Category Archives: News

“Shifting away from shortwave”: Significant reductions for BBG under FY 2018 budget

Edward R. Murrow Transmission Site near Greenville, North Carolina

(Source: BBG Press Release via Dan Robinson)

FY 2018 budget request reflects key BBG priorities amid spending constraints

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Broadcasting Board of Governors today released the FY 2018 budget request to support key U.S. foreign policy goals by providing news and information around the world while accommodating the current tight fiscal climate.

“As is true throughout the federal government, the budgetary environment requires that we prioritize our resources while emphasizing impact and maintaining the level of excellence our audiences have come to expect,” said CEO John F. Lansing. “Despite reductions in spending, we are committed to our mission, impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world by providing accurate, unbiased, and uncensored news and information.”

The tight fiscal environment necessitates BBG to improve operational efficiencies and make difficult resource trade-offs to effectively meet performance goals and support U.S. foreign policy priorities.

The $685.1 million budget request includes transmission, program and staffing reductions across all BBG networks—the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks—and the International Broadcasting Bureau, including the Office of Technology, Services and Innovation. This includes reducing, and in some cases, eliminating certain language service capacities; shifting away from shortwave transmissions where they have the least impact; and optimizing information technology.

Although the funding request represents a 12.9 percent reduction from the FY 2017 enacted budget, it prioritizes funding for U.S. foreign policy goals, including combatting violent extremism, countering Russian disinformation, and enhancing programming for North Korean audiences. It also capitalizes on the momentum gained from the streamlining of operations in 2016 and the aggressive shift to digital already underway at each of the five networks.

The request includes $680.4 million for International Broadcasting Operations, including Federal and non-Federal networks, as well as $4.7 million for Broadcasting Capital Improvements.

The FY 2018 budget request contains proposals to continue the agency’s responsive shift to the most effective media platforms, respond readily to crises, keep pace with shifts in audience demographics and interests, and sharpen strategy and results measurement to drive performance.

BBG’s extensive network of seasoned, professional and well-connected journalists is particularly strong in regions where ISIS, Russia, Iran, China and other global actors that do not share American values are attempting to make further inroads.

“Should Congress enact this budget, there is no doubt that staff reductions would be difficult,” Lansing said. “We will do everything possible to minimize the effect on our employees by emphasizing attrition, early retirement opportunities, and agency buyouts for federal employees wherever possible. Our staff and journalists are the core of what drives our impact around the world. We will do everything we can to safeguard our greatest asset.”

“Requiem For Radio” shortwave schedule

View of the western cluster of curtain antennas from the roof of RCI Sackville’s transmissions building. (Photo: The SWLing Post) –Click to enlarge

(Source: Mauno Ritola via the WRTH Facebook Group)

From Christian Milling: A classical piece for 5 voices will be also sung where bass comes eg. from Nauen, alto from Moosbrunn, tenor from WRMI etc…
The European tx antennas are directed towards Canada / NAm.

Airtimes:

25th May 2017 2300-2400 UTC
26th May 2017 2300-2400 UTC
27th May 2017 2300-2400 UTC

Schedule:

WRMI : Radio Miami International 11580 kHz
WBCQ : Free Speech Radio 5130 kHz
Nauen: Shortwaveservice 9690 kHz
Moosbrunn: Shortwaveservice 9620 kHz
Boston Pirate Radio 6850 kHz

The content is identically on all three days. A QSL is planned.

Click here to learn more about Requiem for Radio.

2017 Hamvention photos: Inside Exhibits

Saturday was another long day at the 2017 Hamvention, but I did have a moment to visit most of the inside exhibit tables. The following photos were taken (in no particular order) in the main Hamvention buildings at the Greene County Fairgrounds. Again, it was especially fun meeting so many SWLing Post readers and contributors in person!

Click on the photos below to view larger images (click here to view photos of the 2017 Hamvention flea market):

eBay Find: Dan’s thoughts on the Galaxy R-530

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who recently spotted a Galaxy R-530 on eBay and notes:

Some observations on this. The R-530, and military version R-1530, were considered fairly top of the line when they were made. They’re still among the rarer radios on the used market, though not the rarest. The R-1530 is not seen often. On performance, these receivers were not on the same level as National HRO-500s, 51Js, and R-390s. This was made by Hy-Gain after all, which was not top of the heap in receiving design. However, the R-530/1530s are great looking pieces. Anyone considering these should make absolutely sure that the PLL circuit functions on all bands. Poor cosmetic condition is a tipoff that the radio had a hard life.

Click here to view on eBay.

PRI: How a shortwave radio network is helping to counter Boko Haram

GSM Bohnso School, Cameroon (Photo courtesy of ETOW partner, EduCare Africa)

(Source: PRI)

It’s easy to overlook the power of radio, when being hit by a firehose of apps, websites, video and social media. But when you’re out in the sticks, especially if there’s crisis or unrest, radio saves lives.

“In crisis situations, information is very, very important. Sometimes more than food, you need information,” says Faruk Dalhatu, managing director of Dandal Kura Radio International in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a former Boko Haram stronghold. “Because, if you’re on the run, you need to know which direction is safe, before you even think of close family members that have been separated from you.”

What’s more, you don’t need to know how to read to listen to radio. You don’t even need to own a radio; you can just listen to someone else’s. And if you’ve got a cellphone — and many people even in remote parts of Africa do — you can call in and have a voice.

Click here to listen via PRI.