Tag Archives: FM Radio

Covid-19: As people tune to local news, radio sales are soaring

I just received word from a trusted friend who is a radio industry insider working with both manufacturers and retailers around the world. He said that in the month of March, 2020, radio sales increased “dramatically.”

I’m not at all surprised, in fact, because the number of email inquiries I’ve received from first time SWLing Post readers has also increased dramatically. It’s quite difficult for me to keep up with the influx of correspondence.

Folks are looking for an additional source of information to either supplement or backup their Internet news outlets.

As we mentioned in a previous post, this is local radio’s time to shine.

I’ve been listening to local AM stations much more recently and find that (at least the ones that are still locally-owned) have relevant up-to-date information about community news and resources while everyone here is sheltering at home. It takes me back to my youth when AM stations were truly *the* place people turned for information during severe weather events or other natural disasters.

I’ve been answering so many similar inquiries the past three or four weeks, I’m working on a post to help those who are looking for a reliable, affordable radio to receive local news, weather, and information. Of course, I’ll throw a shortwave radio option in there, too.

I believe this uptick in radio purchases no doubt points to the fact that fewer and fewer families have even one AM/FM radio in their home.

What AM/FM radio(s) would you recommend in this case? I’m trying to keep my selections limited and and the price between $10 – $90 US. I’m also highlighting radios that are currently in production, simple to operate, and have good battery life.

Also, have you noticed more engaging news via your local radio stations? Please comment!

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Radio Red Zone: A Coronavirus station in quarantined Italy

(Source: Aljazeera)

Radio Red Zone broadcasts from a town under quarantine and brings listeners useful health advice and sense of community.

Codogno, Italy – As the coronavirus grips Italy and stringent measures are taken to slow the spread of the infection, a local radio station is providing citizens with a sense of normality amid a quarantine.

The station broadcasts from Codogno, a town now known as the “Wuhan of Italy” under lockdown. Trains do not stop there, and the streets are empty.

“Good morning, Codogno!” says 82-year-old presenter Pino Pagani, starting his live broadcast from inside Lombardy’s red-zone area, where about 50,000 people have been under quarantine for almost two weeks.

Pagani then reads an inspirational message sent in from listener Diego Lazzanoni, an Italian living in Castiglione d’Adda town:

“We are here in our homes to fight with our childhood friends and families. Although we are on our knees right now, I feel the silent vicinity of my town. Even if the streets are empty, and no sound is to be heard, I know that when this nightmare is over, we will be partying as we alone know how. We don’t and won’t give up.”[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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High-Latitude listening: Radio Navarino, Cape Horn

Location of Cabo de Hornos, Puerto Williams, Chile

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Woods, who recently contributed information about Radio Arcángel San Gabriel’s special January broadcasts and added:

The next southernly-most radio station that is available on the Internet would probably be FM 89.5 Radio Navarino from Puerto Williams, Chile.

They’re at www.radionavarino.cl.

Thanks for sharing this, Tracy! I’ve been listening to this station the past few weeks as they do stream online. Puerto Williams/Cape Horn would certainly be a fascinating part of the world to visit and one that’s on my bucket list! For now, I’ll enjoy their community station!

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“Visualizing the Geography of FM Radio”

(Source: ERDavis.com)

This project, like the one before it, started as an offshoot of another project that I’ll finish… someday…

I start one project, which brings up questions I need to answer in other projects, so I start those projects, which lead to more questions… and before I know it I have a tangled mess that’ll take months to sort out.  To illustrate, there’s currently 11 projects in my “Active” queue and 11 more in my “Paused” queue. I’m personally very proud that I get anything done at all!

For this particular tangled project mess, I needed to see how many classical music radio stations there are in the States. That quickly lead to wanting to plot where those classical stations broadcast. That lead to a burning desire to map all radio station broadcast areas, ever, and also to map how many radio stations broadcast in a given area.

[…]I started by simply plotting the service contours of the 20,000-odd stations on my list. I love the way this looks, like phosphorescent jellyfish or raindrops on water.[…]

Click here to read the full article and view all images.

 

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Guest Post: Radio Seribatu’s Three FM Stations Launch on January 1st, 2020

Radio Seribatu FM Tower

Many thanks for the following guest post about SWLing Post supporter, Mark Fahey, who will soon be launching three local Balinese radio stations:


Radio Seribatu New Year 2020

A 2018 personal DX-pedition by SWLing Post supporter Mark Fahey to a remote village community in Indonesia’s Bali Province was intended to capture and record local and regional MW and SW Tropical Band spectrum on a WinRadio Excalibur for the Radio Spectrum Archive.

The field trip took a most unexpected turn; It was a total failure. Mark didn’t suffer any equipment problems, the loop antennas performed well; the problem was that MW, SW radio was irrelevant to the local population and there were just no longer any local stations broadcasting to archive.

Mark hanging backstage for Radio Volcano

To salvage the experience, Mark shifted his focus to recording video and audio of local gamelan and soundscapes. Seen as a strange novelty by the local jungle community, Mark was soon allocated land, the village built him a house and he has become the first foreigner to ever become a resident of the district and village.

Radio Seribatu Studio Building Studios are on Lower Levels of the house

In return, he has undertaken a project to introduce, and up-skill the village in sustainable eco-industries and educate the village millennials on how to manage these ventures using digital technologies. A component of the project has seen the establishment of three radio stations broadcasting 100% Balinese content. They are the first 24-hour radio stations in the province.

For the last six months, the three stations, Radio Seribatu – Village; Radio Seribatu – Volcano and Radio Seribatu – Mesin have been building the studio complex, solving power and bandwidth issues and training the staff. The network licensing is now permanently allocated and at midnight on January 1st, the test transmissions finish and the three stations officially open.

Each station brings many firsts to the region. They are the first to broadcasts 24 hours per day in the province, the first to broadcast 100% Balinese content and the first to deploy a fully digital workflow and studio complex.

Radio Seribatu Studio A sports state-of-the-art digital workflow

Late February, Mark is presenting a deep dive of the stations in a presentation at the upcoming NASWA Winter SWL Fest in Philadelphia, and at that time the SWLing Post will present a detailed tour of the network, discuss the journey, how unexpected twists and turns were overcome, and explain how Radio Seribatu’s test broadcasts in less than twelve months have reached the third most listened to radio network in all of Indonesia.

Most (if not all!) SWLing Post readers are beyond Radio Seribatu’s FM footprint; however, the majority of the station’s listeners tune in via their IP web streams and so can you! You will find the stations in most online radio directories, iOS and Android Apps and new generation factory fitted car radios (including Buick, Hyundai, Subaru, Mazda, Chevrolet, VW, BMW, GMC, Ford, Chrysler, Kia, Honda, Audi, Toyota, RAM, etc.).

Radio Seribatu Worldwide on Car Radio

A sure-fire way to listen is via the stream links on their website www.radioseribatu.com

 

On the Radio Seribatu VILLAGE station, you will hear everything that is happening around Seribatu village and wider across the island. This is the place to hear live gamelan, festival broadcasts and discussions about issues affecting the community.

On VOLCANO, the playlist is 100% Balinese Indi Rock, Alternative and Punk. 24 hours per day this is the place to hear Balinese bands.

On MESIN Radio Seribatu is playing 100% Balinese Electronic, Trance, House, Techno and Dance.

Each station’s test transmissions are on air right now and continue up until 6 PM Bali Time on New Year’s Eve, December 31st (1000 UTC December 31st). Then all three stations will be in simulcast, presenting a 6-hour special soundscape/actualities program that allows the listener to experience the tropical sounds of Seribatu. With the stroke of midnight; at the beginning of the new decade, all three stations launch into their regular programming.

Putu and Radio Seribatu_s Scoppy

Radio Seribatu is QSLing anyone who listens in, be it via stream or FM. Simply send a hello note and brief report of reception to info@radioseribatu.com and in return, you will receive a limited edition QSL, complete with an exotic postage stamp, posted directly from the Balinese jungle. No return postage required!


Here’s a rundown of what you can hear on the 31st December 2019 launch broadcast:

1000 UTC – (6:00 PM Bali Time)

Puja Tri Sandya Prayers

The Trisandya (from Sanskrit ??????????? ??? , Trisandhy? Puja, “three-evening prayer”) is a commonly-used prayer in Balinese Hinduism. It is uttered three times each day: 6 am, noon, and 6 pm, somewhat reflecting the Muslim azan prayers heard in other parts of Indonesia.

1005 UTC – (6:05 PM Bali Time)

Seribatu Village Awakens

Most Balinese families live within a family compound in villages that may have a population of around 700 – 800 people. In Seribatu the family compounds typically contain several homes for different members of the extended family. A typical home compound may comprise up to three families and grow to approximately 30 people. The village stirs to life just before the crack of dawn; roosters crow and chickens are fed. Early morning is a busy time in Seribatu, listen for village drums, Motor Bikes and Scooters heading off to the Dawn Market, Women sweeping their homes with a wicker brush, crickets chirp, and villagers trade at the dawn market. School starts early, and before the heat the day the Indonesian National Anthem is recited.

1017 UTC – (6:17 PM Bali Time)

Balinese Wisdom – The Song of Morality

Please don’t ever think you are very Clever; Let people either say you are good or great.

1019 UTC – (6:19 PM Bali Time)

Morning Market

Simple Seribatu village compounds do not have a refrigerator. Meat, fish and other food are purchased the local central market at dawn and the following few hours before the heat of the day descends. Farmers trade their vegetables and other produce. Merchants sell hardware and household supplies. Minivans packed to the roof with purchased fresh produce maneuver around the narrow lanes of the market.

1044 UTC – (6:44 PM Bali Time)

Ducks in the Rice Fields

Rice is a staple food in Bali, and it has strong ties to the Balinese culture. The cycle of rice growth pretty much sets the tone for much of the traditional Balinese life. The Balinese community views rice as a gift from God and a symbol of life. For thousands of years, the Balinese people have been growing rice and cultivating the beautiful rice terraces of Bali where three kinds of rice are grown: white rice, black rice, and red rice.

1102 UTC – (7:02 PM Bali Time)

Balinese Cleansing Ceremony

This ceremony is intended to cleanse the bhuana alit (the inner world of the individual human being or the micro-cosmos) of negativity so that he/she will be able (again) to enclose and utilize this inner power in an appropriate, spiritual way. The symbolism of this ceremony is intended to remind the individual to guard himself against the selfish desires and actions of the ego in favor of the unselfish goals of the soul or higher self. One prays for a clear mind with positive thinking and for strength to keep one’s self- control in situations where negative emotions are bound to arise.

1114 UTC – (7:14 PM Bali Time)

Satria Bird Market

As a popular Indonesian saying goes, a man is considered to be a real man if he has a house, a wife, a kris (dagger), and a bird. Keeping wild birds as pets is a massively popular hobby in many parts of Indonesia. The better the bird sings, the higher the demand for it. On a visit to Bali’s Satria Bird Market, you will see many thousands of birds from hundreds of species. Many of the birds are caged in poorly maintained conditions. Among the strangest are vendors who keep birds in bags, from unfledged chicks still in nests to breeding adults.

1115 UTC – (7:15 PM Bali Time)

Bats at the Goa Lawah Temple

One of nine sacred temples on the island of Bali, the cave temple of Pura Goa Lawah is home to thousands of bats. If the local legend is to be believed, it also hides a river of healing waters and a titanic snake wearing a crown.

While the site had no name when the temple was built, it gained its name due to the thousands of bats that cling to the ceiling and walls of the natural chasm, “Goa” meaning “cave” and “Lawah” meaning “bat.” It is thought that the cave may extend through the mountain right to a nearby town. The legend goes that the dark recesses of the tunnel are home to a mythical snake king known as Vasuki, a massive naga that wears a crown on his head. He is said to live on the copious amounts of bats in the cavern. Yet another legend claims that a river of miraculous healing waters rushes through the depths of the cave.

1120 UTC – (7:20 PM Bali Time)

Balaganjur Traditional Musicians Rehearsal

Baleganjur music is an inseparable part of life and death in Bali, heard in every village across the island. Its traditional purpose is to accompany funeral processions, so this intensely rhythmic yet dignified ensemble has a permanent role in Balinese society. The musicians play their instruments as they walk, and due to this portability, Baleganjur is now a fixture of all celebratory processions. A standard Baleganjur ensemble consists of about 20 musicians, plus helpers to carry gongs, but these days in Bali bigger is better!

1155 UTC – (7:55 PM Bali Time)

A Brief Balinese Radio Interlude

Listeners phone in and sing, callers discuss the terrorist bombings in Bali, Rinso (Indonesia’s most popular detergent) Soap Powder advertisement and how to cure a stubborn cough.

1242 UTC – (8:42 PM Bali Time)

Subak – Water Irrigation

Subak is a traditional ecologically sustainable irrigation system that binds Balinese agrarian society together within the village’s Bale Banjar community center and Balinese temples. For the Balinese, irrigation is not simply providing water for the plant’s roots, but water is used to construct a complex, pulsed artificial ecosystem. The water management is under the authority of the priests in water temples, who practice Tri Hita Karana Philosophy, a self-described relationship between humans, the earth and the gods.

1255 UTC – (8:50 PM Bali Time)

Temple Ceremony

In Bali, there are over 4,500 temples where ceremonies take place almost every day of the year. Temple festivals are held on the anniversary of when the temple was consecrated and usually on a new or full moon.

An Odalan or temple ceremony usually lasts for three days, but larger ones, which occur every 5, 10, 30 or 100 years, can last for 11 days or longer. The Balinese are honoring the deities that rule over the temple by giving them a myriad of offerings, performances of vocal music, dance and gamelan music. They invite them down from their abode on Mount Agung to partake in the activities. Every ceremony in Bali is to maintain the natural balance of positive to negative, so the Balinese do not destroy the negative forces, but balance them in harmony with the positive.

1426 UTC – (10:26 PM Bali Time)

Seribatu Evening

As the end of the year and the decade approaches, the sounds of frogs, crickets and tropical rain delight the ear while a cool bottle of Bintang refreshes your thirst.

1505 UTC – (11:05 PM Bali Time)

Radio Seribatu Countdown to Launch

Sinaga Goatama’s (Mendira Village) original electronic composition “Blazing Fire” guides us to midnight and the launch of regular programming on all three Radio Seribatu stations.

1600 UTC – (Midnight AM Bali Time)

It’s 2020 and Radio Seribatu has Launched!

All three of Radio Seribatu’s Radio Stations; Village, Volcano and Mesin radio are officially on-air, and commence their regular programming!


Wow, Mark! This is a most impressive endeavor and, no doubt, all three Seribatu stations will have a loyal following in Bali and across the planet! I’ve already become a fan of MESIN! 

We wish you and the Seribatu staff/volunteers massive success in your 2020 launch year!

Post readers: Again, Radio Seribatu, is QSLing anyone who listens in. Send a brief, accurate report and you will receive a limited edition Seribatu QSL. Send all reports to: info@radioseribatu.com

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What is the cheapest radio?

I assume people who read this blog have so many things in common, one of them is a love for gadgets, especially radios and SDRs. To others, a radio is a radio, but not to us. We invest so much money and time to obtain and play and experiment with different tools and compare them. I have had so many SDRs and some traditional radios (not as much as Thomas, though) and I really get the best that I can afford for my needs.

But one day walking in a local electronics shop in Berlin/Germany, a small radio caught my eye, not because it was any special or different than other pocket-sized radios, but because of its price tag. It was the first time I had seen a single digit price for a radio!

I bought it without hesitation, for 9,99€ and later I realized it’s even cheaper in Austria: 6€ !

I’m talking about “ok. ORF 110”, an AM/FM radio running on two AAA batteries and using analog knobs and no display. Nothing special can be found on this little device; It has power on/off button, AM/FM band switch, volume knob, analog frequency knob, earphone socket and an internal telescopic antenna with a maximum 18cm length. And it does even come with 2 years of warranty.

The first thing that I did was compare it with my beloved portable radio: the Sony ICF-SW100, and I must say that I’m amazed. This little radio is on-par with Sony on FM; Unfortunately I can’t receive any AM signals from my apartment, so there wasn’t much that I could test there. But overall I’m really satisfied with the reception and audio quality. This can be a good companion for anyone who wants to have a cheap backup radio.

Here’s the link to the product: https://de.ok-online.com/de/radios/radios/orf-110.html

I wonder if you know of anything even cheaper? I would love to see and try what would be the cheapest (I haven’t searched the Chinese websites though. I was looking for something that I can buy here in Europe without spending on shipping or customs).

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Are industry bodies the secret sauce for some broadcasting markets?

(Source: RadioInfo via William Lee)

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I’m writing this in London, where the doors are (as I type) just about to open for Next Radio, the radio conference that I run here with my friend Matt Deegan. It’s a positive radio conference with an uplifting feel.

Go to a radio conference in the US or Canada, and there won’t be very many smiling faces. There’s a general feeling in the US and Canada that radio is managing decline. But in other countries, radio is behaving differently.

The UK commercial industry has grown, over the past year, by 5.2%. It’s now a US $887m market.

Australian commercial radio has grown too – over the past year, metro stations growing 3.8% to a US $573m market (and there’s more from the regions, too).

Commercial radio in Finland is growing, too. Their figures are harder to decipher, but July grew by 6.6% over June; and June grew by 17% over May. The market’s comparatively small at about US $93m – but it’s doing better than the UK if you bear in mind Finland’s small population.

These aren’t the stories you hear from the US and Canada; and I’m often asked why.

It’s not an easy answer.

[…]In the UK, commercial radio has an effective industry body, Radiocentre. They promote the medium to agencies, lobby government, and sing radio’s praises. They’re really very good at it.

In Australia, commercial radio, too, has an effective industry body. It’s called Commercial Radio Australia, and they, too, promote the medium to agencies, lobby government, and sing radio’s praises. They’re tenacious and efficient.

And in Finland, their industry body is Radio Media. They lobby government, promote the medium to agencies, and market radio as well: to great effect.[…]

Click here to view the full article at RadioInfo.

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