What did SWI swissinfo.ch sound like for the first seven decades of its existence? The short answer: a radio station.
From the mid-1930s to 2004, Switzerland’s international service was Swiss Radio International (SRI). The first few decades of SRI’s existence were the heyday of shortwave – it was often the only way of getting news directly from other countries.
A brief history of SRI, the predecessor of swissinfo.ch, helps explain why you hear what you do in the video above.
What began as the Swiss Short Wave Service in 1935, would grow from broadcasting programmes in German, French, Italian and English to include other European languages and Arabic, and eventually change its name to Swiss Radio International.
The international service was considered a voice of neutrality during times of war, first during World War II, followed by the decades of the Cold War and up to and including the first war in the Gulf in the early 1990s.
This decade would mark the beginning of the end for Switzerland’s shortwave broadcasts. Shortwave transmitters gave way to relaying programmes via satellite, and this, in turn, would give way to the internet when the service went online in 1999 as SRI’s website.
In 2004, the plug was pulled for good on SRI as part of budget cuts, but not swissinfo.ch. Now producing exclusively online, the international service extended its linguistic reach by adding Russian, Japanese and Chinese, and publishing more video and audio reports.
Journalists working in swissinfo.ch’s current ten languages collaborate closely to set the editorial agenda, providing the necessary context in their stories so they are understood wherever they are read, seen, or heard in the world.
Project ‘The Sounds of…’
This article is part of the project “The Sounds of…” produced with our partner media organisations Polskie Radio, Radio Canada International, Radio Romania International and Radio Prague International. Further videos have been produced by journalists at these outlets, to give an insight into their work in these countries.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following note from Paul English (WD8DBY), Chief, Army MARS:
DOD Broadcast and Listener Survey on WWV and WWVH
From 14-24 August, WWV and WWVH will be broadcasting a DOD message at 10 mins past the hour on WWV and 50 mins past the hour on WWVH. As part of the message, all listeners are asked to take a listener survey at the URL specified in the message.
The results of this survey are shared with WWV/H personnel to show their NIST chain of command how often their stations are monitored and how the various timing signals and messages are used by the listeners.
Please take a listen to this message and take the survey…as the saying goes, “every vote counts” and your input to this survey is being used to help demonstrate the importance of these stations.
Thanks for your consideration in this effort.
Paul English, WD8DBY
Chief, Army MARS
Many thanks for sharing this, Dennis. Readers have also shared this ARRL News item urging listeners to take the DOD survey.
If you appreciate WWV/WWVH, please take a moment to complete this short survey.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who notes that after seeing a number of posts about radio cases, he thought he’d share a link to the case he uses for the C. Crane CC Skywave SSB.
Thanks for sharing, Dennis. This case is well-loved by Skywave owners! Note that this case fits the Skywave series like a glove and only has enough extra room for a set of earphones and/or perhaps a wire antenna.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who recently shared this video where “Radio Wild” asks his viewers to subscribe to the New Jersey Antique Radio Club (NJARC) YouTube channel.
Evidently, the NJARC has been posting live video feeds of their meetings and events for quite some time, but recently YouTube changed their policy and now requires a minimum of 1,000 subscribers for live feeds. At time of posting, my subscription brought their number to 700–they need at least 300 more.
If you’d like to support the NJARC (and learn a thing or two about radio restoration–!), consider subscribing to their channel.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares a link to this short video highlighting amateur radio at the 2017 Fort Wayne Field Day:
YouTube description: A 10 minute documentary investigating why people still do ham radio. Shot at the Historical Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne, Indiana, during ARRL Field Day in 2017.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following article which appeared in Jacob’s Media Strategies on Dec 31, 2018. I’ve pasted an excerpt below, but you’ll want to read the entire piece by clicking here:
Rekindling Our Fading Romance With AM Radio
I know I may sound like a relic from another era, but chances are if you’re a Baby Boomer (or gasp – even older), you were inspired by AM radio as a kid growing up whether it was in a big city or a small town. If you’re a member of a younger generation, you may not even know that AM – or amplitude modulation – has a magic power. At night when the clouds are just right, AM signals have the ability to “skip” across geography, unlike frequency modulation (FM) which is line of sight. “Clear channel” stations had an even easier time being heard beyond their metro confines – often covering many states during the nighttime hours.
Many of us radio veterans remember those nights, lying in bed, where your trusty bedside AM clock radio pulled in signals from all over the U.S. As a boy in Detroit and not especially well-traveled, I learned how to pronounced Des Plaines (Des-planes) and Touhy (2E) by listening to Chicago radio stations like WBBM and WLS. Tuning in KYW in Philly (which came in “like it was next door”), I learned how to spell the quirky town of Conshohocken from listening to Phillips Ford commercials. It was from a jingle that got in your head (CON-SHO-HO-CKEN). At least, it got in mine.
It didn’t matter if you lived in Dallas or Des Moines, or a small town in Delaware – you were able to pick up big AM radio stations from faraway. And if you talk to today’s broadcasters on the other side of 50, many will tell you their careers were likely inspired by these booming, exciting blowtorches on AM radio that provided a soundtrack for our teens.
AM radio was where we first heard the Beatles, the Supremes, the Stones, Stevie Wonder, and even the Doors. Big AM Top 40 stations of the day – KHJ, WABC, CKLW, WLS – played all these cool rock songs, right next to Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Elvis, Bobby “Boris” Pickett, and the Singing Nun. And even though the fidelity of amplitude modulation is obviously technically inferior to that of FM, there was something very different and even romantic about hearing all those songs first on AM radio.[…]
Thanks for the tip, Dennis! I think this piece speaks to so many of us radio listeners–especially this one who prefers the “fidelity of amplitude modulation” over so many other mediums.
(Source: Inside Radio via Dennis Dura)
The proposed sale of an AM station along the Mexico-U.S. border to a group of Chinese investors has stoked fears that the 50,000-watt station will be used to infiltrate the U.S. with Chinese propaganda. Spanish news-talk “W-Radio 690” XEWW (690), which blankets Southern California from Tijuana, is being sold by Mexican broadcaster GLR to Chinese investment group H&H Group USA, owned by Vivian Huo, a U.S. citizen who runs the investment firm H&H Capital Partners.[…]