Tag Archives: Richard Cuff

USAGM’s Chief Executive John Lansing resigns

John Lansing (Source: BBG)

(Source: VOA News via Richard Cuff)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Agency for Global Media’s Chief Executive John Lansing said he will be leaving his post at the end of the month.

Lansing, a veteran government broadcast and cable television executive, was named four years ago by U.S. President Barack Obama to be the first chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees the Voice of America, Radio and Television Martí, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

Lansing made his mark at the agency early on by championing a free press.

“Despite some very dark moments, we have not been silenced. We will continue to report the truth. We will continue to find new ways to get independent reporting and programming to global audiences who rely on it,” he said this year on World Press Freedom Day.

USAGM board Chairman Kenneth Weinstein said in a statement, “John has put USAGM on solid footing to advance our mission to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. … The Board is very grateful for, and deeply impressed by, the results achieved during his tenure.”

Lansing has boosted the networks’ global weekly audience by more than 100 million and expanded the agency’s use of platforms from encrypted live broadcasting to shortwave radio to push content into countries that jam or ban American programming.

Under his watch, the agency also created Current Time, a network broadcasting news, features and documentaries for Russian speakers in 2017. Polygraph and Faktograph are websites aimed at combating a stream of disinformation by Russia state-controlled media. A new Persian-language service, VOA365, also started broadcasting earlier this year.

In a statement released late Thursday, Lansing said he would be starting a new position at chief executive at National Public Radio, a publicly funded nonprofit membership media organization based in Washington.

Lansing acknowledged challenges ahead for the agency with countries such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran trying to control information and spread their influence throughout the world.

“Please keep abiding by the highest standards of professional journalism. Please keep fighting for press freedom. Please keep telling the truth. The world needs you now more than ever,” he concluded in his statement to employees.

Weinstein said in his statement, “It is the Board’s top priority to find the best individual to run USAGM upon John’s departure.”

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Wellington Brewery’s UVB-76 Imperial Stout Series

(Source: Canadian Beer News via Richard Cuff)

GUELPH, ON – Wellington Brewery has announced details of a second annual set of bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts that are due for release later this month.

UVB-76 (11.9% abv) takes its name from a mysterious shortwave radio station that broadcasts a repeating buzz tone that is occasionally interrupted by a voice in Russian that includes many names in its messages.

The series debuted last year with four beers released as part of Wellington’s 2017 DecemBEER promotion. For 2018, two of last year’s versions – Roman (straight bourbon barrel-aged) and Mikhail (Mexican hot chocolate style with cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, and spicy chillies) – will be returning, and will be joined by two new variants – Nikita (Neapolitan style with vanilla beans and strawberry) and Alexei (coffee).

The beers can be pre-ordered now via Wellington’s online store, and will be released at the brewery on Saturday November 24th with a launch event that will feature eight further versions available exclusively on draught. For more details, see the full event announcement.

Click here to read the full article.

Thanks for sharing this, Richard! This isn’t the first time a Canadian brewer featured a radio brew–remember Short Wave West Coast Pale Ale? Fantastic!

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Registration open for 32nd Annual Winter SWL Fest!

David Goren (left) and Richard Cuff (right) during the Shindig live broadcast at the Winter SWL Fest.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor (and SWL Festmeister–!) Richard Cuff, who writes:

Announcing a radio-related event that might interest folks here:

Registration now available for 32nd Annual Winter SWL Fest, to be held February 28th – March 2nd, 2019 at the Doubletree Suites Philadelphia West hotel in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. Even though the Fest has its roots in shortwave, our theme is now “Radio In All Its Forms.” We believe we’re the largest remaining gathering of radio enthusiasts left, and we hope you can join us!

We’re sticking with the formula that’s worked for the past two years: Formal events will begin roughly midday Thursday, February 28th, with the concluding banquet and raffle Saturday evening, March 2nd. It will be a while before the forum topics for the 32nd Fest are fleshed
out, but the program for 2018 is available as a reference for you to see what to expect.

You can register online and pay via PayPal at the website, http://swlfest.com; if you’re “old school” you can download and print off a paper registration form at the site and send in via Postal mail.

Do try and have your hotel and event registrations finished by January 25th; the special rate for Fest hotel rooms expires about that date, and rooms will likely be more expensive or even unavailable after that. Event registration fees also increase as of that date.

Links to an e-mail discussion group and our Facebook group appear on the right of the Fest website, if you have any questions or want to learn more about the event from those who have been there before.

Thank you, Rich!  You can count on my attendance! I look forward to the Winter SWL Fest each year!

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Why shortwave radio makes an idea “a powerful weapon”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Rich Cuff and Mike Hansgen who share the following Op Ed piece from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Warning: put down any power tools and ensure you’re not operating heavy machinery before you read the next sentence. We’ve been outflanked!

Of course, unless you’re completely benighted or under some sort of strange, personal news blackout that prevents you even glancing at the front pages of newspapers, you’ll probably have already realised that China is extending and developing its relations with our close Pacific neighbours. This was, after all, only to be expected. Beijing and Taipei have long recognised the value of these countries’ votes in the United Nations; it’s not much of a step from there to glance at the map and recognise the islands’ have other significance as well. As China began expanding its international reach it was only natural it would similarly strengthen other relationships, including defence links.

[…]Nature abhors a vacuum and so, as we’ve been demonstrating less and less interest in this region, others have occupied the space.

The clearest example of this has been the strategically idiotic, fiscally-driven and wilfully blind destruction of Canberra’s lone voice in the region, the (once vital) ABC shortwave service, Radio Australia.

Sure, the internet’s better than a crackly radio signal. But simply to access the net requires computers and bandwidth, neither of which are readily available to the audiences in the South Pacific. And even if someone can manage to obtain a connection, the next problem is finding services, particularly news and information ones, that are relevant to your situation.

Someone in Apia (Samoa) is unlikely to be transfixed by events in Adelaide (South Australia) unless, of course, it’s their Seven’s team playing at the oval. Similarly a person in Buka (Bougainville) is likely to be bored by reports from Belgrade or Bulgaria, although not information about BHP Billiton. RA provided an independent, reliable news service specifically dedicated to the needs of its audience. Critically, it offered a vital, secure and trusted way of connecting islanders to their capitals and, through that, to the world.

The big advantage of shortwave services was that they could be heard; were relevant; and formed a starting point for a community. But as far as the ABC was concerned the broadcasts were nothing more than a big bag of money to raid in order to boost its domestic budget.[…]

Read this full article at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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“Shortwave radio evolves into an IoT network”

(Source: Maritime Digitalisation & Communications via Richard Cuff)

KNL Networks is building a mesh network of base stations on ships for securely transmitting operational and machinery data to shore

Shortwave radio can be used for data transmissions from ships to shore and between vessels as an alternative, or even complementary, service to satellite communications.

This is a long way from shortwave radio’s use for voice communications at sea, but KNL Networks has developed this technology to generate a data transportation network. It has built a mesh of multiple base stations and terminals on ships to provide a backbone for internet-of-things (IoT) solutions.

The dedicated IoT network is combined with military-grade security, pole-to-pole coverage and affordable pricing to make maritime IoT connections smarter, said KNL Networks chief executive Toni Linden.

He explained to Maritime Digitalisation & Communications that this shortwave radio network does not have the complexity or issues of satellite communications and can be scaled through simple vessel additions. “We have reinvented shortwave radio so that it is fully digital and automatic,” he said.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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Marketplace: “Time may be up for timekeeping radio stations”

Photo taken in 2014 of the sign above WWV’s primary 10 MHz transmitter.

(Source: Marketplace via Richard Cuff)

The Trump administration wants to shut down two shortwave radio stations that broadcast time signals from the nation’s master clock.

The administration’s budget proposal would eliminate nearly $27 million in funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the two stations. WWV, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, has been transmitting one rock-steady pulse per second for more than 80 years. Its sister station, Hawaii’s WWVH, has been extending the time signal across the Pacific for nearly 70 years. WWV is also the world’s longest continuously-broadcasting radio station. (NIST doesn’t stream the stations online because signals are often delayed as they stream over the internet. But you can hear the stations by calling (303) 499-7111 for WWV or (808) 335-4363 for WWVH . There are also online recordings of the stations’ gentle announcements.)[…]

Click here to read the full story and listen to the program audio.

If you feel strongly about keeping the atomic clock signals on the air, I urge you to contact your local representatives,and sign this White House petition.

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“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.

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