Tag Archives: FM Radio

Brian FM: a post-disaster FM radio station in New Zealand

fullscreen-capture-11292016-12143-pm

(Source: Radio New Zealand via London Shortwave)

Radio ‘nutters’ move in to help shaken Kaikoura

A fortnight after the Kaikoura earthquake, most of the businesses along West End, the town’s main street, are still closed – the interiors darkened, some shopfronts cordoned off.

But the door of one of those shopfronts is open, and from it, the strains of Brian FM come floating out.

Who’s Brian?

“I have no idea,” Chris Diack says.

“People are wanting to walk in and talk to Brian all the time and there’s no Brian – there’s Chris and Robert.”

Mr Diack and his offsider, Robert Jeffares, have been broadcasting from their makeshift studio for a week now, after convincing the owner of a local frequency that was not being used to let them take over.

The content is mostly “parish pump information”, says Mr Diack – the level of detail the rest of the country might not need to hear but which is invaluable to locals trying to find out where their next hot shower might be coming from.

“The water’s off, you can’t use the toilets, if you need to use the toilets use the portaloos, and where are they … Four Square’s open at midday, get along there and get some milk, bread and butter… You couldn’t buy butter for love nor money in Kaikoura.”

In between broadcasting the minutiae of post-quake life, they conduct interviews with the district mayor, civil defence, the Salvation Army, and errant RNZ reporters who wander in to the studio.[…]

Continue reading on Radio New Zealand’s website.

CBS considering the sale of its radio division

When Charlie Chaplin finally allowed the world to hear his voice after 20 years of mime, he chose CBS's airwaves to do it on. (Source: Wikipedia)

When Charlie Chaplin allowed the world to hear his voice after twenty years of silent performance, he chose CBS for the broadcast.

(Source: LA Times)

CBS Corp. is poised to exit the radio business that it helped create.

Eighty-eight years ago, the company’s founder, William S. Paley, bought the nascent Columbia Broadcasting System, and those radio stations became the nucleus of a budding broadcast empire.

But on Tuesday, CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the company was exploring strategic options, including a sale or spinoff, of its entire radio division.

“The aim here is to unlock value for our shareholders,” said Moonves, who made the announcement during an investor day in New York.

The decision marks the end of an era and highlights the waning influence of commercial radio, which is no longer considered a growth industry. Young adults spend more time listening to digital music files, podcasts and subscription Internet radio services such as Spotify and Pandora. The shift has prompted major advertisers, including car dealerships, wireless phone companies and financial services firms, to steer more of their marketing dollars to digital platforms.

Continue reading at the LA Times’ website…

Sweden (Again) Rejects DAB

Degen-DE27Digital Radio FM Europe blog is reporting Sweden wants to keep FM radio:

Parliament Confirms Rejection of DAB Radio in Sweden [updated]

Public radio continues on FM and will push for extending its remit to include digital radio online.

The Constitutional Standing Committee (KU) in Riksdagen (the Parliament) has processed the government missive regarding the 2015 National Audit review of digital radio in which the proposal for a transition from FM to DAB+ in 2017-2022 was rejected. After a short debate and without objection from any of the eight political parties Riksdagen today appended the missive to the protocol. This marks the end of 24 years of efforts to replace FM with DAB in Sweden.
Already in June 2015 the Government took the decision to reject the proposal for a digital transition for terrestrial radio. In November this was piggy-backed in the budget proposal to the Parliament.
——————–
This vote in the committee did not come as a big surprise as there has been an increasing skepticism in most parties against closing the FM band. A year ago in the consultation round the proposal was put into question or rejected by most qualified state institutions as PTS the telecom authority, KTH Royal Institute Of Technology, the Armed Forces, the Transport Agency and the Competition Authority as well as organizations as Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Ericsson and the Community Radio Assn.
——————–
KU has been listening to the arguments for DAB+ from the two commercial networks and the public radio Sveriges Radio (SR) as well as critical comments by the Public Service Council. KU notes that the Government in its missive says that it cannot be ruled out that the question of digitalization of terrestrial radio will be on a future agenda. KU is satisfied with the Government plan to observe international developments. However, there was no other comments by the committee other than the missive should be appended to the protocol.
——————–
This marks the end of 24 year period of futile efforts to introduce the DAB technology in Sweden. SR started testing DAB in Stockholm continuous since 1992 and officially went on air 1995 the same year as BBC introduced DAB in the UK.  2005 DAB was rejected for the first time by the social democratic government. Program have been broadcast in an inofficial mode via DAB and DAB+ transmitter in four major cities but few listeners are reported.
 ——————–
Today up to a third of all listening on the public radio channels are on-line. This is much due to the high smartphone usage on 3G/4G LTE networks in Sweden. While forced to leave the DAB agenda SR will now request that the politicians will include its Internet activities in the next public service remit 2018.
——————–
The two commercial radio networks Bauer and MTG still hold licenses to start DAB+ broadcasting later this year. But they are not expected to go DAB alone without having the public radio onboard. 60 % of the radio audience in Sweden is listening to SR. In the consultation round the DAB proposal was rejected by the community radio organisations.

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.


Sun Radio: solar-powered FM stations

SunRadio-2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gregg Freeby, who writes:

I thought your readers might be interested in this story about a solar powered FM radio station operating in Austin, Texas. The article also includes a brief history of broadcast radio.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2016-01-22/anthem-of-the-sun/print/

Here’s an excerpt from The Austin Chronicle:

Up on the second-story rooftop of Sun Radio, one looks east to the antenna farm near Loop 360 in West Lake Hills, and southwest at the Hill Country gateway of Dripping Springs. From where Denver O’Neal stands, eight rows of solar panels lay out along the north side of our perch.

“We’ve got 48 panels sucking in the sun’s juice,” explains O’Neal, 30, operations director of the station. “It goes into this control box, then converts AC to DC. The juice comes out AC from the panels, where it converts to DC for the outlets.”

Sunlight remains the most abundant natural resource on the planet. A single hour produces more energy than Earth’s population uses in a year. Whereas any child who’s used a magnifying glass to wreak havoc on an anthill has witnessed solar power in action, the U.S. didn’t start harnessing rays to light homes and businesses until the Seventies. Decades of steady market growth meant that by 2004 states began offering rebates for solar panels.

[…]Sun Radio – 88.9FM in Johnson City, 99.1FM for Fredericksburg, 100.1FM here in Austin, 103.1FM out in Dripping Springs, and 107.1FM around Central Texas – began its love affair with solar energy in 2009. Daryl O’Neal and his son Denver bought the station as the 5-watt KDRP running out of a defunct studio in Dripping Springs. Back then, solar tubes were the franchise, reflective consoles installed into the roof in an effort to refract sunlight. Panels replaced them when the O’Neals stretched their signal to a transmitter a mile away.

Think of transmitters as a set of bunny ear antennas. They take the signal being broadcast from a station and cast it toward the horizon. The taller the tower, the further out the signal extends. At 96 feet, Sun Radio’s Dripping Springs tower could barely register among the 1,000-foot TV towers overlooking West Lake Hills. Yet the boost in wattage allowed the station to blanket town.

In 2012, the station bought yet more space on a tower in West Lake Hills to expand its coverage, then installed panels and energy storage batteries there. In Dec. 2013, KDRP itself uprooted from Dripping Springs to Bee Cave, going solar at that location two years later. The panels currently provide enough energy to power the non-commercial station from dawn till dusk, after which they use electricity.

In September, their utility bill read negative $17.12.

Continue reading at The Austin Chronicle…

As Gregg notes, the article actually goes in-depth about the history of radio. Great read–thanks, Gregg!

This article makes me wonder how long will it be before batteries and solar (PV) panels become so efficient and compact that shortwave pirate radio stations can simply deploy a solar-powered transmitter box that absorbs energy during the day, then transmits at night?

Indeed, perhaps someone is already doing this? My only fear would be that an unattended Lithium Polymer pack might cause a fire hazard.

In Korogocho, Koch FM focuses on water sanitation

KenyaMap

(Source: BBC Media Action)

On Global Handwashing Day, Diana Njeru looks at how a radio station constructed from a shipping container is helping people improve their health in one of Kenya’s largest slums.

On the banks of a slimy grey river, a man is using a handcart to dump a barrel of human waste into the water. Sliding down the slope, the cart slips from his grasp and it tumbles in, forcing him to wade through the sludge to retrieve it.

This was the scene before me as I visited Korogocho slum last week, one of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements and home to over 150,000 residents.

A shipping container turned studio

Just up the road from the river is Koch FM, a popular community radio station BBC Media Action is helping to support through tailored mentoring to improve the technical skills of its staff. The station’s studio – constructed from an old shipping container and sound proofed with egg boxes – has been run by a team of passionate volunteers since 2006.

[…]Clean water is very hard to come by. In slums like Korogocho, people must either rely on rainwater or water vending points run by cartels. This toxic environment paired with limited awareness of good hygiene means life-threatening but preventable illnesses like diarrhoea are all too common.

To help tackle this, BBC Media Action mentor Davie Njuguna is currently working with staff at Koch FM to help them produce programmes that address water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues.

Continue reading on the BBC Media Action blog…