Tag Archives: Voice of Turkey

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Turkey

Gezi protest in Ankara  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Gezi protest in Ankara (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A few days ago, I posted a recording of the Voice of Turkey that noticeably lacked coverage of the Gezi Park protests.

Friday, I recorded VOT’s English language broadcast and was surprised to find that they actually mentioned the protests (admittedly, without it’s due weight) in several news items. I’m very curious how future VOT broadcasts will cover news of yesterday’s riots in Istanbul as police cleared crowds of protesters with water cannons and tear gas.

Click here to download the full recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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The Gezi Park Protests: don’t look to the Voice of Turkey for information

On shortwave, sometimes it’s what’s not heard that speaks volumes.

Gezi protest in K?z?lay Square, Ankara (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Gezi protest in K?z?lay Square, Ankara (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey has been in the world headlines now for well over a week. In case you’re not up-to-date, here’s a summary of what has happened:

On May 28, 2013,  about fifty environmentalists led a small protest in Istanbul to oppose the replacement of Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the Taksim Military Barracks.  The protests escalated when the group occupying the park was attacked with water cannons and tear gas by the Turkish police. This event led to riots, which were soon widespread; the protests, meanwhile, broadened their scope into full-fledged anti-government demonstrations across the country and even into the Turkish diaspora across the globe.

Yesterday, I turned to the Voice of Turkey on shortwave radio to hear about the active protests currently ongoing throughout the country…

But what did I hear? The only mention I heard of the Gezi Park protests in the Voice of Turkey’s English language service were in a passing Turkish press report on the reaction to the protests by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry. The item, moreover, was completely buried in their broadcast and certainly not something upon which they elaborated in the least (listen, beginning at 12:50 below).

I’ve always loved listening to the Voice of Turkey, but events like this remind me of the simple fact that many international broadcasters are still very much the mouthpieces of their governments.

Click to enlarge (Source: Reporters Without Borders)

Click to enlarge (Source: Reporters Without Borders)

Of course, Turkey certainly would not win an award for press freedom; not even close. Reporters Without Borders list Turkey as a country with a “Difficult Situation” with regards to press freedoms, ranking them 154th out of 179 countries in their 2013 Press Freedom Index. To put this in perspective, Finland and the Netherlands occupy the top two spots as models of press freedom, the USA is number 32, and North Korea and Eritrea occupy the bottom spots (numbers 178 and 179, respectively) obviously countries without press freedoms.

I’d like to think that the news readers at the Voice of Turkey would rather give this news the attention it deserves, or at least offer the Turkish government’s perspective on the demonstrations. Instead, what we heard was…nothing.  And we heard that loud and clear.

Indeed, the world is paying attention to the lack of news coming out of Turkey right now. Time Magazine posted this article article yesterday, which begins:

As epic clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police turned downtown Istanbul into a battle zone last weekend, the country’s two main news channels had, well, not much to report. One ran a documentary on penguins. The other, a cooking show. To many Turks, their silence was symptomatic of the self-censorship Turkey’s media have practiced under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tightfisted 10-year rule. Penguin T-shirts, penguin jokes and penguin costumes now abound — the bird has become a symbol of protesters’ frustration with the mainstream media.

VoiceOfTurkeyOne of the most amazing things about shortwave radio is that by really listening, you can hear the unfiltered voices of regional broadcasters, the clandestine organizations, and the media representatives of their respective countries.

If this story had broken twenty years ago, moreover, I would have heard it as a headline from every respected international broadcaster. Then, upon turning to the in-country “news source,” as I attempted to do yesterday when I tuned in the Voice of Turkey and was subjected to a total lack of news, I would therefore be instantly made aware of what the Turkish government didn’t want me to hear.

Unfortunately I feel we’ve lost a bit of this comparative news consumption, not just because of the exodus of many trusted radio broadcasters from the field, but because we’ve been trained to consume news in (palatable) bites. Our attention spans and interest seem to have diminished to the point that we now often rely on our news sources to interpret for us.  A sad fact…especially considering politically-evolving countries like Turkey still need our attention, interest, and thoughtful support.

Listen to the same Voice of Turkey broadcast I heard yesterday, by downloading the off-air recording or by listening via the embedded player below:

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Greece, Voice of Turkey and Radio Croatia

For your listening enjoyment:  Voice of Greece (9,420 kHz), Radio Croatia (9,925 kHz) and Voice of Turkey (9,830 kHz). The Voice of Greece, in particular, broadcasts an extensive mix of music. These stations were recorded simultaneously, Saturday August 25th, 2012.

In total, there are more than 8 hours of shortwave radio recordings in this set–enough to make it through your work day:

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Between Broadcasts-Exploring Interval Signals

Lately, I’ve been listening to a plethora of shortwave broadcasts as I’m about to review several new radios. I’ve noted so many great interval signals that are still in use. The following is a reprise of a previous post–from over two years ago–about interval signals. If you’ve never heard of interval signals, this post offers an introduction. 

What are interval or tuning signals? Often the most recognized sounds in the shortwave bands are the repetitive tones and musical interludes heard between broadcasts, known as interval signals. These are simply characteristic  musical phrases that broadcasters play between programs.  In fact, for me, nothing is more nostalgic than to hear the interval signals of some of my favorite broadcasters from my youth. Here are a few classic examples of interval signals:Analog Radio Dial

Interval signals usually include station and program identification, and are often in multiple languages. Not only do they help identify the station, but in the days of crowded international broadcast bands, interval signals helped listeners tune in and adjust their radios prior to program commencement.

Broadcasters have been using interval signals since the 1920s, but there has been a decline with the advent of digitally tuned radios which, unlike analog tuners, take the guesswork out of tuning into a specific frequency.

So, in this digital age, are interval signals still around? Sure. Many broadcasters believe an interval signal is still the best way to announce station and program identification; one might say their interval signals have become audio “logos.”

Here is an audio clip I recorded on April 23, 2009, of the interval signal for the new Happy Station Show: [Click here to listen]

For comparison, listen to this audio clip of the Happy Station Show from Jan 20, 1980, when it was a part of Radio Netherlands: [Click here to listen]

Listening for Signals

Where can you hear interval signals today?  Fortunately, they can be heard all over the shortwave broadcast spectrum. The best times to hear interval signals are on the top of the hour and sometimes at the half or quarter hour.

Another great place to hear interval signals are on the web. There are several interval signal databases where you can listen to a wide variety of interval signals. One of my favorites is the Interval Signal Database. This site is in German and English and is well categorized and searchable. In fact, Bernhard, the webmaster of the Interval Signal Database, gave me permission to publish several of his audio clips above. [Danke, Bernhard!]

Here is a list of interval signal websites:

Since he’s somewhat of an interval signal guru, I asked Bernhard for his favorite interval signal recording. He pointed out this one from the Cold War era:  it is a recording of a special low-power (1kW) training station of the Austrian military. Bernhard informed me that in times of crisis, this station was to serve as a back-up for the Austrian Radio ORF.

Leave a comment:  What is your favorite interval signal, and why?

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On a side note–Bernhard also pointed out one of his favorite non-interval signal recordings.  In this recording, the news reader started the German language news by reading the frequencies, then noticed that the studio door was open.  You can clearly hear her getting up to close the door in the recording.

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