The meager “benefits” of Covid-19 from an SWL’s perspective

The Tecsun PL-680

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares the following note:

One of the benefits of the Covid-19 pandemic, as if there are any real benefits of a pandemic, is serendipitous programming on SW. I speak in particular of the ERT Proto Programma now airing on the Voice of Greece. As noted today (14 April), here in NB, on 9420 kHz tuning in around 19:50 UTC or so, there was classical opera being broadcast and after the news at 20:00 UTC, we were treated to “Musical Choices by Elena Maraka,” which is an eclectic music program of jazz and blues (funk, etc.). Nice. By the way, in a couple of hours, Proto Programma joins the Second Program (Deftero Programma).

Thank you, Richard, for sharing this note. Just one more reason 9420 kHz is a preset on all of my digital receivers.

And, you’re right: there are no real benefits of a pandemic. Still, it is fascinating from a listener’s perspective to hear how it changes the content of our shortwave landscape.

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6 thoughts on “The meager “benefits” of Covid-19 from an SWL’s perspective

  1. zhongfan yang

    Radio as a distribution medium is not dead. Rather, it is the radio stations that make BAD use of radio will be dead.

  2. Zach Liang

    This message as posted in one mailing list too.
    Just a notice on ERA’s standard programming:
    ERA 1 long ago also networked either with ERA2 after 12 LT or 2100 or with Cosmos. That night the station had its own program as also noticed in ERT’s web page

  3. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

    Arthur ascii is correct, but he misses the point.

    You could say the same thing about horses. We can get just about anywhere we need to with dirt bikes and jeeps –we don’t need horses. But they’re fun to ride. They are efficient in their own way, and you can still get to places that would be difficult to traverse most other ways.

    The same thing goes for Shortwave Radio. It is very subject to the solar weather. It doesn’t sound like CD quality magic. But it’s fun and it goes places that are still difficult to get to most other ways.

    It’s the same reason that people continue to be interested in ham radio, why they continue to build cars, why they continue to make their own beer when you can buy it in the store for a lot less.

    It is good to play, and study how things were, and find things that work better. That’s why we do it.

  4. arthur ascii

    Well I think it’s time to be honest with ourselves.

    Radio is dead.

    As can be practically seen, there has been no
    tangible change or use found for
    broadcasting, either at shortwave or local
    broadcast level.

    The meagre resources that are available are STILL declining.

    Seriously, what is the point of broadcasting anymore unless it actually has a real use ?

    Who cares about hearing music in this format anymore?

    News ? Get all your want in five minutes
    of reading on a cell phone, and without waiting for the top of the hour to get it.

    Might as well just leave all the spectrum to hobbyists to play with.

    There clearly no ACTUAL evidence of anything useful within our modern society for this dead medium.

    For once, let’s stop pulling the well over our own eyes eh ?

    1. Leslie

      Arthur Ascii it seems like you’ve lost interest in radio, so why hang out here? I have seen your comments in the past and unless there’s another Ascii user they’re typically like this one. Complaints. Nothing constructive. Just creating some drama as you seek reactions, but hey we’re all entitled to opinions, right? I guess my question is… “Why are you here”?

      I like Jake’s analogy with horses and perhaps that’s why I’m commenting.

      In a similar vein I collect the odd record and have since I was like 7 (no joke). I never gave up on the medium as we saw cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, and streaming music services change the content delivery system for music over and over again. I’ve also watched as Vinyl started going through a renaissance to the point that many new releases from artists will include at least a limited pressing. Not even devoted collectors back in, say, 1995, would have EVER guessed this would happen. But here we are.

      Some of us simply have an affinity for needles and grooves. It rocks our world.

      On vinyl forums and blogs we see similar comments to yours here. Like “Why bother”! “This technology is useless”! “Audio quality isn’t all that” etc etc. And they complain to get a reaction. We’re all like “Dude…why are you here”?

      It’s a big Internet out there and it sounds like you’re unhappy reading about radio, so stop complaining! We’re all too busy playing radio to give you the type of attention you seek.

      And thanks for the tip Mr. Richard. I listen to Voice of Greece all the time but don’t understand Greek so didn’t understand the changes.

    2. Laurence N.

      Well, I would acknowledge your point and agree that there are a lot of problems with the typical arguments in favor of radio as seen here. I would agree that many of the stated use cases are flimsy or contrived. But I don’t think I can actually agree with those points, because you didn’t make them. Your comment doesn’t say much.
      And what you did say … it was wrong. Let’s consider local broadcasting, which you’ve specifically stated to be dead. According to you, there are no benefits. That is trivially easy to counter with two obvious and well-evidenced benefits. The first is news in emergency situations. If a large weather event such as a storm or earthquake hits an area, causing disturbances in local data infrastructure, important news such as the pattern, recommendations for evacuation, and traffic information can be sent by radio even if the mobile networks are not functioning due to excessive traffic or storm damage. The second one is less specific and concerns getting information to devices that don’t have good connections to the internet. For instance, a car that drives through an area with poor mobile coverage. Given that people still turn on their car radios, it seems to provide them with some entertainment.
      When you want to make actual points about why something is dead, I’d be happy to argue or agree with you. You have a reasonable chance of it being the latter. But in order to sound like you have a clue, you’re going to have to make specific statements with supporting information.


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