Category Archives: Broadcasters

Radio Waves: LPFMs Go Non-Directional, ABC Cuts Remain, WBCQ Videos, and Demolition of Hara Arena

Hara Arena during the 2016 Dayton HamventionRadio 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 Ulis (K3LU), Michael Bird, and Trevor Dailey for the following tips:


New FCC Rules Would Allow LPFMs To Use Non-Directional Antennas. (Inside Radio)

The FCC is scheduled to vote on controversial new rules that would potentially end a prohibition on low-power FM stations using directional antennas, among other things. At its April Open Commission Meeting, the agency will vote on a Report and Order to update its technical rules for LPFM stations.

Since the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 was passed nearly a decade ago, the number of LPFMs has grown to more than 2,100 stations. The LPFM service has “matured since engineering requirements were first established in 2000,” FCC Chair Ajit Pai said in a blog post announcing the April meeting agenda. “This maturation means that LPFM stations should be able to take advantage of additional engineering options to improve reception.”

In addition to improving reception, the proposed new rules would “increase flexibility while maintaining interference protection and the core LPFM goals of diversity and localism,” Pai said.

Along with expanded LPFM use of directional antennas, the proposal would allow LPFM stations to use FM booster stations.[]

The ABC is an essential service but funding cuts remain, says boss (The Age)

The ABC could have to look at closing a channel if the government remains committed to the funding cuts announced in the 2018 federal budget, according to managing director David Anderson.

“We don’t think we can bridge the gap purely from efficiency alone,” said Mr Anderson on Thursday, as the broadcaster revealed a suite of programming that it hopes will help Australians through the next three months of social isolation.

“That’s where you start to look at what it is you’re providing on what service. At the moment we have no plans to turn off a channel or a network, but I have to say that in the foreseeable future turning off a channel will happen one day. It’s just not right now.”

The ABC is in the second year of its current triennial funding round, in which the government declined to index its base funding, effectively meaning its budget has been cut by $84 million over the three years to 30 June, 2022.[]

Two WBCQ Videos

Trevor Dailey shares two videos produced by Peter Kroon and OfficialSWLchannel that focus on WBCQ and their free speech mission. Click here for the first video (18:30) and here for the second video (4:37).

Note that while all of the commentary in the first video is in Dutch, much of the content is in English.

Demolition of most of Hara Arena will start soon (Dayton Daily News)

Michael Heitz, the developer of the Hara Arena property, said Monday that sometime in the next two to three months, demolition of about two-thirds of the tornado-damaged property should begin.

Heitz said he is putting together a legal description of the recently rezoned former entertainment property, with an environmental report and surveys, for JobsOhio. He expects JobsOhio, the state’s private jobs creation arm, to put its marketing muscle behind the 130-acre site, to help him find a future user.

“This is one of their biggest tracts in the state of Ohio, under one piece of land,” Heitz said in an interview. []


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“BBC to provide free DAB radios to over-70s”

(Source: IBC via Tony Robbins)

  • BBC Radio to provide free DAB radios to over-70s
  • Radios to be given away due to isolation caused by coronavirus
  • Broadcaster partners manufacturers, retailers and charity for giveaway

The broadcaster’s local radio unit will give away free DAB radio units to over-70s nominated by local listeners, as part of the BBC’s Make a Difference campaign.

The project is running across all 39 of the BBC’s local radio stations in England, with partners – including Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis & Partners, Pure and Roberts Radio – setting aside thousands of radios to give away.

The radios will be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength, while manufacturer Duracell has agreed to provide batteries for free for the radios.

Tony Hall, the outgoing director-general of the BBC, said: “Local radio is a lifeline at this time and has never been more important as a source of trusted local news and information, and also as a companion for people who are isolating.

”Make A Difference is already having a huge impact right across the country with 28,000 thousand calls in just five days. It is offering support and practical solutions to people who have nowhere else to turn.

“We want everyone who needs access to the radio to have it, that’s why we’re giving away DAB radios. I’m proud we’ve been able to coordinate this initiative with our partners who have been so generous in offering their resources.”[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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Radio Waves: Digitizing Pakistan, BBC MW Closures, Lowe HF-250 Review, and BBC News suspends 450 job cuts

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’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Alan, Mike, and Dave Zantow for the following tips:


Government to fully digitize Radio Pakistan (Radio Pakistan)

The incumbent government, under its vision of introducing modern trends and technology in different sectors, has planned to fully digitize the state-owned Radio Pakistan.

This information has been revealed in official documents during the ongoing week-long national workshop on Digital Radio Migration policy of Radio Pakistan at Pakistan Broadcasting Academy, Islamabad.

The digitization will bring about a revolution in the field of broadcasting in the country, and will capture the audience at home and abroad including South Asia and Central Asia and the Middle East through quality news, current affairs and programs.

Under the plan, the biggest 1000-Kilowatt DRM Medium-wave transmitting station of Radio Pakistan will be set up at Fort Monroe hill station in Dera Ghazi Khan district in South Punjab at an estimated cost of three billion rupees.

It will be the first ever most powerful but digital transmitter of Radio Pakistan that is to be established in center of the country as part of Phase-II of Digital Radio Migration policy and it will help cover the entire population of Pakistan with crystal clear and noise-free waves.

The project has already been approved by the federal cabinet while the Punjab government has been asked to acquire land for the said purpose.

Under Phase-II of DRM plan, five DRM+FM transmitters of 10-kilowatt each will be installed in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad and Multan in the existing Radio Stations.

Besides, eight DRM+FM transmitters of five kilowatt each will be installed in Quetta, Peshawar, Gilgit, Skardu, Gwadar, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir), Khairpur and Narowal in the existing radio stations.

The phase-II of the plan would be accomplished in three years with an overall estimated cost of 3,153 million rupees.

And under Phase-III of the plan, four DRM medium wave transmitters of 100-kilowatt each will be installed in Lahore, Skardu, Quetta and Peshawar for strategic purposes.[]

BBC Radio to close more medium wave transmitters (Radio Today)

The BBC says it is closing a further 18 medium wave transmitters across England, Scotland and Wales in the next stage of its plan to cut costs.

Services being closed range from BBC Radio Solent’s two AM frequencies on the South Coast to BBC Radio Scotland’s service in Aberdeen.

Six more BBC Local Radio services will no longer be transmitted on AM – they are Three Counties Radio (630 and 1161 kHz), BBC Radio Merseyside (1485 KHz), BBC Radio Newcastle (1458 KHz), BBC Radio Solent and BBC Radio Solent (for Dorset) 999 and 1359 KHz, BBC Radio Cornwall (630 and 657 kHz) and BBC Radio York (666 and 1260 KHz).

Kieran Clifton, Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development explains: “The majority of radio listening in the UK – including to the BBC – is now digital, and digital listening is continuing to grow.

“This change was planned as long ago as 2011, but we have taken a measured approach to implement it to ensure that as many of you as possible have already moved on to other ways of receiving the services before we make this change. We know that the changes will impact some of you, and that’s why we’re speaking about the plans again now. We want to make sure that people listening to these transmissions will be able to use other methods to hear the same programmes.”[]

Dave’s review of the Lowe HF-250 (N9EWO)

[…]As far as audio quality goes, it’s extremely difficult to beat the Lowe HF-250. Mind you it has it’s share of “bug-a-boos” as well.

In our view it has held up much better in it’s old age vs. the AOR AR7030. Properly operating and in decent condition samples are fairly rare on the used market now (even more so in North America). Most owners know what the receiver is and hang on to them. But once a great while one does show up on the used market. Click here to read the full review.

BBC News suspends 450 job cuts to ensure Covid-19 coverage (BBC News)

BBC News has suspended plans to cut 450 jobs as it faces the demands of covering the coronavirus pandemic.

The job losses were announced in January and were part of a plan to complete a £80m savings target by 2022.

Outlets due to be hit include BBC Two’s Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and the World Service’s World Update programme.

Director general Tony Hall gave staff the news on Wednesday, a week after the broadcaster delayed the end of the free TV licence scheme for all over-75s.

Lord Hall said “we’re suspending the consultation on those saving plans”.

He told staff: “We’ve got to get on with doing the job that you’re doing really brilliantly.

“It would be inappropriate. We haven’t got the resource to plough ahead with those plans at the moment, so we’ll come back to that at some point.

“But for the moment we just want to make sure you are supported and you’ve got the resources to do the job that you and your colleagues are doing amazingly.”[]


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With no Internet at home, PA school district uses AM radio to reach students

Check out the following story and video from WTAE Pittsburgh:

BUTLER, Pa. —As the coronavirus shutdown continues, the is going back to an old technology to help kids from falling more behind than they already are.

AM radio is making a comeback.

“We were trying to figure out how to create some normalcy for all of our students,” said Superintendent Brian White, “and we thought what better way than grabbing onto AM radio?”

White says he got the idea from a conversation with his father, also an educator, as they were setting up ways to communicate.

White says several students in the geographically large district don’t have access to the internet.

“When he was talking about that, I thought why aren’t we doing this for all of our students, that would be great. But let’s go to radio instead,” White said.

Elementary and secondary school teachers record lessons the night before and send them in. Then, 680 AM WISR in Butler broadcasts the lessons. Secondary students get their lessons at 9 a.m. and elementary students at 9:30 a.m.

“I thought the idea was great. It kind of takes you back in a way to think about the days of fireside chats,” said Hope Hull, the principal at Connoquenessing Elementary School.

Hull says she thinks this exercise improves listening skills for students. She added that her teachers are excited to put these lessons together.

White says there are plans in motion to get more students laptops and Wi-Fi capability.

Click here to read the full story and watch the WTAE video.

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All India Radio suspends shortwave and “pure DRM’ transmissions during Covid-19 lock-down

Photo by Karthik Chandran

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, who notes that All India Radio has suspended a number of their broadcast services during the Covid-19 lock-down.

Mark shares the following Office Memorandum from India’s Public Service Broadcaster.

Click here to download memorandum (PDF).

In terms of shortwave (ESD) services, here’s the relevant section from the Memorandum:

B) NON-ESSENTIAL RADIO SERVICES

The following non-essential radio services may be suspended with immediate effect during the lock-down

ESD

5) All ESD services

6) All transmitters dedicated to ESD

DRM

7) Pure DRM mode operations

a. DRM transmitters may be operated on analogue / simulcast mode to relay the National News Service subject to local circumstances and conditions

FM

8) Stations with a 3rd FM channel may relay audio of DD News or DD India subject to feasibility

On the WRTH Facebook group, Sanjay Sutradhar, did note one shortwave broadcast still in service:

It appears 9380 kHz from Aligarh is radiating AIR Vividh Bharti services, may be on a truncated wattage. 8am & 8.30pm news is extended to one hour dedicated to Covid-19 news in-country and world-wide and developments but it is the common broadcast carried out in-country on all bands, at 1.45 UTC

Mark Fahey asks:

I wonder if they will ever bring AIR’s External Service back–?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? The government lock-down is set for 21 days, but I fully expect it could take much longer if other Covid-19 countries are any indication.

If AIR’s shortwave service is closed for an extended period of time–recognizing they deem it “non-essential”–I wouldn’t be surprised if they made deep cuts or keep it closed. Let’s hope for the best outcome, though.

Stay tuned! We’ll keep you updated.


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Ipsos survey explores Coronavirus impact on radio usage

(Source: Inside Radio via Dennis Dura)

Here’s How Coronavirus Is Impacting Work Habits And Radio Usage.

Scores of companies across the country are encouraging their employees to work from home to help limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. How this is changing American work habits and their usage of AM/FM radio is the subject of a freshly fielded study from Ipsos.

Commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One, the national study of 1,027 persons 18+ was conducted from March 13 -15 “While the number of businesses, venues, and locations that have closed or curtailed visitation has grown sharply even since this study was fielded just two days ago, this data serves to quantify the state of the American workforce during a period in time,” Cumulus/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says in a post on the “Everyone’s Listening” blog.

[…]Importantly for radio, nearly one in five (18%) heavy AM/FM radio listeners, defined as those who listen to more than 5 hours a week, say they will listen even more to broadcast radio due to the coronavirus outbreak, while 79% said about the same and only 4% indicated less.

Additionally, 20% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will be listening more to news reports on AM/FM radio. “The crisis has also turned many into news fanatics,” Bouvard says. “Nearly one-third say they will be consuming more news online and news on TV.”[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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La radio per l’Italia: A special Friday broadcast over the RAI Radio network

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor in Italy who notes that Friday, March 16, 2020 at 11:00 local, (10:00 UTC)  RAI will broadcast a special program across their entire network. The transmission will start with the Italian national anthem.

The announcement below was translated by Google in English. You can find the original announcement in Italian on this page.

ROME, 16/03/2020 – United for Italy. It is the meaning of the operation that all radios are organizing for Friday 20 March at 11.00 am. Rai Radio, together with all the other Italian radios, will broadcast the anthem of Mameli and three songs of the national musical heritage. Almost one hundred years after the first radio program of 6 October 1924, for the first time ever in the history of our country, all Italian and national radio stations will unite for an unprecedented common broadcasting initiative. All the radios of the group will be for Rai Radio: Rai Radio 1, Rai Radio 2, Rai Radio 3, Rai Isoradio, thanks to the availability of the directors Luca Mazzà, Paola Marchesini, Marino Sinibaldi and Danilo Scarrone. In addition, the following will also join the initiative: Gr Parlamento, Rai Radio 1 Sport, Rai Radio 2 Indie, Rai Radio 3 Classica,

“Participating in this initiative is a duty but also a clear testimony of our role as a public service – comments Roberto Sergio, director of Rai Radio -. Rai Radio strongly wants to make Italy’s voice heard, fighting this battle and supporting all Italians. The directors of the four main channels immediately joined the proposal, and as a group I am proud to be able to start the operation. In these days, Rai Radio colleagues are doing a commendable job, almost all in smart working from home, others in the studios, all with great enthusiasm and a sense of belonging. At a time like this I feel all my colleagues proactive and ready to do. Proposals for new programs are coming, some are starting. A true testimony of unity by all channels, generalists and specialists “.

Click here to view the announcement and listen to this special broadcast.

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