Tag Archives: RNW

1976 recording of RNW added to the Shotwave Radio Audio Archive

IMG_0135Greg Shoom, a new contributor to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, has just submitted a 1976-1977 off air recording which includes:

  • The Happy Station Show hosted by Tom Meijer (Christmas 1976 edition),
  • an unidentified program called “Why Join a DX Club
  • and several longwave radio beacons.

Click here to listen to this recording on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Remember, you can subscribe and download the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive collection (free!) as a podcast via iTunes or the SWAA RSS feed.

Many thanks to Greg Shoom for sharing this excellent recording!

Jonathan reminds us that history keeps repeating itself

1-RadioListening2Current events in the Ukraine and Crimea remind Jonathan Marks that history–especially as broadcast over the airwaves–repeats itself:

“History keeps repeating itself, both on the ground and on the radio. The theatre going on in Crimea and Ukraine at the moment remind me of other situations. But there is a difference. The programmes below [click here] were all made when the Russian’s had an external broadcasting service called Radio Moscow, later renamed as Voice of Russia. Just as Voice of America shouted at the Russia, so Voice of Russia shouted back.”

Continue reading Jonathan’s full article, complete with audio and video clips, on his blog Critical Distance.

Jonathan remembers Radio Netherlands Worldwide one year on

RNW's final broadcast schedule (Source: Jonathan Marks)

RNW’s final broadcast schedule (Source: Jonathan Marks)

A few days ago, former RNW employee, Jonathan Marks, was sorting out some papers in his office when something “spooky” happened:

“one sheet [of paper] fell out of a pile and onto the floor. It was the page of the last day of transmission from Radio Netherlands, English department.”

“What was weird was that this happened exactly one year ago to the day they pulled the switch. It was 2253 local time on a Friday when Jonathan Groubert, above, made the last announcement from Continuity Studio 4.”

Jonathan’s full post on his blog, Critical Distance, has some fantastic photos, notes, an interview and recording from the final moments of RNW’s final shortwave broadcast. Click here to read his post.

Jonathan’s post reminded me that one year ago, I was on a six week vacation with my family in the Canadian Maritimes.  I listened to and recorded all of the final RNW shortwave broadcasts in an off-grid cabin on the eastern coast of lovely Prince Edward Island. An SWLing memory I will never forget. You can listen to these field recordings and read my post, “RNW says farewell in style” via this link.

Jonathan explores the past and present of the Radio Netherlands Madagascar Relay Station

Madagascar Transmission Towers (Source: Critical Distance)

Madagascar Transmission Towers (Source: Critical Distance)

Many thanks to former RNW Media Network host, Jonathan Marks, for sharing this insightful look at the Radio Netherlands Madagascar Relay Stationa must read!

Indeed, check out this article and many more on Jonathan’s Critical Distance Weblog.

If you were a fan of Media Network, you should also bookmark Jonathan’s Media Network Vintage Vault.

RNW looks into Zimbabwe’s history of media repression

Zimbabwe-MapIronically, Radio Netherlands Worldwide was once an international voice for those living without free press. In the following RNW article,  Dlamini points out that technology is advancing at a rapid pace and media outlets increasing; however, radio remains the most accessible means of receiving news and information, and unlike technologies that rely on the Internet and mobile phone networks, radio listening cannot be easily traced or monitored by those in power.

It is my sincere hope that, somehow, RNW’s voice will once again find the means to speak for those in need of free press.

Even 33 years after winning the fight for independence, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe remains a harsh critic of the white colonial government’s system. But with his recent ban on radios, he is imposing the same oppressive tactics that he himself once fought against to liberate his people.

By Nkosana Dlamini, Harare

As I write, Zimbabwe’s statutes are being stiffened with the state oppression that Mugabe himself once fought against. A case in point is the state’s recent banning of small wind-up radios with a short-wave dial.

To understand better, let’s first rewind a few decades…

Chiefs and Commandos
Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, gained independence in 1980 after a protracted guerrilla war. At its peak, in the 1970s, the two main fighting movements, ZIPRA and ZANLA, established exiled radio stations in neighbouring countries where their fighters received training. These stations broadcast into Zimbabwe via short and medium-wave. It was the way to communicate with the local villagers who supported the war by sharing intelligence and foodstuffs.

But in a bid to thwart enemy operations, Ian Smith, the last white Rhodesian ruler, developed strategies that forced radios to be fitted with frequency modulation (FM), as opposed to short wave.

Manufactured by local Zimbabwean firms, Smith’s FM radio sets were branded with the name ‘Chief’.[…]Other radios were manufactured under the name ‘Commando’ and distributed to soldiers in the bush. The government’s intention here was to keep spirits up with music and programmes in which troops could request favourite songs and relay messages about their welfare to loved ones.

Mugabe’s heavy hand
Smith claimed – as Mugabe does now – to be shielding people from pirate stations broadcasting hate speech. In both eras, locals have been instilled with fear. They have had to resort to listening to exiled stations from under the blankets and in their barns, anxious that their neighbours might see them using forbidden radios.

[…]Even under Zimbabwe’s stringent laws today, it is not a crime to own a radio receiver. But, by day, Mugabe’s state agents confiscate the radios and harass citizens found in possession of them – a practice that gets revved up each time a Zimbabwean election looms. By night, the same agents return home to tune into exiled stations via the radios they’ve confiscated. In some instances, they distribute them among their relatives.

The state says it is confiscating the receivers because they are being brought into the country by NGOs without paying a customs fee. In some instances, the do admit they are trying to prevent ordinary citizens from accessing exiled Zimbabwean radio stations through shortwave – a unique feature in these radios.

In other ways, too, Mugabe has proven worse than his predecessor. He has made repeated attempts to scramble these stations’ signals. He is also allegedly responsible for the 2002 bombing of exiled station Radio Voice of the People and the 2000 and 2001 bombings of independent newspaper The Daily News.

Today’s listener
But Mugabe may be fighting a losing battle. Technological advances are no longer so slow. Today’s listener is not only more stubborn, but also more able to access alternative media sources such as the internet and digital satellite broadcasters.

Radio is also accessible via cell phone and computer. Most Zimbabweans now own cheap Asian-import cars fitted with radios that can access Studio 7, the exiled station most despised by Mugabe which has coverage even wider than that of the FM state broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC). Radio Voice of the People and Short Wave Radio Africa are two other exiled stations that attract a generous listenership.

And the stricter Mugabe gets about the ban’s imposition, the more ravenous becomes the appetite of Zimbabwean citizens. They want to hear precisely what the state broadcaster cannot – or will not – put in their domain.

(Source: RNW)