Tag Archives: Ukraine

Radio Waves: Border Blaster Early Days, Resistance on the Radiowaves, Towers With Flared Skirts, and Palau Restores AM

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


In border radio’s early days, psychics and mystics ruled the airwaves (Mexico News Daily)

Charlatans originally built powerful ‘border blaster’ stations to evade scrutiny by US authorities

In radio’s early decades, among the oddball attractions found on the airwaves from 1920 to 1940 included a husband-and-wife team of psychics broadcasting from the U.S.-Mexico border under the stage names of Koran and Rose Dawn who became so popular that their extensive following helped them create a secondary income source: an organization called The Mayan Order.

Those who applied for membership and received its periodicals, the founders suggested, could harness the ancient Mesoamerican civilization’s secrets.

The pair were just two of the many psychics and other broadcasters of questionable integrity on the airwaves along the Rio Grande during radio’s beginnings. These characters built “border-blaster” stations of such epic size and scope that they could transmit from the Mexican side of the border into the United States.

Author John Benedict Buescher’s new book, Radio Psychics: Mind Reading and Fortune Telling in American Broadcasting, 1920–1940, unearths Koran and Rose Dawn’s forgotten story, as well as those of about 25 other border-blaster radio personalities on the Rio Grande who were heirs to a longtime American fascination with the occult.

“I was surprised how really dominant this stuff was in the early days of radio,” Buescher said. “Radio historians typically have just waved it off, not really focused on it, didn’t really take it seriously.” [Continue reading…]

Ukraine’s resistance on the radiowaves (DW Video)

Ukraine is fighting with more than weapons. The airwaves are also a frontier. Ukrainian computer specialists and radio operators have managed to jam Russian communications or intercept them. revealing some shocking details of the war’s brutality.

Click here to watch the view at DW’s website.

Why Well-Dressed Towers May Wear Flared Skirts (Radio World)

Cox, Dawson explore the benefits of umbrella-spoke feed for MW towers

Ben Dawson and Bobby Cox will talk about flared skirts at the NAB Show.

“A flared skirt is a set of symmetrically spaced cables around the tower, which attach electrically near the top of the tower, extend outward from the tower along a path similar to the top guy cables, and then turn back in toward the tower base at a point roughly halfway down the tower,” said Cox, senior staff engineer at Kintronic Labs.

“Insulators at this midpoint insulate the cables from ground. The cables terminate on an insulated feed ring encircling the tower base above ground level, similarly to a conventional skirt feed. The antenna is driven between this feed ring and RF ground. The resulting flared skirt takes the shape of a diamond, looking rather like umbrella spokes.”

These systems are used to provide a feed arrangement for grounded towers that is mechanically simple but has certain attractive aspects.

“The wide bandwidth characteristics of the flared skirt make these antenna designs extremely useful for multiplexing several AM stations onto a common antenna,” said Dawson, consultant engineer at Hatfield & Dawson. [Continue reading…]

Palau restores AM radio service (RNZ)

After erecting a new tower Palau’s state broadcaster has restored its AM radio service.

The previous AM tower was destroyed during Typhoon Bopha, in 2012.

Rondy Ronny, head of programming said that the new AM tower and radio service will benefit all the 16 states of Palau.

“A lot of the outlying states are not able to connect into the internet and just don’t have that capability or have very high tech phones like how we do here in Koror. People don’t expect people from Angaur, from Babeldaob to be on their phones all the time.”

Ronny said that the new tower will be crucial to Palauans during natural disasters. [Continue reading at RNZ…]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: London’s Hyper-Local Radio Scene, Kraina FM, Swedish Radio Reconsiders Digital, Japanese Mobile Radio Station, and Guinea-Bissau Station Threatened

Radio Seribatu FM Tower

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Eric Jon Magnuson for the following tips:


How the Capital Tuned in to Hyper-Local Radio (Standard.co.uk)

The capital’s local radio scene is having a renaissance. From pub garden pop-ups to shipping container stations, Londoners are falling back in love with FM (and DAB/online/smart speaker/insert new mode of listening here). Tuning in has never been better, says Jessica Benjamin — antennae at the ready, it’s time to meet our favourite local stations

Westside — Hanwell 89.6 FM

Broadcasting from Hanwell’s Clocktower Mews to west London, Westside Radio was launched in 2007 by none other than Boris Johnson himself. ‘He promised to come back to Westside if he was elected mayor on the condition that we would play songs by The Clash,’ station manager Sone Palda tells me. ‘All of this while he was surrounded by Labour MPs and councillors in the studio.’ Big name politicians aside, Palda is both excited by and concerned for the future of local radio. ‘In this era community radio is one of the key mediums producing genuine local content and news,’ he says. ‘Most of the local independent commercial stations are being bought up by the big groups, then being rebranded and losing their identity. We want to remain being a platform for emerging radio presenting and production talent, and to continue entertaining our dedicated local audience.’

Soho Radio — Soho

Launched in 2014 and broadcasting live from Broadwick Street, Soho Radio has serious clout when it comes to big name presenters. Think Primal Scream’s Simone Marie Butler, Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay, Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Metronomy’s Anna Prior to name a few — and they don’t just stop at radio. ‘We won Event of the Decade [in Time Out magazine] for our 12-hour street party broadcast with R3 Soundsystem,’ station manager Rachael Bird says. ‘We had some amazing DJs join us live on air, with the likes of Seth Troxler, Norman Jay, Artwork, Eats Everything and Sink the Pink gracing the decks. The day culminated with our very own lorry sound system pulling up in the streets of Soho to finish the street party with a bang — it didn’t last long before it got shut down (whoops!) but was definitely a Soho Radio highlight and a day to remember.’ The grassroots online station has since expanded to the Big Apple, where it has been streaming from Lower Manhattan since late 2020 for a double dose of Soho listening. [Continue reading the full article…]

This Ukrainian radio station is staying on air for the war effort from a makeshift studio in the mountains (The Current – CBC)

Kraina FM CEO Bogdan Bolkhovetsky says station helps military, lifts people’s spirits

A Kyiv radio station is broadcasting from a makeshift studio to bring Ukrainians the latest news about the war, and music to lift their spirits during the hours spent sitting in air raid shelters.

“In Kyiv, air raid alerts are eight to nine times a day, lasting from 30 minutes to three hours,” said Bogdan Bolkhovetsky, CEO of Kraina FM, an independent Ukrainian music station.

“And while people sit in shelters, they sing … Ukrainian songs,” he told The Current’s Matt Galloway.

Playing a variety of Ukrainian on the airwaves “is good for people … it brings back some normality to life, I guess,” he said.

Bolkhovetsky and his family fled Kyiv in the days after the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24. Members of his team also fled, and they regrouped in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains on Feb. 27. The village lies south of Lviv in the west of Ukraine, where many refugees have fled to escape Russia’s advance from the east. Some find refuge in the west’s smaller towns and villages, but others press on to cross into neighbouring Poland or Slovakia.

Click here to read the full article and listen to the audio at The Current.

Swedish Radio reconsiders its digital strategy (Red Tech)

Cilla Benkö is the director general and CEO of Sveriges (Swedish) Radio. She started as an intern in the sports department when there were very few females in the industry. Benkö, who has worked at the organization for more than 30 years as a journalist and has held several managerial positions, provides insight into how Swedish Radio is navigating today’s evolving landscape. Continue reading

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: Trend in Tropical Bands, AM Drive Time and EDT, RTI Russian Service, and Feedback from RW Guest Commentary

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Trends in Tropical Bands Broadcasting (EDXC)

EDXC co-founder Anker Petersen has published the latest Trends in tropical bands broadcasting and Domestic Broadcasting Survey.

Anker writes: “Since the Danish Short Wave Club International published the first annual Tropical Bands Survey in 1973, I have registered which stations are active, based upon loggings from our members and other DXers around the world. Here is an updated status outside Europe and North America, where Clandestine and Pirate stations are not included.”

Both of the documents are available at the DSWCI website, to study and enjoy. Click on the two blue boxes on the left side of the website for the current versions, and also to look back over previous versions. Hopefully, these will also encourage more DXers to listen regularly to the Tropical Bands. [Click here to read the original post…]

Universal Power-Up Time For AMs Seen As One Potential Fix For Proposed Clock Change. (Inside Radio)

Talk in Washington about making Daylight Saving Time permanent may bring cheers from people who hate the “spring forward” and “fall back” disruption to their body clocks. But it has the potential to upend radio stations, especially during the darkest winter months. New Jersey Broadcasters Association President Paul Rotella is urging the bill’s sponsor to consider adding some protections for AM radio into the bill.

“If this legislation is adopted, many if not most, AM stations will lose an hour of morning drive with no or reduced power and no one seems to be addressing the issue,” said Rotella in a letter to Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Permanent daylight-saving time would mean that AM daytime-only stations and AMs with directional signals would not be at full power until after 9am in some parts of the country.

Rotella says such a move would mean that these stations would lose most of their critical morning drive daypart when a lot of ad revenue is made. The upside is the change would give AMs more time during their afternoon drive, when some stations need to power down before 5pm during the winter months. But many AM owners have said that the amount of money they would make from an extra hour of broadcast time during the afternoon would not make up for the losses they would suffer in the morning. [Continue reading…]

Letters from Ukraine – Taiwan Insider (RTI English via YouTube)

[What RTI’s Ukrainian listeners are saying]

RTI’s Russian broadcasts are reaching Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people are talking back. The head of RTI Russian tells Insider what listeners are saying and how RTI is supporting Ukraine from Taiwan. Continue reading

Spread the radio love

Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of China Radio International

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent China Radio International broadcast.


Carlos notes:

China Radio International, 9525 kHz, broadcasting in Russian from Beijing, China.
Listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
April 9, 2022, 20h (UTC).

Part of news bulletin, war in Ukraine.

    • Report from Borodiyanka
    • Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dept. Maria Zakharova: Bucha is provocation to end negotiations, impose more sanctions.
    • China, Israel: dialogue is the solution for Ukraine war
    • China and the US bioweapons

Click here to listen via YouTube.

Spread the radio love

FT Video: “Ukraine’s battle of the airwaves”

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who share a link to the following video via the Financial Times.

Description:

A look at three aspects of wartime radio in Ukraine: the interception of communications between Russian soldiers, how broadcasters are using radio to combat censorship online, and the mysterious silence of a radio transmitter known as ‘The Russian Lady’

Click here to view on YouTube or click here to view on the Financial Times website.

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: A Second Golden Age, RFE Popular in Russia, Station Helps Ukrainian Refugees, Symbol of Normalcy, Saving Wax Cylinders, and Antarctic Post Office Opportunity

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!


Is radio in a second golden age? Here’s what the first looked like. (MSN / Washington Post)

On. Oct. 30, 1938, America was rocked by shocking news: Aliens had been spotted crash-landing outside Grover’s Mill, N.J. Additional sightings were soon made across the Northeast, including reports of Martians unleashing poisonous gas on Manhattan and burning onlookers alive with ray guns. Periodically, the breathless news reports would be reduced to static.

Listeners reacted in real time; many of them flooded the streets wearing gas masks and wet towels over their faces. Stores were raided, bridges and expressways were inundated with traffic, and pregnant women reportedly went into early labor.

Of course, the alien invasion never actually happened. The news bulletins were part of a live Halloween program a young producer and a cast of talented actors were presenting over the radio. The producer was 23-year-old Orson Welles, and the name of the episode was “War of the Worlds.” The H.G. Wells-adapted story had been produced for radio as part of Welles’s regular Sunday night broadcast, “The Mercury Theater on the Air” — a program that had hitherto been largely ignored, as it was up against a wildly popular variety show starring comedians Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

Only this Sunday was different, as millions of Americans who had tuned in to listen to Bergen and McCarthy changed their dials when the duo introduced a guest opera singer. “No one was in the mood for opera that night, and much of the country stumbled onto Welles’s broadcast by mistake, not knowing the news bulletins they heard were part of a radio drama,” explained Carl Amari, a syndicated radio host and the founder of Radio Spirits, a large distributor of classic radio programs. [Continue reading…]

The Kremlin tries to stifle Radio Free Europe — and its audience surges (Washington Post)

As the U.S.-funded broadcaster is forced to shut most of its Russian operations, its Web traffic indicates that Russian people are eagerly consuming its stories

Radio Free Europe, the U.S.-funded operation that got its start by piping American-flavored news through the Iron Curtain in 1950, could see big trouble brewing for its Russian operation in recent years.

The Kremlin kept putting the screws to its Russian-language broadcasts, throwing up ever more regulatory hurdles. But it was in late 2020 that the hammer really came down. The “media regulator” demanded that every broadcast, digital story and video carry an intrusive disclaimer at the top stating that what followed was the product of a foreign agent.

“Basically, it was like telling our audience to go away,” said Jamie Fly, the CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as the organization has been known since a 1976 merger.

That labeling would interfere with the private nonprofit’s mission at a core level. So, Fly told me, “we refused to comply.” [Continue reading…note that this content might be behind a paywall for some readers.]

New radio station helps Ukrainian refugees adapt in Prague (AP)

PRAGUE (AP) — This is Radio Ukraine calling.

A new Prague-based internet radio station has started to broadcast news, information and music tailored to the day-to-day concerns of some 300,000 Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the Czech Republic since Russia launched its military assault against Ukraine.

In a studio at the heart of the Czech capital, radio veterans work together with absolute beginners to provide the refugees with what they need to know to settle as smoothly as possible in a new country. Continue reading

Spread the radio love

Wireless Flirt episode explores shortwave radio

I’m very honored to have been interviewed by John Walsh who produces the excellent program Wireless on Flirt FM in Ireland. John reached out to discuss the relevance of the shortwave radio medium, particularly through the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here’s the show description:

In the April 2022 edition of Wireless, we look at the part of the radio spectrum called shortwave, consider its importance in the past and continued relevance in a digital world. Founder of the SWLing blog Thomas Witherspoon discusses the historical development of shortwave, including its heyday during the Cold War, and explains how it continues to be used today, for instance to evade Russian internet censorship during the Ukrainian war. The programme also remembers Irish pirate shortwave operators of the 1980s as featured on our related site Pirate.ie.

Click here to listen to the full show at Wireless Flirt.

John is a true kindred spirit and devoted radio enthusiast. I would encourage you to subscribe to his monthly Wireless episodes via your favorite podcast player; here are links to iTunesSpotify, and Stitcher.

In addition, John is the one of the founders and curators of Pirate.ie which is a brilliantly documented archive of pirate radio stations in Ireland. I highly recommend checking it out! 

Spread the radio love