Will Voice of Russia return to shortwave October 2014?

HFCC-VOR-A14Sched-001

SWLing Post reader, Stephen Cooper, writes:

Voice of Russia to return to shortwave October 1, 2014. A new schedule has been uploaded to HFCC from GFC for The Voice of Russia from 1st October including English to North America and Europe: http://hfcc.org/data/schedbyfmo.php?seas=A14&fmor=GFC

I thought, perhaps, these were schedules posted prior to VOR leaving the air, but Stephen notes that VOR has posted and made constant changes to their B14 schedules as well. Stephen follows schedules closely as he has a website and app devoted to shortwave radio schedules.

This does seem like a lot of effort if VOR has no intention of returning to the shortwaves.

Stephen also points to this article which mentions that Russia may be bringing back shortwave and a new body might be in charge of operations.

I suspect if VOR is returning to shortwave, it is in reaction to the recent changes at the Voice of America/Radio Liberty and the promise that HR4490 might increase a pro-US presence on the air.

In the end, we might not know until VOR actually resumes shortwave broadcasts.

We will keep you posted! Follow the tag: VOR

Voice of Russia closes DC bureau, fires staff

Voice-of-Russia-Logo(Source: VOA News)

Facing legal problems, the Russian government-funded radio network — the Voice of Russia — has fired its Washington bureau staff and closed the office.

The shutdown happened Monday, amid allegations of tax fraud and claims of racial discrimination at the network.

Alexei Iazlovsky, the head of the VOR’s U.S. operations, pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud and will be sentenced later this year.

VOR’s employment practices also have attracted attention from the IRS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The IRS is investigating whether VOR used contractors alongside full-time, salaried employees to skirt payroll taxes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took an interest in VOR after several former staffers claimed they were fired because of their race.

The employees have filed a lawsuit against International TV Services, VOR’s contract manager in the United States.

Some suspect Voice of Russia will quickly return to the U.S. through a different management company without the legal troubles.

Earlier this year, the Russians stopped Voice of America broadcasting in Moscow on AM radio.

Updated: “Putin wants to silence Voice of Russia”–?

UPDATE: I seriously question this VOR twitter account’s authenticity. @VORMoscow looks to be very new, starting on March 19, 2014–the same day VOR announced an end to its shortwave service–obviously not an official VOR account. Either this is a disgruntled VOR staffer posing as VOR English, or (most likely) a VOR listener. By 5:30 UTC on March 22, 2014 @VORMoscow was removed from Twitter: 


Two days ago we learn that the Voice of Russia plans to end all shortwave and medium wave broadcasts as of April 1, 2014.

Yesterday, SWLing Post reader Juan Kulichevsky, noticed this tweet from the new Twitter account @VORMoscow:

VORtweetRequest

Then, about ten hours ago, I notice this tweet among other VOR news items from @VORMoscow:

VOR-PutinTryingToStopVOR

By 5:30 UTC on March 22, 2014, @VORMoscow posted this final tweet before the account was removed from Twitter:

VOR-Fake-Twitter-Acct

Voice of Russia to abandon shortwave in April 2014

Voice-of-Russia-LogoIt appears that after all of the rumors from last year, and after the cuts to shortwave broadcasts earlier this year, the Voice of Russia has decided to stop broadcasting on shortwave entirely.

This morning, Alokesh Gupta shared the following message from Elena Osipova at the Voice of Russia World Service Letters Department:

“This is just a short message to thank you for your letter and let you know that the Voice of Russia is closing shortwave broadcasts as of April 1st. Our programs will be available online at http://voiceofrussia.com/play/

We hope you will stay with the Voice of Russia and hope to hear from you soon again.”

2nd Update: Shortly after publishing this original post, SWLing Post reader Stephen Cooper, noticed a VOR twitter account announcing the final date as April 30, 2014–I now believe this account to be fake:

VORTwitter

Update 2 (10:00 UTC on March 21, 2014): I just received the following message from Elena Osipova at the Voice of Russia World Service Letters Department:

Dear Mr Witherspoon,

This is to thank you for your message and confirm the information about the upcoming cancellation of the Voice of Russia’s short- and medium wave transmissions as of April 1, 2014.

Best regards,

Elena Osipova
Letters Department
World Service
Voice of Russia

I remember when the Voice of Russia and Radio Moscow absolutely dominated the shortwaves, especially in my early years as a radio listener. Times have changed for this broadcaster who has been the mouthpiece for Russia and the Soviet Union.

On a side note, if you have the ability to record the Voice of Russia in its final days on the air, please consider submitting and sharing your recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Many thanks!

Why shortwave? Russia blocks web pages linked to Ukraine protests

(Photo: VOA News)

(Photo: VOA News)

In response to the BBG’s request for comments on the relevancy of shortwave radio, SWLing Post reader, Rick, writes:

Here is the reason why VOA needs to keep broadcasting on shortwave.

Russia (or China or Angola or Zimbabwe or Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria) can easily block Internet access — to include, and particularly from, VOA. While shortwave can be jammed it takes a little more effort (and a considerable amount of budget to pay the electric bill for the high-powered jamming signals).

Unlike AM and FM radio transmission, shortwave transmitters can be located continents away from the strife for protection of the transmission infrastructure.

Shortwave transmission — coupled with the surreptitious distribution and proliferation of cheap shortwave radio receivers for target audiences — can help insure that the voice of freedom and democracy can continue to be heard in geopolitical hotspots throughout the world.”

Read the story Rick refers to here: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/russia-ukraine-protests-websites-internet-104171.html

Russia “quietly” ends longwave services

Zenith Transoceanic tuned to shortwaveThe BBC reports that Russia has “quietly switched off nearly all of its long-wave transmitters, ending almost nine decades of broadcasting – as cost finally catches up on the medium.” Read the full story on the BBC News.

Not a huge surprise as many countries are pulling the plug on longwave, despite the medium’s large local broadcasting footprint. It does make one wonder if VOR shortwave could also be pulled with little fanfare or warning.

Indeed, check out Jonathan Marks’ comments on the changes at the (former) Voice of Russia which we’ve mentioned has at least, administratively, been liquidated and consolidated.

I can tell you that for those of us in North America, VOR is now a much harder catch on shortwave–a very strange shift from the ubiquity of the broadcaster’s signal in past decades.

But if you want to hear frank, public comments about how these changes are affecting the staff of VOR, just bookmark and listen to From Moscow With Love. Hosts Vasily and Natasha happily march to their own beat and comment openly to listener inquiries.

From Moscow With Love: Comments on the future of VOR

RIA Novosti Newsroom, Moscow (Source: Wikipedia)

RIA Novosti Newsroom, Moscow (Source: Wikipedia)

SWLing Post reader, Richard, writes:

This is apparently a transcript from Vasily Strelnikov’s most recent “From Moscow With Love” that represents, probably as much as anything, the thinking currently within the halls of VoR.

Interesting reading & listening –

Many thanks, Richard, for sharing. Note that you can read and listen to the full show on the Voice of Russia website.

From Moscow With Love is hosted by Vasily Strelnikov and Natalia Stefanova. I thank them both for their refreshingly frank view of the the future of their show and the Voice of Russia.

 

Click for direct links to their show audio for part 1 and part 2. I’ve also pasted the bulk of the transcript below for the convenience of email subscribers:

(Source: Voice of Russia)

“This is our last show this year and, who knows, probably the last show on the VR.

There’s been a lot of talk on the internet all over the place about the end of shortwave broadcast from the Voice of Russia. Is it going to happen? I don’t know. I haven’t discussed it with anyone around here. Am I worried like some of you are? No. Am I losing sleep over it? No. Am I posting mindless crap about this all over the Internet? No. Do I care? Not really. Do I have a life? Yes, I’d like to think so. So, many stations have already left the shortwave for the same reasons. Are we as shortwave listeners happy? No. But can we put all our emotions aside and deal with reality? You might be asking why there hasn’t been on the air or on the website about this. Good question. I would probably guess it is because folks here don’t make such a big deal out of it. The fact is most of the comrades here at the office will continue working just as they always did. The programs will be carried online, on satellite and on the many local stations around the world in cities like Washington DC, New York, Miami, Chicago. There are DAB broadcasts in the UK and other European cities. The list grows all the time. Yes shortwave listeners are disappointed, I can understand this. But the hobby doesn’t end there. Get a grip.

But what about the merging of the station with RIA or RIA News Agency?

At the risk of sounding like the devil’s advocate, let me say I am not an employee of this radio station for as long as I’ve been a shortwave listener including the very early years as a kid in Maryland in the years I worked at radio Moscow World Service, I’ve always felt there was so much room left for improvement at radio Moscow. Now if this merger with the other Russia news organizations leads to something good, I can only welcome this. It’s been long overdue.

But aren’t you sad at all? This is bad news for the shortwave listeners around the world.

What I am sad about is the yet unconfirmed information dealing with having to move out of this historic building into a new facility several miles away because, maybe it is because we worked here for a long time, our lives are connected with this building at Pyatnitsaya street.

I suppose we feel like the BBC staff when they were forced to leave Bush House. It looks like most of the people are very worried about the future.

And what’s that got to do with leaving the building?
It is everything.

We are talking about our plans for New Year’s holiday as it is a time when the whole country goes on vacation for 10 days and the consequences are felt for the rest of the year. As for yours truly, I’ll probably spend a few days in the country in the fresh air, relaxing, playing with my new radio. But the atmosphere in Moscow if we talk about the first 10 days of January is very nice. It is very quiet during the holidays here. The city is empty, as all the oligarchs are out of here, off-shores. There is no traffic, the lighting is still there, it is magical. I also want to take a late night dinner cruise on the Moskva River aboard the Radisson fleet.

That must be a fantastic experience now that Moscow is sparkling with thousands of lights.

Let’s talk about traditions a bit more. You mentioned the one about throwing all the old stuff away. The one I never understood, I mean tradition speaking was how and why you are supposed to say farewell to the old year by having a drink a few minutes before midnight.

That is very simple, mind you, it is an absolute must to say goodbye to the old year and thank it for all the good things it brought you. After that you must have a shot of vodka or a glass of wine or any other alcoholic beverage provided it is not Champaign. Champaign is something to see the new year in.
I think it is just another excuse to drink. What about all the mythical animals that are always associated with this holiday? It may sound dumb coming from me and it probably is, but I don’t recall paying any attention to these things back in the US but here every year is assigned with an animal, like this time. It is the year of the horse.

Right, blue horse.

Are Russians really into that sort of thing?

I think they are and I am very much into this. And I am ready to tell you all that I know about the year of the blue horse and the oriental and occidental horoscopes, and their influence on people. But let’s do it next week because it is a very interesting topic and we simply have no time for it now.

One New Year’s tradition here is to have Santa Claus or Father Frost and his Snow Maiden visit kids from their parents workplace.

In USSR another New Year’s tradition which I hated was watching TV till the early hours of morning. There was nothing to watch but a lame soviet produced New Year’s special called Blue Light made up of ideologically safe jokes and unbearable Soviet singers. And later that night it would be followed by an east German production featuring dancers from the Friedrichstadt-Palast Cancan troop.”

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/radio_broadcast/36578738/256786661/