Emma Swift is hosting Saturday Night Country while Felicity Urquhart is on maternity leave. (Photo: Radio Australia)
As on many Saturday mornings, this past weekend I sipped my morning coffee while listening to ABC’s Saturday Night Country from Radio Australia’s Shepparton shortwave transmission site on 9.58 MHz…some 9,800 miles from my home.
In this program, Emma Swift continues to fill in for Felicity Urquhart (who is on maternity leave). Swift, who is an amazing host and songwriter in her own right, focuses in this show on country drinking songs (amongst others) and on a few nostalgic country songs in the final set. Fortunately, I captured the whole show in two recordings.
With the help and guidance of my good friend Charlie, we just repaired and aligned this BC-348-Q receiver. BC-348s were built to withstand the extreme temperatures (-60F) and vibrations on board the B-17 and other bombers, where they were used extensively in World War II. I picked this beauty up at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention for $40.
Next year, this radio will be70 years old.
This morning, I have it tuned to Radio Australia’s Saturday Night Country on 11,660 kHz shortwave. It’s “connecting” to a wireless network over 9,800 miles away and producing beautiful, warm audio.
Saturday Night Country host, Felicity Urqhart, receiving CMA’s 2012 International Country Broadcaster Award (Source: RadioInfo)
I’ve mentioned before how much I love this show–you don’t even need to be a fan of country music to have a true appreciation for it.
Saturday Night Country should be on your shortwave listening schedule. If you live in North America, you’ll find the signal out of Shepparton, Australia is so strong that even a mediocre portable radio can receive it with ease.
Felicity Urquhart, host of ABC's Saturday Night Country. (photo: ABC)
Even though it’s well over 9,800 miles (15,800 kilometers) and many time zones from where I live, I listen to Radio Australia’s Shepparton broadcast site perhaps more than any other on the shortwave bands. For decades, it has beamed a broad and booming signal into North America on 9,580 kHz every morning. Well, I say “morning” here in the southeastern US, but in Australia, it’s their (or, for our Aussie readers, your) evening.
One show Radio Australia broadcasts that’s popular across the globe is ABC’s Saturday Night Country. Felicity Urquhart hosts the program, which showcases the best in Australian country and, indeed, country music worldwide. She knows her stuff, too–not only is she a talented host, but also an accomplished country music star in her own right. (What’s more–see above–she’s got “a face for radio”–? Try television: she’s very photogenic.)
What I love about Saturday Night Country is that there’s lots of music, but also excellent interviews as Felicity chats with well-known and upcoming stars. Since the Radio Australia shortwave signal out of Shepparton is always so strong coming into the US, the audio fidelity is often on par with local AM (MW) stations.
I listen to the show many Saturday mornings, and I’m not even that big a fan of country music. And I’m not alone; several of you have written asking when I’d write a post about Saturday Night Country. For our readers, I’ve done one better: check two hours out the latest show for yourself in the recording of ABC below (or click here for the mp3). The broadcast begins with a news segment at the top of the hour; if you like, fast-forward to 4:30 for the beginning of SNC:
Incidentally, I used making this recording as an excuse to test one of the newest receivers on my bench, the WinRadio Excalibur. Its recording functionality is perhaps the best in the SDR world–and, I’ve got to say, I’m most impressed with it. Out of the chunk of spectrum I recorded, I was also able to hear RCI’s Sackville site broadcasting All In a Weekend on 9,625 kHz. In the past, these two have had conflicting schedules between 8:00-9:00 local, but with the Excalibur’s three individual receivers, I can record one while listening to the other–or better yet, record both, and track down yet another station!
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