Tag Archives: Documentaries

Now Unblocked: Watching the new Radio Australia documentary

Yesterday, we posted a note about the new documentary, “Australia Calling: 80 Years of International Broadcasting.” At the time, I mentioned that the video was geo-blocked–meaning, you could not watch the video outside Australia without using a VPN.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter Marks, who shares this great news:

I’ve corresponded with the iview team and they have un-geoblocked the video. It can be watched here:

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/australia-calling-80-years-of-international-broadcasting/video/NC1940H001S00

I tested it over a VPN to Singapore and it played for me.

Thanks so much, Peter! I’ve loaded the video with no problems here in North America.

Click here to watch “Australia Calling.”


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Australia Calling: ABC documentary looking at the impact of Radio Australia

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who contacted me about a new documentary focused on the impact of Radio Australia. Peter Marks writes:

The celebration of 80 years of international broadcasting from Australia continues. The ABC has published “Australia Calling: A look at 80 years of Radio Australia and ABC international broadcasting” today:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-16/abc-celebrating-80-years-of-international-broadcasting/11783252

And tonight there’s a documentary being shown on TV.

There’s even a story about the making of that documentary here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/about/backstory/news-coverage/2019-12-16/making-australia-calling-documentary/11795134

Thank you, Peter! I just started watching the documentary via ABC’s iView. Note that the program is geo-blocked and not available outside of Australia (unless, like me, you have a good VPN). [No longer geo-blocked! See update.]

Here’s a link to the documentary on iView:

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/australia-calling-80-years-of-international-broadcasting

Peter also shared a number of related stories–some of which we’ve published in the past:

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BBC World Service documentary about Radio Berlin International Service to Africa


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Kris and Ed who both note a fascinating BBC World Service documentary. Ed writes:

Hey Thomas,

SWLing Post readers will surely enjoy this brilliant BBC World Service documentary about Radio Berlin International Service to Africa. “Comrade Africa” offers a 53-minute fascinating blast from the cold-war past with many nostalgic RBI airchecks and programming analyses.

-Ed

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct036t

Comrade Africa

The Documentary

How Communist East Germany tried to influence Africa via radio, during the Cold War. The West often saw the GDR as a grim and grey place, so it’s something of a surprise to find a radio station based in East Berlin playing swinging African tunes. Yet Radio Berlin International (RBI), the ‘voice of the German Democratic Republic’, made it all happen over the many years it broadcast to Africa. It built on the little known strong bonds between East Germany and several large states in Africa such as Tanzania and Angola during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Dr Emily Oliver, a historian of postwar Germany from Warwick University, finds out why multicultural Radio Berlin International was a special place within East Germany and what happened behind the scenes. The government set tight reporting restrictions on output. Staff faced the dilemma of following the rules while competing with the likes of the BBC World Service. They were also conscious of the output of the station’s main direct rival, West Germany’s Deutsche Welle, which portrayed the world quite differently. And how did RBI employees coming from nations like Tanzania cope with working for the oppressive East German regime?

Emily hears how RBI appealed to listeners in Africa, reveals how East Germans and Angolans made friends over coffee and tractors, and discovers how the Cold War played out in Africa at a time when many African states were fighting for independence.

Presenter: Emily Oliver
Producer: Sabine Schereck
Researcher: Balthazar Kitundu
Editor: Hugh Levinson
Readers: Neil McCaul, Leone Ouedraogo (podcast only), Ian Conningham and Adam Courting
The Two Comrades: Will Kirk and Greg Jones

Click here to listen on the BBC World Service website.

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Radio Doc: New York City’s pirates of the air

SWLing Post friend, David Goren (the same fellow behind Shortwaveology and the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map) has just produced and presented a BBC World Service documentary about the pirate radio scene in NYC.

Spoiler alert: it’s amazing–!

Below, I’ve included the description and audio links from the BBC World Service:

New York City’s pirates of the air

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.

Producer/Presenter: David Goren

Click here to download New York City’s pirates of the air via the BBC World Service.

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“Generation Radio”: A short documentary about the evolution of broadcasting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen, who shares the following documentary film about the evolution of broadcast radio. This film was actually created for a senior thesis presentation at St. Michael’s College. The film “includes interviews from BBC World Tonight & Joe Reilly (Former President NYS Broadcasters Assn), Empire Broadcasting The Jockey, Clear Channel, WEQX, ESPN, SirusXM, VPR, Skidmore College, & more.”

Click here to view on YouTube.

Impressive film especially considering this was created as a senior thesis!

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