I was and still am a regular listener to the podcast but I was home on a Tuesday afternoon stranded by a snow storm and tuned to one of the frequencies used by the World Service for west and central Africa, which usually come in reasonably well in eastern North America. To my disappointment, another program was aired at the time “Click” was going out on the real-time online streamed service. I kept listening but “Click” didn’t appear on shortwave later that afternoon either. In general, the programs going out shortwave were not the ones being streamed over the Internet.
I made enquiries to Bill Thompson, the knowledgeable co-host of “Click” and to others about when “Click” aired on shortwave but came up empty.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I got an e-mail from Bill asking me if I’d heard back from the BBC about the airing of “Click” on shortwave as he’d passed on my request for information. Unfortunately, I hadn’t, but his e-mail reminded me of my effort and so I did some more digging.
I once again scoured the BBC website and eventually found the World Service FAQ page. And, on that page, we find the answer to the question “Where can I find a schedule and frequency for BBC World Service programmes?”with the online program schedule as well as the program schedules for radio transmissions to the various world regions, including local AM and FM radio, DAB radio, satellite radio, and, for some regions, shortwave radio.
I noticed that, according to these schedules, “Click” is broadcast by radio at various times on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, depending on the target region, including some broadcasts by shortwave.
So, on Tuesday afternoon this week, I took one of my portable shortwave receivers (a Tecsun PL-880) to work and operated it from the back of my SUV in the parking lock of my building with a short wire antenna fed out through the rear window and recorded the audio.
Low and behold, I heard “Click” at 19:32 UTC on 15400 kHz from one of the transmitters on Ascension Island. Reception was not bad given the fact that the signal is beamed in the opposite direction to us and there’s a fair degree of radio-frequency interference (RFI) from various electrical and electronic devices in and around my building. The signal would have been much stronger in the African target zone. A short audio clip of the start of the program is [below] (lasts one minute).
I’m sure I could find a quieter location RFI-wise like one of the university’s playing fields and might try that next week.
After confirming that “Click” is indeed still on shortwave, I decided to make a chart of all the “Click” broadcast times including those via shortwave as the “Click” website only gives the times of the online streamed broadcasts. [Click here to download a] PDF-version of the chart. A “bullet” indicates a broadcast of “Click” by any transmission method for each target region. If, in addition to other types of radio broadcast, shortwave is used, then the frequencies (in kHz) and transmitter locations are listed. I think all the information is correct but I’m happy to receive corrections. The schedule should be good until October and I’ll try to produce an updated version after that.
It is good to see that the BBC technology program is still available via shortwave – a still-useful technology in many parts of the world. And, although I’ll still listen to “Click” via the podcast, it’s nice to know that I can still catch it on a Tuesday afternoon with a shortwave receiver.”
While I’m passionate about shortwave radio–a technology that has, of course, been around for many decades–I also love to hear about emerging digital technologies, especially those that make our world a better place.
These days, I listen to several shows about technology, many of which are only available as a live stream or podcast (like TWIT, for example).
There are two shows, however, that I like to listen to on shortwave radio when my schedule allows.
One such show is the BBC World Service technology show, Click (formerly Digital Planet). I’ve listened to Click for years, and have even been interviewed on the show by its marvelous host Gareth Mitchell (click here to listen). I especially love the show’s focus on technologies that have a positive impact in developing countries (hence my interview, about my non-profit, ETOW). Mitchell, I’m delighted to add, is quite the fan of shortwave radio as well, and is not afraid of reporting on technologies that are not exclusively tied to smart phones and the like.
Another show I’ve been listening to for a few months is Download This Show on Radio Australia. It’s a fun and informative technology program and always has a great panel discussion on technology news. What I really love about this show is its take on Australian technology in particular, and how this compares with technology in the rest of the world.
Since Download This Show is broadcast via Radio Australia’s Shepparton transmitting site, the signal is quite strong here in North America and easily received on portable shortwave radios.