Tag Archives: Coronavirus

“BBC to provide free DAB radios to over-70s”

(Source: IBC via Tony Robbins)

  • BBC Radio to provide free DAB radios to over-70s
  • Radios to be given away due to isolation caused by coronavirus
  • Broadcaster partners manufacturers, retailers and charity for giveaway

The broadcaster’s local radio unit will give away free DAB radio units to over-70s nominated by local listeners, as part of the BBC’s Make a Difference campaign.

The project is running across all 39 of the BBC’s local radio stations in England, with partners – including Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis & Partners, Pure and Roberts Radio – setting aside thousands of radios to give away.

The radios will be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength, while manufacturer Duracell has agreed to provide batteries for free for the radios.

Tony Hall, the outgoing director-general of the BBC, said: “Local radio is a lifeline at this time and has never been more important as a source of trusted local news and information, and also as a companion for people who are isolating.

”Make A Difference is already having a huge impact right across the country with 28,000 thousand calls in just five days. It is offering support and practical solutions to people who have nowhere else to turn.

“We want everyone who needs access to the radio to have it, that’s why we’re giving away DAB radios. I’m proud we’ve been able to coordinate this initiative with our partners who have been so generous in offering their resources.”[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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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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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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All India Radio suspends shortwave and “pure DRM’ transmissions during Covid-19 lock-down

Photo by Karthik Chandran

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, who notes that All India Radio has suspended a number of their broadcast services during the Covid-19 lock-down.

Mark shares the following Office Memorandum from India’s Public Service Broadcaster.

Click here to download memorandum (PDF).

In terms of shortwave (ESD) services, here’s the relevant section from the Memorandum:

B) NON-ESSENTIAL RADIO SERVICES

The following non-essential radio services may be suspended with immediate effect during the lock-down

ESD

5) All ESD services

6) All transmitters dedicated to ESD

DRM

7) Pure DRM mode operations

a. DRM transmitters may be operated on analogue / simulcast mode to relay the National News Service subject to local circumstances and conditions

FM

8) Stations with a 3rd FM channel may relay audio of DD News or DD India subject to feasibility

On the WRTH Facebook group, Sanjay Sutradhar, did note one shortwave broadcast still in service:

It appears 9380 kHz from Aligarh is radiating AIR Vividh Bharti services, may be on a truncated wattage. 8am & 8.30pm news is extended to one hour dedicated to Covid-19 news in-country and world-wide and developments but it is the common broadcast carried out in-country on all bands, at 1.45 UTC

Mark Fahey asks:

I wonder if they will ever bring AIR’s External Service back–?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? The government lock-down is set for 21 days, but I fully expect it could take much longer if other Covid-19 countries are any indication.

If AIR’s shortwave service is closed for an extended period of time–recognizing they deem it “non-essential”–I wouldn’t be surprised if they made deep cuts or keep it closed. Let’s hope for the best outcome, though.

Stay tuned! We’ll keep you updated.


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“Sri Lanka turning ex-Voice of America relay station into COVID-19 hospital”

Google Earth view

(Source: Economy Next)

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will turn the building of a former Voice of America relay station into a COVID-19 hospital, as part of efforts to accommodate an increase in patients, a high level task force that drive Coronavirus control activities in the country said.

Sri Lanka has designated 18 hospitals to accept COVID-19 patients, but most of the confirmed patients are treated at the main infectious disease hospital in Colombo.

Mulleriyawa hospital, which is close to the IDH has also been turned into a COVID-19 treatment centre.

Sri Lanka is turning decommissioned Voice of America facilities into a COVID-19 treatment centre with the help of the military, a statement from the anti-COVID-19 task force quoted, Director General of Health Service Anil Jasinghe as saying.

The Voice of America relay station in Iranawila was built under heavy opposition from the Catholic Church. The VOA paid rent for the land and handed over facilities free of charge to the government.

VOA also handed over its old transmitters in Ekala and the land to the government when the new relay stations was built.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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Ipsos survey explores Coronavirus impact on radio usage

(Source: Inside Radio via Dennis Dura)

Here’s How Coronavirus Is Impacting Work Habits And Radio Usage.

Scores of companies across the country are encouraging their employees to work from home to help limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. How this is changing American work habits and their usage of AM/FM radio is the subject of a freshly fielded study from Ipsos.

Commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One, the national study of 1,027 persons 18+ was conducted from March 13 -15 “While the number of businesses, venues, and locations that have closed or curtailed visitation has grown sharply even since this study was fielded just two days ago, this data serves to quantify the state of the American workforce during a period in time,” Cumulus/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says in a post on the “Everyone’s Listening” blog.

[…]Importantly for radio, nearly one in five (18%) heavy AM/FM radio listeners, defined as those who listen to more than 5 hours a week, say they will listen even more to broadcast radio due to the coronavirus outbreak, while 79% said about the same and only 4% indicated less.

Additionally, 20% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will be listening more to news reports on AM/FM radio. “The crisis has also turned many into news fanatics,” Bouvard says. “Nearly one-third say they will be consuming more news online and news on TV.”[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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Guest Post: “Radio. Now is your time to shine.”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who shares this message from his friend, Jarrad Brooke:


Radio. Now is your time to shine.

As more and more mass gatherings are cancelled and outdoor entertainment is cancelled – more and more people will turn to other forms of media for entertainment. Netflix and streaming are the obvious choices – but I believe even Free to Air TV and yes -radio will get a free kick as well.

I’m not talking about those in isolation or quarantine – as that is obviously an extremely small portion (or hopefully!) a small portion of our potential audience. I’m talking just the general population who feel they need somewhere to go, tune out, escape and be entertained… seeing as they have no where in groups outdoors to do it anymore.

Radio – now more than ever, needs to make sure they use this free kick of audience to their advantage to make sure they become loyal and stay. Everything that goes to air right now needs to be to the highest quality – every song, announcer break, commercial and element needs to fit now more than ever.

Radio did such a great job in the bush fire emergency. Now build on that and maximise it even more. You never know, you could be a listeners emergency today in needing them needing an escape from reality for a while.

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