Tag Archives: Richard Langley

Blackloud SounDot AF1 earphones offer FM reception for iPhones

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares this article from Radio World. Here’s an excerpt:

Headsets Deliver FM to Mobile Devices, No Chip or Internet Required

[The BLACKLOUD SOUNDOT AF1] headsets are nothing like the ones you might remember from your first Sony Walkman. According to information provided by Blackloud, SounDots feature patented psychoacoustic technology, a six-band customizable graphic equalizer, 3D stereo effect, dual dynamic driver design, inline microphone, and a control box with a volume up (+), volume down (–) and multifunction (pause/play) button. This multifunction button enables many actions depending on the app that is running, including: answer/hang up a phone/video call, start/stop recording or playback using most any audio/video/camera app, enable/disable/seek up/down the FM tuner, and lastly, activate Siri or Google Assistant.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Radio World.

Richard notes that we’ve posted articles in the past focusing on the fact that iPhones (and a number of Android phone models) do not have or allow user access to a built-in FM reception chip.

Richard sees the new Blackloud SounDot AF1 earphones as an elegant work-around and has pre-ordered a set. If these earphones live up to their specs, they should sound fantastic.

Richard, I hope you’ll post a review after you put them into service! Thanks for the tip!

Click here to view the SOUNDOT AF1 ordering page.

BBG sets five-year goals

(Source: Radio World via Richard Langley)

BBG Sets Itself a Series of Five-Year Goals

Agency points to security, need to keep pace with changing media landscape

The Broadcasting Board of Governors has a definite goal for the next five years — advance America’s national interests, work in tandem with the current administration’s national security strategies, and keep its networks up to speed with the way the media landscape has changed.

The board, known widely as BBG, recently released its 2018–2022 Strategic Plan titled “Information Matters: Impact and Agility in U.S. International Media.” The plan was presented to the board during the group’s March board meeting in Washington.

“This plan is a comprehensive roadmap for moving the agency forward in the next five years, including significantly increasing our audience reach,” said BBG Chief Executive Officer and Director John F. Lansing.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Radio World.

BBG budget includes plans for shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley who shares the following item from Kim Elliott. Note that this news is dated February 22, 2018 (yes, it was lost in my drafts folder!):

Broadcasting Board of Governors budget request includes plans for shortwave

Kim Andrew Elliott
22 February 2018

The Broadcasting Board of Governors, consisting of VOA, RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia, Radio/TV Martí, Radio Sawa and Alhurra, is slated for a $24 million budget reduction in fiscal year (FY)
2019.

Of course, Congress will review and probably will modify the President’s budget request for BBG and other agencies.

Here are excerpts from the budget request pertaining to shortwave:

“TSI [Technology, Services and Innovation, i.e. BBG engineering] continues to move the BBG from traditional broadcasting technologies, such as cross-border radio transmissions shortwave (SW) and medium wave (MW serving regions where these platforms are no longer popular, to other delivery systems that are rapidly growing in effectiveness and are less expensive to operate (e.g., FM radio, DTH satellite, internet streaming, mobile, and social media). …

“As part of its multi-year global network realignment, TSI will continue to focus efforts on upgrading its shortwave capacity at the Kuwait Transmitting Station, even as use of SW decreases. With superior strategic location and extremely low operating costs, this station will be able to serve the overwhelming majority of legacy SW audiences in the most cost-effective manner possible, at a fraction of the cost of other BBG operated site or expensive leased capacity. …

“Over the years, the use of shortwave (SW) radio has declined globally. TSI has responded by consolidating broadcasts to more cost-effective transmitting stations and reducing or even eliminating SW where it is no longer relevant. In markets where SW does still retain a sizable, valuable audience, TSI is committed to making SW service available in the most cost-effective way possible. To meet this need, TSI has been upgrading the Kuwait Transmitting Station (KTS), which enjoys a superior strategic location and extremely low operating costs. In FY 2017 TSI continued to expand that facility, and in FY 2018 TSI will procure and install new antennas. In FY 2019, TSI is committed to investing in the KTS expansion further, utilizing whatever resources may be available, in order to realize longer-term savings. Ultimately, the BBG’s goal is to be able to serve most legacy SW audiences from this one site, at a fraction of the cost of all the other transmitting stations, so that other, more expensive sites may be scaled back or closed.

Philippines relay will close

“In FY 2017, TSI completed the closure of the station in Sri Lanka and in FY 2018 will close the BBG facility in Poro, Philippines. TSI’s systematic and thorough review of all transmission leases will continue in FY 2019, identifying further opportunities for savings. In the years between 2010 and 2016, total costs associated with Cross Border Radio (SW and MW ) have declined by over $25 million (34.5%), and we expect this decrease to continue as we respond to market needs and as the Administration and Congress authorize us to shutter less effective legacy facilities …

“[I]n China, including Tibet, TSI will continue to provide satellite TV and radio service via Telstar 18, the most popular satellite in China, for only a fraction of the cost of the BBG’s legacy shortwave and medium wave transmissions to the region. This allows TSI to leverage the widespread use of satellite receiver dishes across the country and provide accessible programming where local cable and internet access is restricted. In FY 2018, TSI will procure additional satellite capacity on this satellite, allowing BBG to simultaneously distribute HD and SD TV programming and capitalize on the migration of Chinese audiences to HDTV, while not stranding legacy SD users. …

“Radio remains a very popular platform in many BBG markets, particularly Africa. BBG global weekly radio audiences increased by a stunning 28 million in 2016 alone and by 35 million since 2012. While shortwave continues to be a relevant means of delivery in several African markets, in most countries rapid growth and competition in the media market have shifted radio
habits almost entirely towards FM. The BBG provides 24/7 FM radio programming in over 30 markets across the continent. …

But good news for Kuwait and Greenville stations

“As part of its multi-year global network realignment, TSI will continue to focus efforts on upgrading its shortwave capacity at the Kuwait Transmitting Station, even as use of SW decreases. With superior strategic location and extremely low operating
costs, this station will be able to serve the overwhelming majority of legacy SW audiences in the most cost-effective manner possible, at a fraction of the cost of other BBG operated site or expensive leased capacity. …

“The BCI [broadcasting capital improvement] funds in FY 2018 (and base funds in FY 2019) will be used to continue the planned reconfiguration and expansion of the shortwave broadcast
infrastructure at the Kuwait Transmitting Station. This will allow BBG to enhance transmission to multiple regions, including Africa, and achieve cost savings for shortwave broadcasts.
Because of the very low cost of electrical power in Kuwait, the Kuwait Transmitting Station is the least expensive IBB station to operate. This project will allow the agency to shift mission-critical but higher cost transmissions from other stations in the IBB network to Kuwait.

“TSI will install and deploy three newer SW transmitters at the Greenville, NC Edward R. Murrow transmitting station enabling a doubling of frequencies servicing Cuba and making it extremely difficult for the Cuban government to effectively block Radio Marti signals into the Island. …

“To serve audiences in less developed areas of the world, the BBG must continue to broadcast via traditional technologies, such as shortwave, and maintain capability and improve efficiency on these platforms by replacing antiquated equipment. But to stay relevant in competitive news markets and serve current and future audiences, the BBG must continue to invest in new cutting-edge technology. In areas where ownership and usage of shortwave radio has declined significantly, the Agency has evolved away from broadcasting in that medium. The BBG has closed transmission stations, repurposed equipment and invested these savings in
platforms that the audience has shifted to, primarily television and digital media.”

The entire FY2019 BBG budget submission is here:
https://www.bbg.gov/strategy-and-performance/budget-submissions/

Morse code safety shoes are a thing…

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Richard Langley and Robert Gulley, who shares this news item from the BBC:

Morse code shoes send toe tapping texts at MWC 2018

A pair of smart shoes has been created to let industrial workers keep in touch via toe-typed coded messages.

The footwear was inspired by Morse code, but made possible by the latest communication technologies.

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones meets the firm responsible at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Click here to view at the BBC.

BBC World Service: “Click” Broadcast Times (October 2017 – March 2018)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares his latest shortwave radio schedule for the BBC World Service technology program, Click.

Click on the image below to view the schedule, or simply click here to view the schedule as a PDF.

Richard notes:

As with previous versions of the chart, a “bullet” indicates a broadcast on line or by one or more different radio platforms to or in the indicated geographical region, including local AM and FM radio, DAB radio, satellite radio, and, for some regions, shortwave radio. There are currently two times “Click” is broadcast on shortwave.