Category Archives: FM

Radio Doc: New York City’s pirates of the air

SWLing Post friend, David Goren (the same fellow behind Shortwaveology and the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map) has just produced and presented a BBC World Service documentary about the pirate radio scene in NYC.

Spoiler alert: it’s amazing–!

Below, I’ve included the description and audio links from the BBC World Service:

New York City’s pirates of the air

As the workday winds down across New York, you can tune in to a clandestine world of unlicensed radio stations; a cacophonous sonic wonder of the city. As listeners begin to arrive home, dozens of secret transmitters switch on from rooftops in immigrant enclaves. These stations are often called ‘pirates’ for their practice of commandeering an already licensed frequency.

These rogue stations evade detection and take to the air, blanketing their neighbourhoods with the sounds of ancestral lands blending into a new home. They broadcast music and messages to diverse communities – whether from Latin America or the Caribbean, to born-again Christians and Orthodox Jews.

Reporter David Goren has long followed these stations from his Brooklyn home. He paints an audio portrait of their world, drawn from the culture of the street. Vivid soundscapes emerge from tangled clouds of invisible signals, nurturing immigrant communities struggling for a foothold in the big city.

With thanks to KCRW and the Lost Notes Podcast episode Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD.

Producer/Presenter: David Goren

Click here to download New York City’s pirates of the air via the BBC World Service.

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FCC’s Michael O’Reilly: Don’t tune in to “harmful broadcasts”

Many thanks to an SWLing Post reader who shares the following letter by FCC Commissioner Michael O’RieIly to NYC representatives regarding pirate radio operators.

This passage is of particular interest–I put one statement in bold:

“Since your Congressional district is located within or near the most prolific market for pirate radio, I wanted to seek your direct assistance on the issue. Specifically, I respectfully request that you discourage any of your constituents in the greater New York City radio market from facilitating pirate radio activities in any way, including participating in pirate operations, advertising with such “stations,” housing or leasing space to pirate operators, or tuning in to these harmful broadcasts. finally, I would appreciate any information that you or your staff would be willing to share regarding the location of known pirate operations, which will be swiftly directed to the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau for action.”

The full letter:

Click here to download the full letter as a PDF. 

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Sangean HDR-15/DPR-64 and notes from 2019 catalogs

The Sangean HDR-15

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Schuster who writes:

Hi Thomas,

Sangean has quietly buried yet another AM/FM HD radio in the PDF of their US 2019 catalog [download as a PDF].

It’s the HDR-15 which appears to be a small clock radio/phone dock [photo above].

Also, in their European catalog [click here to download as PDF] they are transitioning all of the model names to a more descriptive grouping. So the SR-35 is now the “Pocket 100”, the DT-160 is now the “Pocket 160”, and the DT-800 is the “Pocket 800”.

There is also a new DAB+ portable, the DPR-64 (em … er …”Pocket 640“) whose cabinet is rounder and smaller than the DPR-65 (em … er … “Traveller 650“) whose cabinet they adapted for the American HDR-14. Wonder if there will be a forthcoming US HD-radio portable based on this cabinet design. This looks very interesting to me as a potential DAB+ travel radio, priced at about $100 and already available from several European and Australian electronics houses.

Thanks for the tip, Mike! I enjoyed checking out both the US and European catalogs. Sangean is certainly embracing DAB+ and HD Radio.

I see Sangean also includes two shortwave radios: the ATS-909X and ATS-405.

In the EU catalog, they’re referred to as the “Discover 909X” and the “Discover 405.”

Click here to view the Sangean EU website and here for the Sangean US website.

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Radio France’s digital ambitions and AM radio in Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jason Whiteley, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

[T]here is a really interesting interview with Radio France here around their DAB+ expansion and the possible shut down of FM in France later [click here to read].

I used Google Translate to bring it to English.

[Y]ou might also choose to link to this article about AM radio being dead in Europe (written in 2015):

https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/am-radio-dead-europe

The article is bang on though – AM radio is still very strong and thriving in Australia & the USA. Here in Australia at least, it’s DAB that has a minimal audience compared to traditional AM broadcast.

I just found both of these articles very interesting reading and thought you might like to put them up.

Have a great day,
Jason

Thank you very much for sharing these articles, Jason! Earlier today, we posted a note about digital AM here in the States (AM HD). There is a movement to increase this offering, but for true market penetration it would require car radios that can receive AM HD. Many a DXer dislikes AM HD because the digital signals are (unlike DAB+) inserted between analog signals. These band crowding sometimes causes interference to adjacent analog stations and certainly affects mediumwave DXing.

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