Category Archives: Broadcasters

Radio Waves: The silence of RCI, Cox Radio Hit by Ransomware, Asheville Radio Museum Reopens, and New Aluminium-Ion Battery Chemistry

Photo from the RCI Sackville transmitter site in 2012, a few months prior to its closure.

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 Troy Riedel, NT, Tracy Wood and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


The silence of Radio Canada International (Open Canada)

The former head of CBC News laments the evisceration of CBC’s international service and Canada’s shrinking voice in the world

For a country that once regarded itself as one of the world’s leading middle powers, Canada’s voice on the international scene is a strikingly quiet one these days. It reminds me of the line from that famous “dead parrot” sketch in Monty Python: “bereft of life, it rests in peace.”

The latest sign of this is the decision by CBC/Radio-Canada to implement changes that have effectively smothered Radio Canada International (RCI), its fabled global audio and online service that has helped serve as “Canada’s Voice to the World” for more than a half century.

In a December announcement replete with CBC doublespeak, the CBC unveiled a “major transformation” of RCI that, it claimed, would ensure RCI remains “a strong and relevant voice” in this century’s media landscape. Not surprisingly, the practical impact of these changes is precisely the opposite.

Flipping RCI’s historic mission on its head, the service will now focus more on ethnic minorities within Canada rather than on continuing to produce programs tailored uniquely for international audiences. More than half of RCI’s beleaguered staff have been laid off.

This latest CBC battering of RCI — a pattern that has gone on for decades — triggered considerable criticism. In February, a group of 32 prominent Canadians sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other senior government ministers urging that the CBC scrap its planned strategy and appoint an independent committee to plan a rebuild of the international service: “In an interconnected world in search of truth, facts and honest journalism, countries like Canada cannot abdicate their role on the world stage.” Its signatories included former prime minister Joe Clark, former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, former UN ambassador Stephen Lewis, actor Donald Sutherland and author Naomi Klein. Continue reading…

Live streams go down across Cox radio & TV stations in apparent ransomware attack (The Record)

Live streams for radio and TV stations owned by the Cox Media Group, one of the largest media conglomerates in the US, have gone down earlier today in what multiple sources have described as a ransomware attack.

The incident took place earlier this morning and impacted the internal networks and live streaming capabilities for Cox media properties, such as web streams and mobile apps. Official websites, telephone lines, and normal programming remained running but some live programming could not go on air as scheduled.

“This morning we were told to shut down everything and log out our emails to ensure nothing spread. According to my friends at affiliate stations, we shut things down in time to be safe and should be back up and running soon,” a Cox employee shared in a private conversation earlier today. Continue reading…

Asheville Radio Museum reopens to public after months-long pandemic closure (WLOS)

The Asheville Radio Museum reopened to the public Saturday, June 5, following a months-long closure due to the pandemic.

The museum, located on the campus of A-B Tech, and closed in November to follow the campus’s COVID-19 protocol to protect students and staff.

Asheville Radio Museum boasts a premier collection of vintage radios with the goal to educate, demonstrate and fascinate visitors about the importance of the radio, which was named the second most important invention of the twentieth century on the Science Channel.

Saturday’s reopening was highlighted by the addition of newly-procured radios as well as refreshed displays throughout the museum. Continue reading…

Aluminium-Ion battery development (Southgate ARC)

The Graphene Manufacturing Group in Brisbane, Australia together with the University of Queensland have according to the GMG website developed a Graphene Aluminium-Ion Battery energy storage technology that has up to three times the capacity of a lithium-ion battery and can charge up to sixty times faster.

The battery was created by inserting aluminium atoms into perforations made in graphene planes.
The company claims that because the batteries lack an upper Ampere limit that would otherwise cause spontaneous overheating, the batteries are also safer. The stable base materials also facilitate their recycling later.

The company hopes to bring these cells to market by the end of 2021 or early 2022

https://graphenemg.com/


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Radio Waves: Shedding Light on the Hindenburg, Chip Shortages, NPR at 50, and July 4th SAQ Grimeton Transmission

Icom IC-756 Pro Transceiver Dial

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 Ron, Rich Cuff, and the Southgate ARC  for the following tips:


Radio Amateur’s Vintage Home Movie Film Sheds Light on Hindenburg Disaster (ARRL News)

Vintage home movie film provided by New Jersey radio amateur Bob Schenck, N2OO, was the highlight of a PBS documentary about the Hindenburg disaster. The film, shot by his uncle Harold Schenck, may provide clues as to what initiated the disastrous 1937 fire that destroyed the airship Hindenburg and claimed 35 lives as the German zeppelin was landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Harold Schenck tried to interest government investigators in his film, shot from a different angle than newsreel footage that begins only after the fire was well under way, but it was largely overlooked. “Nobody ever asked for it,” Bob Schenck explains in the documentary.

The Schenck film is the highlight of a PBS “NOVA” documentary, Hindenburg: The New Evidence, that investigates the issue in considerable depth in an effort to unlock the secrets of the cold case. The program aired on May 19 and remains available for streaming.

“My dad had bought this nifty Kodak camera — a wind-up movie camera, 8 millimeters — and he couldn’t come [to the Hindenburg landing] because he worked,” Bob Schenck recounted during the documentary. “So, he asked my uncle and my mom if they would take some shots and see the Hindenburg land.”

Bob Schenck approached Dan Grossman, an expert on airships, including Hindenburg, in 2012 during a commemoration of the disaster that forever memorialized radio reporter Herbert Morrison’s plaintive on-air reaction, “Oh, the humanity!” The NOVA documentary not only shares Schenck’s footage, which provided new clues to re-examine the cause of the explosion. The documentary also reviews scientific experiments that helped investigators come to a fresh understanding of what set off the fire. [Continue reading…]

Will chip shortage hit ham radios ? (Southgate ARC)

Glenn O’Donnell K3PP of Forrester Research notes the chip shortage may have a more serious impact than first thought and gives Amateur Radio rigs as an example of what might be affected

Self-described as a “ham radio nut,” O’Donnell discussed one of his hobbies to explain how the sway of tech titans could impact smaller companies as industries compete for limited resources.

“In this hobby, the newer radio “toys” are advanced technology, but the hottest radio might sell 5,000 units per year. If Apple wants 100 million chips, but the little ham radio company wants 5,000, Apple wins!” O’Donnell said.

Read the article at
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/global-chip-shortage-the-logjam-is-holding-up-more-than-laptops-and-cars-and-could-spoil-the-holidays/

NPR at 50: A Highly Selective History (Washington Post)

The network’s half-century evolution from an audio experiment to a media powerhouse

Today NPR is one of Washington’s most familiar and influential media companies, operating out of a gleaming, ultramodern broadcast facility on North Capitol Street. Its radio programs, online content, and podcasts reach millions of people around the world. But when it launched 50 years ago, in April 1971, National Public Radio was a decidedly scrappy enterprise.

How did a modest radio project from a bunch of audio idealists evolve into the multimedia behemoth that we now spend countless hours listening to? To celebrate NPR’s anniversary, we’ve put together a look at its history and transformation. Please note: If you would like to imagine the whole thing being read to you in the voices of Nina Totenberg and Robert Siegel, we won’t object. Click here to read the full article…

SAQ Grimeton Transmission on July 4th (Southgate ARC)

The annual transmission event on the Alexanderson Day with the Alexanderson Alternator from 1924, on VLF 17.2 kHz CW with the call sign SAQ, is scheduled for Sunday, July 4th, 2021.

The Alexander Grimeton Association are planning to carry out two broadcasts to the world from the old Alexanderson alternator SAQ. Only required staff will be in place, due to the ongoing pandemic.

Transmission schedule:

  • Startup and tuning at 10:30 CET (08:30 UTC) with a transmission of a message at 11:00 CET (09:00 UTC)
  • Startup and tuning at 13:30 CET (11:30 UTC) with a transmission of a message at 14:00 CET (12:00 UTC)

Live Video from World Heritage Grimeton Radio Station
Both transmission events can be seen live on our YouTube Channel.
The live video starts 5 minutes before the startup and tuning.
https://mailchi.mp/aff85163e64f/alexanderson-day-2021?e=2c0cbe870f

 


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BBC Radio Stations Broadcasting Re-Tune Instructions

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who writes:

Hi Thomas,

The BBC in their transition to digital radio has started closing some of their AM radio stations.

See following link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/work-warning/news/mw-closures-2021

The AM stations being closed are broadcasting “Re-Tune” instructions on their frequencies.

Not sure how long they will be doing this. The “Re-Tune” messages are interesting.

I have used the G4DYA KiwiSDR web receiver to listen and record some of the “Re-Tune” messages.

Most are just straight forward instructions, but Radio Hereford-Worcester on 738 has recorded individual

messages by several of their on-air personalities. The messages just loop continuously.

Attached are MP3 files for 738 Radio Hereford-Worcester, 1035 Radio Sheffield, 1341 Radio Ulster and 1503 Radio Stoke.

73

Bill Hemphill, WD9EQD

Recordings

738 Radio Hereford-Worcester

1035 Radio Sheffield

1341 Radio Ulster

1503 Radio Stoke

Thank you so much for taking the time to make these recordings and for sharing them with us here!

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Radio Waves: Ireland and Northern Ireland Masses On The Air, Radio History Film, Improving ULR FM reception, UsedRadioMall.com, and Observations Needed for June 2021 Arctic Eclipse

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 David Shannon, Sheldon Harvey (Int. Radio Report), Jorge Garzón Gutiérrez, and Ulis Fleming for the following tips:


CQ CQ CQ IE —Holy Broadcasting from Ireland and Northern Ireland (DXing.info)

European DX listeners have recently discovered a wonderful new target. On 27 MHz it is possible to receive Catholic mass celebrations from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Hundreds of local churches around the island are broadcasting holy masses live. If you tune in between 27000 and 28000 kHz, you might be able to hear many interesting churches. The transmitter power is usually only 3 watts, so a strong F2 opening is needed. Luckily with the current solar maximum this happens quite often.

How did all this start? This is a fascinating story, told by a Father, who has been helping the idea to become reality.

The broadcasting of Masses was introduced in a rural Irish diocese over 30 years ago when the resident priest was considering a way of reaching out to those who were housebound in his parish. They had access to religious broadcasts on National Radio and TV, but he knew that it was no comparison to a local broadcast. There were many incidents of families coming home from Mass on Sunday and their housebound parent or grandparent had ‘all the news’ (they were aware of all the happenings in the parish) when they arrived home.[…]

Click here to continue reading at DXing.info.

Utica man producing film about the history of radio (The Voice)

Decades before Spotify, Pandora, and even satellite radio, terrestrial (land-based) AM and FM radio reigned supreme. Many listeners, including Utica resident Ron Robinson, idolized the disc jockeys just as much as the artists they played.

Robinson, 51, is working on a documentary film entitled “Radio Dayz… The Movie,” which focuses on the history of radio, including the early days of Detroit radio. “(The film) tells the story of radio through the people who worked in radio,” he said.

Robinson interviewed several well-known radio personalities such as Paul W. Smith, Dick Purtain, Fred Jacobs, Dick Kernen, and more for the film. Robinson, who worked for WJR for 20 years before starting his own production company, has several connections in the industry. He started interviewing for the documentary in 2013.

“Most people think of radio, they think of New York, California, and Chicago, and rightfully so. But, Detroit has been an important and ground-breaking city for the medium of radio,” Robinson said.

The documentary is a chronological look at the history of radio, starting with the first radio stations. It also takes aim at the first radio “celebrity,” Fr. Charles Coughlin. The Detroit-area priest took to the airways in the 1920s and eventually garnered an audience of 30 million to his weekly radio show. Coughlin would later become a polarizing figure as World War II approached. “He’s on the wrong side of history, if you will,” Robinson said.

[]

Improving ULR FM reception (Iberia DX)

Often I get surprised when I listen to the FM Band with my autoradio. It has no bandwidth options, no filters, but sensitivity and selectivity are much better than most of the well-know portables. Mine is inserted into the Skoda console so I have no way to know who manufactured it, the brand/model or its tech specifications. Most of the times I wonder why other portable firmwares does not include, for instance, similar choices like the high speed decoding RDS info. Then I thought… Will be my ULR Sangean DT-800 up to the task?

An autoradio like mine (SKODA Spaceback car) decodes RDS and hears weak signals at once. It is part of a well balanced system: receiver-feedline and rubber antenna on the metallic car roof. My pocket ultralight radios use the earphone cable as an aerial, so even being very good receivers, the antenna is far to be reliable with tricky and changing reception as it depends on the cable position at every moment. Uhmmm! I needed to find a better way to listen using my small toys.

In the shack I had some whips with male BNC and PL-359 connectors, but the Pocket ULR has a 3,5 mm female plug-in, so I found a “female BNC > male jack 3,5 mm” adapter and connected the whip. I chose a telescopic antenna 20/115 cm long folded/unfolded to test the Sangean DT-800T versus the SKODA autoradio, focused on the BOTB from 87,5 to 91,5 MHz. When a long whip is used some unwanted effects come into the scene. The first is related with audio; connecting the whip the sound must be heard via the small speaker so don’t forget to choose a quiet environment not to miss weak stations. The second one is pure physics; due to the whip length, the ULR 3,5 mm female plug-in gets extra strain and that could damage the inner weldings, so extra care must be kept in mind at any time.[]

Read the full article at Ideria DX.

UsedRadioMall.com

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Matt, who shares a link to a radio classifieds site he has created. Check it out!

The UsedRadioMall.com web site lists radios and items related to the subject of radio. The list may include receivers, transmitters, transceivers, amplifiers, antennas, parts, and components related to amateur radio, two-way radio, cb radio, broadcasting, recording, production, and hi-fi.

Introduction
Changes in ionospheric electron density caused by space weather and diurnal solar changes are known to cause Doppler shifts on HF ray paths. For example, see Figure 7 in Boitman et al., 1999. As part of the WWV centennial, 50 stations collected Doppler shift data for the original Festival of Frequency Measurement, demonstrating the value of volunteer participation in collecting this data. This June, we request that all amateur radio stations, shortwave listeners, and others capable of making high-quality HF frequency measurements help us collect frequency data for the June 10 annular eclipse. Researchers will use the crowdsourced data to investigate the superimposed effects of auroral particle precipitation and the eclipse on Doppler shift.

All you need to collect data is an HF rig connected to a computer running open-source software. A precision frequency standard, such as a GPS-disciplined oscillator, is desired but not required to participate. All ham operators and shortwave listeners around the globe are invited to join in, even if your station is far from the path of totality. Last year’s eclipse festivals included over 100 participants from 45 countries. The experiment will run from 7-12 June. All participants will receive QSL certificates and updates as the data is processed. This is a pilot experiment for HamSCI’s Personal Space Weather Station project, which seeks to develop a global network monitoring the geospace environment.

Contact information:
Kristina Collins: kd8oxt@case.edu

Click here to read the full article at HamSci.org.


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Passing by the Delano Transmitting Station

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood, who snapped the photo above as he passed by this former IBB facility. Tracy noted:

The antenna field is still intact.
As a kid, the signals would leak into cheap AM radio sets in Oregon.

I could only imagine they would!  Thanks for sharing this, Tracy. Amazing to see that the antenna field is still standing.

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Radio Waves: More RCI Services Come To An End, Pirate Radio Sound Tour, Shortwave Guitar Pedal, and Voyager 1 Detects Plasma “Hum”

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 Marty, Richard Cuff, David Iurescia, and Doug Katz for the following tips:


RCI English section: goodbye (Radio Canada International)

Canada’s international broadcast service from the English language team of Radio Canada International has come to an end.

RCI, (originally the International Service, CBC-IS) was initially created towards the end of the Second World War. The purpose was to broadcast news and information from home via shortwave to Canadian military personnel fighting in Europe. It also began providing reliable news and information to recently liberated countries and to Germans still in the war.

That reliable news and information was considered of great value during the subsequent Cold War years, as several more languages were added to the service such as Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Hungarian and Polish. Other languages sections included as Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese. With 14 language sections in 1990, and some 200 staff, the full English and French newsroom provided news of interest and importance for each language section specifically targeted to each of the various broadcast regions around the world.

Following a major budget cut of some 80 per cent in 2012, the shortwave and satellite service was terminated along with the majority of staff including the newsroom and some language sections. In recent years, only Chinese (Mandarin), Arabic, and Spanish remained along with English and French. RCI was transformed into a much smaller internet-based operation consisting of three people per language section.

In December 2020, the domestic public broadcaster CBC / Radio-Canada announced that the English and French sections of RCI would close for good in May. In their place curated stories from the domestic English and French public broadcaster will be provided.

A manager will now oversee the staff of eight who will adapt curated stories from the CBC and Radio-Canada into Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish, along with Punjabi and Tagalog.

An effort was and is being made by the RCI Action Committee to preserve and even expand the service which has garnered great support from a former prime minister, former diplomats and many academics, but the end date has come. This is the last entry by the RCI English section.

From the English Section consisting of Lynn, Marc, and Levon, faithful and long-time popular replacement Terry Haig, and recently also Vincenzo Morello, and the many others over the all those years, we thank you for having shared our stories over these many years.[]


The Pirate Radio Capital: A sound tour with David Goren, radio producer and audio archivist (CRJ.org)

In 2018, David Goren, a radio producer and audio archivist, created the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map to collect the sounds of dozens of pirated broadcasts from across the borough. Pirate stations earn their name by hitching a ride on already licensed radio frequencies that typically cost commercial stations millions of dollars to acquire and set up. Nowhere in the country are there more pirate radio stations than in New York, where they provide a vital service to immigrant populations.

Goren estimates that New York has about a hundred pirate stations, transmitting from rooftops and attics to listeners seeking news from around the city and back home, as well as

entertainment and religious programming. The broadcasts bypass socioeconomic barriers and provide a means to seize control of the flow of information. But they are now at risk of extinction: Before Donald Trump left the White House, he signed the Pirate Act, which increased the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to fight pirate operations through mandatory sweeps in cities with high concentrations of pirate radio use. Pirate stations today face fines of up to two million dollars. “The people running these stations, they don’t have two million dollars,” Goren said. Broadcasters that don’t make it onto his sound map could be lost forever.

Click here to read the full story and listen to the audio tour with David Goren.


Shortwave effects pedal (Recovery Effects)

Inspired by espionage devices used during World War II and the Cold War, Shortwave transforms audio into clandestine operations of the past; Russian number stations, mysterious sounds transmitted by radio, and eerie sounds stored on early portable recorders.

Choose between 2 types of noise and interference, and control it with the Exposure parameter. Velocity and Focus control the amount of pitch stabilization. Shortwave will add an interesting emotional response and atmosphere to dry, simple sounds, or destroy a signal like no other fuzz pedal can.

Hand-made in Seattle, WA. Shortwave operates on a standard “Boss” style 9vdc power supply (not included), but can also run at 18vdc for additional headroom. True bypass switching. Included a limited-lifetime warranty.

Enclosure size: 4.77″ x 2.6″ x 1.39″


In the emptiness of space, Voyager 1 detects plasma ‘hum’ (Cornell.edu)

Voyager 1 – one of two sibling NASA spacecraft launched 44 years ago and now the most distant human-made object in space – still works and zooms toward infinity.

As the craft toils, it has long since zipped past the edge of the solar system through the heliopause – the solar system’s border with interstellar space – into the interstellar medium. Now, its instruments have detected the constant drone of interstellar gas (plasma waves), according to Cornell-led research published May 10 in Nature Astronomy.

Examining data slowly sent back from more than 14 billion miles away, Stella Koch Ocker, a Cornell doctoral student in astronomy, has uncovered the emission. “It’s very faint and monotone, because it is in a narrow frequency bandwidth,” Ocker said. “We’re detecting the faint, persistent hum of interstellar gas.”

This work allows scientists to understand how the interstellar medium interacts with the solar wind, Ocker said, and how the protective bubble of the solar system’s heliosphere is shaped and modified by the interstellar environment.

Launched in September 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by Jupiter in 1979 and then Saturn in late 1980. Travelling at about 38,000 mph, Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause in August 2012.

After entering interstellar space, the spacecraft’s Plasma Wave System detected perturbations in the gas. But, in between those eruptions – caused by our own roiling sun – researchers have uncovered a steady, persistent signature produced by the tenuous near-vacuum of space.

“The interstellar medium is like a quiet or gentle rain,” said senior author James Cordes, the George Feldstein Professor of Astronomy (A&S). “In the case of a solar outburst, it’s like detecting a lightning burst in a thunderstorm and then it’s back to a gentle rain.”

Ocker believes there is more low-level activity in the interstellar gas than scientists had previously thought, which allows researchers to track the spatial distribution of plasma – that is, when it’s not being perturbed by solar flares.[]


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Guest Post: Methods for discovering and recording online radio programming for later listening

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill (WD9EQD), who shares the following guest post:


Time Shifting Radio Programs for Later Listening

by Bill (WD9EQD)

There are quite a few programs on shortwave that I enjoy listening to for the actual program content.  If I am lucky, I will receive a strong enough signal to really enjoy the experience.  But all too often, I either can’t directly receive the program or conditions are such that listening is just not enjoyable.  What I was looking for was good quality sound that I could listen to on my schedule.

I could always just go to the station website and listen to the live stream of the program.  But what if there are two programs on different stations at the same time?  I would have to choose which one to listen to.  What I needed was a way to listen to the program on my schedule.

This write-up will be presenting several ways this can be accomplished.

Is the Program Streamed?

In many cases, it is possible to go to the program’s website and then listen to the latest program or even an archive of past programs at your convenience.  Some examples are:

Hobart Radio International http://www.hriradio.org/

Radio Emma Toc https://www.emmatoc.org/worldserviceindex

VORW International https://soundcloud.com/vorw

AWR Wavescan http://eu.awr.org/en/listen/program/143

Blues Radio International: http://www.bluesradiointernational.net/

This is a Music Show https://thisisamusicshow.com/

Radio Northern Europe International: https://www.mixcloud.com/RadioNorthernEurope/

Alt Universe Top 40: https://www.altuniversetop40.com/links

International Radio Report https://www.ckut.ca/en/content/international-radio-report

World of Radio http://worldofradio.com/

The Shortwave Report http://www.outfarpress.com/shortwave.shtml

Lost Discs Radio Show https://www.lostdiscsradio.com/

Grits Radio Show https://archive.org/details/gritsradioshow2020

Le Show with Harry Shearer http://harryshearer.com/le-show/

Can the Program Be Downloaded?

All HRI programs are available on their Archive.org page.

Quite often, the program’s web site will also let you download the program for listening at a later date.  Some examples are:

Hobart Radio International has an Internet Archive page where you can listen to and download their previous programs: https://archive.org/details/@hobart_radio_international

Radio Emma Toc has a button for “broadcast & internet relay services wishing to air our programme”.

But anyone can download the program.

VORW International: https://soundcloud.com/vorw

(Note:  You will have to sign into Soundcloud to be able to download the files)

AWR Wavescan: http://eu.awr.org/en/listen/program/143

Your Weekend Show: https://open.spotify.com/show/2RywtSHWHEvYGjqsK6EYuG

International Radio Report https://www.ckut.ca/en/content/international-radio-report

World of Radio http://worldofradio.com/

The Shortwave Report http://www.outfarpress.com/shortwave.shtml

Lost Discs Radio Show https://www.lostdiscsradio.com/

Grits Radio Show https://archive.org/details/gritsradioshow2020

Le Show with Harry Shearer http://harryshearer.com/le-show/

WBCQ has a link to an Archive of some of their programs.  Just click on the Archive link and you will go to Internet Archive where there are a lot of programs that can be streamed or downloaded.  The programs include:

  • Adventures in Pop Music
  • Analog Telephone Systems Show
  • B Movie Bob
  • Cows in Space
  • Godless Irena 1
  • Grits Radio Show
  • Lost Discs Radio Show
  • Radio Timtron Worldwide
  • Texas Radio Shortwave
  • The Lumpy Gravy Show
  • Zombies in your Brain
  • Vinyl Treasures
  • Plus many, many other programs…

Does the Program Have a Podcast?

Check to see if the program has a podcast.  Many programs do and this makes it easy to always have the latest program updated into my favorite podcast program.

AWR Wavescan is available on a number of podcasting platforms

Some programs that have podcasts:

  • Hobart Radio International
  • AWR Wavescan
  • Blues Radio International:
  • Your Weekend Show
  • International Radio Report
  • World of Radio
  • The Shortwave Report
  • The Lost Discs Radio Show
  • Le Show with Harry Shearer

Directly Record the Stream While It Is Being Broadcast

This method is a little more difficult and requires some setup. The method is to record the program directly from the internet stream of the station as it is broadcasting the program.  Once set up, the procedure is completely automatic and will continue to capture the program until it is disabled in the scheduler.

Let’s walk through a typical program that we want to record.  I like Alan Gray’s “Last Radio Playing” program on WWCR.  It is broadcast weekly on Wednesday at 6pm Central Time on 6115.  While I can receive the program over the air, it’s not very good reception, so I usually just stream it off the internet.

What I want to do is to set up an automatic computer program that will connect to the stream on Wednesday night, record the stream for one hour and then disconnect.  I use the program StreamRipper which can run on either Linux or Windows.

http://streamripper.sourceforge.net/

Since I have a spare Raspberry Pi 4 computer, I chose to use the Linux version.  The following description is based on Linux.  A similar method I’m sure could be done with the Windows version.

Fortunately, StreamRipper is in the current software repository for the Raspberry PI and I could just install it with having to do a compile.  I’m sure other Linux distributions probably also have it in their repository.  It was a simple matter to install it.  In Linux, Streamripper is run from the command line in a terminal window.

A typical command line for SteamRipper is:

streamripper station_URL_stream –a “filename” –A –d directory_path -l seconds

where

station_URL_stream is the http address of the audio stream.  Determining this can sometimes be challenging and some methods were recently discussed in a SWLing Post:

https://swling.com/blog/2021/04/robs-tips-for-uncovering-radio-station-stream-urls/

–a says to record the audio as a single file and not try to break it up into individual songs.

“filename” the filename of the resultant mp3 file goes here in quotes

-A again says to create a single file.

-d tells it the directory path to store the mp3 file.  Place the full directory path after the –d

-l specifies how long to record.  Enter the number of seconds after –l.

(note: this is lower case letter l)

For Last Radio Playing, the command line is:

streamripper http://67.225.254.16:3763 –a “Last Radio Playing” –A –d /home/pi/RIP/wwcr –l 3600

when executed, this would connect to the URL stream, record for 3600 seconds (60 minutes) and then disconnect from the stream  A file called “Last Radio Playing.mp3” would be in the wwcr1 directory.

Save this command line to a shell file, maybe wwcr.sh.  Then make this shell file executable.

Last is to enter a crontab entry to schedule the shell file wwcw.sh to be run every Wednesday at 6pm ct.

At the command line, enter crontab –e to edit the cron table.

Add the following line at the end:

0  19  *  *  3  /home/pi/wwcr.sh

then exit and save the crontab file.

This line says to execute wwcr.sh every Wednesday at 1900 (my computer  is on eastern time).

There are many ways to enhance the shell script.  For example, I have added the date to the mp3 file name.  My wwcr1.sh shell script is:

NOW=$(date +”%Y-%m%d”)

# WWCR1 Last Radio Playing

# Wednesday 7-8pm et

streamripper http://67.225.254.16:3763 -a “$NOW Last Radio Playing” -A -u FreeAmp/2.X -d /media/pi/RIP/wwcr1 -l 3600

This will create a MP3 file with the date in the file name.  For example

2021-0505 Last Radio Playing.mp3

Note: I named the file wwcr1.sh to denote that WWCR transmitter 1 was being streamed. Each of the WWCR transmitters have different stream URL.

Most radio streams work fine with  the default user agent but WWCR required a different user agent which is why the –u FreeAmp/2.X is added.  Normally, –u useragent is not required.  The default works fine.

For each program, just create a similar shell file and add it to the cron scheduler.

Streamripper is very powerful and has many options.  One option is for it to attempt to divide the stream up into individual files – one for each song.  Sometimes this works quite well – it all depends on the metadata that the station is sending over the stream.  I usually just go for a single file for the entire show.  Some stations are a little sloppy on whether the program starts on time – sometimes they start a minute early and sometimes run a minute over.  The solution is to increase the recording time to two minutes longer and then specify in the crontab file that the show starts a minute early.  It’s easy to adjust to whatever condition might be occurring.

Recording the BBC

I have found that the BBC makes it more difficult to use this procedure.   For one thing, they have just changed all their stream URL’s.  And they have decided NOT to make them public. When they did this some of the internet radios broke since they still had the old URL’s.  Of course it didn’t take long for someone to discover and post the new stream URL’s:

https://gist.github.com/bpsib/67089b959e4fa898af69fea59ad74bc3#file-bbc-radio-m3u

I have tested the Radio 4 Extra stream and it does seem to work.  For how long is anyone’s guess.

I found that while streamripper did seem to work on BBC, all the mp3 files came out garbled.  So the method above doesn’t seem to work with the BBC.

I went back to the drawing board (many hours on Google) and discovered another way to create a shell script that can be scheduled to record a stream.  This involves using the programs mplayer and timelimit.

First step is to install the programs mplayer and timelimit to the Linux system.  mplayer is a simple command line audio and video player.  timelimit is a program that will execute another program for a specific length of time.

First I created a shell script bbc30.sh:

#!/bin/bash

NOW=$(date +”%Y-%m%d-%H%M”)

# BBC Extra 4 – 30 minute program

timelimit -t1800 mplayer http://stream.live.vc.bbcmedia.co.uk/bbc_radio_four_extra -dumpstream -dumpfile /media/pi/RIP/$NOW-bbc.mp3

Note: The bold line above is all on one line in the shell file.

This script will execute the timelimit command.  The timelimit command will then execute the mplayer command for 1800 seconds (30 minutes).

The mplayer command then connects to the http stream; the stream instead of playing out loud is dumped to the dumpfile /media/pi/RIP/$NOW-bbc.mp3

The crontab entry becomes:

30  23  11  5  *  /home/pi/bbc30.sh

In this case, the program on May 11 at 2330 will be recorded.

Summary

In conclusion, Podcasts are the easiest way to get the programs.  But automatically recording directly from the station stream is really not that much harder to do.  Just be careful.  It’s very easy to accumulate much more audio than you can ever listen to in this lifetime.

One final note.  The use of a Raspberry Pi makes this a very easy and convenient method.  I run the pi totally headless.  No keyboard, mouse or monitor.  It just sits on a shelf out of the way and does it thing.  I either log in using VNC when I want the graphical desktop, Putty for the command line, or WinSCP for transferring files. The Pi stays out of the way and I don’t end up with another computer system cluttering up my desktop.

Besides recording several shortwave programs, I use Streamripper to record many FM programs from all around the United States.  It’s great for recording that program that is on in the early morning hours.

73

Bill WD9EQD

Smithville, NJ


Thank you for sharing this with the SWLing Post community, Bill! This weekend, I’m going to put one of my RPi 3 units into headless service recording a few of my favorite programs that aren’t available after the live broadcast. Many thanks for the detailed command line tutorial!

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