Tag Archives: RBI

Radio Waves: Subversive Shortwave, Radio’s Hardware Problem, Working at RBI, and Russian Comms

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Owning a shortwave radio is once again a subversive activity (Hackaday)

An abiding memory for a teen fascinated by electronics and radio in the 1970s and 1980s is the proliferation of propaganda stations that covered the shortwave spectrum. Some of them were slightly surreal such as Albania’s Radio Tirana which would proudly inform 1980s Western Europe that every village in the country now possessed a telephone, but most stations were the more mainstream ideological gladiating of Voice of America and Radio Moscow.

It’s a long-gone era as the Cold War is a distant memory and citizens East and West get their info from the Internet, but perhaps there’s an echo of those times following the invasion of the Ukraine. With most external news agencies thrown out of Russia and their websites blocked, international broadcasters are launching new shortwave services to get the news through. Owning a shortwave radio in Russia may once again be a subversive activity. Let’s build one! [Continue reading…]

Radio’s Hardware Problem Grows (Radio Ink)

(By Ed Ryan) When was the last time your station gave away a slick looking radio as a promotion (batteries included)? How many more echo dots will radio stations keep giving away before they realize they may be pushing listeners to find something else to listen to?

In a teaser for Edison Research’s upcoming Infinite Dial presentation at Podcast Movement’s Evolutions next week, the research firm reported that the number of Americans who say they do not have a single radio in their home continues to rise.

In the 2020 Infinite Dial, performed before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, just under one-in-three Americans age 12 and older reported not having a single radio in their home, according to Edison. In 2022, that number is now 39%.

Fourteen years ago, only 4% of respondents said they had no radios at home. Continue reading

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RBI: “The radio station at the heart of an India-GDR friendship”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood, who shares the following article from Al Jazeera English:

The radio station at the heart of an India-GDR friendship

The untold story of a shared history is now coming to light.

Berlin, Germany – The 1980s represented a turbulent and transitional period in global affairs. The end of the Cold War was drawing closer, a new era of Thatcher-Reagan neoliberal economic politics was being ushered in, and India was reeling following the assassination in 1984 of its prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Keen to keep up with global current news and affairs, Arvind Srivastava, then a young student studying for a master’s degree in history in Madhepura, a town in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, would gather daily with a group of fellow students. Together, they would tune in to Radio Berlin International (RBI) and its Hindi-language socialist-tilting radio programmes.

From 1959 until German reunification in 1990, RBI served as the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR, or East Germany) international mouthpiece, transmitting news, views and values across the world through its multilingual broadcast platform.

For Srivastava, now 57, and a writer and poet, RBI played a pivotal role in illuminating his global vision during the Cold War.

“In the eighties, most of my friends and I were undergraduate or postgraduate students studying history and political science. In that era of information technology, radio was the only powerful medium,” he tells Al Jazeera.

“When the world was divided into two camps, by nature our country was very close to Soviet ideology. We were curious, and it was a matter of urgent pride for us to be part of the global mobilisation against imperialism, colonialism and racism.”

Srivastava founded the local listeners’ club, also known as a Lenin club, in Madhepura. The club was one of many across India’s Hindi-speaking regions including Punjab and Haryana in the north, Bihar in the east, and the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, where students and workers who shared the GDR’s political values listened to RBI together. [Continue reading and listen to this story on Al Jazeera…]


Note: if you turn on subtitles, YouTube will translate the dialog in this video.

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Comrade Africa: A historic look at the GDR’s Cold War era shortwave broadcasts to Africa

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following note via his Twitter feed:

“Comrade Africa” – a historic look at the GDR’s (Radio Berlin International) Cold War era shortwave broadcasts to Africa via the BBC World Service:

Click here to listen to the documentary at the BBC World Service.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Berlin International, Final episode of DX-tra


Many thanks to Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:

[The following is a] recording of the penultimate English broadcast from Radio Berlin International (RBI) and the last broadcast in the particular time slot. It was also the last broadcast of the popular DX program DX-tra.

RBI ceased broadcasting at the end of the day on 2 October 1990, the day before German reunification took place.

In addition to the final episode of DX-tra, the recording features the news (in progress as the recording starts a minute or two after 00:45), Commentary, RBI Press Review, and Spotlight on Sport. There are several “goodbye” songs including “The Final Countdown” by the Swedish hard rock band Europe, and “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd and some announcer goodbye comments like “the voice of the disappearing German Democratic Republic,” “that was it,” and “the last day of the good old GDR.”

The 45-minute recording ends with the familiar RBI interval signal and, at 01:30 UTC, the first part of the German-language transmission, also the last in its time slot.

This recording was made in Hanwell, NB, Canada, with a Sony ICF-7600D receiver and supplied wire antenna draped around Richard’s home office. This recording begins around 0045 UTC, October 2, 1990 on a frequency of 9,730 kHz.

Click here to download this recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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