Posts tagged ‘shortwave radio’

Monday, March 22, 2021

Europe’s Voice on Shortwave: Radio Romania International

Floriilor Cave, South Carpathians 45.212 N and 23.132 E,
Radio Romania International QSL, 2015
Click picture for more info

The following translation is an excerpt from Radio Romania International’s mailbag show in Chinese. The letter read out there last week was from a long-time listener who hadn’t written before.

[…] By now, Radio Romania International is the only European radio station that has maintained shortwave broadcasting. I cherish your station’s broadcasts all the more!

[…..] 如今,罗马尼亚国际广播电台,是欧洲唯一一家保留对华中文短波广播的电台,我对贵台的广播更是格外珍惜!

Although it isn’t too easy to receive your broadcasts in our area, there are sometimes indications of your signal, obscured by noise. But half of the time, I can hear Radio Romania International clearly, even if it weakens intermittently, but thanks to the hosts’ fluent Chinese, I can still get the general meaning clearly. I cherish every time you broadcast.

虽然,在我的地区,接收贵台并不是一件太容易的事,有时候依稀能够听到播音迹象,却淹没在短波噪音中,但是,另一半的时间里,我还是能够清晰收听罗广的,虽也有信号衰减迹象,断断续续,但得益于主持人们字正腔圆的中文,我还是能听清楚大概意思的,每一次您们播音,我都格外珍惜!我害怕失去你们!作为欧洲唯一保留中文短波的国家,我真的害怕失去你们!作为第一次联系罗广的老听友,我诚恳的建议您们,绝不能依赖网络!

The aforementioned European stations, including yours, although keeping broadcasting online, may not know that in our country, it isn’t convenient to listen to foreign stations online. The network may not be very responsive, it’s operation speed be limited, freeze after a few seconds of good listening, may take time to load again. That’s disappointing, these factors have has made internet radio devoid of value. It can’t be compared with the reliability and smoothness of shortwave radio. I hope your station can hear an ordinary listener’s voice and accompany us on shortwave forever!

前面提到的欧洲国家,包括贵台在内,虽然保留了对中国的网络广播,但是他们或许不知道,在我国,接收外国的网络广播是很不舒服的,网络卡顿,运营商限速,听的好好的,卡顿好几秒,继续播音,甚至加载的时候都得等好久,非常非常的扫兴,这些因素,都导致他们的网络广播收听价值荡然无存………与收听短波广播的可靠流畅是无法比拟的!希望贵台能够听到我一个普通听众的声音,能够在收音机里永远陪伴我们!

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Related

Some Radio Romania International history, Jan 25, 2018
DW Chinese informs listeners, Oct 27, 2012
“Opinion leaders”, May 20, 2011

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Navel-gazing Rogue in the Broadcasting Room

Why, sure …

 

Canada’s parliament declares China’s persecution of Uighurs a “genocide”? Cool, but who in China cares when Canada doesn’t speak to the world, including China, and explains the declaration?

If the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) critics state their case correctly, that’s the state of Canada’s foreign broadcasting. Not only will CBC, reportedly, violate the Broadcasting Act by cutting Radio Canada International (RCI) down further. It would also be sort of privatizing it, by shifting its focus to domestic minority broadcasting, thus competing with private ethnic radio operators – and, according to the “RCI Action Committee” – to newcomers to our country”, “engaging with its target audience, particularly newcomers to Canada”, and making this new content “freely available to interested ethnic community media”.

The idea that publicly-funded foreign broadcasters (or media platforms) should shift their attention to migrant communities at home, at least to some extent, is nothing new. Germany’s Deutsche Welle has been doing this for a number of years now, and so has (it seems to me) Radio Sweden.

But that’s not RCI’s mandate, writes the Action Committee.

CBC’s supervisors appear to be fast asleep, while there is “a rogue elephant in the broadcasting room”, according to Peter Menzies, a former Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) vice chair.

According to the “RCI Action Committee’s” blog on December 4 last year, RCI, after what CBC calls its “modernization”, won’t run its own website any more, and the Spanish, Arabic and Chinese services will be basically closed – cut from three editors each to only one editor per language remaining, to translate content from the CBC and Radio-Canada websites. And the English and French programs, it seems, will cease to exist completely.

Menzies, a signatory to a letter calling on senior government officials to get CBC executives to put their latest plans on hold and give RCI employees a few weeks to come up with an alternative restructuring plan, also gives a short account of Radio Canada International’s history, from the final days of world war 2 to 2012, when RCI’s budget was cut into by 80 percent, two-thirds of staff laid off and RCI ceased shortwave and satellite transmission, becoming internet only.

Will CBC listen to its critics? Not if its supervisors remain silent. In fact, RCI staff has often put up resistance and creativity against budget and program slashes, but never successfully, at least not in the long run.

Radio Canada International has been a shadow of itself since early this century, and it had seen cuts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, too.

Radio Canada International once ran a German service. It was one of the most popular shortwave programs among German listeners both in East and West Germany until it was closed in late 1989 or early 1990. At the time, new language services such as Arabic or Chinese were said to be the reason for terminating the daily half-hour German programs.

Gunter Michelson, one of the Radio Canada International German service’s editors who had left or retired before the department was closed, said in a telephone interview at the time that

This is a strange issue. The German programs’ termination is explained by the launch of broadcasts in Chinese. The idea of a Chinese service in itself is up-to-date and very good. China will, after all, be one of the world’s greatest markets. But the same logic demands that Canada broadcasts in German, to the European-Community, which is going to be the world’s biggest trading block in the foreseeable future, with 340 million consumers and 60 million people within the EC and 80 million in central Europe speak German. You can’t simply ignore them.[…]*)

Sure thing: you can, just as you can ignore a potential billion-and-a-half Chinese audience. OK – many of them were lost when the shortwave broadcasts from Canada ended, anyway.

Thirty years later, the budget slashes are coming full circle – it’s the Chinese service’s turn to be (nearly) eliminated. To whom is Canada talking when its parliament passes a resolution concerning China?

Probably to itself. Be a human-rights advocate and feel good about it.

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Note

*) Michelson, August 27, 1989: Das ist eine außerordentlich befremdliche Sache. Begründet wird die Einstellung des deutschsprachigen Programms mit der Aufnahme von Sendungen in Chinesisch. An sich ist die Idee eines chinesischen Dienstes aktuell und sehr gut. China wird ja eines Tages einer der größten Absatzmärkte der Welt sein. Aber die gleiche Logik erfordert auch, dass Kanada auf Deutsch ins EG-Gebiet sendet, das ja in zwei oder drei Jahren mit 340 Millionen Verbrauchern den in absehbarer Zeit größten Wirtschaftsblock der Welt darstellen wird. Und über 60 Millionen Personen im EG-Gebiet, um 80 Millionen in Mitteleuropa, sprechen ja Deutsch. Die kann man nicht einfach ignorieren. […]

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Related

RCI “effectively retired”, April 9, 2012
Advocacy journalism not the problem, Jan 26, 2012
Opinion leaders, May 20, 2011

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Radio Taiwan International suspends 1098 kHz Transmissions for ~ 2 Months

Radio Taiwan International‘s Mandarin programs on the usual 1098 kHz frequency from 21:00 to 01:05 Taipei time (13:00 – 17:05 UTC) will be suspended, because of antenna maintenance work from September 21 to November 20.

据RTI消息,由於中央廣播電臺自9月21日至11月20日止進行天線更新維護工程,原1098千赫頻率21:00~01:05播出之「國語」節目暫停播出。

Radio Taiwan International QSL, 2015

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Related tag:

Radio Taiwan International

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Radio or the Internet? It’s both or neither

Why are “social media” so successful? Seems to me that the most obvious reason is that they give you a chance to speak out publicly, to make a difference in political ways. You can compliment the actress of your choice (ahem), you can shout at your region’s members of parliament, at top politicians, or at industrial managers.

(Those who appoint the managers won’t usually do Facebook or Twitter, though. They may not even bother to hire some ghostwriters.)

Then there may be a need to network. When all people relevant for your career are on Facebook or Twitter, you may have to be there, too. There may be a real need to follow them there, if you want to succeed in your job, or in “smashing the system”, or whatever your mission may be.

If both these motivations – making yourself heard and networking – are important, this could help to explain why “social media” haven’t helped to make our societies more democratic. What they have produced is a crude dialectics, though I’m not sure if there’s a never-ending synthesis, or if synthesis is completely out when sloganeering (with some more or less original variations of peoples’ credos) is the only thing that matters.

Bertolt Brecht doesn’t come across as an optimist. He usually saw the potential in new developments, including radio broadcasting – in 1932 and one year before the Nazis seized control of it. Brecht also knew – or learned – that newly-emerging media wouldn’t necessarily help the cause that he held dear.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a guy who is talking about the Internet, not radio,

writes a headphones guy in California.

Sounds logical, but it isn’t. Just as radio has become a mostly linear medium, so has the internet – at least on its commercial side, i. e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.. Yes, people can voice their opinions there. But I can’t see how they would shape things in a way different from the old days*). No matter if radio or internet, their democratic effectiveness depends on how they are organized, or how people organize themselves while using radio or the internet as their media.

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Note

*) Except for a more intense cultivation of enmity on the internet, maybe.

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Related

My first ten days on Twitter, Jan 30, 2020

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Radio Taiwan International’s Korean Service plans Return to Shortwave

A 2014 photo of Taiwan’s Tamsui transmitters site,
RTI QSL card 2015

After a break of some fifteen years, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reportedly plans a return to shortwave for its Korean language department. These plans had been raised at an award ceremony for RTI’s Korean department, held by the Korea Shortwave Club in Seoul in November 2019, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported back then. RTI’s board of directors was expected to take a positive decision in January 2020, and RTI’s German service confirmed in a mailbag program on May 29 that the Korean programs would indeed return to shortwave.

This follows the resumption of shortwave transmissions by the foreign broadcaster’s French and Spanish services. According to RTI’s French service’s mailbag program in February, RTI’s management wants the station to use all means of communications available, to raise Taiwan’s profile.

No opening day has apparently been specified, but the switch from the summer to the winter 2020/21 broadcasting season (in late October) doesn’t appear unlikely.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Flying high and low: Radio Taiwan International’s French and Spanish Services return to Shortwave

The transmission site is important,
but a welcoming set of wires won’t hurt either,
especially if you want to listen to the programs
for Latin America from Europe

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is putting its French and Spanish services back on the air, after an absence of two years. The French programs are broadcast every night at 19:00 to 19:30 UTC on 6005 kHz via Kostinbrod (Bulgaria), for northern Africa and Europe. There are news bulletins at the beginning of every transmission (except, possibly, on Saturdays and Sundays when those first ten minutes may be used for cultural or other programs).

RTI’s Spanish service will be back on air on April 6, i. e. this coming Monday, with transmissions for South America from 01:00 to 01:30 UTC on 5800 kHz, for Central America and Cuba from 02:00 to 02:30 UTC on 5010 kHz, and for Europe from 22:00 to 23:00 UTC on 7780 kHz. (Time UTC means Sunday night, April 5, local time in Latin America.)

The Spanish test transmissions were apparently all carried out by Radio WRMI (Radio Miami International) in Okeechobee, Florida, so that should be the case with the regular transmissions starting on April 6, too.

The decision to make more use of shortwave again was reportedly taken by a new director general at RTI , a man named Chang Cheng (張正) who has apparently been at the helm of Taiwan’s international broadcaster since some time in summer, 2019.

Chang appears to be enthusiastic about shortwave. This isn’t the first time that he is involved with broadcasting, he wrote in November last year, but while he used to think of broadcasting as a rather simple affair – “you speak, you record it, your voice goes on the air, and that’s that” (在錄音室錄完就大功告成,聲音就出去了), he has since learned that this had been a rather low-key description:

Once the recording is done, there’s post-production, once that is done, your voice has to go on air. How can it be transmitted? At RTI, for example, the recording, made at RTI’s main building in Taipei, has to be transmitted from the iron tower on the Taipei building’s roof on microwave, to the microwave station on the top of Yuanshan mountain, and, flying high and low, across buildings and mountain ranges, exit the Taipei Basin, to reach another microwave station there. Several relays later, it arrives at the targeted substation.*)

錄音結束,還要後製,後製完成,還要把聲音送出去。怎麼送?以央廣為例,在台北總台錄製的節目,必須透過屋頂的發射鐵塔,以微波打向高據圓山山頭的微波站,再居高臨下地越過高樓大廈、越過層層山巒,送到台北盆地之外的微波站。經過幾個微波站的接力,抵達各地分台。

The real task awaits us here: by the substation’s high-performance transmitters and all sorts of rigged antennas, the signal is carried out of Taiwan, on shortwave.

然後才是最難的部份:透過分台的高功率發射機與高聳的各式天線電塔,以短波的形式傳送到台灣境外。

Why the fuss? You say that in the internet age, you just have to put your voice on the internet and that will do? Not necessarily (pointing west without comment). Therefore, this sort of flying-pigeon message, the historic long-distance radio wave, reflected by the ionosphere, comes in handy.

幹嘛這麼費事?你說,網路時代,把聲音放上網路不就成了?這可不一定。你知道的,有些地方網路到不了(伸出食指默默指向西邊)。於是「短波」(Short Wave)這種有如飛鴿傳書、將無線電波藉由電離層反射的古老遠距傳輸技藝,就派上用場了。

Chang acknowledges that China jams such signals, but points out that jamming isn’t as watertight as the “great firewall” is.

That of course doesn’t explain why Africa, Europe, and Latin America have now become target areas for shortwave again. But the French department’s mailbag program, on February 15, quoted the management as saying that RTI needed to use all means of communications available to raise Taiwan’s profile, including shortwave.

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Notes

*) substation refers to the actual transmitter sites, such as Tamsui, or, in the past, Tianma substations.
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Thursday, February 20, 2020

RTI’s Spanish Programs (apparently) return to Shortwave

Radio Taiwan International‘s Spanish service informs that there will be test transmissions in Spanish from February 23 through 26, from 01:00 to 01:30 UTC, on 9490 kHz for South America, and from 03:00 to 03:30 UTC on 9500 kHz for Cuba and Central America. Correct reception reports will be confirmed with a QSL card.

2016 special QSL for reports on shortwave transmissions from Tamsui transmitter, New Taipei

La sección española de Radio Taiwán Internacional realizará pruebas de frecuencia por la onda corta de su programación por 4 días, entre los días domingo 23 y miércoles 26 de febrero de 2020 (horario UTC).

Le invitamos a eschuchar el contenido de nuestra programación y nos envíe la calificación SINPO, datos de su nombre y apellido, su dirección postal, la fecha de escucha y el contenido escuchado a nuestro email esp@rti.org.tw a la brevedad.

Fechas de transmisión: domingo 23, lunes 24, martes 25 y miércoles 26 de febrero de 2020 (horario UTC)

Horario y frecuencia:
Sudamérica: 01:00-01:30 UTC en 9490 kHz
Cuba y Centroamérica: 03:00-03:30 UTC en 9500 kHz

Si sus informes contienen todos los datos solicitados, le enviaremos una tarjeta QSL de edición especial como agradecimiento.

[…]

Spanish programs for Latin America were broadcast via WRMI, Florida, in the past, before they ended in 2018. Test broadcasts appears to suggests that RTI’s Spanish department is following the French service, which announced a resumption of its programs (for Europe and North Africa) earlier this month.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Raising Taiwan’s Profile: RTI’s French Programs return to Shortwave

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) has – at least partly – reversed a decision announced early in 2018, which had cut the French department’s shortwave programs. To prepare the French programs’ return to the airwaves, test transmissions will be carried out on several days this month, and on March 1 – details there.

Radio Taiwan International QSL, 2018

The transmitter site used by RTI will be Kostinbrod, Bulgaria, which already airs RTI programs in German and in Russian. The transmissions in French will target both western Europe and northern Africa, according to the French service’s mailbag program of February 15. They quote the new management of RTI as stating that the station needs to use all means of communications available to raise Taiwan’s profile. Spanish was also mentioned as a candidate to return to shortwave, but I couldn’t make out if this referred to a firm decision (my French isn’t very good).

As far as the new management is concerned, RTI published some information in 2019, and so did other Taiwanese media.

According to Focus Taiwan (CNA English), the new director-general*) is Chang Cheng (張正), a media worker and broadcasting host, and founder of “4-way news”, an online and once-a-month paper publication with a focus on Taiwan’s migrant communities. He was voted in for RTI during the first half of 2019, after “a public selection process,” conducted by the external broadcaster”for the first time.” According to them, they sort of called for bids:

Radio Taiwan International’s previous director-general Shao Li-chung left office on January 31 [2019], and RTI carried out a public bidding and formed an assessment and selection team, including former government information office chief Su Cheng-ping, professor Hu Yuan-hui and Lo Shi-hung of National Chung Cheng University, assistant professor Wang Yae-wei of Chengchi University’s College of Communication, Upstream-Downstream webpage founder Feng Hsiao-fei, Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare secretary-general Yeh Ta-hua, RTI board of directors’ chairman, as well as seven experts who were members of the board of directors.

中央廣播電台前總台長邵立中於今年1月31日卸任總台長,央廣第一次採取公開徵選,並組成總台長審薦小組,成員組成包括:前新聞局長蘇正平、中正大學傳播學系教授胡元輝與羅世宏、政大廣電系助理教授王亞維、上下游網站創辦人馮小非、台少盟秘書長葉大華,以及央廣董事長路平等7位具備央廣董事身分的專家學者組成。

RTI made the decision public on June 11, but at the time, the decision was still awaiting approval from the board of directors and the Executive Yuan (i. e. Taiwan’s government).

I find it confusing that there would still be a director-general at all, plus a board of directors, because about a year and a half ago, plans for RTI (plus CNA and Public TV) seemed to point into a different direction.

But what matters most to listeners like me is the opportunity to switch on the radio and to listen.

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Notes

*) Also referred to as “president” in English

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