Search Results for “Radio Bremen”

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Radio Bremen abandons Medium Wave

Germany’s Commission to Determine the Financial Needs of the Broadcasters (Kommission zur Ermittlung des Finanzbedarfs der Rundfunkanstalten, KEF) regulates the license fees, a major income for Germany’s public broadcasters. It also supervises the broadcasters’ use of these incomes. The KEF has now determined that funds for the radio broadcasters’ digitalization project will be released again, after a previous freeze, reports Heise.

The KEF also told the brodcasters to prepare statements for the next KEF session in September, concerning the abandonment of long-, medium-, and shortwave transmitters.

Medium wave transmitter Oberneuland

Radio Bremen medium wave transmitter, Oberneuland

Particularly in the light of internet radio, the commission wants to evaluate the traditional AM broadcasting’s cost effectiveness.

In a report due for 2013, the KEF will then evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the digitalization project. This showed, according to Heise, that the commission is aware of the danger that the actual number of listeners who will make use of digital radio may be lower than forecast by the Consortium of public-law broadcasting institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany (ARD) and Deutschlandfunk. Therefore, the KEF appears to see opportunities to save money in the field of longwave-, mediumwave- and shortwave broadcasting.

On April 21, Radio Bremen announced in a press release that it would abandon its brodcasts on 936 kHz medium wave for good.

Currently, Radio Bremen spends a substantial five-digit amount on medium-wave broadcasts. There will, in all likelihood, be no medium-wave digitalization that would be safe for the future. Several German states‘ broadcasting centers have stopped their medium-wave broadcasts already.

[…]

Radio Bremen had first switched the transmitter off on a trial basis, as the number of listeners to the medium wave frequency isn’t known. During the four-weeks trial period, just less than 200 listeners came forward and criticized the abandonment of service.

Compared with the number of listeners to Bremen One [the program traditionally transmitted on medium wave], this feedback is so small that at the end of the trial period, Radio Bremen decided not to switch the medium wave transmitter on again and to apply the newly available funds to forward-looking transmission technologies and formats.

The press release assured Radio Bremen listeners that it didn’t intend to put listeners off, and that it was aware that most of the medium-wave listeners were particularly entrenched regular listeners. And it invited every listener who had made objections to the abandonment of medium wave to its studios, plus special advisory services on how to use alternative ways of listening.

But then, JR knows how to use alternative ways of listening anyway. It’s not that he stays away from new technologies. But radio is one thing to him, and the internet is something completely different. The good news is that the internet is an alternative source of information indeed – for things other than radio. And another bit of good news is that the more German or European broadcasters abandon the medium and short wave, the easier it will be to listen to some exotic overseas medium-wave broadcasters at nighttime.

But please, BBC Radio 4: keep your long wave transmitter going.

____________

Related
Mediumwave Transmitter Bremen, Wikipedia »

Monday, December 25, 2017

Shortwave Logs, December 2017: Germany’s annual Public-Radio High-Frequency Broadcast

“Gruß an Bord” is one of the oldest programs1) carried on German public radio, and the only one among these that is still broadcast on shortwave. Once a year, that is. The program starts at 19:00 UTC and runs through 23:00 UTC, i. e. Midnight central European time (see table there).

Christmas Eve on Sunday was that one night a year when a public German-language radio broadcaster returns to shortwave: “Gruss an Bord” is a program where sailors’ relatives and friends send greetings to their loved ones on board, wherever on the seven seas they may be2).

From Norddeich Radio to Deutsche Welle

“Gruß an Bord” first went on air in 1953. Back then, according to Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR, northern German radio), coastal radio station Norddeich Radio beamed the wistful messages across the seas.

It hasn’t been aired every year since, according to an NDR press release of 2009, which provides no notes about at which times there had been interruptions.

Some time after its inception, Germany’s public foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle must have taken the task of broadcasting “Gruss an Bord” internationally, while NDR has always been in charge of the content.

Haus der Schiffahrt (House of Shipping Companies), Leer (archive)

Norddeich Radio has been defunct since the 1990s, and Deutsche Welle terminated their German-language broadcasts on shortwave in 2011. “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany does itself in), an angry seafarer reportedly wrote in a protest letter.

From Deutsche Welle to Media Broadcast

It appears that the program was limited to VHF/FM and medium wave in December 2011, but in 2012, NDR bought airtime from Media Broadcast, a company that operates the Nauen transmitter station ( a site formerly used by Deutsche Welle). They also coordinate with other broadcasting sites in Europe.

NDR is a public broadcaster operating in the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, and Lower Saxony. (As Bremen was part of the American occupation zone in post-war Germany, the city state runs a broadcasting station of its own, Radio Bremen.)

The first hour – and some of the second – of this year’s broadcast were recordings made earlier in December, at Hamburg’s Duckdalben international seamen’s club (or Seemannsmission), a place operated by Germany’s evangelical church. Some time during the second hour of this year’s program, recordings from Leer, a town in Eastern Friesland, Germany’s far northwest, were broadcast. Leer is only a small town, with some 30 to 35 thousand population, but it is a place with a lot of history, and a navigation school. Probably not least thanks to the latter, Leer is considered the place with the second-largest number of shipping companies in Germany, after Hamburg.

In Leer’s “Kulturspeicher”, the NDR’s Lower Saxony broadcasting house also made some recordings, on December 10, to televise a few minutes of them within the state on December 23, in a 3’19” report. (The video should remain online for a few weeks.)

The show felt a bit as if it was from a different era, trade magazine website Radioszene noted four years ago. That’s hard to deny, when you look at the cozy arrangements captured by the NDR cameras.

But then, even in 1979, Werner Bader, head of Deutsche Welle’s German programs at the time, observed that

A minority keeps criticizing, sometimes wittingly, that the two programs [“Gruß an Bord” and “Grüße aus dem Heimathafen”, another sailors’ program] were unctuous. But a majority advocates to carry them forward.
(Eine Minderheit kritisiert immer wieder, in beiden Sendungen gebe es Rührseligkeiten, und sie tut es manchmal auch geistreich witzig. Aber die Mehrheit plädiert für das Wunschkonzert und die “Grüße aus dem Heimathafen”.)

The Audience: families, the wider public …

“Gruß an Bord” is aired by a public broadcaster, and at the same time, it is about family – two rather different target audiences. An NDR editor interviewed in the December 23 report from Leer, tries to match the two:

If this is about feelings, the broadcast is still needed. If someone says that most of the German ships have been equipped with internet for a year now, and that families can skype or text each other, or use Whatsapp – but then, people may sit alone in their bunk, on Christmas Eve, before and after their meals, that’s not the same as if you join everyone else in the mess deck, listening to this broadcast together.
Wenn es um Gefühle geht, dann braucht man die Sendung noch. Wenn jetzt jemand sagt, die deutschen Schiffe sind seit einem Jahr weitgehend mit Internet ausgerüstet, und dann können die Familien miteinander skypen und sich eine SMS schicken oder per Whatsapp kommunizieren, aber da sitzen vielleicht die Leute allein in ihrer Koje am Heiligen Abend, vorm Essen, nach dem Essen, bekommen ihre Whatsapps, das ist ja nicht so, als wenn  man gemeinsam in der Messe sitzt und dann vielleicht gemeinsam diese Sendung hört.

Or as put by an (apparent) senior sailor in a television report from the Hamburg event, the program is

special, because you get the impression that – even if you can be reached by email, smartphone etc. -, the public is aware of you.
Das Besondere an der Sendung ist, dass man eben tatsächlich den Eindruck hat, dass man – auch wenn man über Email, Handy erreichbar ist, trotzdem auch im Bewusstsein der Öffentlichkeit ist.

… and the friends of the high frequencies

I recorded all of the program, and listened to some of it. It remains a reverend institution, and worth listening to. But I think I liked the final twenty-five minutes best. There, letters and emails were read out from an ordinary broadcasting studio – well-structured and carefully thought out messages, rather than improvised talk into microphones.

I have no idea how many people listen to the programs, and where. But when listening to the mails and letters being read out, you realize that a substantial share (if not the majority) of those who listen to the shortwave transmissions must be shortwave aficionados, rather than seafarers:

Bernd Ottenau from Ottenau sends greetings to all members, honorary members and friends of the Radio Taiwan International listeners’ club Ottenau, as well as the international shortwave programs’ German-language editorial offices.
(Bernd Ottenau aus Ottenau grüßt herzlich alle Mitglieder, Ehrenmitglieder und Freunde des Radio Taiwan International Hörerclubs Ottenau, sowie die deutschsprachigen Redaktionen der internationalen Kurzwellenprogramme, und wünscht gesegnete Weihnachten sowie ein gutes neues Jahr 2018.)

A thing Germany has in common with countries like China, India, or Japan are its pasttime associations, and its shortwave listeners’ associations not least. They, too, may be an explanation as to why a radio institution like “Gruß an Bord”, allegedly from a different era, remains on air – at least once a year.

The 6155 kHz relay transmission from Armenia – offering the best signal among all the sites rebroadcasting “Gruß an Bord” – goes off air a few seconds after 23:00 UTC. CPBS Beijing emerges on the same frequency, informing me that it’s the eighth day of the lunar calendar’s  eleventh month today.

____________

Notes

1) The “Hafenkonzert” is even older – see Related underneath – “Soundscrapes of the Urban Past”
2) Then again, maybe not exactly on all the seven seas. The Pacific Ocean isn’t among the target areas stated by NDR.

____________

Related

Soundscrapes of the Urban Past, 2013

____________

Friday, February 28, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, February 2014: Bremen loses its Voice

1. Radio Bremen – some history

Radio Bremen‘s medium wave transmitter near Oberneuland, northeast of Bremen, has been torn down. The about six hectares of the former transmission site will be recultivated, but won’t be turned into building ground, Bremen’s daily Weser Kurier wrote on January 30. The site is surrounded by a natural preserve area. A citizens association reportedly expressed “great joy” about the removal of the 45-meters tall radio tower and the surrounding equipment as it had been a disfigurement of the landscape (“eine Verschandelung der Landschaft”).

Medium wave transmitter Oberneuland

Medium wave transmitter, Oberneuland, summer 2010

The Oberneuland site was built in 1998/1999. It replaced a previous transmitter site in Horn-Lehe, also located northeast of Bremen, but somewhat closer to the city than Oberneuland.

The Oberneuland transmitter was switched off in March 2010, which led to some listener protests just less than  200, according to Radio Bremen four years ago.

The Caller, Radio Bremen / studio Bremen, HInter der Mauer. Sculpture by Gerhard Marcks. Inscription: "The Caller empathises with the Stentor character who, with a magnanimous and brazen voice, shouted as loud as fifty men."

“The Caller”, Radio Bremen / studio Bremen, HInter der Mauer. Sculpture by Gerhard Marcks. Inscription: “The Caller empathises with the Stentor character who, with a magnanimous and brazen voice, shouted as loud as fifty men.” Created in 1967, commissioned by Radio Bremen.
At the time, Radio Bremen could be heard on VHF/FM, on medium wave, and on shortwave.

The Oberneuland site had been unable to provide supraregional reception of the medium-wave programs in a satisfactory quality, Radio Bremen wrote in a soothing press release of February 9, 2014. Also, the rather small number of less than 200 responses to the transmitter’s switch-off on March 10, 2010 had suggested that most people who tuned in to medium wave were actually rather radio hobbyists than real listeners. The Weser Kurier on January 30 quoted a Radio Bremen speaker as saying that hopes for medium wave as a carrier for digital radio had remined unfulfilled.

Certainly, Oberneuland’s medium wave was no match for its predecessor in Horn-Lehe. Almost fifteen years prior to this small one-tower site in Oberneuland, on January 31, 1999, the VHF/FM radio tower (211 meters high) and the medium-wave radio tower (110 meters high, probably plus a smaller reserve tower) in Horn-Lehe had been demolished. Hundreds of people had their savage amusement that day, looking on from a pedestrian bridge across the highway Autobahn A27.

Until seventeen years ago, Radio Bremen even ran a shortwave transmitter, also on the site in Horn-Lehe, in cooperation with Sender Freies Berlin (SFB, “Free Berlin”). The shortwave broadcasts from Horn-Lehe came from a horizontal rhombic antenna, carried by four radio towers of 25 meters height each. The shortwave broadcasts started in 1961, on 6195 kHz,  and ended on October 1, 1996, on 6190 kHz. The shortwave transmitter was then sold to south-western Germany, to Madascar from there, and may now still be in operation from east of Africa, German shortwave listeners magazine Radio-Kurier wrote in 2012.

2. Radio Riyadh

BSKSA Saudi Arabia, also known as Radio Riyadh or, in French, as Radio Saoudienne Internationale, has dropped English as a broadcasting language on shortwave, along with a number of French transmissions, reports the British DX Club, in its February 2014 Shortwave Guide for the Middle East. One of the station’s French broadcasts on shortwave continues, however, daily from 14:00 to 15:55 hours UTC on 17660 kHz.

Saudi Arabia shortwave radio, February 26 2014, 09:00 UTC, 21670 kHz. Please let me know if you can identify the language.

Saudi Arabia shortwave radio, February 4 2014, in French. Click symbol for soundfile.
May be removed ten days after posting.

The target area for the only remaining shortwave broadcast in French are Senegal, Mali, and Cameroun, according to the station’s announcement. While this broadcast still included news during the summer months of last year, at 15:30 UTC, this program item, too, seems to have been dropped now. The focus is on religion, and sometimes on culture, in programs like “the Saudi woman” (La Femme Saoudienne).

According to the British DX Club’s Shortwave Guide for the Middle East, shortwave broadcasts in Arabic to North Africa, to Europe and the Mediterranean, the Middle East, to a number of Asian regions are continued. The transmissions also include Swahili, Indonesian, Urdu, Bengali, Persian, Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik, and Turkish. For details and frequencies, please go there.

============

3. Recent Logs

If you want to try reception, try now.  Some or many of the frequencies may change on March 29/30, with the usual, twice-a-year, adaptation to winter/summer propagation conditions.

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; ARS – Saudi Arabia; BOT – Botswana; CAN – Canada; CHN – China; CUB – Cuba; D – Germany; DJI – Djibouti; EGY – Egypt; G – Great Britain; IND – India; IRL – Ireland; KRE – North Korea; PHL – Philippines;  RRW – Rwanda; SWZ – Swaziland; TIB – Tibet, TUR – Turkey; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

? – unknown; A – Arabic; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; J – Japanese; R – Russian; S – Spanish; T – Tagalog.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
2
 16:06 3 4 3
 9615 CRI
Beijing
CHN G Feb
2
 18:00 3 4 3
 9525 Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
3
 17:30 4 4 4
11890 Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
3
 17:30 2 3 2
15190 Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
3
 17:30 1 3 1
 7850 CHU
Ottawa
CAN E/
F
Feb
4
 04:42 3 4 3
17660 BSKSA
Riyadh
ARS F Feb
4
 14:01 4 4 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
4
 16:16 3 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
6
 02:00 2 4 2
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D R Feb
6
04:00 4 5 4
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Feb
8
 17:55 4 5 4
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D G Feb
8
 19:14 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
9
 16:00 4 4 4
 4920 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
9
 16:00 3 4 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
10
 16:00 4 4 3
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
10
 17:02 4 5 4
 7550 AIR1)
Delhi
IND E Feb
10
 18:15 5 5 5
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
13
 02:01 2 4 2
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
13
 02:15 3 4 3
 9410 R. Cairo EGY G Feb
15
 19:00 4 5 12)
 5060 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN C Feb
16
 02:49 2 3 2
 4930 VoA
Botswana
BOT E Feb
16
 03:00 4 5 3
 4780 Radio
Djibouti
DJI A Feb
16
 03:30 3 4 3
 7425 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Feb
16
 04:00 3 5 3
 5040 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Feb
16
 06:00 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
16
 16:00 3 2 23)
 3985 R. Prague  D G Feb
16
 16:30 4 5 4
 3985 R. Poland  D G Feb
16
 17:00 4 4 4
 9720 R. Cairo EGY ? Feb
17
 01:57 4 5 1
 9720 R. Cairo EGY ? Feb
17
 02:00 4 5 1
 6155 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
17
 03:00 3 3 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
21
 02:40 4 5 4
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
21
 17:00 4 5 4
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Feb
21
 17:40 5 5 5
 7550 AIR1)
Delhi
IND E Feb
21
 18:30 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG J Feb
22
 01:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
22
 02:00 4 5 4
 3215 WWCR USA E Feb
22
 03:30 3 4 3
 3240 TWR
Swazi-
land
SWZ ? Feb
22
 03:34 3 4 3
 3413
(USB)
Shannon
Volmet
IRL E Feb
22
 03:42 4 4 4
 2872
(USB)
Shan-
wick
 G/
IRL
E Feb
22
 03:53 4 4 4
 3995 HCJB
Weener-
moor
 D R Feb
22
 04:10 4 4 3
 4765 Radio
Progreso
CUB S Feb
22
 04:16 3 4 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Feb
22
 16:03 3 4 3
 4500 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN ? Feb
23
 17:30 4 4 4
17660 BSKSA
Riyadh
ARS F Feb
24
 14:00 4 5 4
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Feb
24
 17:00 5 5 4
17540 Radio
Impala
?4) E Feb
24
 17:30 5 5 4
 3950 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN C Feb
24
 23:10 4 5 4
 3950 PBS
Xinjiang
CHN C Feb
25
 00:00 4 5 4
15205 BSKSA
Riyadh
ARS A Feb
25
 16:42 5 5 5
 6170 Stimme
Koreas
KRE G Feb
25
 19:00 4 5 4
15190  Radio
Pilipinas
PHL T/
E
Feb
26
 19:04 4 4 3
15345 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG G Feb
26
 21:00 3 2 2
11710
5)
RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
27
02:00 4 3 3
11710
5)
RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Feb
27
 02:40 4 4 4
 4775 TWR
Swazi-
land
SWZ ? Feb
28
03:42 3 4 3

____________

Footnotes

1) received with a Silver XF 900 and its built-in telescopic antenna (SIO 555). All India Radio had occasional blackouts early in February (usually for around or less than a minute), but the signal rarely leaves anything to be desired otherwise. All other broadcasts received with a Sony ICF 2001D shortwave receiver and a simple wire antenna (12 meters length) or a dipole (east-west) respectively.
2) great signal, but modulation remains the usual disaster, hence O=1.
3) strong interference from upper-side band.
1) either from Uganda (which seems to appear unlikely when you looking at their program which is critical of the Ugandan government, but but Uganda is their location according to their website), or from Madagascar.
5) Possibly around 11710.7 kHz. However, it may also have been tries to escape interfering signals that made RAE appear to be more than 0.5 kHz above nominal frequency.

____________

Related

» Logs January 2014
» Logs December 2013
» Führungskrise, Frankfurter Rundschau, Dec 5, 2008
» Teilprivatisierung und Tarife, verdi, June 30, 2006

Main Tag: » shortwave radio

____________

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Almost Unnoticed: Bremen’s Elections

Election poster, Bremen Bürgerschaft elections: you can say you to me

Election poster, Bremen Bürgerschaft elections: you can say you to me

This friendly gentleman’s (picture) name is Jan Timke. HE (Timke, not the LORD) fights for YOU (ER kämpft für EUCH, says the election poster. There are two forms of “you” in German, “Sie” (with “s” as a capital letter) when you speak to people you haven’t met before, or with whom you aren’t really close, and “du” (plural: ihr / euch) for family people, friends, etc..

But then, a good politician is just like a good friend, right? HE carries some strange stuff on his back. It’s no bag full of christmas gifts. Could be mittens.

Timke re-ran for “Citizens in Anger” (Bürger in Wut, BIW) today and had been a member of Bremen’s parliament, the Bürgerschaft-Landtag, since 2007. His party says that they are undogmatic and conservative in a value-based way (or concerned with traditional value).

I’m not sure how many people visited the angry citizens’ website to see for themselves, but quite a number of people were angry and voted for them. 3.5 per cent all over the federal state, and although the threshold to get into the Bürgerschaft would be 5 per cent, they will be represented in the Bürgerschaft-Landtag, according to the Andere Parteien website, as they got more than 5 per cent in the northern city of Bremerhaven. Radio Bremen reports that Timke will be the only member of parliament for his party. The Angry Citizen’s original goal had been six per cent all over Bremen, as stated in April this year.

The big news is that the Greens are ahead of chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrats (CDU) now – in Bremen, that is:

Results by 20:04 CEST
Social Democrats (SPD) 38%
Christian Democrats (CDU) 20%
Greens 22.5%
“The Left” 6%
Free Democrats (FDP) 3%

Bremen Town Hall (housing the executive branch of government)

Bremen Town Hall (housing the executive branch of government)

Federal states’ elections affect national politics only marginally, and in Bremen, the CDU has traditionally played second fiddle to the social democrats anyway, but today’s showing may be food for thought for christian democrats in Berlin, too. The SPD and the Greens have been in a governing coalition since 2007, and are likely to continue their coalition, now with something like a sixty-percent majority in the Bürgerschaft. The SPD has been the main ruling party in Bremen for 65 years now, and it is said that as a Bremer, you are either born with the party’s  membership book, or you get one as a present on your first birthday.

“The Left” is somewhat disappointed (they had hoped for a two-digit result), and the FDP is not surprised (with less than five per cent, there will be no members of parliament from the FDP).

The “National Democrats” are said to have gotten some two per cent, according to projections cited by Andere Parteien.

If Bremerhaven should be angrier than Bremen itself (see para 4 of this post) is a somewhat complicated question. This week’s Economist offers some indirect explanations as to why Bremerhaveners may be angrier than Bremers, and some hints as to why they might become even angrier during the coming four years.

Voter turnout was at a historic low on Sunday, as only some 53 per cent of Bremen federal state’s eligible citizens actually casted their vote (also according to a projection). Turnout was 57.6 per cent in 2007.

A delegation from Afghanistan was in town during the weekend to watch the elections. If they encountered problems similar to Ghana’s Kofi Owusu‘s who observed elections in three German states in 2009, they haven’t yet been reported.

The preliminary official result isn’t expected before midnight. Given that every citizen had five votes to cast, the vote counters’ job has become no easier.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Deutsche Welle cuts Shortwave, targets “Opinion Leaders”

Radio Berlin International (RBI) QSL, 1980s

Once upon a time on shortwave - Radio Berlin International (RBI) QSL, 1980s

A few months less than 21 years after East Germany’s Radio Berlin International (RBI) went off the air, the Deutsche Welle (DW, Voice of Germany), once RBI’s West German rival on international shortwave, has announced that it is going to do likewise – in German, anyway. From a DW press release of May 18 (Wednesday CEST):

From November 1, 2011, DW will terminate its shortwave broadcasts in German, Russian, Farsi, and Indonesian. Shortwave transmissions of English programs will be limited to Africa, and the Chinese program will be reduced from 120 to 60 minutes. In these languages, too, DW will strengthen its supplies online, video and audio on demand, and mobile supplies. Whereever it makes sense, radio productions for dissemination via partners will complement this portfolio.

Starting from November, only radio programs in the following languages will be broadcast on shortwave: Amharic, Chinese, Dari, English and French for Africa, Haussa, Kisuaheli, Pashtu, Portuguese for Africa, and Urdu.

Broadcasts through relay stations are scheduled to end in Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) and Sines (Portugal), also on November 1. Only Kigali (Rwanda) will remain in operation.

These measures would lead to significant cost reductions, and enable the Welle to develop further, according to the press release.

The last paragraph is translated as follows, by the Southgate Amateur Radio Club‘s website:

For many areas around the world, it will be necessary to further development online and mobile services in order to reach DW’s target audience better: Individuals who are interested in diverse perspectives and use a large amount and variety of media resources. That especially includes opinion leaders and future opinion leaders*) as well as people who lobby for democracy, freedom and progress in authoritarian countries and thereby strengthen the civil society.

____________

Note

*) The German original doesn’t describe its desired audience as opinion leaders, (which would be Meinungsführer in German), paraphrasing the term as “those [people] who wield influence on a country’s pulbic opinion, or will be influential in the future […]” (jene, die Einfluss auf die öffentliche Meinung eines Landes haben oder zukünftig haben werden)
____________

Related

» Major Shortwave Cuts, Shortwave Central, May 20, 2011
» Revolutionary: VoK opens Website, April 18, 2011
» International Shortwave Broadcasting “Stuff of the Past”, April 2, 2011
» Just another German Press Review, January 25, 2011
» BBC World Service drops Languages and 648 kHz, January 28, 2011
» Radio Bremen abandons Medium Wave, July 29, 2010
» From German to Foreign Listeners, February 16, 2009

Friday, January 28, 2011

World Service drops Languages, and 648 kHz

The BBC World Service celebrated its 75th birthday in 2007. King George V delivered his first Christmas message in 1932 on the airwaves of what was then the Empire Service. Back then, it’s director-general, John Reith, warned the global audience:

“don’t expect too much… The programmes will neither be very interesting nor very good.”

I don’t know if the programs were really that bad. But I’m wondering if the BBC World Service today – or the British government – have decided more recently  to fulfill  Reith’s old promise at last. By now, jingles have been interspersed into the program – even if still on a modest scale, when compared with commercial pop-and-gambling radio on FM. Besides, such  announcements of programs that are then aired only days or weeks later are often pretty good ones.

What was much more annoying than the announcement jingles was the introduction of programs like “Outlook”, or “World have your Say” – the latter is a phone-in show with the  global audience (“Jonathan, thank you VERY much for calling, but the phone line from Lagos is SO BAD, so we will try to come back to you later, on a better line”). All that while the world can have its say on the internet every day. I’d have preferred good documentaries on the radio – and what the Economist writes this week*) is exactly how I feel about it:

Some chewy news programmes on the English-language World Service are also to close, and there will be an expansion of more accessible programmes, notably a cheap, cheerful and shockingly superficial audience-participation show called “World Have Your Say”. It looks ominously like dumbing-down,  under the cover of cuts.

Five language services will close completely (including Russian), and Mandarin will only remain available online (I doubt that the website will be of much benefit to most Chinese listeners).

BBC German Service, 50th Anniversary, 1988

BBC German Service, 50th Anniversary, 1988

Besides, the World Service will stop broadcasting on medium wave, 648 kHz, to Europe. That has mainly been the frequency I tuned to when I wanted a quick and thorough review of the latest world news. I first listened to what was “BBC London” with an old couple in our neighborhood, also on 648 kHz. At the time, I can’t have been much older than ten. The program they listened to was in German then – the German service was closed down in 1999. One program with advice for tourists piqued listeners’ curiosity about Britain’s travel destinations, and the World Service’s best documentaries were broadcast in German, too.

During most times of the day, the frequency carried programs in English. I learned more English from the BBC, than I learned in school. Some of its programs were particularly designed for language learners. And I  became interested in the wider world because the BBC told me that there was one, and what it looked like. Radio can stand out in peoples’ lives. It’s hard to imagine  a website doing that.

The good thing is that the closure of 648 kHz doesn’t come at a really bad time. I would have missed the World Service much more if they had closed the frequency ten years ago, or even earlier.

And I won’t listen on the internet. I’ll read blogs on the internet, and some online newspapers, especially in Chinese. I’ve always thought of the web as a medium to read, rather than one to listen to. I won’t keep my computer running for entire Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons, just to listen to radio stations. To me, that doesn’t make sense.

More generally-speaking, and not just about my own listening habits, I think it is strange that the World Service becomes more and more dependent on the internet, while its programs stand out less from other internet content than they would have in the past.

But I don’t want to be too critical of the British decision. After all, it’s their money, not that of us foreign listeners, and without paying a cent for it, I had the chance to learn English – and many other things – from the BBC World Service.

So thanks a lot, Auntie Beeb.

____________

Note
*) The Economist, January 29, page 31: “Dosvidaniya, London”

Related
Radio Bremen abandons Medium Wave, July 29, 2010
Why are Mass Media losing Relevance, Febr 26, 2009

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, March 2014: “Voice of the Sky”

1. All India Radio

All India Radio‘s (AIR) shortwave signal beamed to Europe, on 7550 kHz, is about as strong as Radio Romania International‘s (RRI). You could basically build a receiver yourself to tune to AIR’s 7550 kHz frequency – from a toaster, your old kitchen clock, of from anything that contains a bit of copper. Seriously, a very very basic shortwave receiver with its built-in antenna will usually do, and AIR will come in more clearly than a local medium wave station next to you. If you listen from central Europe, that is.

QSL card, 1985, depicting the Writer's Building, Kolkata (Calcutta). Click picture for Wikipedia article.

AIR QSL card, 1985, depicting the Writer’s Building, Kolkata (Calcutta). Click picture for Wikipedia article.

Just as is the case in China, shortwave remains an important means of radio broadcast in India, for domestic, regional, and international broadcasting. AIR’s shortwave transmitting site near Bangalore (aka Bengaluru) became one of the biggest transmitting centres in the world in September 1994, according to the station’s website, but is only one of many sites all over the subcontinent.

 

The Delhi studios are apparently linked to the shortwave transmitters by satellite. Once in a while, especially in broadcasts to East Asia at 10:00 UTC, you may only get the carrier signal (beautifully strong on 17510 kHz, for example, but without modulation, i. e. any content). Usually, things get better during the one-hour broadcast in such cases. AIR seemed to suggest that the satellite links may be occasionally interrupted in reply to a Japanese listener in a feedback program on March 31. Earlier this year, the frequency of 7550 kHz to Europe saw some short power blackouts during the broadcasts between 17:45 and 22:30 UTC.

The regional broadcast aired daily at 15:30 to 15:45 UTC on 9910 kHz is much shorter than the external programs, but with a more lively news bulletin (for including some original soundtracks or sound snippets from covered events). The General Overseas Service, on the other hand, contains much more Indian music, such as Carnatic instrumental music, Hindostani classical music, and music from Indian films.

2. Recent Logs (from/after March 29)

Some or many of the international broadcasters’ frequencies are likely to have changed on March 29/30, with the usual, twice-a-year, adaptation to winter/summer propagation conditions. Therefore, only a handful of very latest logs for March.

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
EGY – Egypt; F – France; IND – India.

Languages (“L.”):
A – Arabic; E – English; J – Japanese.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
15130 Radio
Japan
F J Mar
30
20:19 4 5 3
 9910 AIR
Delhi
IND E Mar
31
15:30 4 4 4
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Mar
31
19:05 5 5 4
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Mar
31
20:45 5 5 5
 9965 Radio
Cairo
EGY A Apr
2
00:45 3 5 3*)

Sony ICF 2001D receiver plus inverted-V antenna for 1rst /2nd / 5th entry; Silver XF-900 analog shortwave receiver with its built-in telescopic antenna for 3rd/4th entry (AIR Delhi, 7550 kHz).

*) Contrary to Radio Cairo‘s foreign-language services’ modulation which is usually intelligible unintelligible, this Arabic broadcast’s modulation was beautiful.

____________

Related

» Special Programme, BDNews24, March 26, 2014
» Logs February 2014
» AIR Bangalore GOS transmitters, Wikimapia

____________

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, November 2013 (1)

It wouldn’t make much sense to write about the months of September and October, as many shortwave schedules have changed on October 27, with the beginning of the winter season. But local (domestic) or regional (foreign) radio stations with a probably unintended trans-continental reach usually keep their frequencies unchanged, especially in the tropical bands. Hence, here is a handful of stations that have recently been clearly audible here, near Bremen, and who don’t seem to care much about broadcasting seasons.

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
ARG – Argentina; CUB – Cuba; IRL – Ireland; TIB – Tibet.

Languages (“L.”):
E – English; S – Spanish.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

From
GMT

to
GMT

S I O
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG E 02:00 03:00 4 5 4
 4765 Radio
Progreso
CUB S 00:30 04:00 3 4 3
5025 Radio
Rebelde
CUB S 00:30 04:00 4 4 4
 6000 RHC Habana CUB E 01:00 05:00 5 5 5
5505 Shannon
Volmet
IRL E 00:00? 24:00? 5 5 5
4905 PBS Tibet TIB E 16:00 17:00 4 4 4

PBS Tibet’s English programs (also known as “Holy Tibet”) announces a mailbox which doesn’t appear to work or which may be full. The same seems to be true for an address offered for reception reports to Cuba’s Radio Progreso.

____________

Related

» Previous log, August/September 2013

____________

%d bloggers like this: