Tag Archives: DAB+

Radio Waves: Radio Liberty Journalist Bugged, Invisible Battle, RNZ Shortwave After Tonga Eruption, Closing Analog FM in Spain to Save Energy, and Keeping Morse Code Alive

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Journalist Vitaly Portnikov was found to be “eavesdropped” at his home in Lviv, – Knyazhytskyi (Espeso)

Note this article has been translated in English. Original in Ukrainian found here.

The police promptly responded to the call, but the SBU for some reason delays its response to illegal actions People’s deputy Mykola Knyazhytskyi announced this on Facebook .

“In Lviv, journalist Vitaly Portnikov, who hosts programs on Espresso and Radio Svoboda, found a eavesdropping device at home. It is a voice recorder with the ability to record for a long time. The police were called. They arrived quickly. The SBU was called. They are not going. As a member of the Verkhovna Rada, I ask the SBU to come immediately and disrupt case. We don’t know who installed this device and for what purpose: our services, foreign services or criminality,” the politician said.

Image via Espreso

Vitaly Portnikov commented on the incident for “Espresso”:

“Today, while cleaning the apartment I lived in at the end of February, when the war started, I found a recording device under the bed. The device had an inventory number. I informed the law enforcement authorities about my discovery so that they could investigate this incident.”

The journalist added that he hoped for a high-quality investigation and clarification of all the circumstances of the case:

“After my statement, the investigators of the SBU of the Lviv region conducted an inspection of the premises and seized a device that is a device for listening and recording information. I hope that the relevant structures will conduct an examination and find out by whom and why this device was placed in my apartment.”

Vitaly Portnikov is a well-known Ukrainian journalist, publicist and political commentator. Cooperates with Radio Svoboda and Espresso. On the Espresso TV channel, he creates the programs “Political Club of Vitaly Portnikov” and “Saturday Political Club”. [Click here to read the full article at Espreso.]

The Invisible Battle of the Cold War Airwaves (Bureau of Lost Culture)

This Episode explore three stories of cold war era radio in the USSR: Soviet Radio Jammers, the Russian ‘Woodpecker’ and the Soviet Radio Hooligans

[Click here to listen to the podcast via PodBean.]

We meet with Russian broadcaster Vladimir Raevsky to talk about radio jamming in cold war era Soviet Union.

As East and West super powers square up to each with nuclear weapons, a parallel invisible war is being fought in the airwaves. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: Ofcom London Pirate Stats, RNZ Invests in New SW Transmitters, Public Media Supports Ukraine Refugees, and Migration to DAB+ Spurred by Energy Costs

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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 Eric Jon Magnuson for summarizing these news items for Radio Waves!


Pirate radio stations operating outside London (Southgate ARC)

In a Freedom of Information request Ofcom were asked to provide details of pirate broadcast radio stations outside of London for the years 2021-2022

Ofcom refused to give names of the stations but they did provide some statistics, see this link.

You can submit a Freedom of Information request to Ofcom online at
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/new/ofcom

RNZ welcomes Pacific infrastructure investment

Released at 3:19 pm on 19 May 2022

RNZ Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief Paul Thompson has welcomed the budget investment in RNZ Pacific shortwave transmitters.

In Budget 2022 the Government announced $4.4 million dollars capital funding for a new transmitter for RNZ Pacific.

RNZ Pacific broadcasts into the wider Pacific on shortwave 24 hours a day, collaborating with 22 broadcasting partners across the region. Its current primary transmitter is nearing end of life, and its other transmitter has in effect already been retired.

“The value of the RNZ Pacific service can’t be underestimated. Our voice reaches all parts of the Pacific, at times with critical information such as cyclone warnings. During the Tonga eruption, when the undersea cable was cut, RNZ Pacific short wave was a lifeline source of information,” said Thompson.

This investment secures a productive future for our unique voice. The attraction of the shortwave service is its robustness, and the ability to have the signal travel great distances, and achieve good audiences,” he said.

RNZ Pacific broadcasts enhance the Government’s Pacific strategy as we share our history, culture, politics and demographics. The strategy is underpinned by the building of deeper, more mature partnerships with Pacific Island countries, and by supporting their independence and sustainable social and economic resilience.

Since the ABC ceased its shortwave broadcasting the only other shortwave broadcaster in the region is Radio China. Thompson says RNZ can now start work on its infrastructure development with a new transmitter likely to take approximately 12 months to get in place depending subject to further project planning.

Click here to read at RNZ.

Public Service Media Continue To Mobilize Wide Range Of Support For Ukrainian Refugees (EBU)

More than 14 million people have fled their homes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war shows no sign of ending. For World Refugee Day on 20 June, we are highlighting some of the issues faced by displaced Ukrainian people – and reaffirming that the support from the EBU and its Members will continue.

That support has manifested across a range of projects:

Air strikes on the TV towers in Kyiv and Rivne underlined the vulnerability of broadcast communications in a war zone. Together with our Members, we have coordinated the supply and delivery of critical equipment such as IP connectivity solutions, satellite phones, AM transmitters, and studio support to enable the uninterrupted transmission of vital news and information.

In these circumstances, being able to rely on accurate news sources is key. Many EBU Members have launched dedicated news services specifically for refugees in their own language, so that they can tap into vital updates from home, wherever in the world they are. Rai News in Italy has a daily news bulletin in Ukrainian; RTBF UKRAINE is a new web-based radio station for Ukrainian refugees in Belgium, with 100% of its content in Ukrainian; and Yle in Finland has a Ukrainian-language news service for providing the latest news bulletins in Ukrainian. Many public media outlets are also re-transmitting content directly from Ukrainian public broadcaster, UA/PBC for Ukrainian refugees.

Providing practical information to help people navigate the uncertainties of settling into new homes has also been a priority and has seen the launch of many dedicated programming and channels: GPB has a hotline for Ukrainians in Georgia; Czech Radio and Radio Prague have launched a podcast, ‘News for Ukrainians in Czech Republic’, that offers practical information for incomers. While ARD in Germany presents How To Deutschland Insta; Swedish Radio’s Ukrainian service for new arrivals includes practical advice on how to access medical care or education facilities for kids and RTP’s online service helps with learning a new language.

For children, displacement through war is particularly traumatic. TVP in Poland has developed a site for kids from Ukraine which, as well as showing selected content in Ukrainian, also presents lessons in learning Polish; ARD and ZDF in Germany have included content in Ukrainian for children, including German-language learning programmes, and Czech Radio has recorded fairytales in Ukrainian.

Noel Curran, Director General, EBU, said “Few of us can understand the trauma of being forced to leave our homes, not knowing when or if we will return. I’m proud to belong to a community that has mobilized a wide range of practical support so quickly while ensuring trusted news and information continues to reach those who need it, wherever in the world they are. World Refugee Day is a moment to reflect on a situation that continues to need targeted support. And to reaffirm our commitment to giving it for as long as it takes.”

Click here to read at the EBU website.

Rising Energy Costs Could Spur Digital Migration (Radio World)

Projected cost reductions cited as reason for Germany to accelerate the migration to DAB+

As energy costs rise, Deutschlandradio Director Sefan Raue sees a further reason to hasten an FM switch-off for Germany.

“We will not be able to afford two terrestrial distribution channels in the long run. The signs are clearer than two or three years ago,” Raue told German press agency dpa, according to Hadelsblatt. “FM is an energy guzzler.”

A public broadcaster, Deutschlandradio is based in Cologne and Berlin and operates several national channels on DAB+ and FM. The channel been steadily replacing its remaining FM transmitters with DAB+; six of its short-range analog transmitters are going dark at the end of June 2022. The broadcaster expects to have at total of 161 locations broadcasting its DAB+ channels nationwide by year-end, reaching some 90% of the German populace. [Continue reading at Radio World…]


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Radio Waves: DAB on UK Smart Speakers, MORE Project, Sun Getting Busy, and RTI’s German special “garners thousands of responses”

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 Skip Arey, Mike Hansgen, and David Iurescia for the following tips:


Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let’s force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review (The Register)

Britain’s anti Amazon and Google war gets a second front

The UK may require smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home devices to broadcast UK DAB radio stations, over government fears that Brits aren’t consuming enough of the unloved radio tech.

Under the guise of “protecting UK radio stations’ accessibility” the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a report calling for smart speakers to rebroadcast domestic radio stations’ output. The recommendation is as follows:

The government to consider regulatory changes to ensure radio stations and radio and audio content can be easily found and is discoverable by users of voice assistant platforms, including smart speakers and in-car infotainment systems.

The call, made in the Ministry of Fun’s Digital Radio and Audio Review, was backed by national broadcaster the BBC and commercial radio groups.

The same report found that 64 per cent of audio on smart speakers is live radio, though smart speaker users make up around 6 per cent of radio listeners at present. Nonetheless, DCMS called for governmental action to enforce the provision of something that’s already provided.

Media minister Julia Lopez said in a canned statement: “We must make sure this treasured medium continues to reach audiences as listening shifts to new technologies and that we have a gradual transition away from FM to protect elderly listeners and those in remote areas.” [Continue reading…]

Interested in getting a U.S. Amateur Radio license? (David Sarnoff Radio Club)

Earlier this year, the IEEE Princeton / Central Jersey Section’s Broadcast Technology Chapter (IEEE PCJS BT) received a generous grant to provide mentoring and equipment that encourages understanding of digital and analog aspects of radio communication, through hands-on activities and explorations. Over the next 2 years, our Make Operating Radio Easier (MORE) Project will be training 500 new U.S. Amateur Radio (“Ham”) operators in small (10 to 15 person) groups. We are especially seeking youth (ages 12-18) and non-males to help increase the demographics for these underrepresented groups on the air, but are currently accepting applicants of all ages (12+) and all genders.

Class sessions are primarily virtual (via Zoom) but may be arranged to be on-site if there is sufficient interest by a school, club or organization (as allowed, given the ongoing health situation). Virtual or in-person FCC amateur license testing sessions will also be arranged (throughout the USA) by our ARRL-certified MORE Project Volunteer Examiner (VE) team. There is no charge for the classes, and ALL testing and licensing fees for participants in the MORE Project are covered by our grant. Trainees in our program will also receive (paid by the MORE Project) a Software Defined Radio USB dongle, a pre-assembled 25-foot longwire receiving antenna, and (after successfully licensing) a hand-held Yaesu 2 Meter (HT) radio. The MORE Project course will provide instruction in the use of this equipment and assistance in Getting On The Air (GOTA) to make radio contacts.

Additional information about the MORE Project, including how to register for a training course, is at n2re.org/m-o-r-e-project and in our IEEE PCJS Call for Participation flyer. Questions should be directed to Dr. Rebecca Mercuri K3RPM at [email protected].

Our Sun is About to Get Busy | Solar Storm Forecast 10.25.2021 (Tamitha Skove)

RTI’s German-language special program garners thousands of responses (RTI)

During the third quarter of every year, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) broadcasts a special one-hour radio program via shortwave directly to German-speaking countries. The programs were transmitted over four weekends between July and August. Usually, RTI’s German programs are relayed through Bulgaria.

This year, thanks to conducive weather conditions and precise engineering, RTI’s signal was stronger than in prior years. In response to the program, listeners from 33 countries sent over a thousand reception reports confirming they received the broadcast. According to RTI, it received a record number of reports.

Radio Taiwan International President Chang Cheng says that even though most of the station’s programs are available online, there is still a significant community of people that prefers listening to shortwave radio.

This year, listeners who sent in a reception report for the special one-hour broadcast will receive a limited edition RTI QSL card featuring Taiwan’s iconic Formosan Blue Magpie. RTI says that it is still in the process of responding to all of the listening reports it received.


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Radio Waves: Waves of Hope Presentation, More Radio Post-Pandemic, RTÉ to cease radio over DAB network, and Saving VOA Delano Relay DL-8

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 David Iurescia, William Lee, and Radio Ado for the following tips:


Waves of Hope at Nutley Public Library (Tap Into Nutley)

Saturday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom – Learn the true and inspiring story of centenarian Agnes Joan Negra.  During World War II, using her shortwave radio from her home in Nutley, NJ, Agnes listened to Radio Berlin each night and notated the names of U.S. Prisoners of War as they were announced.  Agnes then went on to send personal letters to each family to inform them that their loved ones were still alive.  Author, Nutley native, and Son of Agnes, Ronald along with his wife Valerie, will discuss the creation of this book and this inspiring story of his mother.  You must register in advance at nutleypubliclibrary.org/waves-of-hope to attend.  When registering you will receive a confirmation and one day before the event you will receive an email with log-in instructions through Zoom.[]

People will be listening to more radio when the pandemic is over: Ciaran Davis (RadioInfo)

“People have learnt that they can listen to radio in new ways and they will be listening to more, not less, when the pandemic is over,” according to HT&E chief executive Ciaran Davis.

Speaking to radioinfo this week, Davis explained that the company had “a very tough second quarter” in 2020, but the rest of the year turned out better than expected.

“There was a huge improvement in quarters 3 and 4, compared with that horrible quarter 2 where radio revenue was back 46%,” said Davis.

With about 30 people losing their jobs at the height of the pandemic, “regular communication and honesty was important in getting the staff through the worst of the pandemic.” It was “a very unsettling time” but the company “kept people involved and focused on the positive,” which kept the company performing well despite the tough economic conditions.

After early pay cuts, salaries have now returned to normal. “The revenue book was empty, so we had to take the decision to cut pay, but radio listenership and advertising has come back strongly and more quickly than we thought it would then… we were looking at some troubling numbers if the pandemic had of kept going.”

Luckily, the worst fears were not realised. HT&E revenue was 22% down on the previous year, but could have been a lot worse. The outlook seems positive for 2021.

“I think there was a perception that radio would suffer the same fate as out of home because people were not listening in the car during lockdowns, but it didn’t.

“We in the industry knew that our content is engaging enough, strong enough, local and live enough to be resilient. The emotional bond between listeners and their favourite stations and personalities meant that they easily switched to new platforms when they were at home. It took some convincing for the ad market to understand that this had happened, but they understood in the end.

“This is an exciting time. I think people have learnt that they can listen to radio in new ways and they will be listening to more not less when the pandemic is over.”[…]

Read more at: https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/people-will-be-listening-more-radio-when-pandemic-over-ciaran-davis © Radioinfo.com.au

 

RTÉ to cease radio transmission on DAB network (RTÉ)

RTÉ is to cease transmission of its radio services on the Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) network on 31 March.

However, its digital radio services, RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, RTÉ Pulse, and RTÉjr Radio, will remain available on other platforms.

In a statement, the broadcaster said the move to cease DAB transmission was driven by three main factors – the fact that DAB was the least utilised platform in Ireland; that RTÉ is the only Irish broadcaster on the DAB system, and cost avoidance.

A public information campaign will be held to show customers how they can continue to access the digital stations.

In 2019, RTÉ had announced that its digital radio services would cease transmission as part of cost cutting measures.

However, although the DAB service will stop in March, the stations will now still be available on other platforms.

The broadcaster said this is due to the value audiences still derive from them.

The latest JNLR report, Radio in a Digital World, compiled by Ipsos/ MRBI, found that while 8% of the population in Ireland (330,000 people) are accessing radio stations via digital means, the smallest number in this cohort opt for DAB.

According to the report, just under 5% of adults in Ireland listen to radio via a mobile device, 2% listen on a PC, around 1.5% listen on a smart speaker, 0.6% listen on a TV set and 0.5% DAB. 77% of adults in Ireland listen to radio on FM.

For details on how to continue to listen to RTÉ digital radio services visit www.rte.ie/keeplistening 

One Megawatt of Peak AM Power – Saving the Voice of America Delano Relay DL-8 (YouTube)

In 2007, the Voice of America ceased operations at the Delano Relay site in Central California. The site is destined to be bulldozed along with several relics of Collins Radio Company’s Broadcast Communications Division. The Collins Collectors Association, with assistance from the Antique Wireless Association, hatched a plan to retrieve one of the Collins 821A-1 250 KW Shortwave Transmitters from the site and place it on display for all to see. This presentation gives some history of VoA and the Delano site and follows the disassembly and relocation of Delano Relay DL-8.

Dennis Kidder, W6DQ, is a retired Aerospace Engineer, having spent nearly 45 years in System Engineering. His career spanned many fields – from building and operating large scale sound systems, computer systems used to publish newspapers and control communications satellites, 4 years as the Chief Telecom Engineer during the construction of the New Hong Kong International Airport, and finally, air defense radar systems and networked radio communications systems used by the military. First licensed as WN6NIA then WA6NIA over 50 years ago, Dennis was granted the callsign of one of his High School Elmers, Chek Titcomb (SK), W6DQ. Amateur Radio has been a nearly life-long passion.


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Radio Waves: AM TX Sites Now Prized Real Estate, New Leaders for RFE/RL, New EU Cars Will Have DAB, and North Korean Fisherman Pays Ultimate Price for Listening to Radio

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 Tracy Wood, Michael Bird, Michael Guerin, Mike Terry and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


AM Radio Transmitter Sites Now Valuable Real Estate for Logistics Industry (Transport Topics)

The familiar real estate adage “location, location, location” rings true these days for huge tracts on the outskirts of major cities — sites that for decades housed AM radio towers but that today command top dollar as e-commerce fuels rising demand for new warehouses and logistics centers.

Look no further than the $51 million sale of a five-acre parcel in Queens, N.Y., where an AM radio station will eventually abandon its existing tower and transmitter site, and move it.

New York radio station WFME’s owner, Nashville, Tenn.-based Family Radio, sold its AM transmitter site to Prologis, a San Francisco developer that specializes in building warehouses for companies looking to expand final-mile capability.

This property is situated near the Long Island Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and La Guardia and JFK airports. The spot’s current value as a logistics hub far outstrips its importance to a broadcast outlet that didn’t register in New York’s most recent radio ratings book.

“Long term, we see this as a strategic move that adds to our growing footprint of high-quality logistics space that offers quick and easy access to consumers.” said Jeremiah Kent, Prologis senior vice president of value added investments. “In one of the most densely populated markets in the world where demand for logistics real estate is high and land is scarce, Prologis is well-positioned to respond to the acceleration of e-commerce and consumers’ expectation for same- and next-day delivery services.”

The rising value of these locations is being driven by changing consumer habits and rapid technological evolution. Sites on the edge of town that in radio’s heyday were cheap and plentiful can now house vital links in a supply chain propelled by technology that was hard to imagine back in AM’s early days.[]

USAGM CEO Names New Leaders for RFE/RL, OCB (VOA)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Agency for Global Media announced that former VOA journalist Ted Lipien will return to run Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, the current acting director at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, will become director.

The appointments follow USAGM CEO Michael Pack’s December 9 announcement that former Voice of America director Robert Reilly would return to lead that network.

Lipien joined VOA in 1973 and worked as the chief of the Polish language service and later as a senior news and marketing executive until 2006. For 10 years, Lipien worked in Munich and Prague as the Eurasia regional marketing director, helping VOA and RFE/RL place programs on stations across the region. In an announcement sent to staff, he recalled listening to Radio Free Europe while growing up in communist Poland.

“I’m honored, and humbled, to be entrusted with helping this storied organization continue to break the hold of censorship and give voice to the silenced,” he wrote.

Since leaving U.S. broadcasting, Lipien has been a vocal critic of VOA’s and USAGM’s previous leaders. He has also defended Pack’s tenure as CEO, saying Pack has focused on correcting long-running issues of bias and mismanagement at the networks.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a nonprofit multimedia broadcasting organization funded by U.S. Congress grants. Based in Prague, it serves as a surrogate media source in 27 languages, mostly in places where a free press remains either banned or not fully established.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro has been with the Office of Cuba Broadcasting since July 2017. In announcing Shapiro’s new position, Pack cited his deep connections to local communities in South Florida and his track record in producing objective news.

“Transmitting objective news and information to the island plays a critical role in moving toward a free Cuba, and it is a privilege to be a part of such an important mission,” Shapiro wrote in a published statement.

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting oversees Radio and Television Marti, based in Miami, Florida. The network provides news, information and analysis to the people of Cuba via satellite television and shortwave radio, as well as flash drives, DVDs and text messages.

Pack was confirmed by the Senate as CEO in June with a three-year term and fired several news executives upon his arrival. He later declined to testify before a House of Representatives panel examining his decisions at the agency, including his decision to fire the heads of RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia and OCB, and replace their boards. The then-director of VOA, Amanda Bennett, resigned two days before Pack joined the agency.

Last month a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Pack and other USAGM officials from interfering with the editorial independence and First Amendment rights of journalists at VOA and other networks they oversee. The ruling still allows Pack to appoint leaders of those news networks to oversee them.

The November 20 court order prohibits the CEO and other defendants from communicating directly with journalists at the networks without the consent of their directors. The order is part of a lawsuit filed by five USAGM officials whom Pack placed on administrative leave in August. The suit accuses Pack and his political appointees of unlawful actions and of violating the First Amendment and a statutory firewall set up to ensure editorial independence. Pack has said the lawsuit is “without merit” and that all of his and his team’s decisions and actions are “correct and lawful.”

Earlier this month, a federal office set up to protect whistleblowers ordered USAGM to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by its own top officials.[]

All new car radios to have digital terrestrial radio (Southgate ARC)

From today, people purchasing new passenger vehicles across Europe will be able to benefit from the advantages of digital radio – greater choice, clearer audio and enhanced data services.

Article 113, Annex XI in the EECC states that “Any car radio receiver integrated in a new vehicle of category M* which is made available on the market for sale or rent in the Union from 21 December 2020 shall comprise a receiver capable of receiving and reproducing at least radio services provided via digital terrestrial radio broadcasting”.

The regulation applies to all EU member states – regardless of the status of DAB in each country.

Despite the impact of Covid-19, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Denmark have already introduced laws mandating digital terrestrial radio in cars and other countries are expected to follow shortly.

In the first half of 2020, over 50% of new cars sold in Europe included DAB+ as standard – a number that is expected to reach 100% by the end of 2021 as DAB+ adoption continues to grow across Europe.

More information and regular updates on the EECC directive and its implementation across Europe is available on the WorldDAB EECC factsheet.

*Motor vehicles with at least four wheels designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers

https://www.worlddab.org/news

North Korean fisherman publicly executed for listening to foreign radio (The New Daily)

A North Korean fishing boat captain has been publicly executed for listening to banned foreign radio stations while at sea.

The man, only known by his surname Choi and said to have been in his 40s, was killed by firing squad in front of 100 boat captains and fisheries executives, according to a Radio Free Asia report.

Choi, who owned a fleet of more than 50 ships, is thought to have been turned in by a crew member after they turned against him.

According to the RFA report, Choi ultimately confessed to authorities and was charged with “subversion against the party”.

“In mid-October, a captain of a fishing boat from Chongjin was executed by firing squad, on charges of listening to Radio Free Asia regularly over a long period of time,” a North Korean law enforcement official told RFA.

“They publicly shot him at the base in front of 100 other captains and managers of the facility’s fish processing plants. They also dismissed or discharged party officials, the base’s administration and the security officers who allowed Choi to work at sea.”

The network said the fishing boat captain began his habit of tuning into foreign radio stations, including RFA, while serving as a radio operator in the military. He had listened to RFA – a US-government funded network that broadcasts in Korean – for 15 years.

“The security authorities decided then that the time to re-educate him had long past, so they executed him by firing squad,” the source said.

“It seems that the authorities made an example out of Choi to imprint on the residents that listening to outside radio stations means death.”[]


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Radio Waves: More Cuts to Radio Canada International, RCI Action Comments, End of Radio Disney, Changes to German Phonetic Alphabet and Is FM More Efficient than DAB?

View of the western cluster of curtain antennas from the roof of RCI Sackville’s former transmissions building. Photo from June, 2012.

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 Kris Partridge, Gareth Buxton, Dave Zantow, and Paul R for the following tips:


Canada’s public broadcaster announces new cuts to Radio Canada International (Radio Canada International)

Officials at CBC/Radio-Canada announced a fresh round of cuts at Radio Canada International (RCI) on Thursday as part of a “major transformation” of the beleaguered international service of Canada’s public broadcaster.

A joint statement released by Radio-Canada executive vice-president Michel Bissonnette and his CBC counterpart, Barbara Williams, said the goal of the transformation was “to ensure that the service remains a strong and relevant voice in the 21st-century media landscape.”

“In its strategic plan Your Stories, Taken to Heart, the public broadcaster committed to ‘taking Canada to the world’ and ‘reflecting contemporary Canada,’” the joint statement said.

“Transforming RCI is a necessary step to allow the service to effectively fulfil the important role it must play in delivering on those commitments.

“To that end, RCI will soon be offering more content in more languages, drawing on the work of CBC/Radio-Canada’s respected news teams to reach new audiences at home and abroad.”

Earlier in the morning Radio-Canada executives held a virtual meeting with RCI employees to inform them of upcoming changes.

In all, the transformation will reduce the number of RCI employees by more than half, from the current 20 to nine, including five journalists assigned to translate and adapt CBC and Radio-Canada articles, three field reporters, and one chief editor.

As part of the announced transformation, the English and French language services of RCI will be eliminated and will be replaced by curated content created by CBC and Radio-Canada respectively.

The remaining Arabic, Chinese and Spanish services will also be reduced in size.

However, two new language services – Punjabi and Tagalog – will be added to the editorial offering presented by RCI, officials said.

RCI content will also get more visibility by being incorporated into CBCNews.ca and Radio-Canada.ca with its own portal page featuring all the languages, the statement said.

RCI apps will be folded into the CBC News and Radio-Canada Info mobile apps, while the service’s five existing apps will be deleted, the statement added.

Under the new plan, RCI’s operations will focus on three main areas: translating and adapting a curated selection of articles from CBCNews.ca and Radio-Canada.ca sites; producing a new weekly podcast in each RCI language; and producing reports from the field in Chinese, Arabic and Punjabi.

“This transformation will help bring RCI’s high-quality, relevant content to more people around the globe and allow them to discover our country’s rich culture and diversity,” the statement said.

The union representing Radio-Canada employees lambasted the move as a “rampage.”

“It feels like Groundhog Day with more cuts to RCI under the guise of transformation,” said Pierre Toussignant, president of Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC).

In 2012, CBC/Radio-Canada slashed RCI’s budget by nearly 80 per cent, forcing it to abandon shortwave radio broadcasting altogether. The cuts also resulted in significant layoffs and the closure of RCI’s Russian, Ukrainian and Portuguese language services.[]

‘Modernizing’ RCI to death! (RCI Action)

On December 3, 2020, Canada’s national public radio and television broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada announced “a major transformation” of Radio Canada International (RCI) titled “Modernizing Radio Canada International for the 21st century”. And if you didn’t know anything about the toxic relationship between the two, you would really think this was great news.

After all the budget cuts the national broadcaster has imposed on RCI (for example an 80 % cut in 2012) the news this time is more languages, greater visibility, and an expanded editorial line-up.

Let’s take these “improvements” one at a time.

How has CBC/Radio-Canada decided to give “greater visibility” for RCI’s Internet content? They’re going to bury it in inside the CBC and Radio-Canada websites, and not allow RCI to continue on a site that has existed since 1996.

In this same announcement, CBC/Radio-Canada says it’s adding complete sections in Punjabi and Tagalog to the existing services in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. In fact it’s adding one “field” journalist to work in Punjabi, and one in Tagalog – not whole sections.

As far as the Spanish, Arabic and Chinese services which each have three seasoned experienced presenter-producers offering tailored content for their target audiences outside Canada, well, they’re all fired. What will remain is one “journalist” per language, who will be obliged to translate texts given to them in English and French.

And now we come to the sections working in Canada’s official languages of English and French. Again, each of these services has three seasoned experienced presenter-producers offering tailored content for an international audience that needs explanations that the domestic service is not obliged to do. So what will Canada’s Voice to the World be obliged to do in this “major transformation”? Fire all six producers and have an editor at CBC, and one at Radio-Canada, choose some stories, and place it on the “RCI website” which is just a section of the CBC and Radio-Canada websites. Yes, the ones that give RCI “greater visibility”.

The CBC/Radio-Canada announcement speaks glowingly about how RCI has provided a Canadian perspective on world affairs, but then starts skidding into talking about “connecting with newcomers to our country”, “engaging with its target audience, particularly newcomers to Canada”, and making this new content “freely available to interested ethnic community media.” Certainly sounds like CBC/Radio-Canada is intent on servicing ethnic communities in Canada.

But there’s a problem. That’s not RCI’s mandate. And CBC/Radio-Canada has no right to change that mandate. Because Canada’s Broadcasting  Act,  Article 46 (2), makes it a condition of the national public broadcaster’s licence to provide an international service “in accordance with such directions as the Governor in Council may issue.”

And the latest Governor in Council, Order in Council, PC Number:2012-0775, says Radio Canada International must “produce and distribute programming targeted at international audiences to increase awareness of Canada, its values and its social, economic and cultural activities”.

This latest announcement by the CBC/Radio-Canada is, unfortunately, yet another in a string of actions over the last 30 years to eliminate Canada’s Voice to the World.

After failing to shutdown the service in 1990, 1995 and 1996 when pressure from listeners from around the world, and from Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators stopped the closure, the national broadcaster went about dismantling RCI one section after another, one resource after another in a death by a thousand cuts.

This assault on RCI really started in earnest in 1990 when Canada’s Voice to the World was a widely popular and respected international service of 200 employees, broadcasting in 14 languages heard around the world. The 1990 cut removed half the employees, and half the language sections. Over the years, under the guise of streamlining and improving the service, it’s been one cut after another. With this year’s announcement RCI will have a total of nine employees!

Not satisfied with cutting resources, CBC/Radio-Canada has also continually tried to undermine RCI’s international role.

When in 2003 a Canadian parliamentary committee agreed with the RCI Action Committee, in emphasizing RCI’s important international role and suggested more resources should be given to RCI, CBC/Radio-Canada responded by removing two key corporate policies that specifically outlined the necessity for producing programmes for an international audience, again, despite an obligation under the Broadcasting Act.

The reductions in resources, the limiting or decreasing of RCI’s outreach, culminated in 2012 when CBC/Radio-Canada announced it was taking RCI off of shortwave radio broadcasts which had been the main way of communicating to the world since 1945.

This decision deliberately ignored the 2003 Order in Council that specifically obliged CBC as part of its licence to have RCI broadcast on shortwave. Two months after protests by the RCI Action Committee highlighted the illegality of this move, the Canadian Heritage Minister at the time, changed the Order in Council, eliminating shortwave from RCI’s obligations.

This whole sorry tale underlines a key problem facing Radio Canada International:

A domestic national broadcaster is deciding whether or not Canada should have an international voice to the world, and how well it should be funded.

Clearly however, the decision of whether Canada has a Voice to the World and how well it should be funded, should be a decision made by Parliament.

In the meantime, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault should tell CBC/Radio-Canada that it is not allowed to make this latest policy change. Then he should freeze any changes to the service until there is a serious renewal of the Voice of Canada, one that will give it financial and political protection from a toxic relationship with the national broadcaster.[]

Radio Disney, Radio Disney Country to End Operations in Early 2021 (Variety)

Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country are shutting down early next year.

Disney Branded Television president Gary Marsh announced the news Thursday, which impacts 36 part-time and full-time employees. The move comes as Marsh’s division looks to emphasize the production of kids and family content for streaming service Disney Plus and the linear Disney Channels.

Radio Disney first debuted in Nov. 1996 as a terrestrial broadcast network, aimed at kids, who would pick music playlist by calling a toll-free phone request line. The station was key to amplifying a bevy of musical artists, including the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Hilary Duff, Aaron Carter and others.

Radio Disney Country launched in 2015 as a digital platform, expanding two years later with two Los Angeles terrestrial stations.[]

Germany to wipe Nazi traces from phonetic alphabet (BBC News)

Germany is to revamp its phonetic alphabet to remove words added by the Nazis.

Before the Nazi dictatorship some Jewish names were used in the phonetic alphabet – such as “D for David”, “N for Nathan” and “Z for Zacharias”.

But the Nazis replaced these with Dora, North Pole and Zeppelin, and their use has since continued with most Germans unaware of their anti-Semitic origin.

Experts are working on new terms, to be put to the public and adopted in 2022.

The initiative sprang from Michael Blume, in charge of fighting anti-Semitism in the state of Baden-Württemberg, backed by the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

The job of devising new terms for the problematic letters is now in the hands of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN).

The commonly-used equivalent in the UK is the Nato phonetic alphabet, with terms such as “F for Foxtrot, T for Tango”. But many English speakers also use terms like “D for Dennis, S for Sugar” on the phone.[]

Click here for the Newsroom audio via BBC Sounds.

How much energy is used to deliver and listen to radio? (BBC Research and Development)

Is FM radio more energy-efficient than DAB? Do transmitters or audio devices consume the most electricity? What effect will switching off certain radio platforms have on energy use? As part of our work to improve the environmental impact of BBC services, we now have the answers to these questions and more.

Today, we are publishing our research which explores the energy footprint of BBC radio services, both as it stands now and how it may change in the future. This work is the first of its kind in analysing the novel area of radio energy use and forms an extension to the research we released back in September looking at the environmental impact of BBC television.

In our study, we considered the energy use across all available platforms, namely AM, FMDAB, digital television (DTV) and via internet streaming services (such as BBC Sounds), revealing which ones have the largest footprints. We also compared energy use at various stages in the radio chain – not just looking at what the BBC is directly responsible for, such as preparation (playout, encoding and multiplexing) and distribution (transmitters and internet networks), but also in the consumption of our content by audiences. This highlighted the key energy hotspots in the BBC radio system and where best to focus our efforts if we want to reduce our energy footprint.[]


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UK analog commercial broadcasters given permission to go digital at their discretion

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who shares the following article that notes the UK will not follow a Norway-style digital switch-off. Rather, broadcasters will be allowed to switch off individual AM (and eventually FM) transmitters once they determine it is no longer a cost-effective strategy.

From Radio Today:

Analogue commercial radio licences to be given ten-year renewal

Analogue commercial radio licences due to expire in the next couple of years will be given a 10-year extension under new government plans.

During a consultation, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had originally proposed either 5 or 8 year extensions, but in light of the Coronavirus pandemic’s impact on commercial radio revenues has decided to offer stations an extra 10 years.

[…]Minister for Media and Data John Whittingdale said: “As we move into an increasingly digital world we’re making sure the licensing landscape for radio is fair and up-to-date and allows audiences to enjoy a wide range of high-quality stations.

“Today’s step ensures there is no disruption for loyal listeners of treasured FM and AM radio services such as Classic FM, Absolute Radio and TalkSport over the next decade.

“We will soon be turning our attention to providing similar long-term certainty to support the future growth of digital radio.”[…]

Click here to read the full story.

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