Tag Archives: NPR

Photos from CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast house in Québec City

So as many of you now know, I’m in Québec, Canada, at the moment, and was here when Scott Simon with NPR’s Weeked Edition called.

The show’s senior producer, Ned Wharton, asked if I would mind stepping into the Radio Canada/CBC broadcast house in Québec City for a studio-to-studio interview. It’s perhaps a thirty minute drive from where I’m staying. I don’t think Ned wanted to inconvenience me, but little did he know that this radio geek has been itching to poke my head in that building for the past decade or more…Way cool!

So, I stepped in.  And it was a great experience.  Want to see what the studio looks like?

The interview took place in a small recording studio.

My recording booth at Radio-Canada/CBC Québec City

Everything (the board) was controlled by NPR at the other end of the connection. All I had to do was adjust my monitor level. Not the best photo–the front-facing camera on my old iPhone 5 can’t handle low light–but here’s another studio shot…

After the interview, I stepped outside into the atrium and took shots of the radio studio entrance and the main atrium.

Unfortunately, there was no one available to take me on a full tour as everyone was preparing afternoon shows. That’s okay, though, as I was excited just to get a peek in the studios! Great fun.

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Interview with Scott Simon of NPR regarding potential time station shutdowns

My recording booth at Radio-Canada/CBC Québec City

Hi, folks!  If you just heard me on  NPR’s Weekend Edition regarding the NIST Budget cuts to WWV, WWVH, and WWVB, welcome, and stick around! This is where the SWLing Post (and other projects we work on, such as the Shortwave Archive, the Radio Spectrum Archive, and the non-profit, Ears to Our World) serve up all things shortwave.  Here, we discuss both the fun (and importance) of this cool old-school medium that, remarkably enough, still has relevance even in our internet-interconnected world.

And for our regular Post readers:  on Thursday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Scott Simon of NPR via Radio Canada/CBC in Québec City, QC, Canada. More on that to come.

The show (with the SWLing Post bit) aired just this morning. You can click here to listen via NPR’s website, or via the embedded player below:


I feel especially chuffed that NPR would give the topic of WWV some exposure. This piece wasn’t so much a call to action as simply building awareness of what the shutdown of our national pacemaker––in the form of WWVB time station––might mean to the average person who has a self-setting wall clock, or watch (most of us do).  (Even at NPR, they’ll be asking, Now, where did we store that stepladder?)

Or what it might mean to the shortwaves themselves, which we in North America may appreciate a source of nostalgia or entertainment––and, yes, handy for keeping time––we have to recognize that there are still pockets of our world, especially in remote, rural, and/or war-torn regions, where shortwave radio is especially vital.

So, something that belongs to all of us––yet another example of a global source of information––may soon be taken away.  If you disagree with this proposal, I urge you to contact your local representatives, and sign this White House petition.

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NPR: ‘Radio Dodo’ Creates Bedtime Stories For Syrian Refugees

(Source: NPR via Eric McFadden)

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Brigitte Alepin, the creator of “Radio Dodo,” or Sleepytime Radio, a program that creates bedtime stories for Syrian refugees.

Click here to read the full transcript or listen to the story via NPR.

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Treasure hunt: Seeking Somali radio recordings from 2010

Okay SWLing Post readers:  I need you to dig through your off-air recordings for something pretty obscure…

Over at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, I frequently receive inquiries from educators, researchers, historians, and enthusiasts looking for very specific off-air recordings, often for some worthy project or other.  It’s quite a thrill when I can lay hands on just what’s being sought in our rather deep recordings archive.

I recently received just such an inquiry from producer Meghan Keane at NPR, and though we were not able to provide immediate help, I’m quite intrigued by the subject and thus not quite ready to give up the search.  Meghan writes:

My name is Meghan Keane and I’m a producer for NPR’s Invisibilia. I’m working on a story about Somalia and music, and am currently looking for some archival sound.

Around 2010, many radio stations in Somalia broadcasted animal noises and gun shot noises to protest Al-Shabab. I am hoping to find audio of that to use in my story. Please let me know if you have any leads!

Fascinating stuff.  I do recall a news story about Somali radio broadcasts including animal and gun shot noises back in the day, but I never actually heard a broadcast on shortwave or mediumwave.

Post readers: Can you help Meghan track down such a recording? If you can, please comment and/or contact me!

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Report from the 2017 Radio Preservation Task Force meeting

SWLing Post readers might recall that, last year, I had the distinctly great honor of presenting at the 2017 Radio Preservation Task Force meeting at the Library of Congress.

Several readers have asked me to share my experiences at the conference, so I’ll note the conference highlights here.

I attended all three days of the conference. The first day (Thursday, November 2) was held at the Woodrow Wilson Center and focused on Cold War broadcasting. It goes almost without saying that this was absolutely fascinating.  I learned a great deal. One of the day’s recurrent discussion themes, for example, focused on the keen awareness of those inside the Iron Curtain that they had been regularly subjected to propaganda.  In other words, the Cold War somehow created very discerning news listeners savvy enough to separate fact from fiction quite skillfully––an ability that many fear may (unfortunately) be eroding among today’s media audiences.  

That afternoon, SWLing Post reader, Phil Ewing, took me on an amazing tour of NPR’s new headquarters [thanks SO much, Phil!].


Later that afternoon at NPR, I attended an event celebrating NPR’s founding father and mission creator, Bill Siemering.  Bill and I co-presented at the Winter SWL Fest in 2011, and I admire him greatly both as a journalist and as an individual; I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to be at this event held in his honor.

Friday and Saturday sessions were held at the Library of Congress and were equally riveting as they covered nearly every aspect of radio preservation.

Here’s our panel just a minute before the forum began.

I was on the Digital Curation panel along with Charles Hardy (West Chester University and National Council on Public History), Jonathan Hiam (New York Public Library), Matt Karush (George Mason University and Hearing the Americas), Elena Razlogova (Concordia University) and Mark Williams (Dartmouth College and Media Ecology Project).

The discussion was dynamic, and to my pleasure, our Radio Spectrum Archive was quite the hit. The sincere interest in this project was beyond encouraging.  Indeed, after my presentation, I wasn’t able to address all of the questions from those in the audience because there were so many in line to speak to me about it; eventually the LOC had to re-arrange the room for a televised event, the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

But there’s more.  And it’s a great ending to our story, which is really only a beginning: via Alex Stinson with the Wikimedia Foundation, I was introduced to the Internet Archive team last month, whom, to our profound delight, has wholeheartedly agreed to support the Radio Spectrum Archive by giving us nearly unlimited space to store our massive collection of spectrum files.

In a word?  This conference was brilliant. There simply couldn’t have been a better outcome for the Radio Spectrum Archive and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Many thanks to the entire RPTF team, especially Director, Josh Shepperd, for putting this spectacular event together.

I’ve been invited to a couple other archive conferences as a result of the RPTF meeting, and I’ll give these some consideration.  Regardless, I know this: I’ll make room in my schedule for the next RPTF conference. No way am I missing it!

And at the next conference I look forward to speaking to each one of those people with whom tight scheduling prevented my speaking at this one. After all, it’s this kind of enthusiasm that assures the Radio Spectrum Archive’s future.

If you’d like a more in-depth report of the RPTF conference, check out this article in Radio World (via Richard Langley). If you’d like to learn more about the Radio Preservation Task Force, check out their website by clicking here.

Many thanks to my buddy, Bennett Kobb, who also gave me a tour of the brilliant LPFM station, WERA (96.7) in Arlington, VA–what an incredibly dynamic station and staff!

Ulysses E. Campbell (left) and Bennet Kobb (right) in the studios of WERA.

I’d also like to thank my friend Kim Elliott for generously hosting me during the multi-day event. Even modest accommodation in the DC area is very expensive–no doubt, Kim’s hospitality made the conference a reality for me. Thanks again, Kim!

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