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.
Managing short wave broadcasts from Ascension Island
Radio World reports on the remote Atlantic Relay Station that transmits critical radio broadcasts to millions in Africa and beyond
A six-mile stretch of volcanic rock in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean is home to the BBC’s Atlantic Relay Station.
Now managed and operated by Encompass Digital Media on behalf of the BBC World Service, the stations’ six powerful shortwave transmitters on Ascension Island beam program in a dozen or more languages to some 30 million listeners in north, west and central Africa.
The shortwave transmitters include two 250 kW Marconi BD272 transmitters originally installed in 1966 (and still in daily use) and four 250 kW RIZ K01 transmitters, which are also capable of transmitting in Digital Radio mode.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gaétan Teyssonneau, who notes that Channel Africa will end their shortwave service on March 31, 2019. The Meyerton Shortwave Station is closing which will effectively end Channel Africa’s shortwave service but also end Africa relays for a number of other major international broadcasters.
“It is confirmed that Sentech of South Africa is ending SW broadcast from 31 March 2019. So Channel Africa (Old Radio RSA), BBC, NHK, VOA, AWR. Deutche Welle & South Africa Radio League etc.broadcasting via Meyerton transmitting site will be only in memory shortly informs Jeff White in the AWR Wavescan program of 24th Feb 2019. (Via Jose Jacob)
Meyerton Short Wave Broadcasting Relay station is operated by SENTECH in South Africa, the signal distributor for the South African broadcasting sector. The organisation began operations in 1992 as the signal distributor of the SABC. Sentech now operates as a commercial enterprise.”
Channel Africa is asking for your feedback and will even have management live in-studio on the dates below:
Described as “an antidote to today’s frenzied world”, the BBC has launched a new radio program with 30-minute recordings of “the sounds of birds, mountain climbing, monks chatting as you go about your day.”
For 70 years, far-flung listeners knew they had found the BBC on their radio dial when they heard the jaunty notes of the Irish jig Lillibulero. Its brassy, old-fashioned sound spoke of men in dinner jackets and vintage radio microphones, and there was a minor public outcry when it was formally dropped more than a decade ago.
Since then the World Service, which has an audience of 79 million, has used a musical motif which, according to controller Mary Hockaday “changed every now and then in rather an ad hoc way”.
But from tomorrow morning, the English-language station will have a new jingle, letting listeners across the world know unquestionably that London is calling. The signature tune is a nod to the station’s long traditions, with even a beat or two of the BBC’s famous pips to send a message about values in an age of “fake news”.[…]
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