Tag Archives: Richard Cuff

“Farewell to Miki Gurdus, Israel’s National Listener”

(Source: The Tablet via Richard Cuff)

With a powerful shortwave radio and a battery of TV screens, he broke national news long before the internet, scooping everything from the Entebbe raid to the first Gulf War

Had he been born two or three decades later, Miki Gurdus would probably have been just another middle-aged man glued to his smartphone, scrolling through endless torrents of social-media ephemera. But Gurdus, who passed away in Israel this week at the age of 73, was born with a radio. And early on, he knew the device would change his life.

[…]And listen Gurdus did. Commanding six languages—Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, Russian, and Polish—as well as numerous shortwave radios and as many as 11 television sets, he tuned in not only to broadcasts from far and wide but, often, to private conversations, military wire exchanges, and other dispatches not meant for public consumption. In late June of 1976, for example, he interrupted a radio broadcast to announce that he had just picked up a conversation between Palestinian terrorists and an air traffic controller in Libya announcing that they had just hijacked an Air France flight and intended to land it in Benghazi en route to Entebbe, Uganda. It wouldn’t be his last scoop: In 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Israeli military intelligence got the news from Gurdus, who had intercepted the transmissions of the Iraqi army.

[…]With each passing decade, Gurdus’ fame grew. A reporter interviewing him in 2003 described his office as “half Aladdin’s cave and half control tower, a labyrinth of television screens, radios, remote controls, electric wires, speakers, model airplanes and photos of Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush stuck on the walls.” And in the center of it all was Gurdus, tartan slippers on his feet and dark shades covering his eye, to protect his vision from the glare of a dozen screens. Even as Israel’s media landscape flourished and more and more commercial radio and television channels debuted, giving rise to new generations of reporters, anchors, and celebrities, Gurdus remained a national treasure, a name you knew even if you weren’t sure exactly what “our listener” did.

And then came the internet.

Gurdus, in his typical tough manner, minimized it, calling it just another arrow in his quiver. “The internet is just another tool for me,” he said in a recent interview, “and not a major one at that because you can’t compete with what’s broadcast on all these satellites. Besides, neither the internet nor anything else can make me stop working, or make me irrelevant. I’ll continue to report the news, to listen, and to try and deliver scoops. I’ll be there for as long as I’m breathing.”[…]

Earlier this week, Gurdus passed away in his home in Yehud. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin both eulogized him, the latter calling him “our mythological listener, the man who brought into our nation faraway voices even before the internet.”[…]

Read the full article at The Tablet Magazine.

KGEI’s role in WWII

(Source: The Daily Journal via Richard Cuff)

KGEI: A forgotten WWII radio story

Sometimes history is hidden in plain sight or site — as is the case of a blockhouse-shaped building located, appropriately, on Radio Road in the Redwood Shores area of Redwood City.

There is no plaque to remind the few visitors to the area that the two-story building played an important role in World War II: It housed the transmitter for shortwave radio station KGEI, which was the only voice from home for GIs fighting from island to island in the Pacific.

Among other accomplishments, the station broadcast Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “I have returned” speech that fulfilled his promise to return with victorious American troops to the Philippines, occupied by Japanese forces since 1942.

Today, the building of about 7,000 square feet is owned by Silicon Valley Clean Water, the wastewater plant operated jointly by Redwood City, San Carlos and Belmont. The plant is adjacent to the KGEI building, which itself is right next to a much larger transmitter building used by KNBR. Ground was broken in late 1940 for the KGEI structure made of reinforced 3-foot thick concrete walls designed to withstand bombing.[…]

Continue reading the full article at The Daily Journal…

Third day added to 2018 Winter SWL Fest–!

Art the Winter SWL Fest, my good friends (from left to right): Sheldon Harvey (of The International Radio Report), Tina Shields and Dan Srebnick

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who shares the following news:

The feedback from the 30th SWL Fest in March was consistently positive: People enjoyed having the extra day for forums and fun.

We’ve decided to keep the 3rd day for 2018 — so begin making your plans now. The 31st (!) Annual Winter SWL Fest will be Thursday, March 1st through Saturday, March 3rd, at the Doubletree Guest Suites – Philadelphia West in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

We’ll start forums in the early afternoon on Thursday. Details to follow in the months ahead! Registration will begin in the autumn, though we will probably set up hotel registration before then.

Updates will posted at the Fest website, http://www.swlfest.com.

Thanks to all for supporting us in 2017 and all the prior years!

Richard Cuff and John Figliozzi, co-chairs

I think this is absolutely brilliant news!Thanks for sharing, Rich, and I’ll see you at the ’18 Winter SWL Fest!

Disappointment when the power comes back on

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, for sharing this column from The Athens News. I’m sure many of us relate to Dennis E. Powell (note this is only an excerpt):

If you lose power at just the right time, it can enrichen your life

This is being written last Monday night.

Several hours after the storms of earlier in the day passed, the sun shining, the birds singing, and all apparently right with the world, the electricity went out. Because there is no cellular telephone service in my part of the county, this necessitated a drive much of the way to Athens to register a report with the power company. The power company’s outage report line is the first entry in my cellular phonebook.

[…]The evening was (and as I write this, is) cool, with a bit of wind passing through the open windows, so there was no panic, as there is when the power disappears in the dead of winter or in the 100-degree summer – both of which I have experienced. But there was no fire to build, no need to think of a reason to drive to town for a few hours in some place air-conditioned.

Instead, I remembered that just a few days ago I had pushed the battery-charge button on one of a couple shortwave radios I have around here, this one a decade-old C. Crane CC Radio SW. It has a big speaker and a pleasant sound, though it’s not the sort of radio you get to dig faint signals out of the mud. It is just right for such an evening as this. So I brought it to the living room, extended its built-in antenna, and fired it up.

Shortwave radio is like Forest Gump’s mama’s box of chocolates, and that’s part of its appeal. Poking around the dial I find some Ohio shortwave amateurs putting on a bit of a panel show, passing the mic metaphorically from one to another. Because they are shortwave amateurs, all they talk about was their shortwave equipment.

The power is out all over the neighborhood, so there is not a single static scratch, no 60-Hz whine of interference. And the ionosphere seems stable, no fading in and out of signals.

Heading up the dial, I find a station in accented but easily understood English. I have to listen for a while before I learn that I am listening to Radio Romania International. That broadcast ended, so I retune and find a cranky man and a cranky woman who are discussing how awful things are and how the only thing you can count on is gold.

Moving along, I find an impassioned man with a deep Southern accent. He, too, is discussing how awful things are – and how they soon will be especially awful for those who put their trust in gold or other things of this world.

There is a broadcast from somewhere – from the accents I’d guess the Caribbean or Africa – that features a man and woman talking spiritedly and sweetly about English idioms.

Now I’m listening to the Argentine national shortwave service, which had a talk program in English though they’ve switched to Argentine music.

[…]I do hope the power comes back. Just not tonight. Tomorrow, maybe. Or the next day.

(Note: Just as I set this to email itself eventually to the Athens NEWS, minutes after I was done writing, the power came back on. And it really was a little disappointing.)

Read this full story via The Athens News online…

ABC International to increase investment in services for Chinese, Indonesian and Pacific audiences

ABC Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who shares this press release from ABC International:

ABC International focuses investment in region

ABC International will increase its investment in media services for Chinese, Indonesian and Pacific audiences to offer more comprehensive coverage for regional audiences. These new initiatives, the result of a strategic review, mean ABC International will be better positioned to deliver a greater range of content in these areas.

The changes mean ABC International will create eight new positions to lead content areas and improve editorial and workflow priorities. However, ABC International has also made the decision to end foreign language services in French, Khmer, Vietnamese and Burmese, which are currently single-person operations.

The recommendations from the strategic review and the decision to close some services will fund this reinvestment across the network. ABC International will build on key relationships with China, Indonesia and the Pacific with increased investment in services including:

  • For Chinese audiences: an additional Mandarin language site allowing ABC International to deliver a full Chinese news service, for Chinese audiences across the region and Australia, complementing the AustraliaPlus .cn cultural exchange portal.
  • For Bahasa Indonesian audiences: two new roles will be created, a new Content Maker and a Senior Producer, to improve ABC International’s capacity to extend Indonesian language content.
  • For Pacific audiences: the creation of a new Senior Producer Pacific position focussed on enhancing content for Pacific audiences. This new role will also manage and schedule the Radio Australia Services and the Pacific and Tok-Pisin service that has a distinct value in reaching PNG audiences.

Two other new Content Maker roles will be created, one with a focus on telling Pacific stories to audiences in that region and a second position to tailor English content on Australian life for all platforms.

ABC International Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the changes to these services would benefit the wider audience base in the region.

“These changes are the result of careful consideration and commitment to our services in the region as we approach 2020,” she said.

“The ABC has a long history with the Pacific nations while Indonesian and Chinese audiences comprise a growing audience base, both across our region and here in Australia.

“ABC International is determined to uphold the highest standards in international media services including our expanding digital and social media services. These changes represent ABC International’s commitment to delivering compelling content to key audiences.”

The closure of the Vietnamese, Khmer and Burmese language services will become effective on 2 December 2016, while the French service will continue until arrangements with France Television end in February 2017. The closures will affect six positions and a staff consultation process will begin shortly.

For more information

Nick Leys
Media Manager, Corporate Affairs
03 9626 1417