Tag Archives: Why Radio

Puerto Rico: AM Radio makes a comeback post-hurricane

(Source: Columbia Journalism Review)

ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2017—the day before Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico—the evening news team at WORA-TV in the coastal city of Mayagüez broadcast its final program before shutting down the station ahead of the storm.

“If Maria was going to be the monster everyone was predicting,” says Carolina Rodriguez Plaza, the news team’s production manager, “we knew the power could be cut off for a long time. We decided to shut down the station and send everyone home.”

Plaza told her team of 12 reporters not to worry, their salaries would be paid during the downtime and their jobs would be waiting for them when broadcasting resumed. Plaza retreated to her parents’ home, where she spent the night of the hurricane watching updates about the storm on cable TV. Then, as happened in homes across Puerto Rico, the lights flickered and the power went out. Hurricane Maria’s 150-mile-per-hour winds toppled power lines and torrential rains grounded out the island’s power grid.

Desperate for news about the disaster befalling her island, Plaza turned on a battery-powered radio and found that a local radio station, WKJB 710 AM, was maintaining its broadcast. The station’s managers had learned a lesson about disaster preparedness in 1998, when Hurricane Georges blew down their radio antenna and cut off the power. Since then, staff had equipped the station with a backup power generator and a reinforced antenna that could withstand hurricane-force winds.

“Maria erased the world of journalism in Puerto Rico,” Plaza says. “It reemerged in a new form, with radio playing an important role.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at the CJR.

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Are you sharing personal data online? Yes. Most likely reams of it.

Image source: The Guardian

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard B, who shares a link to this article from The Guardian highlighting the amount and type of personal data Google and Facebook collect on their users. While some readers may not be surprised, this could still be eye-opening to some.

The article includes sections highlighting the type of data collected, how you can view this data, and (when possible) how to halt collection and delete it. Here are some of the section headings:

  • Google knows where you’ve been
  • Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted
  • Google has an advertisement profile of you
  • Google knows all the apps you use
  • Google has all of your YouTube history
  • The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents
  • Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too
  • Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location
  • They can access your webcam and microphone
  • Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data
  • Google knows which events you attended, and when
  • And Google has information you deleted
  • Google can know your workout routine
  • And they have years’ worth of photos
  • Google has every email you ever sent
  • And there is more

Very interesting article and well worth the read. Click here to view.

This is also a nice reminder of why over-the-air radio is so appealing in terms of privacy. It offers the best in anonymity–certainly a bonus for those living under repressive regimes.

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BBC: “Meet the girl whose teacher is a radio”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen, who shares this news/media from the BBC World Service:

Could broadcasting school lessons solve Africa’s education crisis? The BBC spoke to a pupil in the Democratic Republic of Congo who is learning through the radio.

Click here to view on the BBC World Service website.

At Ears To Our World we’ve long appreciated the power of radio to spread information in rural and remote parts of the world: it’s effective, accessible and essentially free to the listener. Viva la radio!

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Cyclones fail to stop Yolgnu Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Brennan, who writes:

I spotted this article in the Australian edition of the Guardian about a local community radio network for Yolgnu people here in the NT:

‘We’re not going anywhere’: how cyclones failed to batter Yolgnu Radio

In 2015, when two cyclones battered the northern coast of Arnhem Land in less than a month, many remote homelands had just two ways to get news: Yol?u Radio or a payphone.

After the radio station’s transmission went down in the storm, some stranded residents used the payphone to contact the station.

“When the cyclone was closing in they would keep coming to the phone and we were like: you mob should be in a shelter now because anything can happen, things flying about and everything,” announcer Sylvia Nulpinditj describes.

“They were calling in every hour, running to the phone box,” production manager Gaia Osborne adds. “They came off all right in the end but they were incredibly worried.”

During Lam, the category-four storm that made landfall first near Elcho Island, Nulpinditj, Osborne and another colleague delivered more than 170 cyclone updates in Yol?u languages, working around-the-clock from the Darwin studio (special characters are used in written Yol?u to render pronunciation more accurately).

“The nature of satellite technology is affected by rain and cloud cover so we were pushing those messages out in every possible way we could,” Osborne says. “There was that much rain hitting Galiwin’ku and in some of those homelands we knew the radio signal would have been knocked out. But there were still people on Facebook.”

Nulpinditj, an award-winning host at Yolgnu Radio for more than six years, says it is a “huge responsibility” as a Yol?u broadcaster, and it can be challenging to work with mainstream organisations, “for example, the Bureau of Meteorology mob”.

Click here to continue reading at The Guardian.

 Interesting that it refers to disaster advice on cyclones. It’s a pity it doesn’t draw the link between that and the closure of the NT shortwave service.

Many thanks for sharing this article, Phil!

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NAB Delivers Radios to Hurricane-Ravished Puerto Rico

(Source: NAB Blog via Richard Langley)

https://youtu.be/NtOpsVDnJzM

I recently had the opportunity of a lifetime. I was asked by my employer – the National Association of Broadcasters – to travel to Puerto Rico to help distribute 10,000 battery-operated radios to people in hurricane-ravaged island and the Virgin Islands.

The idea for the radio hand-out stemmed from a meeting where President and CEO Gordon Smith asked: “What can NAB and our industry do to help?” NAB swung into action, purchasing, shipping and delivering the radios in just 18 days.

I had seen pictures of the devastation in Puerto Rico, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. Most of Puerto Rico remained without power and drinkable water during our visit. Even in the Capitol of San Juan, power came almost exclusively from generators that had to be refilled with fuel or diesel daily by hand, sometimes every four hours. Police directed traffic at intersections.

People wait from six to 14 hours over three days to get tarps to cover the roofs of their houses. It’s common for people to wait in line for three hours to enter grocery stores, where bottled water is sold in rationed quantities. We saw 100-year-old trees uprooted, bringing concrete sidewalks with them and toppling power lines. We saw people living in cars or in tents on the beach. Recovery in areas away from the coast, where mountains and rain forests dominate the landscape, is occurring at a snail’s pace.

[…]People in 25 Puerto Rican municipalities, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, received radios from our shipment of 10,000 devices. Donations from NAB, the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) and multiple U.S. radio companies covered the cost of this project.[…]

Click here to read the full article at the NAB blog.

Many thank, Richard, for the tip! I’m most impressed with how quickly the NAB were able to source those radios and hand-deliver them to those in need.

At Ears To Our World, we’re in the process of doing something similar, though on a much smaller scale. We’re partnering with a Puerto Rico amateur radio club to deliver a number of self-powered radios and flashlights to those in need. If the distribution goes well, and there is still a need moving forward, we will increase the number we distribute.

By many accounts, it could still be weeks or months before electricity is fully restored to the island.

Great job, NAB!

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