Radio Waves: RCI Staff cut in half, DRM Newsletter Notes, and VOA in the Press

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors William Lee, Kris Partridge, Kim Elliott, and Jason Hauser for the following tips:


CBC’s plan for Radio Canada International sees its staff cut in half (CARTT.ca)

By Steve Faguy MONTREAL — This week, the CRTC began a two-week hearing into the renewal of CBC/Radio-Canada’s licences, a process which began more than a year ago. There will be days of questioning, dozens of intervenors appearing, and discussions of everything from children’s programming to the fees for CBC News Network to diversity, local news, online distribution and official minority communities. But one thing that probably won’t be discussed is a service the public broadcaster is specifically required by legislation to provide, relatively few know about, but that the company has seemingly treated like a forgotten stepchild: Radio Canada… [Note this article fades into a Paywall, but William recommends reading more at Fagstein.com]

Digital Radio Mondial Newsletter includes a number of announcements

Successful DRM for FM Simulcast Demonstration in Russia

The Russian company Digiton Systems, supported by DRM Consortium members, carried out a high-power field trial of the DRM standard in the FM band using the simulcast mode.  The trial report in St Petersburg covers the trial that took place from June – December 2019. The trial continues to be on air and its main findings will be collected in a more detailed ITU report.  Read more

The Indian Public Broadcaster Updates on 2021 Plans including digitisation

On the website of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prasar Bharati (the radio and TV Indian public broadcaster) has today clarified that no AIR station is being closed anywhere in any Indian state, some “fake news” widely circulated recently in the press.

All India Radio (AIR) stressed the importance attached to localism and the news projects included in its 2021-2022 plan. In its press release of January 13th.  Prasar Bharati mentions that it is also moving ahead with its plans to introduce Digital Terrestrial Radio in India. Select AIR channels are already available through Digital DRM technology to the listeners in many cities/regions on an experimental basis. Listeners in these cities/regions can experience the power of Digital Radio through a choice of multiple radio channels available on a single radio frequency in digital mode. Specialised Digital Radio Services available on DRM transmitters include AIR News 24×7 dedicated to news and current affairs, AIR Raagam 24×7 dedicated to classical music as well as local/regional radio services and Live Sports.

AIR Announces Tender for DRM Receivers

All India Radio announced a tender for the supply of DRM receivers.  More here

DRM FOR EDUCATION DURING COVID-19 AND BEYOND

DRM offers a solution for tackling the global disruption in education at a local level. DRM not only provides audio but also multimedia services consisting of Journaline text services, slides, graphics, and images simultaneously.  In this article published by Broadcast Cable & Satellite, a much-respected Indian publication, Yogendra Pal (Hon Chair, DRM India Platform) and Ruxandra Obreja (DRM Consortium Chair), set out the benefits of DRM technology in facilitating distance learning for all.  Read more 

DRM Providing Distance Learning Without the Internet

In the Fourth Quarter Broadcast Technology publication published by the IEEE, Thimmaiah Kuppanda and Alexander Zink, Fraunhofer IIs, explain how DRM and Journline technologies rise to the challenge of providing distance learning solutions where there is no internet availability.  Read more

Article published reproduced with permission from IEEE

How DRM Contributes to UN Sustainability Goals

In the latest edition of the ETSI magazine, Lindsay Cornell (BBC & Chair of the DRM Technical Committee), sets out how DRM (the only open digital radio standard) delivers substantial energy savings and gives access to remote communities.  Read more

Dxers Diary New Programme Launched on KTWR

Arun Kumar Narasimhan from Chennai in India has been producing and presenting a new short programme called “DXERS DIARY”.  From Sunday January 3rd he was on air presenting a 5-minute weekly DX programme in KTWR’s DRM broadcast (13800 Khz at 10.26 UTC) every Sunday. The programme is designed to make it easy for listeners to contribute to the advancement of the DX hobby.  The programme will include listeners’ logs, band scans from across the world and news and information on frequency changes by various radio stations. Listeners can send logs, bandscans and reception reports about DXERS DIARY to our email to dxersdiary@gmail.com.

Women in Broadcast Technology

The DRM Chair, Ruxandra Obreja is featured in a profile in IEEE focusing on “Women in Technology”.  Read more 

DRM SW Recordings Brazil, China and India

DRM shortwave recordings to Brazil broadcast by Radio Romania, China National Radio and recording received on the road in India.

Voice Of America White House Reporter Reassigned After Questioning Pompeo (NPR)

Voice of America White House reporter Patsy Widakuswara was reassigned Monday evening just hours after pressing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on whether he regretted saying there would be a second Trump administration after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was apparent.

Pompeo had appeared at the U.S. government-owned international broadcaster’s headquarters in Washington on Monday to make an address. He did not address last week’s assault on Congress by a mob filled with President Trump’s avowed supporters in his remarks, nor was he asked about it in a congenial question-and-answer session by VOA’s new director, Robert R. Reilly. To date, Pompeo, a steadfast Trump ally, has not substantively addressed the attack on the U.S. Capitol at all.

As Pompeo walked out of the VOA building, giving a thumbs up to a man with whom he exchanged remarks in the crowded foyer, Widakuswara lobbed several questions. She asked what he was doing to repair the reputation of the U.S. around the world. She finally asked: “Mr. Secretary, do you regret saying there will be a second Trump administration?” Pompeo did not acknowledge the questions.

She tweeted out videotaped footage of that exchange, which showed a throng of people around. Contemporaneous audio obtained by NPR shows she then turned to press Reilly: “Mr. Director, why did you not ask any of the questions that we wanted to know about?”

He asked who she was, and Widakuswara identified herself as a Voice of America White House reporter. An irate Reilly can be heard saying, “You obviously don’t know how to behave,” adding, she wasn’t “authorized” to be there to ask questions.

Widakuswara: “I know, but I am a journalist, and I am paid to ask questions.”[]

Voice of America journalists demand resignation of top officials, protest sidelining of two staffers (NBC News)

“It is not out of order for VOA journalists to ask questions of U.S. government officials. It is our job,” the journalists wrote in a letter.

WASHINGTON — A group of Voice of America journalists has signed a letter demanding the resignation of the director of VOA and his deputy, accusing them of using the network “to stage a propaganda event” for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and for the “sudden and unexplained” reassignments of the chief news editor and White House correspondent.

The journalists said the actions of VOA Director Robert Reilly and Deputy Director Elizabeth Robbins violated the network’s decades-old charter, which states that the U.S.-funded outlet does not speak for the U.S. government, according to the letter obtained by NBC News.

Reilly and Robbins were recently installed by President Donald Trump’s appointee, Michael Pack, who runs the parent agency that oversees VOA, the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

The letter was sent to Pack, Reilly and Robbins and has so far been signed by two dozen journalists from the VOA’s staff of about 1,000.

At the network’s headquarters in Washington on Monday, Pompeo delivered a speech carried live on VOA, extolling the virtues of America’s free press and accusing the service of having overly negative coverage of the U.S. in the past. The broadcasters’ reporters were barred from asking questions and outside media were not allowed to attend, according to the letter and journalists who spoke to NBC News.

Pompeo “used this opportunity to attempt to direct VOA journalists to cease critical coverage of the United States,” and Reilly, who was on stage with the secretary of state, “did not challenge him — a disservice to our international audience,” the letter said.[]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

11 thoughts on “Radio Waves: RCI Staff cut in half, DRM Newsletter Notes, and VOA in the Press

  1. Mark

    DRM sound quality is absolute sh*t, sorry to say, but it is. Any audio at 8-6 Kbps is going to sound bad no matter what codec is used.

    Give me good O’l Analogue any day, sure, it might have some noise and fading but at least I can still hear it when the signal drops enough unlike DRM and the quality of audio doesn’t hurt my ears.

    See, I know a lot of People associate the lack of noise in the transmission as being quality but this just means less noise but if most of the quality is removed in the process what’s the point ?

    I use DMR on my anytone 878 and the quality of audio is shockingly bad, so much of the human voice has been removed yet a lot of People think the quality is great ?

    Sure, apart from the poor audio quality it’s impress receiving a stable DRM transmission from CRI transmitted from China in Ireland @ only 30 Kw but when it fades it’s gone while on a decent analogue radio I can turn on SSB and use ECSS to combat fading and it works really well and at signal levels where DRM isn’t possible.

    Reply
    1. Mangosman

      Mark,
      Did you really listen to the link below from Brazil. The New xHE AAC compression system they use is much better than HE AAC.
      Get a decent pair of headphones and go to youtube and really listen to radiohost – xHE-AAC Audio Demo [ENGLISH]
      Describe the faults you hear.

      Reply
  2. Mangosman

    What are the problems of high frequency broadcasting using AM?
    Often poor signal to noise ratios due to;
    noise or interference from impulse noise such as any arcing source such as lightning particularly in tropical areas, switch mode power supplies as used in most electrical devices, power line insulators, petrol engine vehicles……
    non random sources such as other broadcasters including jammers.

    Often distortion caused by multipath reflections from the ionosphere which contain different lengths hence different delays adding together to cause volume and phase errors.

    Lack of high frequencies particularly in music and female voices
    Lack of stereo sound
    To back this up
    “Have you heard, Brasil DRM Expr 11910 kHz – Page 3 – DRM Reception Project Forums (drmrx.org) It uses xHE AAC at 13 kbit/s. There is high pitched sound, stereo and no noise or distortion! Even at 6730 km away! The path goes over the equator. The transmission power is just over 1 kW from The Brazilian version of the BBC. Digital Radio Mondiale | DRM SW Transmissions Start in Brazil” The aim is to provide programs for the Amazon which does not have the internet!

    The need to memorise a day and a night frequency for continuous broadcasts or a frequency, band and program transmission time for individual programs or languages.

    Compare this to DRM on the same high frequency bands
    stereo sound with high frequency, no noise or distortion
    No need to remember frequencies for day and night because the receiver is told them and will switch automatically as required. Broadcasters label their programs feeds which appear on the radio and can be used for selection.
    Multiple speech programs possibly in different languages from a single transmitter increasing the cost effectiveness.

    Like the internet DRM can transmit pictures and large volumes of text

    What the internet cannot do is to cover large areas completely from a single safe location. In areas of low population density this is an impossible task. This has happened in remote Australia. They get no radio at all, unless they use a fixed satellite dish accurately aimed at a satellite.

    I agree that AM high frequency broadcasting is dying, but DRM overcomes the problems with transmission costs halved.

    Reply
  3. Mangosman

    Keith,
    Some of the most prolific high frequency broadcasters use the medium for either propaganda or religion.
    They particularly target areas of low socioeconomic income, which also usually has very poor broadcasting and telecommunication systems. They commonly also target the Governments who they want to control.

    The BBC and the late Radio Australia are/were popular because of their unbiassed news content. It also means that the government of the target country cannot just switch off the broadcasts they don’t like. Jamming of HF broadcasts is a possibility but harder if DRM is used

    Shouldn’t the first world countries have a duty to use those frequencies to provide popular programs on DRM so that they can hear and see content which is unbiassed so as to minimise the possibility of war along with providing accurate, location specific emergency disaster warnings?

    Reply
    1. Keith Perron

      Who and how many people are actually listening. Even in areas I can use Burma as an example. First time I went to Burma in 2001 shortwave was still the medium, because mobile phones and Internet were way to expensive. I remember for the week I went it cost me 400USD for Internet and I had to buy a phone there which cost me 850USD. I have been back a few times. The last was in January 2020. Mobile phones now cost as little as 30USD with internet at 12USD unlimited. First time I went you could still find shortwave radios in the shops. But the last few times I went. None what so ever can be found.

      Its the same in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, across the Pacific nations and most of all Africa. First time I went to Kenya I could only used a satellite phone, when I went again in 2017, and 2019 mobile coverage is throughout the country..

      In countries like China where the government has the great fire wall people use VPNs to get around it.

      The reality is shortwave is dead and is not going to make a comeback and its time to move on.

      Reply
      1. zhongfan yang

        In China, the governments don’t go after “illegal users” of VPN, but anyone providing /selling VPN service without government permission is prosecuted and put in jail. Oh BTW, they can choke off the remaining few working VPN services at will, and they do occasionally.

        Reply
  4. Keith Perron

    RCI is no more and has been no more for a long time. It’s like a horse that has one leg, but yet the owner keeps insisting it runs in the next race. Shoot it and just do away with it.

    While many people that did work at RCI moved on and did other things. There are a couple of diehards that just can’t seem to face reality. And they just keep clinging on to something that is no more. Take Python’s Parrot Sketch and replace parrot with RCI.

    The facts are: Shortwave and international broadcasting as we knew it are dead. Those who only worked in shortwave broadcasting are very limited to where they can work. For example the work I did in shortwave/international broadcasting account for less than 10% of my film and television work. Radio as we know it has changed. People that didn’t make the switch to television or film are going to be very limited in their future job prospects.

    Now I can understand why they are clinging on to something that is no more, because they spent their entire working lives living for shortwave and international broadcasting. And they just seemed to be unable to admit its over and there was no more future in it. Others including myself moved on to other.

    The writing was on the wall in 1992. I remember at one meeting that was attended by what was known as the group of seven. The question was: What do we do now with no more communism in Eastern Europe and no more Soviet Union.

    We can’t forget that most of the stations that did exist, were are born during the Cold War. The Cold War ended. They should be lucky that they got as many years as they did after 1991 as they did.

    Time to move on instead of sitting around like a bunch of old people talking about the old days.

    Reply
  5. Mangosman

    This seems to be following the same model as Radio Australia which was closed almost 4 years ago. They now only produce 7 shows unique to the Pacific service. All other areas have been closed.

    Since then China Radio International has taken over the old RA frequencies with high power broadcasts.

    Program distribution is on line, satellite using fixed dish receivers and 12 low powered FM transmitters generally run by the recipient countries.

    Reply
    1. Keith Perron

      Let CRI take over the frequencies. Just because they have taken over the frequencies does not mean that have any listeners.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.