Service
 SNG Be Apr
28
16:30 5 5 4

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Footnotes

1) A Zimbabwean opposition broadcaster, via Meyerton, South Africa
2) Some delay at the beginning of broadcast
3) Receiver used: Silver XF-900 Spacemaster, built-in antenna. Sony ICF-2001D when not otherwise noted.
4) short-wave.info says that the transmitter’s location is Tajikistan. The organization airing the broadcasts opposes Cambodia’s Hun Sen government and what it views as Vietnamese attempts to create an Indochina Federation, with Cambodia and Laos under Hanoi’s rule.

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Related

» NHK International BC history, NHK
» NHK国际广播发展历程, NHK
» 日本国际广播电台, baike.com
» Gelebte Zeitgeschichte, book review, 2004
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Annual Blog Summary: Thousands of Miles to Cover (if you want to)

WordPress offers an annual report for 2013 to each individual blogger, with individual statistics. As the previous summary for 2012, too, the 2013 summary for JR’s China blog is upbeat. And it handsomely ignores an interesting fact: this blog has seen the second traffic decline in two consecutive years. That’s what my actual WP dashboard tells me, and it’s useful information indeed. It helps me to think about what makes me write, and what makes others read.

Reflecting on the statistics, I understand that my entries haven’t necessarily become less interesting. I’ve posted less frequently, of course. But that’s probably not the only reason fort he decline. The decline in stats began in 2012, and it didn’t come with a decline in blogging activity. A rough estimate, based on my drafts on my computer,  suggests that there were 252 new posts in 2011 and 275 new posts in 2012.

There’s a number of factors that, maybe, drove this blog before 2012, and that abated somewhere in the second half of 2011, or the first half of 2012.

One is the general trend. Microblogging has, in many bloggers‘ lives, replaced actual blogging. Facebook may be another alternative to blogging (even if one I’d never consider myself).

My own writing may be a factor, too. To rate the quality of someone’s writing, or the appeal of it to readers, is difficult when it’s actually your own writing. I’m not trying to be my own critic now. But there’s one thing I can easily discern. Before 2012, I wrote about China and human rights, and made fun of the CCP. It was simple argumentative technology, and it was easy reading. From 2012, I turned to a more “researching” or “deliberative” kind of blogging. There’s probably a post to mark the turn: JR turns to science.

It’s never become real science, I guess, but it did become more about translation and analysis. This started in December 2011, the timing of that post basically corresponds with my memory.

The topic that made me change my blogging approach – not completely, but gradually first, and then to quite a degree – was the Zhang Danhong incident in 2008, and the case of four Deutsche Welle employees who were sacked in 2010/2011. My own situation had changed, too. After having lived in China for a number of years, I had returned to Germany – probably for good. I can’t imagine living in China for another number of years. The people and things that matter most to me are now here.

That doesn’t make China less fascinating to me. But my perspective has shifted. It’s where China has an impact on life in Germany, and the other way round, what interests me most.

Many different worlds

Are you covering this?

In a way, that seems to have the potential of a pretty global topic – there are “thousands of miles” where one country, or one civilization, overlaps with another. But these are, seemingly anyway, rather unspectacular seams around the globe. They usually go as unnoticed by the public as does Chinese economic involvement in Africa or Latin America. Jeremy Goldkorn bemoaned the state of the South African media in 2010: even if a foreign country becomes your new number one trading partner, you may not notice it  at all.

The challenge for the press would be to start digging on those sites, along those global borders and seams around the globe – in a way that people want to read. The challenge for a blogger may be pretty much the same.

But to react to this (supposed) demand would require much more of my time, and a willingness to become more „public“ on the internet, as a person. And it would be an experiment which still wouldn’t necessarily lead to a bigger impact.

After all, these reflections are only about what I think people would be interested in. Many bloggers – and many news people and entertainers – believe they know what people actually want to see most. And in most cases, their beliefs are probably wrong.

But if I were a press pro (with a generous boss), I’d probably give it a try. And yes, a bit of curiosity remains: how would it work out?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

World Radio Day, and how did Li Wai-ling get Fired?

February 13 (Thursday) was World Radio Day. That was an adequate day for the Hong Kong Journalists Association to bring Li Wai-ling (or Li Wei-ling, 李慧玲) and the press together. But let’s go through the issues one by one.

The Genius leads the spectators: engineering of consent in its early stages in applauding his works.

If everyone is happy, who needs a free press?

China’s growing economic weight is allowing it to extend its influence over the media in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, writes Reporters without Borders, in their 2014 report, published earlier this week. The BBC added a palpable story on Friday, about the sacking of Li Wei-ling, a radio talk show host at a commercial station in Hong Kong who has been sacked and who, on a press conference on Thursday, accused the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of having put pressure on her employer.

Organizations like Reporters without Borders have their merits. This may be even more true for the Hong Kong Journalists Association who organized Ms Li Wei-ling’s press conference. Reporters, talk show hosts and all the people who are critical and daring in the face of power deserve solidarity.

But this goes for reporters and journalists in Western countries, too. The problem with stories like the BBC’s, served to an American or European audience, seems to be that they blind people for problems at home. Here, too, broadcasters need to apply for frequencies. Here, too, they need to rely on political decisions when they are public broadcasters. On licence fees, or on public budgets. Advertisers, too, may exert influence.

My window on press freedom is small. The case I really looked at rather closely during the last years was that of the Chinese department at Deutsche Welle. I’m looking at these issues as a listener to and reader of the media.

This post might serve as the short version, and here is a longer one. They are about German politics, and the media.

The freedom of the press isn’t necessarily the freedom of a journalist to speak or write his mind, or to publicly highlight whatever scandal he or she may discover. This depends on a reporter’s or journalist’s employer, and frequently, reporters and editors-in-chief in the free world are very aware of when to better censor themselves, so as to keep their jobs.

This tends to be particularly true when a journalist’s contract is non-permanent. You don’t need state authorities to censor journalists when journalists’ employment is as precarious as is frequently the case in Western countries.

There is no point in pitting Chinese journalists against Western journalists, or the other way round. But there is a point in looking at every situation without ideological blinkers. Suppression of freedom from commercial organizations (and, sometimes, public-private networks) may still allow media that offer valid criticism of suppression in totalitarian countries – after all, that’s “them”, not “us”. Media in totalitarian countries can also, at times, provide valid criticism of media in freer countries. It is useful to read and listen to as many different outlets from as many different political systems as you can.

But there is no need or justification to blindly trust either of them. Without a broad global audience that develops criteria to judge press reports, freedom will get under the wheels of authoritarianism, even in – so far – free societies. The internet has become a place where journalists and their listeners and readers should meet, and be as honest with each other as they can. Its also the place where the struggle for freedom on the airwaves has to begin, time and again, whenever powers of whichever color try to weigh in on them.

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Related

» Radio Sparsam, Jan 26, 2014
» Authentic, Feb 16, 2013

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