1961 Film: “Tuning In Radio Sarawak”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adid, who writes:

Hi Thomas, I just watched this very interesting DX film about RADIO SARAWAK.

It’s a behind the scenes look at radio in the tropics, with great vintage gear.

I don’t think it was FM as it’s was much expensive and coverage is limited. But on the other hand we don’t see the large MW antennas

What do you think?

Click here to view the film at the Imperial War Museum website.

Good question, Adid. The FM band wasn’t widely included on radios until the late 1950s and early 1960s. Since this film dates from 1961, I imagine some of those new transistor/valve radios could have included FM, although I imagine mediumwave was the choice band for regional broadcasts.

Hopefully, an SWLing Post reader can shed some more light on Radio Sarawak’s history! Please comment!

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11 thoughts on “1961 Film: “Tuning In Radio Sarawak”

  1. Martin

    For more information on this subject, I suggest the book “Broadcasting in the Malay World” (Greenwood Press Group, 1994) by my colleague, Professor Drew O. McDaniel.

  2. Pingback: Radio Malaysia QSL and memories | The SWLing Post

  3. Andrew

    Just did a bit of googling and found this, dating back to 2013


    and looking at the informations found online about “Radio Sarawak” (then renamed to “Radio Malaysia Sarawak”) it sounds like it was probably running on MW; some pointers




    notice that the third link above also carries an “ad” about a Philips radio and that radio is reported as being able to receive “six bands, including medium waves”

  4. Tom Servo

    This is definitely not FM. The VHF aerials appear to be used for remote pickup. The tower guys have insulators visible in one shot, so it’s likely AM. There’s also open ladder line feeding the antenna, which appears to be a T-shape strung between two towers.

  5. Timm Breyel

    Most MW stations in Malaysia ceased operation after 2000. That said, a 750 kW MW station in Sabah remained operational as late as 2008, if I remember correctly. My guess is FM became more prominent thereafter.

    Certainly here in penisular Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), particularly in 1987, we had six government FM stations. Sign-off was usually at midnight or 1 am, depending on the station. An annual license (tax) was issued for each radio owned.

  6. Pingback: 1961 Film: “Tuning In Radio Sarawak” – dxradio.de

  7. adi

    Great Mike, I hoped someone will pull a relevant WRTH with the info.
    But still all antennas in the movie are small.
    Any of you have later WRTH and can tell when FM was introduced to the Sarawakens?
    My wild guess… mid 70’s. (sad to tell that my first WRTH was 1976, but I threw it away years ago..)

  8. Mike Barraclough

    The 1961 World Radio TV Handbook shows Radio Sarawak on 730 and 850 kHz medium wave, 10kw and 5kw respectively. Either 4950 or 9565 shortwave 7.5kw used in parallel with 730, 4835 5kw shortwave used in parallel to 850. No FM broadcasts. Population 650,000, number of receivers 30,000.


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