Tag Archives: Radio Liberty

Cold War Broadcasting: Two articles feature RFE & Radio Liberty

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shares the following article from the website Journalism Is Not A Crime:

From Propaganda to Journalism: How Radio Free Europe Pierced the Iron Curtain

The end of the Second World War signaled the beginning of an information war in Europe. As the military alliance between the Soviet Union and its main western allies — the United States and Britain — came to an end, the USSR backed small communist parties that asserted ever-tighter control over much of Eastern Europe.

Speaking in Fulton, Missouri in March 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned of an “Iron Curtain” of totalitarian control sealing off half the continent. His speech heralded the beginning of an ideological “cold war” that would last for more than 40 years, a struggle in which citizens of the eastern camp were only meant to hear one side of the argument.

“We talk about the Iron Curtain as a physical barrier, but it was also an information curtain,” says A. Ross Johnson, a former director of Radio Free Europe and author of a history of RFE and its companion station, Radio Liberty, which broadcast into the Soviet Union. “All the communist regimes saw control of information as a key to their rule.”

Continue reading…

An SWLing Post contributor also recently shared the following PDF article by A. Ross Johnson for the Wilson Center. Here’s the summary:

To Monitor and be Monitored– Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty during the Cold War

Monitoring of Soviet bloc radios was an important input to Radio Free and Radio Liberty broadcasts during the Cold War. RFE and RL also monitored the official print media and interviewed refugees and travelers. Soviet bloc officials in turn monitored RFE, RL, and other Western broadcasts (while jamming their transmissions) to inform themselves and to counter what they viewed as “ideological subversion.” On both sides, monitoring informed media policy.

RFE and RL monitored their radio audiences through listener letters and extensive travel
surveys, while the Communist authorities monitored those audiences through secret police
informants and secret internal polling. Both approaches were second-best efforts at survey
research but in retrospect provided reasonably accurate indicators of the audience for RFE, RL, and other Western broadcasters.

Click here to download the full Wilson Center article as a PDF.

If you’re interested in Cold War broadcasting, I would also encourage you to check out Richard Cummings’ blog, Cold War Radio Vignettes.

Washington Post: “A big change to U.S. broadcasting is coming”

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares this editorial from the The Washington Post:”

“FOR YEARS, members of Congress have fumed about what they regard as ineffective U.S. public diplomacy, including the failure of broadcasting operations such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to match the reach and apparent influence of networks such as Russia’s RT and Qatar’s al Jazeera. A frequent and arguably fair focus of criticism has been the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the body created to supervise government-funded media outlets while serving as a firewall between them and the political administration of the day.

A radical change to that system is now coming — and it looks like one that Vladi­mir Putin and Qatar’s emir might well admire. An amendment quietly inserted into the annual National Defense Authorization Act by Republican House leaders would abolish the broadcasting board and place VOA, RFE/RL and other international news and information operations under the direct control of a chief executive appointed by the president. The new executive would hire and fire senior media personnel and manage their budgets.

[…]The point of board governance was to prevent direct political interference in programming by the White House, State Department or other agencies. It was a guarantee that for decades has helped to attract journalistic talent to the broadcasting organizations, as well as listeners seeking reliable information. The board of governors had serious problems: Its members served part time, and not all took their duties seriously. But the system’s biggest flaw was remedied three years ago with the creation of a chief executive position.

The new reform, driven by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.), enhances that executive’s power and makes him answerable to the White House rather than the bipartisan board. A new advisory panel will be created, but it will be toothless: Its members will also be nominated by the president from a pool provided by Congress.[…]”

Click here to read the full editorial at The Washington Post online.

Also, Richard points out this article in BBG Watch which highlights comments from Dan Robinson.

Searchable archive of RFE/Radio Liberty broadcasts to USSR 1953-1995

RFE-RadioLiberty

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Martin Kraft, who shares the following:

Here’s something for the history buffs, an online searchable archive of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts to the USSR from 1953-1995:

http://www.radioworld.com/article/radio-liberty-munich-period-russian-broadcasts-available/278953

This is brilliant, Martin! I just started searching through the recordings at the Open Society Archives–an impressive collection. Thanks again!

Shortwave Logs from Alaska’s Central Interior Region

Wellbrook-Paul-Walker-Galena-AK

Here are some Shortwave logs from the central interior region of Alaska. I used a Tecsun PL880 and 225 foot long wire with Emtech ZM2 Tuner or a Wellbrook ALA1530LNP.

I’ve only used the Wellbrook for two days so I can’t really offer a thorough comparison yet. There was one case in particular where the 225 foot long wire and ZM2 tuner beat the Wellbrook by a large margin.

I don’t log everything I hear, but everything I do log gets recorded into an mp3 format audio clip. The audio recording helps tremendously with my QSL return rate, especially when I am hearing a broadcast in a language I don’t understand

I hear China Radio International, China National Radio, Radio Nacional de Brasilia/Amazonia, FEBC, World Harvest Radio and others regularly so I don’t log them because I try and keep my logs to what is interesting for one reason or another (programming, music, etc.) or rare/interesting.

3260 & 3325 kHz Papua New Guinea, NBC Radio. 1027 to 1034 UTC. 3325 Bouganville is carrying a man talking in a combination of Pidgin and English discussing mines, mine safety and mine regulations. Better then average signal with only light fading and interference. 3260 kHz Mandang is running music followed by an announcer talking about what I think are upcoming programming highlights. Fair signal, way better then usual

NBC Radio Mandang 3260 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/pmB8DD

NBC Radio Bouganviulle 3325 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/WKKEPJ

4870 kHz Indonesia, Radio Republik Indonesia Wamena. June 12 1001 UTCA regular visitor in the early morning hours here. not daily, but here often. Today’s signal is fair but with a moderate amount of fading and static crashes/interference. Usual fair of what I think is local music is being played.

Radio Republik Indonesia Wamena 4870 kHz audio: https://goo.gl/hjF1JL

5020 kHz Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. June 12 1011UTC. Higher side of good signal with all factors taken into account. Only a little bit of fading during christian music.

Audio of Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation 5020 kHz here: https://goo.gl/d8BFX2

5745 kHz US, VOA Radio Gram. June 11 0943. The first time I logged VOA’s Radio Gram broadcast. There was something creating a loud buzzing noise but I could still hear the digital data. Only a little Russian text and text in english decoded for me. I will definitely try again!

VOA Radio Gram 5745 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/LfxJ6w

6070 kHz DPRK, Voice of Korea.June 11 1005UTC. Fair signal, but low modulation. Announcers voice is lower then the music. Fair amount of fading. I heard their usual marching/patriotic music. This is not a frequency I usually hear them on, wether owing to I am not out when this frequency is on, conditions or I hear usually CFRX Toronto.

Voice Of Korea 6070 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/SzXuEg

6115 kHz China, Voice of Strait. June 11 1008 UTC. Fair signal with a fair amount of fading. Sounds like a man talking, could be a news broadcast or interview. Not sure.

Voice Of Strait 6115 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/V92tlD

7260 kHz Vanuatu, Radio Vanuatu. June 7 0857UTC. Low side of fair signal with interview in english and mentions of Vanuatu. Interview ends and music plays, one song sounds like it’s a kids chorus. There is a fair amount of fading and static crashing/atmospheric noise. Radio Vanuatu is habitually, chronically, woefully unde rmodulated on a daily basis. Just a few days after this logging was made, I had what my radio signal meter showed as a good signal but NO audio. The signal was so under modulated I had no audio but I had a signal! I would actually listen to them if they played more music and had better modulation

Radio Vanuatu 7260 kHz audio here: https://goo.gl/V1GMQS

9545 Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. June 11 0835. SIBC was on over 3 hours late on 9545 kHz, it’s supposed to sign off at 0500UTC and switch to 5020 kHz but at 0835UTC this night it was still on. 9545 kHz staying on late has been happening a lot lately. 9545 kHz is used as SIBC’s workday frequency with 5020 kHz being used in the early to mid morning and afternoon/evening. In this recording SIBC is fairly strong here with light fading and static. Whenever 9545 kHz is on late, it seems to be stronger then 5020 kHz would be. My logging tonight starts with an interview then music is being played.

Audio of SIBC 9545 kHz here: https://goo.gl/0AIj5n

12035 Mongolia, Voice of Mongolia. June 11 1018UTC. NEW! This is a new logging for me. weak signal playing music. Was able to match the interval tune and the announcers voice heard during my logging with a clip of a recent broadcast on their website.

Audio of Voice of Mongolia 12035 kHz here: https://goo.gl/Y2QXH7

15400 kHz Romania, Radio Romania International. June 12 1006 UTC. News broadcast in French. Somewhat weak, but steady signal with only light fading.

Audio of Radio Romania International 1540 kHz here: https://goo.gl/OBK0Q9

17770 kHz Phillipines, Radio Liberty targeting Siberia. June 12 0948. What sounded like a man in Russian during a news broadcast or interview. Weak but steady signal.

Audio of Radio Liberty 1770khz here: https://goo.gl/5fxzxJ

I could use some opinions and inputs from others on something:

I am DXing about 500 feet from the transmitter sites for KXES-LPFM 92.9 and KIYU-FM 88.1 along with K10LJ Channel 10. The FM’s are only 100 watts and the TV station is only 10 watts of Digital RF. However, the FM’s overload my Shortwave radio around 9.4 to 9.6 MHz along with the lower to mid part of the tropical bands. I have a MCM Electronics and Radio Shack FM trap and they help a bit, but don’t do nearly enough. I am willing to spend $100 or so for a good FM Trap/Filter. I’ll spend a little more if I have to and the product is proven at works. I can null out the interference by rotating my Wellbrook ALA1530LNP, but I may be nulling out the signal I want to hear at the same time. Returning things for me is a hassle so I’d rather pay good $ for something that works. Feel free to email me, walkerbroadcasting@gmail.com or reply to this thread.

Paul Walker is located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.