Many thanks to my buddy, Skip Arey (N2EI), who informed me that the American Radio History website has added 18 issues of the late Passport To World Band Radio to their free downloads archive. These issues span 1986-2009 and are free to download. What a treasure trove!
WRTH has announced that their 2013 edition is now available online. Every year, I look forward to searching a new WRTH’s pages for the first time. What is the WRTH (World Radio and TV Handbook)? Click here to read my reviews of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of WRTH. In the 2010 edition, I even include an interview with the publisher, Nicholas Hardyman.
To order your copy of WRTH 2013, go to this page on WRTH’s website.
I always look forward to the newest edition of the WRTH. I find that, even in an internet world, and especially now in the absence of the much-mourned Passport To World Band Radio, WRTH’s radio reviews, feature articles, and HF report make for excellent reading.
This year, for example, WRTH reviews several ultralight radios (the Tecsun PL-310/380, Kchibo KK-D6110 and the Kaito/Degen 1103), as well as the AOR AR5001D, the Flex 1500, the Winradio Excalibur (hint: they really like this one), the Medav LR2 and they also take a look a look at several classic pro receivers. They offer their digital update, articles on QSLing, a feature on the worthy radio charity, Ears To Our World, and much more.
But, of course, the reason we all buy WRTH is for their in-depth comprehensive radio schedules for the upcoming year. Personally I can’t do without it–it’s never more than an arm’s length away from my shortwave.
If you’re new to WRTH, note that they regularly update changes to their schedules throughout the year: go to their website to download these updates.
If you would like to know more about using WRTH’s schedules, please see our previous post.
Over the past weeks, many of you may have noticed that the website for Passport To World Band Radio, Passband.com (note: no hyperlinking here), has closed shop. This, of course, following the death of every SWLer’s favorite guide, the Passport To World Band Radio. If this is new to you, read some of our previous posts about this.
Alternatives to Passport To World Band Radio
As I pointed out in previous posts, do not despair! There are alternatives for finding shortwave radio schedules. For starters, consider purchasing the World Radio and TV Handbook. If you’re looking for online sources of schedules, also consider some alternatives I listed on SWLing.com’s Resource page.
Passband.com was a great source for news in the world of shortwave radio. I (humbly) believe our blog, the SWLing Post, is as well. Consider subscribing to our RSS feed. Also, check our Blogroll links (right navigation column) for other great radio websites.
At SWLing.com we are also active advocates for shortwave radio–we frequently make our opinions about how vital radio is throughout the world known to international broadcasters and we give you the opportunity to do the same.
Remember, you’re not alone and shortwave radio is not dead. Indeed, it’s quite an active lifeline to many communities around our small planet.
The World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH)–a printed guide to broadcasts on shortwave, mediumwave, longwave, and FM, as well as on TV–is now available for purchase in its 64th edition. This guide is known as the key reference book for hard core DXers, shortwave radio listeners, broadcasters and radio enthusiasts of all stripes.
This year, WRTH‘s publisher sent me a copy of their latest reference directly from the UK; as has often been the case, I found myself immersed in its pages within moments of opening the mail package.
This year in particular, it is my belief that WRTH will become even more important to radio listeners. The main reason for this is the fact that in 2009, International Broadcasting Services, Inc., decided to halt production of its fine broadcast guide, Passport to World Band Radio. [To learn more about this, check out previous posts here and here].
On SWLing.com, I had always suggested newcomers to the hobby check out Passport (PWBR) over WRTH simply because the main body of its guide was laid out in a “TV Guide”-like fashion, easy for a beginner to understand. In other words, it sorted broadcasts by Universal Time and listed all of the broadcasts available (primarily in English) with information about program content, where you could find it on the radio dial, and even included mini-reviews–often humorous–of the shows. This format was very accessible for those who may not yet have a full grasp of the nuances of shortwave radio listening.
Although not intentionally formatted for newcomers, WRTH is also reasonably easy to use, and a much, much more comprehensive guide to broadcasts than Passport to World Band Radio. Indeed, I find that I when I hear a unknown broadcast in a language that I also don’t know, I reach for WRTH to solve the mystery.
What’s inside WRTH?
The bulk of WRTH is a tried-and-true radio reference book with major sections delineated by convenient side bars which make navigating through this substantial book much easier.
WRTH offers the following:
- Features and Reviews
- National Radio
- International Radio
- Frequency Lists
- Terrestrial Television
The “Features and Reviews” section is always the first thing I read when I receive my new copy of WRTH. This year, for example, WRTH features receiver reviews of the Icom IC-7600, IC-7000 (ham transceiver), Eton Satellite 750, and a selection of very low-cost portables. They also feature mini-reviews of some “Cold War Classics,” as they are known, like the Collins R390, Racal RA17, Harris RF-590 and the Rohde & Schwarz EK 070. [By the time I finished reading about these fine classic rigs, I’ll admit, my mouth was watering…] They also feature the BBC World Service, Samoan Radio, a Digital Update, and more.
As a shortwave and medium wave (AM broadcast) listener, I find that I use WRTH based on the way I’m listening to radio. Either I listen for a particular station or country by looking it up in the national or international sections of WRTH, then listening on known frequencies at the appropriate time. Or, I simply tune through the bands, and when I locate something of interest on my radio dial, I turn to WRTH‘s frequency list to see what station I’m hearing. WRTH will also give you useful information for QSLing and identifying the coordinates of the transmission site any given broadcaster is using. Indeed, WRTH gives you more info about a broadcast than any other radio reference book with which I’m familiar. This is one of the reasons it has become a staple reference for serious radio listeners.
An Interview With Nicholas Hardyman, Publisher of WRTH
This year, in particular, I had a few questions that only WRTH could answer–so I asked Nicholas Hardyman, WRTH‘s publisher, if he would agree to a brief interview. He accepted with enthusiasm.
Thomas (SWLing.com): WRTH is now in its 64th edition; how has your content changed over the years?
Nicholas (WRTH): The biggest changes have been in the large increase in stations following deregulation across the globe. This is most evident is the explosion in the number of FM stations, although this is also happening in some countries that are still fairly heavily regulated. We have also seen a large increase in TV stations which we cannot, unfortunately, fully reflect in WRTH. The change that is coming is obviously the switch to digital transmissions both for TV and radio. It will be very interesting to see how that plays out.
Thomas: How do you gather all of your detailed broadcast information and update it each year?
Nicholas: Through the hard work and dedication of the finest set of contributors and editors any publisher could hope for. We have a very extensive and deep contributor network and consequently get a lot of information.
Thomas: Passport to World Band Radio has decide not to publish a 2010 edition; do you feel your customer base is broad enough to support your future publications?
Nicholas: Yes, I think it is. We serve several markets and different specialties within those markets so I hope our readers will continue to support our unique offering.
Thomas: Who are some of your typical readers?
Nicholas: DXers and listeners are our largest market, and of those, our typical reader is a man aged 50+ with a strong interest in technology and a loyal commitment to WRTH. We also have a lot of readers who have a professional interest in radio and others who are most interested in global transmissions.
Nicholas, thank you for the interview; I believe I speak on behalf of Shortwave radio listeners around the globe when I say that DXing wouldn’t be the same without a copy of WRTH at hand. Keep up the good work, and happy DX!
If you would like a copy of WRTH, simply click on one of the following to order your copy:
A message from Larry Magne posted on PTWBR’s website:
Thanks for your many kind and helpful comments, which have touched us greatly.
Alas, although the long-term future of IBS’ activities continues to be mulled over, there will definitely be no printed 2010 edition of Passport to World Band Radio. At this juncture it appears nearly as certain that online options aren’t going to be feasible, either. Nonetheless, the Japanese-language (only) Blue Pages for 2010 will be offered within Japan, as in the past, by email@example.com later this year.
As one comment mentioned, this is much like the passing of a good friend. PTWBR was one of the first frequency guides I used for the shortwave bands.
Fear not– the World Radio and TV Handbook (WRTH) is still very much alive and well and I use it almost daily. I wrote a post about this fine publication and how it differs from PTWBR. Their 2010 edition can be pre-ordered now.
For a good article on coping without PTWBR, check out this post by Helmuth Kump.
Larry Magne, the publisher of Passort To World Band Radio, has reported that the 26th edition of their popular shortwave radio guide may not go to print. From their website:
As with any good recipe, a range of ingredients has to come together if a reference book is to succeed. Solid content is, of course, essential. But in recent months other considerations have had an increased bearing on the future of Passport to World Band Radio®.
So it is that the 26th Edition of Passport to World Band Radio® is being held in limbo. Despite this, for now we are continuing to maintain the WorldScan® database and uphold all proprietary material. Among other things, this should help allow for an orderly return to production, under IBS’ aegis or otherwise, should conditions allow.
For Passport® readers and our small team, alike, this is a seminal moment. After all, Passport to World Band Radio® goes back a quarter century and has had something like a million readers worldwide. But the future has its own rhythm that confounds prognostication. There may yet be more chapters to this story. Stay tuned.
This is sad news for the shortwave listening community. I have been a fan of this fine publication since the 1980’s and always have a copy handy on my radio shelf. There are other notable radio guides out there, but none so easy to use and so perfectly tailored for the newcomer to the hobby.
Update 28 Nov 2009: Please see new post–PTWBR No Longer in Print.