Radio Waves: State of AM Radio, Quindar Tones Hack, AI DJs, BBC Pop-Up Station for Sudan, Artemis II & Ham Radio, and a Morse Revival

Source: NASA

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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 Dennis Dura, David Shannon, and Eric McFadden for the following tips:

Bouvard Laments “Yawning Gap” in Marketer Perceptions About Radio (Radio World)

Cumulus publishes analysis to counter prevailing sentiments about AM and radio in general

“Ford owners are massive users of AM radio.”

So writes Pierre Bouvard, chief insights office of Cumulus Media, citing data from MRI Simmons.

That is but one of his observations as Cumulus Media/Westwood One released an analysis of listening data from sources that also include the Nielsen fall 2022 survey, Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” and research by Advertiser Perceptions.

Bouvard regularly posts about the power of radio and what he calls misperceptions about the medium among the broader marketing community.

He summarized takeaways from the new Cumulus analysis:

“The Nielsen Fall 2022 survey reveals that 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly; 57% of the AM radio audience listens to news/talk stations, the very outlets that Americans turn to in times of crisis and breaking local news; and one out of three American AM/FM radio listeners are reached monthly by AM radio,” he wrote. [Continue reading…]

AM News Radio, your go-to in a crisis, could itself be in trouble (

“Some clouds over the city right now. I’m Paul Murnane,” says a familiar voice.

“I’m Wayne Cabot,” says another.

Few would know their faces. But as names, they’re as recognizable as anyone in New York.

Fewer still could tell you their address — an 11th floor studio in a light-brick high-rise in lower Manhattan, between a Chase bank branch and patisserie named Maman.

But hundreds of thousands know where to find them on the AM dial — right between 820 WNYC (“public affairs”) and 930 WPAT (“multi-ethnic”). That, for 56 years, has been the location of WCBS Newsradio 880 — one of those rare unchanging institutions in a changeable city. [Continue reading…]

Apollo Comms Part 27: Quindar Tones Microphone Hack (CuriousMarc on YouTube)

The last DJ nears? Radio station uses artificial intelligence, cloned voices (WRAL)

GENEVA — The voices sound like well-known personalities, the music features trendy dance beats and hip-hop syncopations, and the jokes and laughter are contagious. But listeners of an offbeat Swiss public radio station repeatedly got the message on Thursday: Today’s programming is brought to you by Artificial Intelligence.

Three months in the making, the French-language station Couleur 3 (Color 3) is touting a one-day experiment using cloned voices of five real, human presenters — in what managers claim is a world first — and never-aired-before music composed almost entirely by computers, not people. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., the station said, AI controlled its airwaves. Every 20 minutes, listeners got a reminder.

With an eerie, Sci-Fi movie-like track whirring in the background, a soothing, raspy female voice said: “AI is taking your favorite radio by storm.”

“For 13 hours, our digital alter egos have taken the reins, broadcasting their voices and their messages across the airwaves, without mercy or respite,” the voice said, at times almost taunting listeners. “The boundaries between human and machine have been blurred, and it’s up to you to unravel what’s real and what’s fake.”

“Our voice clones and AI are here to unsettle, surprise and shake you. And for that matter, this text was also written by a robot.” [Continue reading…]

BBC World Service launches emergency pop-up radio service for Sudan (BBC World)

An emergency radio service for Sudan is to be launched on BBC News Arabic on Tuesday, by the World Service.

The pop-up radio service will be broadcast twice daily for three months, providing news and information for people in the war-torn African nation.

It will include eyewitness accounts and news on diplomatic efforts, the BBC said, and help counter disinformation.

BBC director general Tim Davie said the move was “crucial at a time of great uncertainty”.

The programme will be broadcast live from London, with input and analysis from teams in Amman in Jordan and the Egyptian capital Cairo.

It will be available on shortwave radio in Sudan, as well as online, where listeners will be able to hear information on how to access essential supplies and services, the BBC said.

“The World Service provides an essential lifeline to many around the world where access to accurate news and information is scarce,” Mr Davie said in a statement.

“The enhanced emergency service for Sudan will be crucial at a time of great uncertainty in the country.” [Continue reading at BBC World…]

Artemis 2 astronauts flying to the moon could phone home with ham radio (

It’s been 40 years since the first astronaut called an amateur radio operator on Earth. Now the moon is in the community’s sights.

Most of the astronauts aboard the Artemis 2 mission, which will send a quartet of people around the moon in late 2024, are certified ham radio (amateur radio) operators. There’s high hopes in the community that the astronauts may call home from deep space, the president of Radio Amateurs of Canada told

“We feel it’s important that anyone, especially kids as they determine what they want to do with their life, have that opportunity” to talk with astronauts, Phil A. McBride said in a recent interview. After four decades of communication with low Earth orbit, he added, the hope is ham radio will reach further out with the moon. [Continue reading on…]

The Morse Code revival: how dots and dashes are being embraced by a new generation (National World)

To mark Morse Code Day (27 April), we explore its modern-day applications, along with its surprising comeback spurred on by the younger generation.

Devised by Samuel Morse over 180 years ago, Morse, short for Morse code, consists of dots and dashes that represent individual letters in the alphabet. Over time, its uses have ranged from incredible rescue stories to romantic tales between separated couples. Now, its purposes are making headlines for new reasons.

While Morse code hasn’t been used in commercial telecommunications since the 1990s, it has been kept alive by radio enthusiasts for decades. Elsewhere, Morse code has retained its position in society, providing a valuable service for those working in the military and healthcare sectors.

Through its behind-the-scenes presence, Morse has very much remained quietly part of our cultural consciousness. Yet all this may be about to change as tech companies, musicians and social networks appear to be fuelling its widespread resurgence. Earlier this year, evidence of Morse’s return was supported by the Radio Society of Great Britain, which revealed that the number of amateur radio licences had increased by 60%. [Continue reading…]


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

6 thoughts on “Radio Waves: State of AM Radio, Quindar Tones Hack, AI DJs, BBC Pop-Up Station for Sudan, Artemis II & Ham Radio, and a Morse Revival

  1. Michael Black

    The problem with these space hams is that they probably aren’t real.hams. The ARRL or NASA convinces them it’s good for their career, and the US Technician license is now so easy to get. They likely get radio training in their astronaut training. I suspect that most have no interest other than their time in space.

    When Owen Garriott went up to. Skylab, he was a ham who happened to be an astronaut. Old school where you got licensed as a kid becauseof the technology or some other aspect. Owen tied to get ham radio into Skylab,but I recalled at the time NASA didn’t want uncontrolled communication.

    The recent Canadian astronaut didn’t even bother getting licensed in Canada. An ARRL article showed it was a US callsign.

    Ham radio in space is very scheduled. It’s cheaper than sending ground stations to schools, but they might as well be using space frequencies.

    1. Thomas Post author

      So what is a “real ham” by your definition?

      I would consider anyone an amateur operator if they pass their exam and are licensed by the FCC or their own respective regulatory entity.

      Yes, their astronaut training does cover a lot of the material found in the Technician, General, and Extra class licenses. Indeed, it’s much like studying to become and electrical engineer; the material covers all of the electronic theory found on an amateur radio exam.

      The reason why Canadian astronauts pass a US exam for their license is because they live in the US for years at a time during the bulk of their astronaut training. Many buy a house and even raise their families in the US because they’re here for so long. I would recommend Chris Hadfield’s excellent autobiography if you’d like to understand the space program from a Canadian’s perspective.

      ARISS contacts with schools are scheduled for obvious reasons, but ISS astronauts also make random contacts in their off time. In fact, they’ve been doing a lot of that over the past 2 years. Keep in mind, though, that there is a schedule in that the window of opportunity is only when you have line of sight to the ISS. Each ISS pass has a window of opportunity and you can’t make direct contact with the ISS outside of that window.

  2. Bob Colegrove

    The article concludes, “The biggest risk for radio is the 26-year-old planner who lives in New York or Chicago and does not commute by car and does not listen to radio and thus does not think anyone else listens to radio.” Colin Kinsella, former CEO of media buyer Havas Media North America

    Feelings notwithstanding, as I read things, the biggest cost to the automotive industry is not the inclusion of an AM chip in the radio, but rather the effort required to quiet the Q-R-Nancy coming from any electric vehicle. Imagine trying to listen to AM in an environment of fluorescent lights, switching power adapters, computers, etc. Again, so much for Title 47 CFR Part 15, Radio Frequency Devices.

  3. Ken C

    as an insomniac that is up most nights AM radio is one of my best friends, i will hate to see it harmed by the auto industry


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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