Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Tradition: BBC "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols"

This annual tradition continues on the World Service as well as the domestic Radio 4 and Radio 3.

Tune in on Monday, Christmas Eve, as follows:

1500 UT - Radio 4 / World Service live webcast / Europe SW / US public radio webcast including WGBH / KXPR / Vermont Public Radio / WKAR 90.5

2130 UT - West Africa shortwave (try 15400, 6110 kHz in Eastern NA)


0100 UT Tuesday - Americas XM BBCWS

1400 UT Tuesday - BBC Radio 3

2300 UT Tuesday - Vermont Public Radio

Not sure about on-demand listening...

Richard Cuff / Allentown, PA

RNW Christmas Special: "Hear The World"

From the Media Network blog via DXLD:

This year, Radio Netherlands Worldwide brings you a special programme on Christmas Day, 25 December. Chris Chambers presents 'Hear The World', a concert from the famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam marking the sixtieth anniversary of Radio Netherlands. You'll be able to hear some of the best musicians from around the world including the African percussionist Ali Keita and the mezzo-soprano Tania Kross from Curacao. There's also some homegrown talent as one of the Netherlands' most famous bands, Blof, sing some of their best-known songs.

On shortwave, 'Hear the World' airs as follows:

* 1000 UTC: East/Southeast Asia 12065, East Asia 9795, Far East 6040
* 1200 UTC: Eastern N America 11675
* 1400 UTC: South Asia 9345, 12080, 15595
* 1500 UTC: South Asia 9345, 12080, 15595
* 1800 UTC: Southern Africa 6020, East/Central Africa 11655, 12050
* 1900 UTC: East Africa 11805, 12050, West Africa 17810,
Central/Southern Africa 7120
* 2000 UTC: East Africa 11805, 12050, West Africa 11655, 17810,
Central/Southern Africa 7120
* 0000 UTC: Eastern N America 6165
* 0100 UTC: Central N America 6165
* 0500 UTC: Western N America 6165

The 0000 / 0100 / 0500 airings are most likely December 26, following UTC day convention.

Richard Cuff / Allentown, PA USA

International broadcasting / shortwave blog:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

75th Anniversary Programming - BBC World Service

From my NASWA Journal December column:

December marks the 75th anniversary of the BBC’s efforts in international broadcasting; the Empire Service, later more humbly called the World Service, made its debut in 1932; there is a special season of programs celebrating the BBC and freedom of information. This special season is called Free To Speak.

The subjects below – in part analyzing how the BBC and other global news media gather, prioritize, edit, and report news, should be very interesting to those who are interested in how the BBC decides what to put on air.

Monday, December 10th and 17th, Making News: Allan Little examines the notion of impartial journalism, and explores how news is presented in a two-part series beginning Monday, December 10th. The series assesses newsmakers’ reflexes and ideas about news priorities on Monday 10 December. Allan Little conducts a comparative study of one particular day in three international television news channels - BBC World, Al Jazeera, and CNN – as they explain and justify their news agenda for the day. Making News shows up at the various editorial meetings to find out how the organizations create their priorities and shape the treatment of the day’s news. The program also hears from critics who blame modern rolling news culture, with its reliance on striking visual images and shock to win the holy grail of audience share. On Monday, December 17th, Allan Little explores the challenges to objectivity in a rapidly changing western media world and discusses the criticism the BBC has met for its sparing use of the word ‘terrorist’ to describe the perpetrators of atrocities. He also examines news channels that are fond of using the soap box to promote their political stance. European air times (including the live Webcast) are 0905, 1205, and 2005. African shortwave air times will likely include 0905, 1405, and 2105

Wednesdays, beginning December 12th: Press for Freedom is a four part series in which former Daily Mirror editor and leading media commentator Roy Greenslade explores how far reporting ‘the truth’ can be endangered by governments, corporations and the new wave of internet publishing. He looks at the dangers facing journalists in today’s world; their freedom to report and how it can be protected. The program focuses on Moscow, Zimbabwe, Kuala Lumpur, and the explosion of small independent citizen/reporter radio stations.

On January 2nd, Greenslade asks how free the press in Europe and America can claim to be. He asks Robert Thomson, editor of The Times, the flagship of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, how the tensions of ownership, advertising and the drive for circulation shape our media. And he ponders whether the upsurge in alternative media suggests that people no longer accept traditional media as free and independent. European air times (including the live Webcast) include 0905, 1205, and 2005; African shortwave air times include 0905, 1405 and 2105.

Saturday, December 15th: How Free the BBC? takes takes a candid look at the relationship between BBC World Service and its funders, the UK Government. Respected UK media commentator Ray Snoddy asks whether a broadcasting organization funded directly by £246 million a year grant-in-aid from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office can remain editorially independent. The program features an extensive interview with Nigel Chapman, Director of BBC World Service, responding to the questions raised by Snoddy’s analysis. European air times (including the live Webcast) include Saturday, December 15th, at 0530 & 0830; African airtimes are likely the same.

Wednesday, December 19th: The Big Link Up celebrates the day of the BBC’s 75th birthday with all-day live remote broadcasts linking audiences around the world in a global debate on freedom of the media. The debate will echo the themes of programming in the BBC's World Service's Free to Speak season. Remote broadcast sites are planned to include East Asia from Mongolia to Australia; the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and The Americas from North through Central America to the South. Regional link-ups featuring panels of experts and audiences will interact with internet cafes; local radio stations; newsrooms and other meeting places around the globe.

Information on the 75th anniversary celebrations can be found here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Radio Japan scales back services as of October 1st


*Discontinuation of services in German, Italian, Malaysian and Swedish (The Internet pages of these 4 language services will also be closed)
*Discontinuation of the Japanese service to Europe, North America, and Hawaii
*Discontinuation of the English service to the Asian Continent, Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and Russian Far East
*Discontinuation of the French service to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa
*Discontinuation of the Spanish service to Europe

North American services in English will be scaled back, but will continue.

From October 1st through October 27th:

0.00- 0.20 6145 (ENA)
5.00- 5.30 6110 (WNA)
12.00-12.30 6120 (ENA)
14.00-14.30 11705 (ENA)

Target: ENA = Eastern North America; WNA: Western North America

All four transmissions are Sackville relays.


I couldn't find anything posted regarding the programming changes that will result from the reduction in service; I'll pass along anything I find out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The BBC World Service wants *you*... join their online discussion group regarding their website redesign. Listener input was solicited during last week's "Over To You".

At the bottom of the "OTY" webpage there is a link to the home page for the online discussion; it took me three tries before I could reach the right page (kept getting "access denied").

Please don't use this vehicle specifically for grumbling about the loss of SW to North America, but I intend to use the forum, where relevant, to highlight the value of shortwave in a diverse listening environment.

One interesting aside: The user profile page requests people indicate their age...there's only one category for "45 and older"...

Link to this discussion forum:

Yours Truly shows up on the BBC's "Over To You"

The most recent edition of "Over To You" -- the successor to "Write On" -- features a few seconds of my roughly 13 minutes into the program.

I had sent in a suggestion regarding the need to make content more convenient to access via the web -- the "London Calling" special series could be accessed online only by clicking 13 different links for individual stories. Hardly a convenient way to listen.

Well, it turns out the BBC is in the midst of a year-long reworking of their English language website, so they called me up and interviewed me for a few minutes. The quote they actually used deals with how content is organized on the website.

I owe Joe Buch a royalty payment for using the term "schedule gods"... I believe Joe was the first person I saw use that moniker to talk about the advantages of on-demand listening.

The offending edition of "Over To You" should remain available for on-demand listening until early Sunday, and can be found here:

Richard Cuff / Allentown, PA USA

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September "Easy Listening" NASWA column

So what are YOU listening to these days? Introducing the new “request-a-month” feature

I’d like to kick off this month’s column with a request for feedback from NASWA members – in an effort to increase the variety and suggestions in the column. Starting this month, I’d appreciate getting your listening suggestions back regarding a specific theme or topic.

So…for the October Journal…please send in your suggestions regarding music programming. Send ‘em via post card, letter, or e-mail; try to get them to me no later than September 20th so I can compile them for the column. The music programs don’t have to be in English – they just have to be interesting and worth a listen.

Remember – NASWA is an organization you belong to, not a magazine you subscribe to. The Journal brings value to NASWA members because you contribute to it!

Hop on board…The Australian Express

I mentioned this program in last October’s column as a way to experience the “real Australia”. One thing I sorted out while listening to an edition of the program last month is that the interviews and features are generally taken from other ABC programs that targeted a domestic audience. A recent profile of an American expat in Alice Springs aired originally as a segment of the Bush Telegraph program, a rural and regional magazine program airing daily on ABC Radio National.

This takes nothing away from The Australian Express – it remains an interesting way to hear a variety of programming from various ABC sources, all with a common theme of Australian culture. In addition, The Australian Express airs on shortwave, whereas Bush Telegraph is not part of the current Radio Australia schedule (though a half-hour edition airs weekly (Saturdays 1930 UT) on the World Radio Network feed to North America, which also airs on Sirius satellite radio. What this means is that, if you only catch part of Australian Express, you can then search the ABC website to see if the subject was covered elsewhere on the ABC…in case an archive of that program remains available. Australian Express airs on shortwave Tuesdays 1330-1400 (probably the easiest way to hear the program in North America), plus Tuesdays 1705-1730, Fridays 1830-1900, as well as Saturdays 0030-0100 and 0505-0530.

RCI now offers both hours of The Link online

When RCI launched its new daily program The Link, one odd aspect of its availability was that only one hour was available for on-demand online listening; for the second hour, you actually had to listen on shortwave, as the second hour was limited to shortwave broadcasts targeting North America – the 1505-1705, 1705-1905 (might be French…two different RCI schedules show two different languages), and 2305-0105 broadcasts. A recent check revealed that both hours of The Link are now available for on-demand listening, as two separate files. The URL is; click on then . The podcast remains just a single hour of the program.

Another thing – RCI used to offer a live webcast of its satellite-fed services, one of which (RCI-1) used to feature a mix of RCI-produced English-language programming plus that of CBC Radio One, aired at different times than typically aired on Radio One. That webcast was eliminated soon after RCI revamped its programming. While it hasn’t been restored, now one can safely say that it doesn’t matter. The RCI-1 services remain a blend of CBC Radio One and RCI’s programming, but the Radio One programming is simply a relay of CBC’s Toronto Radio One outlet, which is already webcast live 24/7.

I must admit that I don’t listen to RCI’s programming often anymore, as it comes across as too lightweight for my interests; it’s much more a cultural magazine nowadays, versus a Canadian perspective on world affairs. However, I don’t necessarily fault RCI’s programming, given its stated target audience as those considering emigrating to Canada, or new immigrants in Canada. I am much more likely to listen to CBC’s domestic Radio One service via live or on-demand webcast, as I am thus able to listen to “serious” Canadian programming.

Speaking of podcasts, a few new entries from the BBC

A recent e-mail exchange in the swprograms e-list (yes, we still have that going – check out or the link in the left column at mentioned that people were generally listening to the BBC World Service less nowadays than during its wide shortwave availability prior to July 2001. Some folks mentioned that they were listening to the domestic Radio 4 service (via webcast) more than the World Service.

I mention this because the BBC has added a new daily web-only news program to its still-meager podcast collection; this new program is called Newspod, and provides a series of news reports and analyses from various BBC radio services, including Radio 1, Radio 4, Radio Five Live, the BBC Asian Network, as well as the World Service. I’ve sampled a couple editions, and I think this is now my preferred BBC news program, because each story included in the podcast is long enough to be thoughtfully developed, which isn’t always the case in the individual news programs, which – like cable TV news – often emphasizes shallow, “instant analysis.” It appears the podcast is produced only on weekdays; each edition I have listened to runs 36 to 37 minutes long. Check Newspod out at

There are three additional World Service programs now on the podcast list, including Business Daily, World Have Your Say, and Instant Guide. They’re all listed at a single page here: I wish all World Service feature and current affairs programming were offered as podcasts, as is now the case for Ireland’s RTE, New Zealand’s National Radio and RNZI, and Australia’s Radio National, though there is no apparent plan to make this happen. I’ll keep an eye on the BBC podcast page and report on any interesting developments.

Meanwhile, the roster of podcasts from Radio 4 – roughly the domestic equivalent to the World Service, though more diverse and with fewer repeats – now includes Thinking Allowed, a weekly program examining the social gaps which most concern researchers in today’s Britain, plus Crossing Continents – one of my personal favorites – which focuses on the human dimension of major international stories.

Broadcaster cross-pollination continues

It is getting tougher to discriminate between international public service broadcasting and domestic public broadcasting, because broadcasts and broadcasters originating in one place will often have their programs repeated in another place. For example, the weekly independently-produced US based documentary, Soundprint, occasionally features documentaries originally produced by, and aired on, Radio Netherlands. Conversely, a documentary on New Orleans produced by American Public Media appeared in edited form on the BBC’s Crossing Continents series, and might also show up as a weekly installment of Assignment on the World Service.

From the broadcasters’ perspective, this is a win-win proposition: Additional outlets are found for a broadcaster’s programs, and conversely that broadcaster can air a program produced elsewhere and not have to pay the full cost to produce a new program for that time period. Listeners, however, get shortchanged, as they might find themselves listening to something they’ve heard before.

Radio Japan: Catch ‘em before they disappear…

Last I heard, Radio Japan is planning to follow through on its plan to eliminate English language shortwave transmissions targeting North America. From what I know, there are no plans to end English language services in their entirety, but we’ll lose the ability to easily hear Radio Japan here in North America via shortwave. I haven’t seen if all English language programming would be available via live or on-demand webcast, so, it might be worth catching them occasionally via shortwave during September.

BBC World Service September Highlights

Mondays, beginning August 27th: The Clinton Years is a four-part series in the Monday Documentary slot telling the story of the turbulent presidency of Bill Clinton and analyzing its impact on the USA and the world today. The BBC's former Washington correspondent, Gavin Esler, assesses the Clinton presidency and its legacy – while his approval rating would have likely meant a third term of office had the law allowed, a sizeable number of people hated him. The third and fourth parts of the series (airing September 10th and 17th) look particularly interesting – they assess Clinton’s record in foreign policy, looking retrospectively through the context of September 11, 2001, and the Clinton legacy, including Monica what’s-her-name. Likely useful shortwave airtimes (i.e. Africa-targeted) include Mondays 1406 and 2106, along with the subsequent Sunday, 1306. Expect the series to be available in the online Documentary Archive.

Wednesdays, beginning September 12th: Top of the Class is a two-part documentary series exploring the latest teaching theories in this era that has seen changes in information technology, work and society. Owen Bennett-Jones, a familiar voice from Newshour, presents this two-part series exploring different world standards and practices in teaching, as well as the technical revolution underway. Best shortwave times are probably the African airtimes of Wednesday, 1406, and 2106 UTC. A variety of live webcasts are also available, including Wednesdays 0806, 1106, 1906, and 2306, plus Sundays 0906; you can also expect the series to be available online on-demand for future listening, as are most World Service documentaries produced since 2004.

Fridays, beginning September 14th: Close Up, the World Service Arts documentary, marks the centennial of the birth of poet W. H. Auden with a two-part series Stop All the Clocks. Ghanaian writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes explores the work, life and politics of one of the 20th Century’s most celebrated literary figures. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form, and content, according to his Wikipedia entry. Best shortwave airtimes are likely to be the African air times of Fridays 2132 and Sundays 2232.

Fridays, beginning September 28th: The next Close Up series is Music from the Middle of Nowhere, where Grammy award-winning Canadian singer/songwriter k. d. lang pays tribute to her favorite Canadian songwriters, including Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Jane Siberry, Ron Sexsmith and Neil Young, in a three-part series. lang [sic] also explores the current prairie music scene, featuring artists Alanis Morissette, the Cowboy Junkies and Jan Arden.

Tuesday, September 25th: The monthly World Book Club installment for September features an interview and Q&A session with Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin. He will answer questions from an invited audience as well as BBC World Service listeners at the British Library in London. Tales of the City chronicles the adventures of the tenants of 28 Barabry Lane, San Francisco. Eccentric landlady Anna Madrigal dotes on her hedonistic tenants, who get themselves into endless tangles in their often comic pursuit of love, sex and the meaning of life. Tales originated as a series of columns in the San Francisco Chronicle back in the 1970s. World Book Club airs in the time slot set aside for The Word, with auspicious shortwave air times of Tuesdays 2132 plus Sundays 2206.

Thursdays: One Planet, the World Service weekly program on environmental matters, is seeing increased interest due to the generally elevated concern over phenomena such as Global Warming. One of the more provocative programs coming up in September is Climate Porn, named after the term used when environmentalists, politicians and the media wallow in the awfulness of the effects of climate change. Studies suggest that dwelling on the consequences and difficulties of the Earth’s changing climate makes people bored and disconnect from the issue. This suggests that, perhaps, less of a “doomsday scenario” might be the preferred solution. Best shortwave airings likely include Thursdays 1432 and 2232, targeting Africa. Climate Porn airs on September 20th.

Ireland’s RTE Radio 1: Highway 101

It’s not shortwave, but Highway 101 looks like an interesting documentary series that features a series of interviews of notable Californians. Interview subjects include 60s activist Tom Hayden, Robert Reich - a member of Clinton's Camelot, Native American Madonna Thunder Hawk, journalist Lowell Bergman and others - such as environmentalists, writers, campaigners and thinkers. The nine-part series actually started in July, and will be repeated starting September 5th at 2100 UTC, though most installments can already be streamed or downloaded; visit the program’s website at

I’m blogging more often once again…

Check out every once in a while; it’s a blog where I post items that are of interest to international broadcasting; in many instances, items I mention here will first appear in my blog when I make note of them. I’ll also post my Easy Listening column there a few weeks after it appears in the Journal, for those interested in online archives. The blog page also provides a few links to related international broadcasting items, and also provides a handy way to contact me via e-mail.

I also post relevant information to the swprograms e-list that I mentioned above; you’re welcome to check that out as well; it is (hopefully) more of a two-way dialogue than the blog.

A reminder – remember to send your request-a-month suggestions regarding music programming

Many thanks…see you in October!
73 DE Richard

Friday, September 07, 2007

When and how do you listen to Radio Netherlands? RNW wants to know

There's a listener survey on the Radio Netherlands frequency / program schedule page for the A-07 season, and they're requesting feedback from North American listeners to help them plan how to best reach us.

Check out the survey here:

Radio Netherlands' "Research File" -- still a good listen

I had a chance to listen to a recent edition of Research File from Radio Netherlands. Research File is a program on science and technology that has been part of the RNW schedule for as long as I can remember. This recent edition had four segments filling out the half hour -- two dealing with schizophrenia; the third dealing with hand gestures and how they're reliable communications cues; the fourth, about novel technology for chemically filtering out airborne automobile pollution...via specially-designed sound walls.

Research File isn't unique -- most international broadcasters feature one or more weekly segments that deal with science and technology, but Research File distinguishes itself in two ways: First, because it focuses on science and technology within the Netherlands -- no one else does that -- and, Second, because Radio Netherlands' interviewers are good interviewers -- they take the time to know their subjects, and really try to engage their interview subjects in conversation.

Research File is available via shortwave, the World Radio Network (including Sirius satellite radio), CBC Overnight, live streaming audio, on-demand streaming, and podcast / download. Shortwave airings targeting North America include Thursdays 1130 UTC on 11675 kHz; Fridays, 0027 and 0127 on 9845 kHz; Fridays 0427 on 6165 kHz; WRN listeners can hear the program on Thursdays, 1230 and 2230, plus Tuesdays 0430, ; CBC Overnight listeners can hear Research File Fridays at 105 AM local time (except, of course, in Newfoundland).

The last edition of CBC's "Morningside" -- with Peter Gzowski -- now available for download / podcast

While browsing the list of podcasts and downloads available at the CBC website, the category named "Listener's Choice" includes listener-requested archive material from the CBC.

This podcast / download is updated weekly; the podcast for August 31st is the last edition of Morningside, which aired May 30th, 1997.

It's available at, roughly 1/3 down the page.

I know there are several folks on the list(s) who consider Gzowski one of the world's best interviewers in his's you chance to hear him yourself.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

New on CBC Radio One: "Spark" -- Wednesdays 1130 local time (except Newfoundland)


From the website: "Spark is your guide to the Next Big Thing. On-air and online, join Nora Young for a surprising and irreverent look at tech, trends, and fresh ideas.

"Host Nora Young has a love hate relationship with technology, culture, and armchair sociology, which she pursues on CBC Radio, on television, in print, and online. "

First program aired on Wednesday, September 5th.

An online audio archive is available for download or podcast; you can also listen to live streamed audio at 11:30 AM local time across Canada's five radio time zones.

More podcasts from the BBC World Service

The BBC World Service will be rolling out more podcasts between now and the end of September amongst various program genres. Some will simply be podcasts of current programs (e.g. Assignment, Business Daily); others will be compilations from existing programs.

One of the new items is called "Global News Podcast" -- it's a half hour of items culled from Newshour, The World Today, and World Briefing.

There are two daily editions -- updated at approximately 0300 UT and 1500 UT. Each runs approximately 30 minutes.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

BBC World...on the radio?

I occasionally go looking for new additions to the roster of public radio stations rebroadcasting the World Service in their HD services, in part because these might provide helpful live streaming alternatives.

I noted that Kansas Public Radio carries an hour's worth of audio from the "BBC World" TV service weekdays from 1700 to 1800 UT.

Visit and click on "KPR2".


Friday, August 24, 2007

BBCWS special programming Saturday: "London: Open City"

This came in my weekly e-mail yesterday from the BBC.

"Throughout this week, various BBC World Service News & Current Affairs programs have been broadcasting live from around London. They've been looking at aspects of London as a global city, bringing the diversity and vibrancy of the city to the airwaves and finding out why people want to live and work there. Specially-commissioned features from the BBC's non-English language services have also been broadcast, giving a flavor of the rich cultural mix of the city. This special weekend program sums up the best of the week's reports."

Air times: Shortwave (west Africa stream) Sat 1332 rpt 1832 UTC; live webcast, Sat 1132 rpt Sun 0732.

There doesn't appear to be an on-demand archive of this summary program, though individual clips can be streamed online at

Richard Cuff / Allentown, PA USA

Thursday, August 16, 2007

BBC has slightly enhanced their podcast offerings

A recent visit to the BBC's podcasting page yields a couple new entries of interest to fans of international broadcasting. Crossing Continents -- a regular Radio 4 documentary series that explores single issues in-depth around the world -- is now offered as a podcast. In many ways, Crossing Continents is similar to the World Service program Assignment.

Meanwhile, the BBC has started podcasting a daily updating sampling of various items taken from domestic and global news programs -- including the World Service, Five Live, and Radio 4. This podcast, entitled Newspod, looks to run 30-40 minutes each day. I find it a bit better than Newshour because there is less emphasis on instant analysis -- instead, there's a mix of current news as well as more in-depth analysis.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BBCWS 24/7 via additional HD public radio stations

Digital FM ("HD") listeners in Wichita, KS will be able to hear the BBC World Service 24/7 soon as KUMW adds HD2 and HD3 channels; the HD3 channel will carry the BBC World Service.

You can also add Vermont Public Radio to this list. The BBC World Service airs 24/7 on the HD3 channel of WVPS out of Burlington, VT.

Minnesota Public Radio's KSJN also offers the BBC World Service 24/7 on its HD3 service.

It looks like other stations are creating "News and Information" HD channels that retransmit the BBC World Service much of the time.

Keep me posted if you see other mentions of the BBC World Service and HD radio -- this may get the BBC closer to its goal of 24/7 access in major world cities.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

CBC repeating "Spin Cycles" this summer in "The Sunday Edition"

The second hour of CBC Sunday Edition -- the long-running Sunday morning news magazine -- features a re-airing of the six-part documentary series on the "...creepy concatenations of politics, big business, advertising, and public relations" that pervades today's news gathering and reporting industries.

I highly recommend this series if you want to better understand why news- and current affairs-oriented programming has changed over the past 30 years (give or take); the series has implications for both domestic news coverage as well as international broadcasting.

If you don't want to wait for Sunday mornings, the series audio is available for on-demand listening.

The website set up for this special series:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New from Radio Australia: "Five Minutes to Midnight"

The University of Melbourne's "Asialink Centre" [sic] promotes understanding of the countries of Asia and creates links with Asian counterparts.

Radio Australia has begun to air a series of lectures entitled "Five Minutes to Midnight", dealing with the Doomsday Clock, established in 1947 at the University of Chicago to reflect concerns over the risk of nuclear war.

Radio Australia's Roger Broadbent tells me the second lecture in the serieswas recorded a couple of weeks ago, and will go to air this coming weekend.

Broadcast times are:
Friday 20 July @ 2330 UT (Asia/Pacific & OnLine)

Saturday 21 July @ 1030 UT (Asia & OnLine - the Pacific will hear coverage of a Rugby Union game between Australia & NZ)

Sunday 22 July @ 0230 & 0530 (OnLine only)

Sunday 22 July @ 1130 UT (World Radio Network - North America stream)

(BTW - the morning SW service we hear in North America is the Pacific service).

MP3 & Podcast - of both lectures is available on the Radio Australia website at:

As you may know, Five Minutes to Midnight refers to planetearth's current position on the Doomsday Clock, based on nuclear,environmental and technological threats. The clock ticked forward two minutes in January 2007, due to climate change.

The second lecture in this three part series is titled: "Terrorism as a Family Activity: Understanding Jemaah Islamiyah's Social Ties", presented by Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

July 2007: NASWA "Easy Listening" column

The best new program on shortwave in many years?

Radio Netherlands’ The State We’re In

For years, Jonathan Groubert has been increasingly associated with high-quality, award-winning programming from Radio Netherlands; most recently, he was the host of the weekly EuroQuest magazine show. Several months back, Radio Netherlands announced that EuroQuest would be ending, and Jonathan was in the process of developing a new series for Radio Netherlands. That series debuted at the end of May, and Radio Netherlands has clearly invested a significant portion of its talent to create what is now termed its “flagship” program, The State We’re In. No matter how you listen, The State We’re In is one of the most interesting new public broadcasting programs created in recent memory; what’s even better is that Radio Netherlands still uses shortwave to get the program to us in North America. Hooray!

So, why the hubbub? The program itself is about “…how we treat each other…;” the subtitle for the program is “Human rights, Human wrongs, and what we do about them.” The State We’re In is a magazine program; it runs roughly 50 minutes each week, with a series of stories each running 5-10 minutes each; several of the stories surround a common theme. The theme for the June 30th edition of The State We’re In is Religion; the theme a week prior was Adoption.

One of the reasons The State We’re In impresses is that several well-known members of the Radio Netherlands team in addition to Jonathan Groubert participate in each wek’s program. Eric Beauchemin, who produces the majority of Radio Netherlands’ weekly documentaries, takes a look at human rights stories in the news over the past week in one segment; Michelle Ernsting (Sound Fountain) is the program’s editor, Dheera Sujan (Sound Fountain, Vox Humana), Marnie Chesterton (The Research File, Newsline), Marijke van der Meer, Fiona Campbell, Hélène Michaud (A Good Life, Documentaries), Tim Fisher (Euro Hit 40), and Bertine Krol (Dutch Horizons) all are regular contributors. Another interesting name in each week’s credits is Jim Russell. No, you won’t recognize his name from any Radio Netherlands programming; Russell was the creator of the USA public radio program Marketplace, and now provides consulting services to public radio organizations in the area of program creation; he’s credited as a Creative Consultant for The State We’re In.

I like this program a lot. The first reason is the host: It's clear Jonathan Groubert has done this before -- he has a remarkably relaxed air about him as host and interviewer. He also asks questions they way that one would ask questions of someone in a pub -- as in, "now, wait a minute, why do you believe what you believe?" He has me saying to myself, "that's how I would chat with that person if I were in his shoes..." Hearing people like Eric Beauchemin, Michelle Ernsting, Chris Chambers, and other longtime Radio Netherlands presenters along with Jonathan G., in the same program is impressive, knowing the skill and capabilities all of this team bring to the radio craft.

Program subjects are frequently topical from a newsworthy sense – for example, much focus in the program’s first month has been on the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. While these subjects are broadly relevant, they are simultaneously intimate, using one-on-one interviews and profiles to help paint a highly personal picture of the subject being explored. Two weeks back, Jonathan interviewed a Gaza-born, Gaza-based journalist, who daily risked his life to take video and produce reports for outside broadcasters. Jonathan helped you get to know the individual as well as the overall sense of despair that currently pervades Gaza; this intimate, one-on-one approach reminds me of another personal favorite program, the CBC’s As It Happens.

You would think that a program with human rights as its major theme could consistently dreary on a regular basis, but The State We’re In regularly mixes in stories that inspire the listener. For example, in the June 16th edition, which had “Press Freedom” as its theme, there was a story about a 24-year-old citizen journalist in rural Darfur, Sudan who publishes a magazine about the local region that is – literally – posted on a tree in the center of town. Others post comments and corrections on the stories she writes; she adds them to the stories she “posts” on the tree. The woman’s initiative, and dedication, are unique given the day-to-day challenge faced by refugees in Darfur.

The State We’re In airs on shortwave to North America at 1100 Saturdays (11675 kHz), 2000 Saturdays (15315, 17735, 17660 kHz), plus 0000, 0100 and 0400 Sundays, on 9845 kHz (0000, 0100) and 6165 kHz (0400). Additional midweek airings of an edited 30-minute version can be heard 1130 Tuesdays (11675), 0027 and 0127 Wednesdays (9845), plus 0430 (6165).

In addition to the shortwave airings, listeners to the World Radio Network in North America via Sirius satellite radio or local rebroadcast can hear the long-version of The State We’re In Saturdays 1200 and 2200, plus Sundays 1900; WRN listeners can hear the midweek edition Tuesdays 1230 and 2229.

On the internet, The State We’re In can be streamed on-demand and can be downloaded in an MP3 file. A podcast version is also available. Prior editions, so far, can be listened to in their entirety, or can be downloaded by individual story. Radio Netherlands’s English language service is also available 24 hours per day in a live stream; the live stream schedule is shown at, and link to the live stream is provided on that page.

Radio Netherlands isn’t the only organization behind The State We’re In; the Washington, DC-based public radio station WAMU is also shown as a sponsoring organization, though The State We’re In doesn’t appear yet on WAMU’s schedule.

As one might expect for a newly-launched program, the website for The State We’re In offers several opportunities for listener interaction. You can reach the website for The State We’re In via the usual Radio Netherlands website (, but the program also has claimed its own domain, The website offers a forum (which wasn’t operating when I recently checked it) and a chance to pose a query or conundrum to Shabnam Ramaswamy, a young Indian woman who has demonstrated Solomon-like justice without benefit of legal training nor official status; her approach is even supported by the local police.

Other new Radio Netherlands programming

There have been other changes to Radio Netherlands’ programming in addition to the launch of The State We’re In. Here’s a rundown of other programming that joined the Radio Netherlands schedule as of the end of March


This is a program featuring conversations with people who have a connection with the Netherlands; I outlined this program in the April Easy Listening column. Flatlanders airs on shortwave at 1130 on Thursdays; 0027, 0127 and 0427 on Fridays; 1900 Saturdays, and 0000 Sundays.


This is a weekly 15-minute listener-comment / “mailbag” program, hosted by Mindy Ran. One segment consists of commentary from Perro de Jong. Most of the letters are simply read in the studio; some comments from Yours Truly on The State We’re In were aired in the June 23rd edition of the program. Echoes airs to North America Saturdays at 1942, Sundays at 1142 and 2042, plus Mondays at 0042, 0142 and 0442.

Arts & Culture

This is mostly a mix of art- and culture-focused features that previously aired in either Vox Humana or as a Documentary; shortwave air times to North America include Wednesdays 1130, plus Thursdays 0027, 0127, and 0430. Once each month, a newly-produced series, Radio Books, airs in this timeslot; Radio Books is an eclectic collection of short stories by Dutch and Flemish writers presented for the first time in English translation. Radio Books will become a weekly feature as of the Winter 2007 schedule.

Other programs currently on the Radio Netherlands schedule previously discussed here include Network Europe, Research File, Amsterdam Forum, and the daily Newsline current affairs program. All these programs can be heard in Radio Netherlands’s daily shortwave broadcasts targeting North America, as well as via the World Radio Network, live webcast, on-demand streaming, and podcast.

As you review this list, you’ll see some familiar programs are no longer aired: Documentaries, A Good Life, Vox Humana, Dutch Horizons, and EuroQuest have all ceased (or possibly just suspended) production. This certainly gives further emphasis to the importance of The State We’re In on the Radio Netherlands schedule.

Other summertime changes

Radio Australia

The University of Melbourne's Asialink Center promotes understanding of the countries of Asia and creates links with Asian counterparts. Radio Australia has begun to air a series of lectures entitled Five Minutes to Midnight, dealing with the Doomsday Clock, which was established in 1947 at the University of Chicago to reflect concerns over the risk of nuclear war.

The initial MP3 file from the program is available, and one can subscribe to a podcast, but the program doesn't appear in the program schedules offered at the Radio Australia website. It appears to be a very occasional series, airing once per month or less. I’ll update the schedule via the NASWA Flashsheet, my blog ( and the swprograms list.

Canada’s CBC Radio One

While the CBC’s domestically-produced English language spoken-word programming is no longer aired on shortwave, many shortwave enthusiasts still listen to the CBC via its online streaming and Sirius satellite radio outlets.

The CBC traditionally puts several regular series on hiatus, and launches new series or brings back old ones for a repeat performance. I tend to miss these, but this year I have made notes on them just as the CBC’s summer season has started. Here’s what you can expect from now through September 2nd that’s different:

Afghanada, August 6th – August 31st: This widely-regarded dramatic series that probes the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of Canadian soldiers. Every day, Canadian soldiers on the ground confront the chaos and violence of life in Afghanistan. Afghanada offers a grunts’-eye-view of the conflict, mirroring events currently taking place overseas. Airs Weekdays 1130 AM local time (see notes below); Afghanada is not on the Sirius satellite radio schedule.

All The Rage: Steven Page (of the Barenaked Ladies rock group) takes an entertaining look at fads and trends through the ages…and uncovers the surprising ways they connect to our lives today. Tuesdays 730 PM and Saturdays 11 AM, local time; Saturdays 1400, Sundays 0000, Tuesdays 2230 and Wednesdays 0230 (all times UTC) on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Climate Currents: Anna Maria Tremonti distills some of the highlights of The Current's climate change coverage into a compelling series of portraits of the people and places affected by climate change and provocative discussions of the issues Canada and the rest of the world will have to deal with. Mondays at 930 AM and Thursdays 730 PM local time; Mondays 1230 and 1530, plus Thursdays 2230 and Fridays 0230 on Sirius.

Crossing Boundaries: 30-minute documentaries from sources we know well: Radio Netherlands, the BBC World Service, New Zealand’s National Radio, and Australia’s Radio National. Tuesdays 330 PM local time (some locations) and Sundays 730 PM local time (830 PM in Atlantic Canada, 900 PM in Newfoundland); Tuesdays 0830 and Sundays 2230 on Sirius.

Destination Wellsville: A weekly half-hour show tracking the personal journey of Canadians in one community as they to get and stay healthy. From deciding on the right cancer treatment - to trying to get fit - we follow the people of Kentville, Nova Scotia on one leg of their on-going effort to stave off the inevitable. Airs Thursdays 930 AM and Sundays 1130 PM, local time; not aired on Sirius.

Feeling The Heat: A new program that inspires Canadians to get serious about the environment. Feeling the Heat will provoke passionate debate and showcase a world of innovation in the fight to keep our planet healthy and livable. Airs Fridays 930 AM local time; Fridays 1230 and 1530 on Sirius.

Festival of Funny: This program brings you the best standup comedy in the country from the stages of the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival and the Ha Festival in Halifax. Saturdays 1130 AM local time; Saturdays 1430 and Sundays 0030 on Sirius.

Flavour Of The Week: Explore a new culinary flavour with people who know how to make the most of it! Salt, Peppers, Vanilla, Durian, Saffron, Sambal, Kim Chee, Lemongrass, Bay leaves…the list goes on! Social and cultural references to literary, scientific and historical facts are explored. Wednesdays 330 PM (some locations) Fridays 730 PM local time; Wednesdays 2030, Thursdays 0230, Fridays 2230, and Mondays 0130 on Sirius.

White Coat, Black Art: Dr. Brian Goldman takes listeners through the swinging doors of hospitals and doctors' offices, behind the curtain where the gurney lies. It's a biting, original and provocative show that will demystify the world of medicine. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals will explain how the system works, and why, with a refreshing and unprecedented level of honesty. Wednesdays, 930 AM and Sundays 11 AM local time; Wednesdays 1230 and 1530, plus Sundays 1300 and 1800 on Sirius.

Times shown as “local times” apply to the various live streams offered by the CBC; live streams include five of Canada’s six time zones (Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific). This corresponds to a range of UTC-3 to UTC-7; you can select relevant live streams at All times shown for Sirius satellite radio are UTC.

There are a few others I didn’t have space for – check out additional details at

Hope your summer brings you good listening – use the time to fix those outdoor antennas, and remember to unplug those antennas when thunderstorms are nearby!

See you next month – 73 DE Richard

Monday, May 14, 2007

Re: [Swprograms] WNYC's Selected Shorts Now Avail as Podcast

This continues a trend of public radio programming migrating from the paysite to stations' or programs' own websites.

"Car Talk" is now podcast free of charge, as is "Marketplace" -- there
may be others as well.

Most of the ABC's "Radio National" programs are also podcast; DW has
also increased its podcast offerings. The BBC (Radio 4, World
Service) has not recently augmented its podcast capabilities, though
much of the documentary archive can now be downloaded. A larger
inventory of BBCWS documentaries is available via podcast at the
"Changing World" site maintained by PRI for the remarketing of the
BBCWS documentaries; see

Richard Cuff / Allentown, PA USA

On 5/14/07, Chet C <> wrote:
> WNYC's Selected Shorts Now Avail as an NPR Podcast!

> Previously Selected Shorts was downloadable only via (paysite).


Monday, April 16, 2007

cNet perspective: "Is Uncle Sam serious about Sirius-XM?"

See here.

As one might expect, this is pro - "wide competitive landscape" --
that Satellite Radio isn't a market unto itself.

Key quote: "What is most important now for sound communications
policy is to move beyond classifying and regulating services based on
the particular technology or slice of spectrum used for distributing
the service. Whether evaluating the competitive impact of a particular
merger or deciding whether to jettison archaic, unduly burdensome
regulations devised during an earlier, generally monopolistic analog
era, the important question should be: do consumers have reasonable
alternative choices in the marketplace?"

As one who is about to switch off his satellite radio subscription due
to lack of use -- I have an inventory of podcasts and downloaded
programs I listen to in the car -- I agree that there are many
reasonable alternative choices, each with their own strengths and

Richard Cuff

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Future of Radio" -- Harry Helms interview in Monitoring Times

I'm back... hopefully (yet again!) I'll publish here more often as the year goes on.

I am sure many fans of shortwave radio remember the name Harry Helms -- principally as the author of Shortwave Listening Guidebook. In more recent times, Harry has authored a blog, called "The Future Of Radio", which challenged much of the traditional thinking in the role of shortwave radio as an international broadcasting medium targeting North America.

Harry's health required him to end production of the blog this past August, but the Internet Archive provides at least a partial history of his musings.

A good example of Harry's position taken from an archived page of his blog: "I've made the point here before that podcasting, internet streaming, and satellite radio are far better suited for reaching audiences in developed nations than shortwave."

A phone interview with Harry is carried in the April 2007 issue of Monitoring Times magazine. It summarizes much of Harry's thinking in this area.

Longtime shortwave enthusiasts will not enjoy what Harry has to say, but when you couple what he says with the trends identified in the recent PBS Frontline documentary series News War, if you put yourself in the shoes of a broadcaster trying to reach a North American audience, you can see why there is movement away from shortwave.

Good food for thought.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Another promising "Internet Radio"

Kevin Kelly, who runs the fine Public Radio Fan website, has had good things to say about the Slim Devices Squeezebox -- it's marketed as a "Network Music Player" but frankly is also an Internet Radio -- not limited specifically to music.

Might be worth checking out as well -


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shameless Cross-Promotion: Winter SWL Fest

The 20th (!) Winter SWL Fest is this coming March 8th - 10th, 2007 at the Best Western -- Inn At Towamencin in Kulpsville, Pennsylvania.

It's North America's largest annual gathering of shortwave radio enthusiasts... for more information visit the Fest website.

We also have a Fest blog as well.

Hope to see many of you in Kulpsville!