Tag Archives: AM Radio

Radio Waves: ACMA Report, Maine Stations Close, The National Emergency Library, and RAF Bombing Disrupted Propaganda

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, Bill Mead, Bill Hemphill, and Gregg Freeby for the following tips:


The future delivery of radio (Australia Communications and Media Authority)

The ACMA released an issue paper in May 2019 to hear from industry about the delivery of radio.  We also wanted to consider if there needs to be any changes to support radio services into the future.

Following this, we conducted a public consultation, receiving submissions from across the industry. We found that live radio across different platforms is important to Australians. This is especially relevant during emergency situations, such as the recent bushfires. We also determined that a mix of platforms is crucial to bringing radio to listeners.

Our report identifies four broadcast spectrum planning priority activities to help support radio:

    • converting commercial, community and national radio broadcasting services from AM to FM where available
    • improving the coverage of radio broadcasting services where spectrum is readily available
    • making digital radio channel plans for regional DAB+ where there is a planned rollout
    • supporting trials of new broadcasting technology.

Report to the Minister Future delivery of radio (319.59 KB)

WOXO says farewell to listeners; Gleason Radio Group to go silent after 45 years (Sun Journal)

AUBURN — On Maine Big Z’s “The Breakfast Club,” Mark Turcotte interviewed local business owners, entertainers, activists, and once last summer, a mixed martial arts cage fighter and state senator one hour apart.

“Had to shift gears pretty quickly that morning,” quipped Turcotte, the morning show host since December 2018.

On Wednesday, he was abruptly down to two final shows.

Gleason Radio Group announced that its five stations will go off the air at 7 p.m. Sunday. They include Norway, Paris, Rumford, Mexico and Auburn.

“This feels like the end of an era in Maine radio,” Turcotte said.

Kathy Gleason has run the business with WOXO station manager Vic Hodgkins in the year since her husband, founder and former Auburn Mayor Dick Gleason, died.

“I feel that I tried very hard to keep it going and at the same time have it be for sale,” Gleason said. “It didn’t sell, it may sell. The coronavirus was kind of like the last straw as far as finances go.”

Hodgkins said a combination of low receivables and slow payments, combined with a projected drop in advertising because of COVID-19, has resulted in the need to close the stations.[]

Announcing The National Emergency Library (Internet Archive)

To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.

This is a response to the scores of inquiries from educators about the capacity of our lending system and the scale needed to meet classroom demands because of the closures. Working with librarians in Boston area, led by Tom Blake of Boston Public Library, who gathered course reserves and reading lists from college and school libraries, we determined which of those books the Internet Archive had already digitized.  Through that work we quickly realized that our lending library wasn’t going to scale to meet the needs of a global community of displaced learners. To make a real difference for the nation and the world, we would have to take a bigger step.[]

World War II’s Strangest Bombing Mission (Air & Space)

The RAF knew how to cut the power on propaganda.

eichsmarschall Hermann Göring was beside himself with anger. Years before, he had told the people of Germany that no enemy aircraft would ever cross the country’s borders. Now, on January 30, 1943, a national day of celebration marking the 10th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power, Göring was made to look like a buffoon.

Dodging in and out of slate gray clouds, Royal Air Force bombers from No. 105 Squadron howled across Berlin. With bomb doors open and Merlin engines at their limits, the wail from a trio of de Havilland Mosquitos mixed with blasts from anti-aircraft batteries below. If everything went as planned, all that noise was going to be on the radio.

In Berlin, amid the grim news from the battlefronts in North Africa and Stalingrad, the January 30 celebration was intended to take German minds off their fallen soldiers and reversals of fortune. The Nazis were going to have a parade. Göring, one of the most powerful figures in the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was about to deliver a speech to kick off the opening ceremonies in the capital city. British operatives knew it all. They even found out what time the Luftwaffe commandant was due to step to the podium at the Air Ministry Building—exactly 1100.

Royal Air Force leaders had dispatched orders to a pair of Mosquito squadrons experienced in low-level attacks. “I was playing [cards] in the crew room when my driver first told me we were going on an op,” Sergeant Richard Charles “Lofty” Fletcher later told reporters. “I must admit I was a bit shattered when I found out it was Berlin.”

The 400-mph Mosquitos were undertaking the RAF’s first daylight bombing attack on Germany’s largest city. Their target was not the parade route or even the Reichsmarschall himself, but something bigger. It didn’t take a top-level English spy to figure out that Göring’s remarks would be transmitted to the far corners of the Third Reich. The bombers banked and streaked towards Berlin’s Haus des Rundfunks—the headquarters building of the German State broadcasting company.

Göring and the radio building were slightly more than four miles apart—a distance that the Mosquitos could cover, going all-out, in roughly 40 seconds. And the cacophony they brought with them traveled even faster. As the mics went live and Göring began to speak, the roar of impending catastrophe became audible over the radio.[]


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I should be working, but instead I’m playing radio…

Ever had one of those days where you should be catching up on work, correspondence, and projects, but instead you find yourself outside, in front of a radio and just enjoying a long listening session?

Yeah, that’s me and that’s today.

How did it all happen?

Well, this morning I dropped an RF adapter behind a shelf and, in the process, picked up my Sony ICF-5500W that was standing in the way. It felt a little light because it had no batteries inside.

Next thing I know, I’m loading the ‘5500W with C cells and heading outside.

It’s a gorgeous day, so I thought it might not be a bad idea to energize the caps in this benchmark solid-state radio and check reception outdoors. Besides, it’s a perfect way to do my bit for Social DXing, right?

The ‘5500W was performing flawlessly, so the next thing I know I’ve passed a good hour band-scanning and doing a little daytime DXing.

The ‘500W is truly a remarkable mediumwave receiver and I love the fluid “tuning experience” of the analog dial.  The audio, of course, is brilliant and perhaps that’s why I can’t let go of it (nor the Panny RF-2200).

So am I the only one playing radio today instead of doing work–? Tell me it ain’t so!  Please comment!

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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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Radio Waves: WNPV Off Air, Privat-Ear, End of Radio, and China COVID-19 shut-ins tune-in

(Source: JamesButters.com)

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 Ron, Tracy Wood, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


WNPV Radio preparing to go off air April 30 (The Reporter)

TOWAMENCIN — When April ends, the airwaves above the North Penn valley region will be emptier, and so will a little brick building on Snyder Road in Towamencin.

Sitting below five 165-foot-tall radio antennas and one cell tower, that brick building has been the home for six decades of WNPV, the local radio station found at 1440 AM and 98.5 FM.

“We’ve been at it for 60 years, and our mission and our core values are really no different today than they were in October of 1960. It literally is to serve the community,” said Phil Hunt, the station’s General Manager.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s not sustainable for us to continue to do that. It takes resources to do it properly; those resources, primarily, are people, and we were having trouble making ends meet,” he said.

Hunt announced Wednesday that WNPV will go off the air on April 30, bringing an end to an era of live, local news that began on Oct. 17, 1960. The station’s coverage of local sports, politics, breaking news, and key issues have earned dozens of awards, a handful of which greet visitors as you walk past an old teletype machine through the station’s front door.[]

Privat-ear Subminiature Tube Pocket Radio (JamesButters.com)

The Privat-ear pocket radio was manufactured in the USA and released onto the market by Electronics Systems Corporation in 1949 (1a, b, c). Although small enough to fit in a shirt pocket this is not a transistor radio; it owes its small size to the use of subminiature tubes developed during WWII and was designed as an earphone only model. It predates the first commercially available transistor radio by five years and was an innovative, but ultimately doomed, attempt at realizing an American cultural objective; the creation of a portable shirt pocket radio with mass appeal.

The Privat-ear was invented by Frank L Stuck, a Minister of Lakeland Florida. Born in Washington, Pennsylvania on October 13 1904 to William and Maise Stuck, he was the second youngest of four children (1d, e). He studied Theology at Bethany College, West Virginia from 1924 – 1927 and received a Doctor of Divinity degree from the American Theological Seminary at Wilmington Delaware (1f). Whilst attending College he was one of the founding members of Alpha Pi Alpha, was a member of the Student Volunteers and met and married Iva Myrtle Driggs.[]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – The End Of Radio. Really? (Radio Ink)

(By Mike Bustell) I try to keep my head down and quietly work behind the scenes helping our salespeople make a killing for our advertisers and our company. However, I had to react to Roger Lanctot’s “Technology Tyranny and the End of Radio” LinkedIn article published in last Friday’s Radio Ink headlines.

How Tesla and Silicon Valley (and other tech giants) feel about local radio is not much different than what our salespeople hear when talking with their local garden center or auto dealer group — that local radio is no longer relevant to bother putting it on their 2020 dashboards.

All these objections are happy opportunities to educate, bond, and sway hearts, minds, and advertising budgets. We have to be happy well-armed warriors with targeted customer-specific information every time we ask for a decision-maker’s valuable time. Once we earn an advertiser’s business we can never stop educating, bonding, or working on helping them grow their business.

Below is the most up-to-date look at the audio sources that $100K+HHI purchasers and lessees for new hybrid and electric vehicles are using. Like Mike Bloomberg taking the salt shakers off of New York City restaurants’ tables, Tesla’s removing easy access to local AM/FM radio stations on their new vehicles’ dashboards shows a similar out-of-touch-with-the-people attitude. Ninety-four and a half percent of $100K+ Age 25+ adults who plan to buy or lease a new hybrid or electric vehicle in 2020 listen to Local AM/FM radio every week — nearly three times that of Spotify, the second most-listened-to audio source every week used by these consumers.[]

China COVID-19 shut-in tunes in to the world via radio (Marketplace)

The battle to contain the COVID-19 virus in China has kept most people at home since the end of January.

Life is slowly returning to streets in cities like Shanghai, but face masks are now required in nearly all public spaces, even though they are not recommended for the general public by the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization.

Since there is a shortage of masks, most people are still effectively forced to stay home. As Marketplace’s China correspondent, this includes me. My window to the world for a better part of a month has been through radio.[]


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Steve’s crusade to obtain KGAF license plate


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Van Hoy, who shares the following item from WFAA:

GAINESVILLE, Texas — A North Texas radio station that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles determined had call letters that were too “vulgar” to put on a personalized license plate finally has those formerly vulgar letters proudly affixed to its one station vehicle.

It’s a victory thanks to a Gainesville-area lawmaker who decided a bit of common sense was in order.

Late last year KGAF station manager Steve Eberhart started the process, applying to have KGAF on a personalized license plate for their company van. The station has been a fixture in Gainesville since 1947. But in a modern world that sometimes communicates in OMGs, LOLs, IDKs and IMHOs, the state told him that KGAF might mean something, too.

“Well, I’ve been told that it’s an acronym or a slang for social media for ‘can’t give a (expletive),” Eberhart said. “But certainly we never intended that,” he told me several weeks ago. “I can assure you the people in 1947 did not intend for it to mean that!”[…]

Click here for the full story at WFAA.

That is a riot, Dan!  Thank you for sharing. I’m glad someone finally came to their senses and gave Steve his plate!

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Radio Waves: Capitol Code, Clay’s Corner, The Buzzer, iHeart Layoffs, and Australian Hams

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, William Lee, Stana Horzepa, Rich Cuff, and Marty for the following tips:


Capitol Records Building Morse Code (WA1LOU)

This iconic Los Angeles landmark has been emitting secret messages since it opened. However, only those with a keen eye for Morse code can decipher what they say.

It was the former president of Capitol Records, Alan Livingston, who got the idea to have the light on top of the building send out a signal in Morse code. The word chosen for this secret message was “Hollywood.” When the building opened in 1956, Samuel Morse’s granddaughter Leila Morse had the honor of turning the light on.

Read the rest of the story at Atlas Obscura.


Clay’s Corner February 2020 Edition (Northwest Broadcasters)

Some are interpreting this as meaning that – every – AM will be switching to digital leaving a Jillion AM only receivers with nothing to listen to (except for electrical gizmo noise). I give more credit than that to the owners of AM Radio Stations. I would highly doubt if any market would see all of their AM’s go digital. Perhaps in an ownership that had two AM’s it might make sense to have one of each.

[…]Other question is, what will the company that owns HD Radio (EXPERI) want to extract from the owner of an AM station that’s willing to put everything on the line and go all digital?
The bottom line is there appears to be a lot of interest in this proposal. The FCC’s process will likely draw a number of comments, pro and con. This will be an interesting process to watch. I can say one thing, never did I ever dream that we would be debating this issue![]


Seven mysterious sounds science has yet to solve (Popular Science)

The Buzzer

Numbers stations—shortwave radio transmissions of monotone coded messages—are inherently creepy. But call sign UVB-76 has outcreeped them all by playing the same jolting tone from Russia since 1982. Similar broadcasts are useful for sending messages where snoops might intercept digital comms, so “the Buzzer” could simply assist spies. But it plays far fewer words and digits than confirmed espionage outlets, so some suspect it’s a science project that bounces radio waves off the ionosphere to detect solar flares. The most intriguing theory posits that it’s a doomsday device that will go silent should Russia suffer a nuclear attack, thus triggering retaliation.

My theory is that these mysterious sounds are actually the intro to a Pink Floyd song, possibly from their 1969 album Ummagumma. Because the early Floyd albums, before Dark Side of the Moon, are no longer heard on-air, the Russians stole this music knowing we’d never notice. Ooh, gotta go… I hear the black helicopters coming…[]


iHeartMedia laid off hundreds of radio DJs. Executives blame AI. DJs blame the executives. (Washington Post)

When iHeartMedia announced this month it would fire hundreds of workers across the country, the radio conglomerate said the restructuring was critical to take advantage of its “significant investments … in technology and artificial intelligence.” In a companywide email, chief executive Bob Pittman said the “employee dislocation” was “the unfortunate price we pay to modernize the company.”

But laid-off employees like D’Edwin “Big Kosh” Walton, who made $12 an hour as an on-air personality for the Columbus, Ohio, hip-hop station 106.7 the Beat, don’t buy it. Walton doesn’t blame the cuts on a computer; he blames them on the company’s top executives, whose “coldblooded, calculated move” cost people their jobs.[]


Amateur radio skills prove useful during bushfire emergencies (ABC News)

Amateur radio enthusiasts have proved themselves useful during the recent bushfires after traditional telecommunication channels broke down.

Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is a skill and international hobby whereby enthusiasts use specific radio frequencies to communicate with each other.

In Australia, users must complete an exam to obtain a license through the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

It was volunteers with these skills who were called in to assist during the recent New South Wales bushfires.

Neil Fallshaw is vice-president of WICEN NSW Communications, a group of volunteers with amateur radio licenses who can help in emergency situations.

He said about 30 members provided a temporary radio system in the Bega, Cobargo, Narooma, and Bermagui areas after some of the local radio infrastructure was damaged or had lost power.

“We deployed one of our radio repeaters on the mountains. We put a radio repeater system on that mountain to cover a portion of the south coast,” Mr Fallshaw said.

He said that radio system assisted the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association and Bega Valley Shire Council staff to communicate from bushfire-affected towns like Bermagui and Cobargo.

“They normally use just mobile phones, but the mobile phones in the area were down because of fire damage,” Mr Fallshaw said.[]

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