Category Archives: FM

Radio Waves: London’s Hyper-Local Radio Scene, Kraina FM, Swedish Radio Reconsiders Digital, Japanese Mobile Radio Station, and Guinea-Bissau Station Threatened

Radio Seribatu FM Tower

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 Eric Jon Magnuson for the following tips:


How the Capital Tuned in to Hyper-Local Radio (Standard.co.uk)

The capital’s local radio scene is having a renaissance. From pub garden pop-ups to shipping container stations, Londoners are falling back in love with FM (and DAB/online/smart speaker/insert new mode of listening here). Tuning in has never been better, says Jessica Benjamin — antennae at the ready, it’s time to meet our favourite local stations

Westside — Hanwell 89.6 FM

Broadcasting from Hanwell’s Clocktower Mews to west London, Westside Radio was launched in 2007 by none other than Boris Johnson himself. ‘He promised to come back to Westside if he was elected mayor on the condition that we would play songs by The Clash,’ station manager Sone Palda tells me. ‘All of this while he was surrounded by Labour MPs and councillors in the studio.’ Big name politicians aside, Palda is both excited by and concerned for the future of local radio. ‘In this era community radio is one of the key mediums producing genuine local content and news,’ he says. ‘Most of the local independent commercial stations are being bought up by the big groups, then being rebranded and losing their identity. We want to remain being a platform for emerging radio presenting and production talent, and to continue entertaining our dedicated local audience.’

Soho Radio — Soho

Launched in 2014 and broadcasting live from Broadwick Street, Soho Radio has serious clout when it comes to big name presenters. Think Primal Scream’s Simone Marie Butler, Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay, Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Metronomy’s Anna Prior to name a few — and they don’t just stop at radio. ‘We won Event of the Decade [in Time Out magazine] for our 12-hour street party broadcast with R3 Soundsystem,’ station manager Rachael Bird says. ‘We had some amazing DJs join us live on air, with the likes of Seth Troxler, Norman Jay, Artwork, Eats Everything and Sink the Pink gracing the decks. The day culminated with our very own lorry sound system pulling up in the streets of Soho to finish the street party with a bang — it didn’t last long before it got shut down (whoops!) but was definitely a Soho Radio highlight and a day to remember.’ The grassroots online station has since expanded to the Big Apple, where it has been streaming from Lower Manhattan since late 2020 for a double dose of Soho listening. [Continue reading the full article…]

This Ukrainian radio station is staying on air for the war effort from a makeshift studio in the mountains (The Current – CBC)

Kraina FM CEO Bogdan Bolkhovetsky says station helps military, lifts people’s spirits

A Kyiv radio station is broadcasting from a makeshift studio to bring Ukrainians the latest news about the war, and music to lift their spirits during the hours spent sitting in air raid shelters.

“In Kyiv, air raid alerts are eight to nine times a day, lasting from 30 minutes to three hours,” said Bogdan Bolkhovetsky, CEO of Kraina FM, an independent Ukrainian music station.

“And while people sit in shelters, they sing … Ukrainian songs,” he told The Current’s Matt Galloway.

Playing a variety of Ukrainian on the airwaves “is good for people … it brings back some normality to life, I guess,” he said.

Bolkhovetsky and his family fled Kyiv in the days after the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24. Members of his team also fled, and they regrouped in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains on Feb. 27. The village lies south of Lviv in the west of Ukraine, where many refugees have fled to escape Russia’s advance from the east. Some find refuge in the west’s smaller towns and villages, but others press on to cross into neighbouring Poland or Slovakia.

Click here to read the full article and listen to the audio at The Current.

Swedish Radio reconsiders its digital strategy (Red Tech)

Cilla Benkö is the director general and CEO of Sveriges (Swedish) Radio. She started as an intern in the sports department when there were very few females in the industry. Benkö, who has worked at the organization for more than 30 years as a journalist and has held several managerial positions, provides insight into how Swedish Radio is navigating today’s evolving landscape. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Everyone should have a “Crisis Radio”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jock Elliott, who shares the following guest post:


The Crisis Radio

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Sooner or later, it will happen to you. What’s ‘it’? Short answer: a crisis.

It could be as simple as you wake in the morning to find the power is out; you don’t know how long it has been out, and you don’t know when it is coming back. It might be a weather event: a blizzard, a sandstorm, a tornado, a derecho, a hurricane. It might be a geologic event like a tsunami, earthquake, or even volcanic activity. As recent events have shown, it could even be a war or a revolution.

When normal life is disrupted, and uncertainty is perched on your shoulder like a vulture, you will want to know what’s going on, and your usual means of getting information – telephone, smart phone, internet device – may also be disrupted.

When that happens, radio can come to your rescue. Your local FM or AM (medium wave) station may be on the air, providing vital information to your community, or NOAA Weather Radio may be providing hazard information. In extreme cases, shortwave radio may be beaming information to your area when all else fails.

One of the points that was made when our own Thomas Witherspoon was interviewed recently was that people tend to regard shortwave radio as “crisis” radio.

So I have a couple of very specific recommendations.

First, make sure that your household has a “crisis radio.” By that I mean one that will receive your local AM and FM broadcasters as well as shortwave radio, and, if you live in the US or Canada, NOAA Weather Radio. If you can afford it, I recommend getting a crisis radio that has single sideband capability (SSB) so that you have the ability to intercept ham radio communications, which might be another source of information.

Toward that end, I can heartily recommend the CCrane Skywave SSB radio. (Let’s be clear: I have no commercial connection with CCrane; I get nothing from them for making this recommendation, I purchased my Skywave SSB with my own money.) It has AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather, VHF, Aviation and SSB Bands. It is very small, measuring just 4.8″ W x 3″ H x 1″ D and weighing just 6 ounces without batteries. It will run for over 50 hours on a couple of AA batteries and comes with CC Earbuds, SkyWave SSB Carry Case, and CC SW Reel Antenna which boost sensitivity for shortwave and ham radio listening.

It is a crisis radio that you can stick in your pocket, backpack, purse or briefcase for deployment when the need arises or you simply want to listen to some radio programming. Further, you don’t have to be an expert to operate the CCrane Skywave SSB. Thanks to the Automatic Tuning System, just select the band you want to listen to, press and hold the ATS button for two seconds, and the Skywave SSB will automatically search for stations in that band (AM, FM, Shortwave, etc.) and store those stations in the memory banks for that band. You can later check those memories to hear what programming those stations are broadcasting.

Second, and this is important, if you listen to shortwave radio at all, take the time to let the stations know. Drop them a postcard; shoot them an email, do whatever you can to inform them you are listening, and you value their transmissions.

Why? Because we all want those stations to be there if and when the next crisis happens. And if your local AM or FM station provides special programming to the community a weather event or geologic emergency, for the same reason, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts.

As a fire captain observed a couple of years after the North Ridge earthquake in California: “You cannot be over-prepared for communications in an emergency.”

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Radio Waves: Pacific Broadcasting, Podcasting Ancestor, Spamming Russia Comms, WRMI Tour, Shortwave Necessary, and SW Revival a Non-Starter

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!


Good news for Pacific regional broadcasting – bad news for locals (Asia Pacific Report)

Good news — an Australian parliamentary review recommends a more “expansive” media presence in the Pacific.

Bad news — little of that expansion envisions a role for island media.

Instead, the committee endorsed a proposal for “consultation” and the establishment of an independent “platform neutral” media corporation, versus the existing “broadcasting” organisation.

That proposal was among several points raised at two public hearings and nine written submissions as part of Australia’s “Pacific Step Up” programme, aimed at countering the growing regional influence of China.

Former long-time Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney last month told the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade that Australia was previously leading regional media spaces.

“But the vacant space that was left there when Australia Network disappeared, as people have said, has really been taken over by China,” he said.

“Throughout my time as the Pacific correspondent for the ABC, I saw this Chinese influence growing everywhere.”

[…]Taking up ten of 176 pages, the report’s media section is nonetheless seen as relatively comprehensive compared with the dismantling of broadcasting capacity in recent years.

This includes the literal dismantling of shortwave equipment in Australia despite wide protest from the Pacific region.

Nearly three years previously, a 2019 Pacific Media Summit heard that discontinuation of the shortwave service would save Australia some $2.8 million in power costs.

A suggestion from a delegate that that amount could be spent on $100,000 for reporters in each of 26 island states and territories was met with silence from ABC representatives at the summit.

However, funding would be dramatically expanded if the government takes up suggestions from the submissions to the joint committee. [Continue reading the full article…]

Pay Your Respects To Radio, The Ancestor Of Podcasting (Rolling Stone)

In the 1890s, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi left a lasting legacy when he sent a wireless telegraph message via Morse Code to a recipient. By the turn of the 1900s, Marconi’s innovation would give rise to an entirely new industry, one focused on creating new ways for people to communicate even across vast distances: radio.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, radio would not only play a major role in the international correspondence of countries fighting in both World Wars but it also became a widely popular phenomenon amongst the general public. By the mid-1920s, there were hundreds of licensed radio stations hosting news broadcasts, comedy shows, dramas, live music, sports programs and other forms of entertainment.

A century later, it’s not hard to spot the parallels between what made radio one of the most popular content mediums in history and the explosive growth of radio’s evolution in podcasting. Though there are some unique differences between the two mediums, I believe podcasters should still pay respect to how the evolution of radio gave rise to the advent of podcasting.

The Rise of Contemporary Audio Entertainment
On October 30, 1938 — the evening before Halloween — Orsen Welles hosted a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’s science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds, “converting the 40-year-old novel into fake news bulletins describing a Martian invasion of New Jersey.” While Welles and his team reportedly had no intention to deceive listeners into believing the broadcast was in any way real, Welles would later go on to say in a 1960 court disposition about his desire to release the broadcast, “in such a manner that a crisis would actually seem to be happening…and would be broadcast in such a dramatized form as to appear to be a real event taking place at that time, rather than a mere radio play.” [Continue reading at Rolling Stone…]

Why Russian radios in Ukraine are getting spammed with heavy metal (The Economist)

Ukrainians are eavesdropping on the invaders and broadcasting on their frequencies

One of the many surprising failures of the Russian invasion force in Ukraine has been in radio communications. There have been stories of troops resorting to commercial walkie-talkies and Ukrainians intercepting their frequencies. This may not sound as serious as a lack of modern tanks or missiles, but it helps explain why Russian forces seem poorly co-ordinated, are falling victim to ambushes and have lost so many troops, reportedly including seven generals. What is going wrong with Russian radios? Continue reading

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Wireless Flirt episode explores shortwave radio

I’m very honored to have been interviewed by John Walsh who produces the excellent program Wireless on Flirt FM in Ireland. John reached out to discuss the relevance of the shortwave radio medium, particularly through the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here’s the show description:

In the April 2022 edition of Wireless, we look at the part of the radio spectrum called shortwave, consider its importance in the past and continued relevance in a digital world. Founder of the SWLing blog Thomas Witherspoon discusses the historical development of shortwave, including its heyday during the Cold War, and explains how it continues to be used today, for instance to evade Russian internet censorship during the Ukrainian war. The programme also remembers Irish pirate shortwave operators of the 1980s as featured on our related site Pirate.ie.

Click here to listen to the full show at Wireless Flirt.

John is a true kindred spirit and devoted radio enthusiast. I would encourage you to subscribe to his monthly Wireless episodes via your favorite podcast player; here are links to iTunesSpotify, and Stitcher.

In addition, John is the one of the founders and curators of Pirate.ie which is a brilliantly documented archive of pirate radio stations in Ireland. I highly recommend checking it out! 

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Radio Waves: BBC WS extra funding, WRMI to Russia/Ukraine, Lviv Station’s Mission, Moscow Echo, and Former Tandy CEO Dies

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!


Ukraine war: BBC World Service granted extra funding (BBC News)

The BBC World Service will receive more than £4m in extra funding from the UK government to help counter disinformation about the Ukraine war.

The BBC made the request for the money, which will also be used by the Ukrainian and Russian language services to cover urgent and unexpected costs.

It welcomed the announcement and said the money would help relocate staff and operations to safe locations.

The two language services have had record audiences since the invasion.

The announcement on Wednesday followed a BBC request to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Foreign Office.

“The BBC has seen a big demand for clear, fact-based, impartial journalism to counter disinformation and our teams are working around the clock to bring people the very best independent journalism,” BBC director general Tim Davie said.

“This funding will also help us with the immediate need to support staff who have been displaced, many of whom are continuing to work and provide vital expertise to the whole of the BBC,” he added. [Continue reading…]

BBC gets emergency funding to fight Russian disinformation (Gov.UK)

£4.1 million in additional funding for BBC World Service to support Ukrainian and Russian language services in the region

The government is giving the BBC World Service emergency funding to help it continue bringing independent, impartial and accurate news to people in Ukraine and Russia in the face of increased propaganda from the Russian state.

BBC World Service will receive an additional £4.1 million in emergency funding to support its Ukrainian and Russian language services in the region, and to help it increase trusted and independent content to counter disinformation about the war in Ukraine.

BBC World Service channels – including TV, radio and digital – play an increasingly valuable role in challenging the Kremlin’s disinformation, but it is facing additional costs from operating within a military conflict and due to a crackdown on independent reporting in Russia.

Following a BBC request, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will provide the extra funding to cover urgent and unexpected costs that have arisen as a result of the conflict.

This will help the BBC to relocate staff and operations to safe locations to ensure the resilience of their services and that they continue to reach people in Russia and Ukraine.

The BBC will also use the funding to continue expanding new and more widely accessible content, delivered through a range of channels, to tackle disinformation and to help local audiences circumvent the Kremlin’s media restrictions and continue to access the BBC’s journalism.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

The Government is providing the BBC with an additional £4.1 million in emergency funding to help the World Service broadcast directly into Ukraine and Russia.

In scenes reminiscent of 80 years ago, the BBC will ensure that audiences in the region can continue to access independent news reporting in the face of systemic propaganda from a dictator waging war on European soil. It’s vital we lift the veil on and expose the barbaric actions of Putin’s forces.

Minister for Europe and North America, James Cleverly said:

Britain is calling out Putin’s lies and exposing his propaganda and fake news.

This new funding will help strengthen the BBC’s impartial voice in Russia and Ukraine, which is critical to counter Russian disinformation and will help ensure we win the battle for the airwaves.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The World Service receives funding from the BBC’s licence fee income, in addition to grant funding directly from the FCDO. The World Service’s Spending Review settlement for the period 2022 to 2025 from the FCDO will be confirmed shortly.

The Culture Secretary made it clear to the BBC in her letter confirming the final licence fee settlement that the BBC should continue to make a substantive investment from the licence fee into the World Service to ensure that it continues to effectively reflect the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world – in English and through its language services.

Russia, Ukraine Get News From Shortwave Radio Station In South FL (Patch)

Radio Miami International (WRMI)? is working with Shortwaves for Freedom to transmit news to Russia and Ukraine during the war.

OKEECHOBEE, FL — When the commercial shortwave radio station Radio Miami International — which operates under the call letters WRMI — got its start in 1989, its primary focus was helping Cuban exile groups in Miami legally transmit programming to their homeland.

Since then, the station has broadcast news during all sorts of trying times — the Gulf War, hurricanes, earthquakes, other natural disasters.

Now, 30 years later, at a time when Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms rule when it comes to communication, WRMI finds itself in a unique position during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Working with several organizations and government groups, the station is broadcasting news programming to both Russians and Ukrainians who have access to shortwave radios.

“We’ve been through all sorts of crises. This is one of the biggest,” said Jeff White, the station’s general manager.

When the station launched three decades ago, Radio Miami International worked with Cuban exiles and Latin American groups to find existing shortwave stations where they could buy airtime to broadcast shows. [Continue reading…]

Lviv radio gets ‘new mission’ after Russian invasion (Yahoo News)

The Lvivska Khvylya local radio station in west Ukraine changed its broadcast output dramatically the day Russia invaded the country.

The first thing staff did was to ease off on the entertainment programming and ramp up coverage of the war for their tens of thousands of listeners. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: Station of National Resistance, CEPT Suspends Russia/Belarus, ABC Pacific Expansion, Live Ukraine News Stream, and Mali Bans French Radio & TV

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 the SWLing Post contributors who share the following tips:


Ukraine’s radio station of national resistance (The New Yorker)

High up in the Carpathian Mountains, two Kyiv broadcasters keep the signal alive.

Recently, at a closed ski resort in Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains, Roman Davydov leaned into a microphone and announced the latest news from the war. Kryvyi Rih, in southern Ukraine, was being attacked; a U.S. journalist had been shot; and the British Foreign Secretary had announced new sanctions on Russian oligarchs in London. Davydov, who is forty-three, with dark hair and an oft-furrowed brow, is the voice of Kraina FM, an independent radio station that, after Russian bombing began in Kyiv, relocated to an undisclosed location. (The staff of Kraina FM asked me not to identify the village, for security reasons.) Outside Davydov’s improvised booth, a corner office lent to Kraina FM by a local accountant, an odd sense of normalcy reigned. Beyond the ski-rental shop, where a cluster of sandbags had been piled, a man in a blue jacket and ski goggles operated a small lift for a children’s slope in the bright sunshine.

The area, which is several hours south of Lviv, has become a shelter for displaced people, Bogdan Bolkhovetsky, Davydov’s colleague, told me. Bolkhovetsky, Kraina FM’s station general manager, said that he and Davydov had arrived in the village “by pure chance.” The west of the country is full of refugees, and there are few places for families to stay as they make their way toward the borders of Europe. “We found this place because it was the only place vacant,” Bolkhovetsky said. They arrived in the evening on February 27th; just days later they were setting up the station in a sloped-ceilinged, wood-panelled space that barely fit their two desks. They acquired laptops and a mixer from the supply of aid making its way from the rest of Europe to Ukraine. “We called our friends in Austria and they were so quick,” Bolkhovetsky said. “Guys we’ve never met just sent us the equipment, and a friend of ours brought this equipment in. I mean, they brought us these German laptops and the mixing console and we’ve never seen these people before.” [Continue reading…]

Russia and Belarus suspended from CEPT membership (CEPT via Southgate ARC)

On March 17 the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications (CEPT) announced the indefinite suspension of Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine

The CEPT announcement said:

Outcome of the written procedure with the CEPT Assembly regarding suspension of the Russian Federation and Belarus from CEPT Membership.

Based on a request from a number of CEPT members, the CEPT Presidency carried out a written procedure, in accordance with the CEPT Arrangement, on the proposal to suspend indefinitely and with immediate effect the memberships of the Russian Federation and Belarus in the CEPT.

Thirty-four responses were received to the CEPT Assembly letter in support of the proposal and one abstention.

Based on the above, the CEPT Assembly has therefore decided: Continue reading

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Polish Radio launches programme to help Ukrainian refugees

(Source: Radio Poland)

Polish Radio launches another programme for Ukrainians (Radio Poland)

Public broadcaster Polish Radio is on Thursday launching a new weekly programme for Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion and their compatriots residing permanently in Poland.

The hour-long broadcast will be delivered in Ukrainian, airing every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Polish Radio’s mobile app, web player and DAB+ platform, the public broadcaster’s IAR news agency reported.

Listeners will hear advice on where to find help, how to apply for assistance available to refugees, and how to obtain information about their loved ones, according to IAR.

Also, the programme will feature news on how the Polish government, local authorities and charities are working to support refugees from Ukraine, and on Poland’s efforts to facilitate Ukraine’s entry into the European Union and the NATO alliance, IAR reported.

The weekly broadcast is prepared and hosted by journalists from Polish Radio’s External Service, also known as Radio Poland.

‘Countering Putin’s false narrative’

“The priority is to counter the Putin regime’s false narrative,” said Radio Poland’s Director Andrzej Ryba?t.

He added: “We’ll be reporting at length on Polish-Ukrainian relations, as well as the policies of the European Union and NATO. In addition, Ukrainians who had been forced to flee their country will hear about what is happening in the places they had had to abandon as a result of the Russian aggression.”

As the programme develops, it is also set to feature Polish-language courses for Ukrainians seeking shelter in Poland, and items on Ukrainian music and culture, IAR reported.

Ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, Polish Radio has been airing news bulletins in Ukrainian on several of its channels, as well as launching a 24-hour live audio and video stream about the war on Youtube.

It is also broadcasting the signal of Ukrainian Radio on its web player and DAB+ platform so that the people escaping the Russian attack can listen to programming in their native tongue, executives said.

Poland on Thursday reported it had admitted nearly 2 million refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(pm/gs)

Source: IAR

Click here to read the full article at Radio Poland.

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