Category Archives: Nostalgia

Site shares story of the BBC’s wartime reporting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who shares the following note following our recent series of posts about WWII radio:

The, nearly, full story of the BBC’s wartime reporting can be found here. Yes, I hope another interesting read both for your good self and the readers of The SWLing Post:

http://www.orbem.co.uk/repwar/wr_action.htm

What an excellent read! Thank you for sharing this link, Kris!

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OTR: CBS Radio Workshop episode includes interval signal from “Radio Rhodesia”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who passes along this interesting radio show from the CBS Radio Workshop and a description from his friend, Art Chimes.

Art writes:

Airing in 1956-57, The CBS Radio Workshop was an anthology series that featured a wide range of productions, often in experimental formats. On Nov. 11, 1956, the program was “Report on the Weans,” an adaptation of a satirical article by Robert Nathan published in Harper’s Magazine, “Digging the Weans.”

It is 6,000 years in the future. The American continent is unpopulated, but archaeologists from Africa — apparently now the center of civilization — are digging in various sites, uncovering artifacts of the 20th century people who once lived there. In a gentle satire of anthropology, we find the experts completely mis- (or over-) interpreting their findings, such as Macy’s bargain basement, which they think is a tomb full of items to be used in the afterlife.

The magazine article [click here to download PDF] is a straightforward parody of an academic paper. The radio show, however is presented as a report broadcast on “Radio Rhodesia” on the mega-, micro- and strato-beams, complete with an interval signal used at the beginning and end that features bird chirping. (I can’t help you on the particular species, sorry.)

Click here to download recording of full show.

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D-Day: 75 years ago today, Operation Overlord initiated wall-to-wall news coverage

Soldiers coming ashore in Normandy, France. (Photo: National Archives)

Today, as many know, is the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle in Normandy, France, known to history as D-Day. “Operation Overlord,” as D-Day was code named, without doubt, was one of the key turning points of World War II.

But many may not know that D-Day was also one of the first events that brought continuous news coverage via radio on the home front.

As mentioned in this excellent article from MyNorthwest:

“In addition to what it meant as a great turning point in world history, D-Day is also unique in how it was broadcast by American radio networks, as CBS, NBC, and what would become ABC pooled their reporters, engineers and other resources, and cooperated closely with military officials to present, for the first time, what would now be called “wall-to-wall” coverage of a developing major international news event for American audiences.

It’s something we take for granted now in the age of the internet and cable news, but this kind of media coverage can be traced back to D-Day.”

But the widely-covered event was originally top secret.  So secret, in fact, that news agencies in the US first learned about Operation Overlord via not Allied news, but Axis news sources. Thus the information was delivered with caution, since the source wasn’t the War Department of Allied Forces.

A little after 3:30 AM (Eastern War Time), the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in London produced Communiqué #1, a short statement read twice by Colonel R. Ernest Dupuy, confirming that Allied naval forces, with the support of the air forces, and under the command of General Eisenhower, began landing Allied armies that morning on the northern coast of France.

Here is the actual recording via the Miller Center at UVA:

Click here to listen via Soundcloud.

Fortunately, live recordings from NBC and CBS studios have been well-preserved, and are freely available for online listening.

Below, I’ll embed links to the full recording sets; you can listen to the news just as it rolled in.

NBC coverage

The first confirmed report begins at 9:07 in the following recording:

Click here to download the MP3.

Click here to listen to a full broadcast set starting at 0250 Eastern War Time. I’ve also embedded an Internet Archive player below that will play the full recording playlist in chronological order:

CBS coverage

CBS’ confirmed report of D-Day begins at 49:25 in the following recording:

Click here to download the MP3.

Click here to listen to a full CBS broadcast set. I’ve also embedded an Internet Archive player below that will play the full recording playlist in chronological order:


For a blow-by-blow account of how news was presented on D-Day, I encourage you to check out this page at the Miller Center at UVA.

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Steve spots a Capehart International Radio and mag loop antenna in “Young Sheldon”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steve Yothment, who writes:

Check out the attached picture. It is from a preview of tonight’s episode of “Young Sheldon.” In it, Sheldon and Dr. Stergis are listening to an antique shortwave radio. I think it is a Capehart International Radio Model 88P66NL.

Also in the preview is an active loop receiving antenna. The show is supposed to be about Sheldon when he was young, back in about 1985. I don’t think active loop antennas were very popular at that time! Maybe they got the timeframe wrong on the use of the antenna. What do you think?

What a catch! I love the flip-up cover on the Capehart although I’m sure in daily use it might have been a bit unhandy. 🙂

Regarding active magnetic loop antennas, like you, I don’t remember them being around much in the mid 80s, although I know the technology was available. I imagine they were used in speciality commercial and military applications. Like you, I’m guessing we didn’t have as many noisy switching power supplies which make them such a necessity these days. I remember happily DXing with my Zenith Transoceanic in the middle of my house in the mid 80s.  Those were certainly the days!

Post Readers: Do you know of any active magnetic loop antennas that were used in homes in the mid 1980s and before?  If so, please comment!

I’ll add this post to our ever growing archive of radios in film!

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