Tag Archives: Critical Distance

BBC World Service to get more money, but less influence?

(Image source: BBC)

(Image source: BBC)

Jonathan Marks takes a look at the future of the BBC World Service under the umbrella of the BBC News group board.

His conclusion? Just doing the news may be “too narrow a remit.”

I tend to agree.

Read for yourself on Jonathan’s blog, Critical Distance.

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Jonathan reminds us that history keeps repeating itself

1-RadioListening2Current events in the Ukraine and Crimea remind Jonathan Marks that history–especially as broadcast over the airwaves–repeats itself:

“History keeps repeating itself, both on the ground and on the radio. The theatre going on in Crimea and Ukraine at the moment remind me of other situations. But there is a difference. The programmes below [click here] were all made when the Russian’s had an external broadcasting service called Radio Moscow, later renamed as Voice of Russia. Just as Voice of America shouted at the Russia, so Voice of Russia shouted back.”

Continue reading Jonathan’s full article, complete with audio and video clips, on his blog Critical Distance.

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Jonathan Marks on what went wrong with shortwave

radio_vaticanaCheck out Jonathan Mark’s blog Critical Distance for his take on why many shortwave broadcasters have failed over the years.

Hint: the same is true for any broadcaster regardless of delivery medium–content is king.

Click here to read the full post.

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Russia “quietly” ends longwave services

Zenith Transoceanic tuned to shortwaveThe BBC reports that Russia has “quietly switched off nearly all of its long-wave transmitters, ending almost nine decades of broadcasting – as cost finally catches up on the medium.” Read the full story on the BBC News.

Not a huge surprise as many countries are pulling the plug on longwave, despite the medium’s large local broadcasting footprint. It does make one wonder if VOR shortwave could also be pulled with little fanfare or warning.

Indeed, check out Jonathan Marks’ comments on the changes at the (former) Voice of Russia which we’ve mentioned has at least, administratively, been liquidated and consolidated.

I can tell you that for those of us in North America, VOR is now a much harder catch on shortwave–a very strange shift from the ubiquity of the broadcaster’s signal in past decades.

But if you want to hear frank, public comments about how these changes are affecting the staff of VOR, just bookmark and listen to From Moscow With Love. Hosts Vasily and Natasha happily march to their own beat and comment openly to listener inquiries.

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Concerns about the BBC World Service after reorganization

BBC-World-ServiceJonathan Marks of the weblog Critical Distance writes:

Bumped into an interesting document on the voice of the listener and viewer site in the UK.

They seem to be concerned that BBC will reorganise so that BBC World Service won’t get representation high enough in the organisation. I have heard it said that this was a problem during the days of Sam Younger 1994-1998. BBC World Service will need a powerful voice to show its value. The licence fee is a continuous debate in the UK. But it surprises me that BBC WS doesn’t really have an organised listener foundation like the VLV. Those resident in the UK are not the target audience for the BBC WS.


Thank you, Jonathan. Indeed, I often wonder if RCI would have been struck so hard by (CBC) cuts if the international broadcaster had a strong leader; one who looked to innovate and adapt.

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Jonathan comments on the efficacy of Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum

(Image Source: Critical Distance)

(Image Source: Critical Distance)

Jonathan Marks writes:

“Shortwave radio stations rarely did public events in my day as editor in chief. Radio stations often played around with the idea of having an Internet café at the studios, especially music stations like Capital Radio in London at Leicester Sq. For the last few years DW has been building an annual discussion forum. Although not open to the general public, it has now grown to a point where many NGO’s seem to drop in. But DW needs to watch competition from other media organisations because others in Germany are building more participatory conversations.”

Click here for Jonathan Mark’s post regarding the Global Media Forum on Critical Distance.

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