Monday, September 01, 2014

MN.04.04.1985 Brannigan and Edwards


Great to hear the voices of John Brannigan, a Scottish radio propagation specialist, who was the perfect interviewee. He really knew his field and could explain things in non-technical language. The other guest in this programme is BBC World Service Chief Engineer Keith Edwards. He was one of the first top managers to turn up at shortwave listener gathering and explain what they were trying to do at the transmitting end. He also anticipated home satellite radio and TV reception several years before it took off in hobby circles. Remember this is well before the launch of Sky Satellite Television.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.04.07.1985. Expo85 and Radio Tampa


One of a series of Media Network programmes that originated from the 1985 Expo in Tsuba, just North of Tokyo. I used the visit to the expo to visit Akihabara, called Electric Town, even then. The Sony ICF2001D has just gone on sale, and I remember picking one up for considerably less than in Europe. Just had to make do with a Japanese only instruction booklet. We also look at the domestic shortwave radio station Radio Tampa. This was one of the first Media Network safaris, exploring media in other countries. Remember it is nearly 30 years old!  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.07.02.1985. Radio Jackie London


Radio Netherlands won't be getting access to 747 kHz. Things are going to plan for PA6FLD ham radio station operating from the new Flevoland transmitter site. I also did a marathon edition of SW Feedback live from the transmitter site.

Radio Jackie gets raided again in South West London. Bob Tomalski, later a contributor to Media Network, looks at whether they were a community station or just in it for the money. In the Netherlands, Broadcast minister Elco Brinkman says that pirate radio stations will not get access to extended FM bands. Roger Tidy in London has started a new monitoring magazine. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

BBC World Service Peter Horrocks resigns



Peter Horrocks, Director of the BBC World Service Group, today announced that he will be leaving the BBC in the new year.
Peter Horrocks has been Director of the World Service since 2009 and has worked at the BBC for 33 years.
Under Peter’s leadership weekly audiences for the BBC’s global news services - BBC World Service, BBC World News and BBC.com – have reached a record 265m.
Peter has led the World Service through some of its most challenging times, responding to funding cuts by modernising the World Service for the digital age.
He successfully oversaw one of the biggest changes in the history of the World Service as it moved from Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funding into the licence fee, leaving its historic headquarters of Bush House for the BBC’s New Broadcasting House.

One of the best interviews with Peter was on a TV station in Ghana earlier this year. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Crafting a station's image

Radio imaging, especially on music stations, has become an art unto itself. Practiced by a lot of people, but only really understood by a few.

Like jingles and presentation envoy, Steve Martin, who hosts the Earshot Creative review. If you like the "making of" radio, you'll like these podcasts.



And these are my favorites from the archives.



and



Even bad acoustics and recording mistakes can end up with gems.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

MN.12.09.1985. The mystery of Radio Impacto



In 1985, we didn't know much about a new station that had gone on the air in Costa Rica, but was clearly targeting listeners in neighbouring Nicaragua. Austrian DXer Christian Zettel helped us out as he was travelling in the region. As Don Moore later wrote in 1992, Radio Impacto did little to hide its Contra connection. On its staff were an official spokesperson for the FDN, some announcers from former Somoza radio stations in Managua, and several former staffers for La Prensa, the the primary anti-Sandinista newspaper in Nicaragua. Elsewhere, Impacto's Tegucigalpa correspondent actually doubled as the FDN's local spokesman. The strongest evidence for the contra connection came from Edgar Chamorro, former director of communications for the FDN, who told the World Court that Impacto was a CIA operation.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, August 16, 2014

MN.13.06.1985. Future of the cassette


I remember going on a coach trip to the BASF chemical factory in Ludwigshafen, Germany. We went to see why Chrome Dioxide cassette tape was such a superior recording medium. At that time, there were stories in the scientific press that audio and data could be stored in "bubble memory". BASF said that this was a long way off. In this programme the prediction was that solid state memory with a capacity of 650MB might be around by 2014. It shows how difficult it is to predict the rapid advance of techology, since some of the high end iPads now have 128 GB of solid-state storage. The machine I'm using for this entry has 256 GB.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.18.07.1985. WRUL Scituate



We delve into the Media Network archives to look back at the early days of commercial shortwave broadcasting from the United States. On October 15, 1927, Walter Lemmon, a radio inventor, was granted the first shortwave radio license in the United States and began experimental shortwave station W1XAL in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1935, the station began transmitting non-commercial, educational, and cultural programs. Supported by charitable institutions it was a not run for profit. The broadcasts came from a transmitter site in Scituate, Massachusetts.

I found some recordings of the station in the audio section of the US Library of Congress for this programme. And Lou Josephs got me the recordings from a later stage in the station's history when it was WNYW, Radio New York World Wide. He used to work there as a Saturday job in the 1970's, and made some great studio recordings which I haven't heard elsewhere. Lou later took me down to the old Scituate site to see what was left. But that was another programme aired much later.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.19.09.1985. Copenhagen Safari



This was my first visit to Copenhagen when the radio and television production were in two separate houses in the downtown area of the city. Radiohuset (literally "Radio House") was located on Rosenørns AllĂ© in FrederiksbergCopenhagen. Vacated by DR when DR Byen was inaugurated in 2006, the buildings now house the Royal Danish Academy of Music as well as the Museum of Music.
On my visit to DR we went to a tiny room where a Revox tape-recorder on a time-switch was playing out the shortwave service of Radio Denmark. But there had been grander times. I also heard the story of DX Window, one of the world's first DX programmes which had more of a style of the off shore pirate stations. There was talk of working together with the Norwegians to make a Scandinavian external service. But when this was recorded, it was simply an idea.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

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