BBC World Service as a lifeline and making radio as “a symbol of resistance”

BurundiMany thanks toSWLing Post contributor,  Richard Cuff, for sharing this article from the NewStatesman:

In the week when Apple’s Beats 1 radio station was launched – “Worldwide. Always on . . . It broadcasts 24/7 to over 100 countries from our studios in Los Angeles, New York and London” – there was also discussion of the BBC’s latest global audience measurement figures. The most striking thing in the report, which tracked listening habits and how they had changed over the past year, was how short-wave radio – in rural and poorer areas where there is no FM, no cable and no electricity, it’s still the only way of tuning in – is under increasing threat from something as basic as jamming.

Apple’s idea of radio as digital and impermeable never felt more breezily First World. Listeners to the English-language programmes on the BBC World Service, for example – in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, in particular – have almost halved in number because of deliberate disruption on the short-wave signal, apparently from China, forcing stations to rotate frequencies on the same band to at least attempt a slot.

“Tune around . . . You’ll find us. We will be there,” advised a technician on Over to You (4 July, 5.50pm). It conjured that most antiquated and urgent of images: a person clutching their temples, coaxing a dial, trying and trying to find a signal.

“I grew up with short-wave radio,” insisted a caller to the show, “and I got to understand the world, got to understand life. If you don’t know short-wave radio, you don’t know life.” Only moments later, there was talk of the closure of all the non-state-run radio stations in Burundi (one of the poorest and least connected countries in the world). Before the recent coup attempt, independent radio stations played a huge role in holding the government to account but many radio journalists are now forced to report using what social media is available.

“The exercise of making radio matters,” said a caller. “It’s a symbol of resistance.” And another, with some disdain, said: “Doing it on the internet is just a way of keeping it on record.” The more than century-long act of turning a dial and finding a signal, with a human voice hitching a ride on electromagnetic energy through space, is something it seems our species now feels in the bones. But worldwide? Always on? Only for some.

Read the full article at the NewStatesman.

BBC At War: new series sheds light on WWII broadcasting

BBC-AT-WAR

Many thanks to several SWLing Post readers from the UK who have pointed out this new BBC Two documentary: The BBC at War, Presented by Jonathan Dimbleby.

BBC Two describes the documentary as, “[a]n enthralling series exploring how the BBC fought not only Hitler but also the British government to become the institution it is today.”

Of course, the BBC iPlayer is region-locked, so you either need to be resident in the UK or using a proxy server in order to view. The first episode is available to view now; the second will be soon.

Click here to view Episode 1: The War of Words.

National Radio Quiet Zone featured in BBC Radio 4 series

GreenBankTelescope

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David Freeborough, who shares this brilliant, in-depth radio documentary featured on the BBC News and BBC Radio 4.

This BBC News Magazine article introduces the documentary:

“Anyone driving west from Washington DC towards the Allegheny Mountains will arrive before long in a vast area without mobile phone signals. This is the National Radio Quiet Zone – 13,000 square miles (34,000 sq km) of radio silence. What is it for and how long will it survive?

As we drive into the Allegheny Mountains the car radio fades to static. I glance at my mobile phone but the signal has disappeared.

Ahead of us a dazzling white saucer looms above the wooded terrain of West Virginia, getting bigger and bigger with every mile. It’s the planet’s largest land-based movable object – the Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) – 2.3 acres in surface area, and taller than the Statue of Liberty.

But it needs electrical peace and quiet to do its job.”

[Continue reading…]

The story continues on the BBC News site, but I would encourage you to listen to the five part radio documentary series on BBC Radio 4 first. Green Bank, WV, is certainly one part of the planet where a shortwave radio listener would be quite happy: residents have virtually no radio interference or obnoxious electrical noises that plague the rest of the modern world.

telescopes-1911The radio documentary can be streamed on the Radio 4 website.  I’ve included links to each episode below. As far as I can tell, there are no expiration dates on the Radio 4 streams:

My wife and I have camped near the NROA site in Green Bank–it’s a beautiful part of the world. I’m certainly long overdue to return!

Again, David, many thanks for sharing this!

TX Factor Episode 8

TX-Factor-Episode-8

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David (G4EDR), who writes:

“I thought you and the many readers of your SWLingPost would be interested in the latest edition (8) of TX Factor a UK produced online TV programme.

It features two employees of the BBC who are also radio amateurs and shows them in their working environment as studio managers and continuity announcers on BBC radio.

Just navigate to http://www.txfilm.co.uk/txfactor/txfactor.shtml and select watch now for episode 8.

There are also items about Icom UK and Practical Wireless magazine.

Thanks for hosting your SWLingPost, I really enjoy it.”

 

Many thanks again, David! Another brilliant episode! At time of posting, the TX Factor site was down, but their YouTube channel, of course, is working fine. I’ve embedded the video below:

My buddy Eric (WD8RIF) also alerted me that this episode had been published. I love watching TX Factor–I’m so impressed with both their programming and production quality.

TX Factor Team: Keep up the good work!

BBC shortwave frequencies and schedule for Nepal earthquake relief

Nepal-Earthquake-Map

BBC-Nepal(Source: BBC Media Centre press release)

BBC World Service broadcasts Lifeline programmes in Nepal

In response to the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, the BBC World Service is now broadcasting additional programming on shortwave in both Nepalese and in English.
BBC Media Action – the BBC’s international development charity – is working with the Nepali Service on BBC World Service (radio and online) and local partner radio stations to broadcast ‘Lifeline’ programming.

Liliane Landor, Controller of World Service Languages, says: “Information is vital and we are doing all we can to make sure that our audiences in the affected areas receive their local and regional news as well as ‘Lifeline’ programming designed to give practical information to help deal with the aftermath of the earthquake.”

The Nepali language programme is available on shortwave as follows:

Nepali dawn transmission (01:30-01:45 GMT)
11995 kHz (25 metre band)
15510 kHz (19 metre band)

Nepali evening transmission (15:00-16:00 GMT)
9650 kHz (31 metre band)
5895 kHz (49 metre band)

The availability of World Service English on short wave to Northern India and Nepal has been extended with the service now starting one hour earlier than normal at 23.00 GMT.

Additional frequencies for World Service in English (to S Asia) from 23:00 GMT to 24:00GMT
5895 kHz (49 metre band)
9540 kHz (31 metre band)

From 00:00GMT the broadcasts continue as normal on 12,095kHz, 9,410kHz and 5970kHz

AIR and BBC design programming for post-earthquake Nepal

SX-99-Dial

(Source: RMbiz)

MUMBAI: In the wake of recent earthquake that affected Nepal and India, All India Radio (AIR) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have designed special programming for affected areas of Indo-Nepal border and Nepal respectively. AIR is also transmitting services through their External Services Division (ESD).

AIR stations in Patna, Darbhanga, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Gangtok, Siliguri, Guwahati, Delhi and others put out suitable programmes to generate awareness among the masses, particularly informing them how to tackle such situations.[…]

Continue reading…

BBC plans North Korean news service

NorthKorea-Map (2)Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Richard Cuff, for sharing this news from The Telegraph:

BBC-WorldService“The BBC is planning a new North Korea service to give the totalitarian state’s 25 million people an alternative to Kim Jong-un’s propaganda.

In a move that could plunge the corporation into confrontation with the North Korean dictator, the World Service is examining how to set up a special news channel that will get around Pyongyang’s ban on foreign media broadcasts.

The plan has echoes of Western broadcasts into the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War, when the BBC, Radio Free Europe and Voice of America all broadcasted to listeners behind the Iron Curtain.

However, it is likely to spark fury from Pyongyang’s volatile leadership, and could lead to the British embassy in Pyongyang being targeted for protests or being shut down altogether.

It could also put Britain in the firing line for North Korean-led cyberattacks, such as the one that targeted Sony Pictures last year over its film “The Interview”, which lampooned Kim Jong-un.”[…]

[Continue reading at The Telegraph...]