Tag Archives: DW

The history of Deutsche Welle’s interval signal and signature tune

(Source: Deutsche Welle via Mike Hansgen)

Beethoven on the air: the DW signature tune

When Deutsche Welle went on the air 65 years ago, the broadcaster opted for a melody from “Fidelio” for its signature tune. Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera is about an act of liberation.

A political prisoner is starved and nearly tortured to death because the prison’s military governor knows that the prisoner could incriminate him. The incarcerated man’s wife masquerades as a young man and, thus camoflaged, makes her way into the dungeon. When the governor attempts to stab the prisoner, the woman jumps between them and pulls out a pistol. At that very moment, trumpets sound out and the Minister, a higher authority, enters the scene. A friend of the prisoner, he recognizes what has been going on and sets the political prisoners free.

At this happy ending of the opera “Fidelio” by Ludwig van Beethoven, Minister Fernando sings the words “Es sucht der Bruder seine Brüder” (The brother seeks his brothers), and continues: “Und kann er helfen, hilft er gern” (And if he can help, he does so gladly.)

The melody to the words is anything but catchy; it is nearly ungainly in fact. Nonetheless, it was chosen as the signature tune when Germany’s international broadcaster began its shortwave radio transmissions on May 3, 1953.

The symbolism in the words

The choice not only had to do with the musical motif, but was also based on the symbolism in the words. Only eight years after World War II’s end, building new friendships and international relationships was no easy task for the new Federal Republic of Germany.

One sought to proceed in a “brotherly” manner with listeners and partners abroad through friendly exchange. Trust was to be built in a fair and impartial sharing of information.

For many years, the melody, played on a celesta keyboard, penetrated the constant ebb and flow of interference noise on the shortwave radio spectrum. It thus made its way to the speakers of shortwave radio sets around the world – often in endless repetitions leading up to the news at the top of the hour.

Click here to download a clip of the DW interval signal recorded on February 22,1982 at 1400 UTC. (Source: IntervalSignal Database)

The broadcaster then had its headquarters in Cologne, and the Beethovenfest classical music festival took place only sporadically in Bonn, 30 kilometers upstream the Rhine.

The move from Cologne to Bonn, and the media partnership with the re-established and much bigger music festival, had to wait until the new millennium. Then it seemed only fitting that Deutsche Welle should once again associate itself with Beethoven.[…]

Continue reading and listen to a number of “Fidelio” variations at Deutsche Welle.

Daniel shares recent QSLs

Daniel (W3DI) writes:

I have been enjoying some shortwave broadcasts recently and received some nice QSL cards. Wanted to share the cards and some station information.

 Deutsche Welle - copied broadcast on 15,275 KHz - Jan 20 , 2013 at 1930 UTC

Deutsche Welle – copied broadcast on 15,275 KHz – Jan 20 , 2013 at 1930 UTC

China Radio International - copied broadcast on 9,580 & 6,020 KHz - Dec 29 & 31 , 2012   at 0130 UTC

China Radio International – copied broadcast on 9,580 & 6,020 KHz – Dec 29 & 31 , 2012 at 0130 UTC

IMG_0002

VOA -  Africa service - They sent not only a QSL but a beautiful 2013 calendar.

VOA – Africa service –
They sent not only a QSL but a beautiful 2013 calendar.

Daniel addeded:

Shortwave listening was my first step to becoming an amateur [radio operator]. First receiver was a Lafayette HE – 10 with a Q mulitplier I built. Now using a WinRadio 313 – things have really changed.

Shortwave listening was also my first step to becoming a ham radio operator. The Lafayette HE-10 is a beautiful little 9 tube radio. I love the split dials on the front–much like the venerable Hallicrafters S-38.

The Lafayette HE - 10 (Photo: RigPix.com)

The Lafayette HE – 10 (Photo: RigPix.com)

Halli-S-38

The Hallicrafters S-38 (Photo: The S-38 Guy)

 

International Broadcasters support freedom of information

JointStatementThe international broadcasting arms of France, Australia, the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands issued a joint statement in support of press freedoms across the globe. With the exception of the Netherlands (RNW), all of these countries still broadcast over the shortwaves.

(Source: BBC Media Center via Kim Elliott)

We, the representatives of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), have met in Berlin to discuss common concerns.

We find international journalism is facing unprecedented challenges from countries that seek to deny their own citizens access to information from outside their borders in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

We call upon the world’s nations to strengthen their commitment to Article 19 and to support expanded opportunities to share information across borders through digital and mobile technologies.

Yet we note with dismay that certain governments continue to control the flow of information. For example, China routinely blocks the Web and social media sites of our broadcasters and jams our shortwave signals, or Iran and Syria interfere with the satellite signals that carry our programs. Governments in Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America also seek to control what their own citizens can see, hear and read.

Many of these actions, including intentional jamming of satellites, violate international regulations. We condemn them without reservation.

We also call attention to troubling new challenges to free expression. Some governments are seeking to enact far-reaching telecommunications regulations to stymie free speech.

At the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WICT) in Dubai, representatives of the world’s nations have considered telecommunications rules that might explicitly apply to the Internet for the first time.

We cast a wary eye on such efforts to control the Internet, and we denounce efforts to identify and track Internet users in order to stifle free expression, inquiry and political activity.

We have agreed to increase, whenever possible, our support for efforts to circumvent Web censorship through the use of new and innovative hardware and software tools. We also agreed to increase our advocacy for Internet freedom.

Open Radio for North Korea hopes to contribute to gradual change in North Korea

North Korea

Without a doubt, North Korea is one part of the world that is information starved. Open Radio for North Korea uses the shortwaves to get their messages across the border:

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

The North Korean regime suppresses all forms of free information within the country. “Open Radio for North Korea” broadcasts international news via shortwave and FM from neighboring South Korea for the North. World in Progress talked to the radio station’s founder, Tae Keung Ha, about the role of outside broadcasters for the people of North Korea.

Tae Keung Ha: I find the human rights situation and the media control in North Korea, I think, the most severe, the most serious in the world. Radio is very special for the North Korean people to get outside news, because in North Korea they don’t have any Internet connections. Social network services, Facebook, Twitter are impossible inside of North Korea.

Also, all the calls in North Korea are monitored, strictly wired by the North Korean regime. And their TV system is different from the South Korean system – they cannot watch South Korean TV.
Domestic phonecalls in North Korea are controlled by the government

Internal information is strictly blocked by the regime, so a person in the northern part of North Korea doesn’t know what’s happening in the southern part of North Korea. The North Korean media only broadcast their own propaganda, so we have underground correspondents inside North Korea, 10 to 20, it varies. They offer us news about what’s happening inside North Korea.

Read full transcript/interview at DW-Welle.de

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned stations targeting North Korea, click here to read our previous–yet still totally relevant–article. Also, check out this 2009 article from the LA Times.