From the UNT Digital Library: Music USA as heard in Lagos, Nigeria in 1959

Transoceanic-Dial

Many thanks to UNT Archivist, Maristella Feustle, who shares the following set of recordings she recently published in the UNT Digital Library Willis Conover collection.

The description reads:

“A broadcast of Music USA transmitted by station WLWO in Cincinnati, Ohio, and recorded off of shortwave radio in Lagos, Nigeria. It was sent to the Voice of America to document the quality of radio reception in that area. As a live broadcast, the recording also includes news breaks and station identification.”

I should add that you might also hear ambient sounds from Lagos if you listen carefully! Click on the links below to listen  to the recording sets via the UNT Digital Library:

Part 1:

http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824409/m1/

Part 2:

http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824410/

Thanks again, Maristella, for all of your work to preserve and share these valuable recordings! 

KIRO saves radio history by accident

Crosley-Dial-BlackAndWhiteMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, William Lee, who shared the following story from Mynorthwest.com about how radio station KIRO saved a bit of radio history through “accidental preservation.” Here’a an excerpt:

One of the most important events of the 20th century was World War II. The Cold War that followed and many of the national borders that exist to this day were largely created during that deadly, years-long conflict from the late 1930s to 1945.

An expert speaking at the Library of Congress at the first-ever Radio Preservation Task Force Conference described how one of the most important tools for understanding World War II is available to researchers only because of an “accident” at KIRO Radio more than 70 years ago.

During his keynote address last week in Washington, DC, longtime archivist and librarian Sam Brylawski spoke of KIRO Radio’s role in saving a priceless audio record of American history.

It was a case of “accidental preservation,” Brylawski told the audience of more than 200 radio history scholars from around the US and Canada, that resulted in the creation of a nearly complete archive of CBS news broadcasts during World War II.

“KIRO is the station in Seattle that cut lacquer discs to timeshift,” Byrlawski said, explaining how the scheduling of live broadcasts of CBS Radio’s news coverage was aimed at the Eastern time zone, which was not convenient for West Coast audiences. KIRO, as Brylawski described, violated network radio policies to make recordings of news programs on giant, 16-inch diameter discs, and then play them back a few hours later at times that were more convenient to Seattle-area listeners.

Continue reading the full article and listen to the audio report at Mynorthwest.com…

Radio Preservation Task Force conference in the press

Shepperd-RPTF-LOC-2

Last week, the Radio Preservation Task Force held a conference which focused on saving America’s radio heritage. I had hoped to attend in DC, but sadly had a conflict in my schedule that weekend.

I’m happy to see that the conference got several mentions in the press.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Patalon, for sharing a link to this article in RadioWorld:

Preservation Conference Highlighted Unique Radio Perspectives

The launch of the first “Save America’s Radio Heritage” conference saw a greater turnout than expected, with a total of roughly 300 attendees over two days in the nation’s capital last week.

The event, held at the Library of Congress and the University of Maryland, focused on the state of radio preservation, but the conference was more than just about the process of preserving historical recordings and other radio documents, but sharing some of America’s unique uses of the medium.

The Radio Preservation Task Force calls itself the first national radio history project of the Library of Congress. It grew out of the Library’s ambitious National Recording Preservation Plan, published in 2012. The task force says radio is “perpetually declared to be a dying medium” but nevertheless attracts dedicated listeners and commercial and public support. The organizers have said radio’s history is a chronicle of culture and a potential trove for historical researchers. The national plan in 2012 specifically called for a symposium to discuss the challenges of preserving American radio broadcasts; last week it was put into action.[…]

Continue reading on RadioWorld’s website…

The conference also caught the attention of APM’s Marketplace:

Task force aims to preserve radio history

A group of librarians, academics, and audio enthusiasts is gathering in Washington Friday for a first-of-its kind conference. The topic: “Saving America’s Radio Heritage.” The meeting is part of a massive effort to preserve recordings going back to the early 20th century.

The effort is not focused on the classic network quiz shows and radio plays of the 1930s through 50s, said Chris Sterling, who chairs the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress.

“We’ve pretty much got that stuff,” he said. “What we’re talking about instead is trying to get the local radio voice in America: commercial, educational, college radio, all of that.”

One example is a 1956 interview with Rosa Parks from the Pacifica Radio Archives, recorded after Parks’ arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus.

Also at PopUp Archive:

Saving America’s radio heritage

And on the CBS Radio Network:

Those of us who work in radio are proud it has such a long and interesting history…

[…]But there’s a problem: Radio, by its very nature, is ephemeral. That makes its history a little hard to document.

A conference going on in Washington, DC is helping to make the airwaves a bit more solid.[…]

Continue reading and listen to the full audio report on the CBS Radio Network.

I hope the RPTF hosts another conference next year as I would like input on archiving AM/MW spectrum recordings–something I suspect few in the field even know exists!

Any SWLing Post readers attend the conference?

Jonathan shares archived Media Network Christmas and New Year shows

Crosley-Dial

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jonathan Marks, who shares the following from his Media Network Vintage Vault.

Jonathan writes:

“Picking up on the idea of revisiting archive Christmas and New Year shows, here are some from Radio Netherlands for the SWL Blog.

Seasons Greetings, Jonathan”

Media Network 26.12.1996 Boxing Day Show

A radio Christmas spent in the Media Network studio way back in 1996. Sounds like we were having fun! I look back on this period as perhaps one of the golden years for Dutch external broadcasting, producing a range of documentary productions in English and Spanish and recording great concerts, both classical and jazz.

This programme focussed on answering listeners’ letters on subjects like satellite television in Australia (DW was organising a bouquet of signals) and the major changes to the commercial radio scene in New Zealand. The auction of FM frequencies in the Netherlands and shortwave stations that sold radios were also topics for discussions. RBI archives have, for the most part, been destroyed. Swiss shortwave listeners were quizzed on their listening habits. The 410 ft tower formerly used by AFN has been dynamited out of existence. Capital Radio in South Africa is in trouble.

MN.28.12.1995 Rhodesia – Answering Back From Francistown

I met the late Harold Robin a couple of times at his home in Tunbridge Wells, UK. He was a brilliant Foreign Office engineer who built the wartime Aspidistra transmitter famous for its clandestine work out of Crowborough. Have a listen to the programmes Wartime Deception and you’ll see what I mean.

Although his work during the war is well documented in books like “The Black Game”by Ellic Howe, I think we managed to capture the other stories from later in his life. For instance, how he invented the “Picolo” modulation system as used by the diplomatic service to communicate text over shortwave between embassies. He also built the BBC Overseas relay station in Oman, and the external service of UAE Radio from Dubai. This edition, recorded after Christmas in 1995, looked at the story of the British response to the declaration of independence by Ian Smith in, what was then, Rhodesia. Harold talks about setting up a mediumwave transmitter in a matter of weeks in the town of Francistown, in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now called Botswana. Thanks also to Colin Miller for some of the recordings of the RBC. It seems that one of the two transmitters was sent to Cyprus after the World and Rhodesia operation ended, the other ended up in Ordfordness for some experiments on 648 kHz. You might also want to check out the video of Margaret Howard, who refers to a special programme transmitted over this MW sender. It was called the World and Rhodesia and was more of a UK government editorial than any programme the BBC would make. The programme concept didn’t work although it seemed to have taken the British government a couple of years to find out. Harold refers to staying in the Tati Hotel River Lodge, about 8 kms outside of Francistown. Sure enough, it’s still there.

MN.23.12.1982: Christmas Review 33 years ago

I picked this recording out of the archives because it has a nice capsule summary of the major media stories from 1982. The highlight was, of course, the Falklands-Malvinas “conflict”. This programme contains clips from the FIBS, RAE Argentina and the BBC’s Calling the Falklands Programme. We also looked in some detail at the short-lived Radio South Atlantic which broadcast in May and June 1982 from a requisitioned BBC transmitter on Ascension Island. We asked the British Ministry of Defence to explain how the station was operated. We also analyzed a transmission broadcast on May 20th 1982 (the second night of transmission).

But it was also the last programme in which Wim van Amstel appeared as RNW Frequency Manager. It was certainly not the last time he was heard on the programme, though. Again it is striking to hear some of the predictions – and how they were spot on. The call with Arthur Cushen in New Zealand is rather like making contact with the moon. Cannot believe how fast time has flown.

At the time of publishing this podcast, I was also sad to hear of the passing of BBC correspondent and broadcaster Brian Hanrahan, who famous line when broadcasting under censorship from the Falklands Fleet was brilliant. Unable to reveal how many British aircraft had been involved in the conflict, he reported that after one sortie he “counted them all out and I counted them all back.

MN.26.12.1991.Year End Review

This was a news show 1.6 million tune in to Radio Netherlands in Dutch during their summer holiday. WWV and WWVH have had problems with their automated time announcements. Drum recorders are back on line. Victor Goonetilleke has news about Cambodia. VOA is having challenges building its transmitters at a new site 50km North of Colombo.

Why did we broadcast all these numbers? People forget none of the listeners had access on-line and only a fraction of the audience had access to printed DX bulletins. Andy Sennitt reports on what is in the 1992 World Radio TV Handbook. James Robinson reports that several UK local radio stations are leaving mediumwave. WLS 890kHz is scrapping its FM format. A new Catholic SW station WEWN was being built in Birmingham, Alabama. (The late) Dave Rosenthal reports on an experiment in McMurdo. Remember this show is 24 years old!

Vasily Strelnikov signs off at Radio Moscow World Service and recommends people to tune into Radio Netherlands. Radio Moscow staff watch the red flags of the USSR being lowered.

Thanks so much for sharing these, Jonathan–and Season’s Greetings to you!

I’m looking forward to several hours of listening over the coming days.

Archived recording of Marchese Marconi

Marconi

The Essex Record Office has published a recording of a speech made by Guglielmo Marconi in 1935. You can listen to the recording by clicking here or listening via the embedded player below (description follows):

(Source:Essex Record Office via Southgate ARC)

“Second part of a speech made by Guglielmo Marconi on the occasion of the unveiling of the ‘Fisk Memorial’ at Wahroonga, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 14 December 1935 (the disc is incorrectly labelled). The ‘Fisk Memorial’ commemorates the first direct wireless message sent from the U.K. to Australia, in 1918.

In the speech, Marconi forecasts the impact that wireless communication will have on ship navigation, but also the world economy generally. Would he be surprised by how accurate he was in his prediction that ‘no country can make much headway’ without such technology?”

Frank shares 1991 recordings and original notes of station IDs and interval signals

Sony-ICF2010

SWLing Post reader, Frank, writes from Germany:

First let me say that I enjoy your blog a lot.

After a 2005-13 hiatus, I have rediscovered a childhood hobby and your reviews have helped me find my way to the post-Sony portable shortwave radio markets.

First, I obtained my “childhood dream” radio (Sony ICF 2001D), because at the time I made these recordings I was still in school and 1300 DM would have equaled over 1 year of pocket money, so a Supertech SR16HN had to do. I thought I got some fine results with this Sangean-Siemens re-branded receiver then, using a CB half-length antenna, a random wire, and much endurance.

The Supertech SR16HN (photo: Radiomuseum.com)

The Supertech SR16HN (photo: Radiomuseum.com)

I kept regular logs throughout the years, wrote to 50 international and pirate stations for QSL and compiled this cassette.

A few years before I got that trusty SR16HN, however, I recorded a few number stations (such as G3, Four Note Rising Scale etc) with an ordinary radio cassette recorder, and in 1991 I put them onto this tape as well. The other recordings are done with the same radio placed right in front of the SR 16HN.

Feel free to make use of these recordings. Most of it are the well-known international state-owned shortwave stations of the past; plus European pirates; plus number stations; and at the end, a few (off-topic) local Am and FM stations interval signals.

As I said, this collection I made shortly after the Wende/reunification period, when all former-GDR state broadcasters changed their names, sometimes more than once.

Please continue your good work on the blogs! Weather permitting I am often outside cycling and always have the tiny Sony ICF 100 with me (which I call my then-student’s dream radio of the later 90ies).

Cassette Side 1

Click to enlarge.

Frank’s original hand-written notes. Click to enlarge.

Click here to download Side 1, or listen via the embedded player below:

Cassette Side 2

Click to enlage.

Click to enlage.

Click here to download Side 2, or listen via the embedded player below:


Wow! Frank, what a treat to listen to all these station IDs!

I had forgotten how many interval signals have changed over time and how many, of course, have disappeared. This tape represents a flood of nostalgia for me.

I should add, too, that I’ve enjoyed hearing so many IDs in German. It’s funny, but we all get hooked on listening to language programming from our native or second languages. It makes me realize just how many broadcasters used to have German language services.

Again, many thanks, Frank, for taking the time to digitize these recordings and scan your original hand-written notes. This stuff is invaluable, in my book!

BBC World Service Radio Archive: how you can help

The BBC World Service Radio Archive (Prototype) contains over 50,000 digital recordings, spanning 45 years of the World Service; indeed, more than the BBC can tag and categorize by hand. Read below to learn how you can create a login with the archive, browse, listen to and tag recordings if you wish.

(Source: BBC Research and Development)

BBCWSArchive

BBC Research & Development is running an experiment with the BBC’s World Service radioarchive to demonstrate how to put large media archives online using a combination of algorithms and people. With your help we aim to comprehensively and accurately tag this collection of BBC programmes.

This prototype website includes over 50,000 English-language radio programmes from the BBC World Service radio archive spanning the past 45 years, which have all been categorised by a machine. You can explore the archive, listen to the programmes and help improve it by validating and adding tags.

[Click here for more details…]

Many thanks to Mike Barraclough for the tip!