Thursday, July 24, 2014

MN.23.04.1992 Sangean Radio Visit

This edition of the programme in 1992 came together out of the blue. I suddenly got a tape from Taiwan from David Monson, a presenter on BRT Brussels who I knew in the 1990's. He was now in Taiwan and offered me a story about who is behind the Sangean shortwave radio company. The result in the second half of this show. (Sadly we learned that David Monson passed away in 2010). 
We discuss the international distribution of the Lowe HF150, DAK Industries new shortwave DM3000 is difficult to get hold of. Marcel Rommerts has news about Radio Galaxy from Moscow. Victor Goonetilleke has been hearing a strong station from Myanmar on 5973 kHz, aimed at the internal security forces. There's a new book called The Setmakers about the history of British radio receivers from the BREMA association. This includes the story about how Philips took over the Mullard valve company.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

BBC Licence Fee explained

This was released at the time of the 2014 BBC Annual Report. Weird choice of music. Sounds like a variation of the nursery rhyme "three blind mice". But the infographics are clear. They should make one for BBC World/BBC World Service. I note the video won't play in some regions. That's bonkers. No reason to geo-code this.

Monday, July 21, 2014

MN. 21.12.1989. US Invades Panama

We live in troubled times (again). Bumped into a Media Network programme recorded in December 1989. We were reporting on the media surrounding the US intervention into Panama to capture Manuel Noriega. Listener Al Quagleri tipped us off after monitoring airforce communications from Albrook Airforce Base in Panama. Lou Josephs helped us unravel the media plan, which revealed the involvement of Pentagon backed Radio Impacto as well as extended broadcasts from the Spanish service of Voice of America. We also looked at the serious situation developing in Romania and the involvement of Radio Free Europe and the plans to build a 34 million dollar shortwave facility in Israel. Note the comment that people in Europe no longer listen to shortwave, so that FM was important. We called KNLS in, Anchor Point, Alaska and talked to Dave Stuart about the volcano that's been erupting. Arthur Cushen sent in Christmas greetings. And there are changes to report at Radio Australia. They were celebrating 50 years of their existence. Andy Sennitt was celebrating the new office in Amsterdam.
I think this is a good example of a listener-driven media show, about 6 years before the Internet started appearing in peoples' homes. This was the era when radio was the Internet.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.12.10.1989 Vilnius & VOA Bethany

Interesting programme which revealed that Radio Vilnius, Lithuania was no longer using material sent to the station from Radio Moscow. We also profiled the early days of Voice of America transmitting station in Bethany, Ohio which had recently closed down. Some nice clips, from when the shortwave bands were today's Internet - open to be explored.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

MN.02.06.1983 HCJB Quito

This is a very early Media Network from the summer of 1983. Yes, the presentation is dated and it has nothing like the pace of later programmes in the series. But it is interesting none the less. I recall the indepth interview about what HCJB was building in Pifo, near Quito Ecuador. The photo shows the studio buildings in downtown Quito which I remember visiting years later in 1995. And Professor John Campbell had some excellent insights into the clandestine radio scene in North Africa. Enjoy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Remembering Korean and Iranian commercial planes shot down

On July 17th 2014, a commercial aircraft from Malaysian Airlines, flight MH17, was shot down over Ukraine. The exact details of who was responsible are still be determined. But 298 passengers were killed, many of them Dutch nationals.

But this reminds me of an incident on September 1st 1983, when the Soviet government shot down a Korean airliner, flight 007. All 269 passengers and crew aboard the Korean airliner were killed, The aircraft was en route from Anchorage to Seoul when it flew through prohibited Soviet airspace around the time of a U.S. reconnaissance mission. In this edition of the Media Network programme as broadcast in September 1983, we hear how Radio Moscow, the voice of the Soviet government reacted. Remember this is before the took several days before an official reaction was forthcoming.

And then 5 years later 3 July 1988, at the end of the Iran–Iraq War, an Airbus A300B2-203, was shot down as it flew over the Strait of Hormuz by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. The aircraft, which had been flying in Iranian airspace over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf on its usual flight path to Dubai, was destroyed. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, perished. The only way of getting the Iranian side of the story was via shortwave from the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But the transmitter was only switched on mid sentence when we listened in.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

BBC starts to really integrate BBC World Service into the rest of BBC.

As Radio Australia is devastated by savage budget cuts, so BBC announces an extra 5 million pounds to the budget of BBC World Service.

We are increasing the World Service Budget from £245 million this year to around £250 million by 2016/17. We will recreate the position of Controller, World Service English, to lead World Service radio editorially. We will make savings to reinvest in new languages TV and digital priorities and manage inflation, in line with the ‘invest to innovate’ strategy announced earlier this year.

Advantage Great Britain

They are combining the editorial teams of several UK domestic programmes with some of the flagship shows on BBC World Service. This makes perfect sense providing they realise they are working for different audiences and use the relevant expertise from both teams. The best way to organise this is to define different audiences, but ensure easy sharing of all raw materials. And make sure BBC World Service material is as easy to find as their domestic colleagues. That is not presently the case. But one point concerns me: that some correspondents posts will close. Perhaps they plan to use (cheaper) freelancers instead? Not clear how they are going to save 48 million pounds in the process. 

Newsgathering – Plans are for a reshaped Newsgathering operation, involving smaller and more agile reporting teams. The World Affairs Unit, based in London, will become a smaller specialised hub; a single general reporting team is proposed; and a number of correspondent and production posts are expected to close.

It seems World Have Your Say will end in March 2015. Wonder what will happen to BBC WS Newsday programme?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bayern3 radio commercial success

I guess this must be one of the most popular radio commercials on TV - judging by the YouTube count (15.1 million views). Must have cost the producers about 1000 Euro. I would have made a one-line payoff. But may be the listeners in Bayern didn't need it.

Dreamliner Red Arrow

Farnborough is turning into a airshow for stunts. The shows seem to get wilder every year. Would you really like to be on this airliner when it did such a manoever?

StarTimes - The Red Giant of East Africa

BBC Monitoring spotted this news about Chinese owned StarTimes. Expect the number of Chinese soap operas to expand as China's influence grows and the US/UK's influence wanes. 
StarTimes are operating a bit like HBO or Netflix. Start out as a distributor/aggregator, then move on to become a production house. 

StarTimes will build a 6.9bn shillings [80m dollars] Africa headquarters and broadcast centre in Nairobi.

This, according to the management, will see it increase the airing of Chinese soap operas and start the production of TV programmes in Kenya and other parts of Africa.

StarTimes Group president Pang Xinxing, while making this announcement on Monday [14 July], said Kenya and China had good business relations.

StarTimes Group president Pang Xinxing

He commended Kenya's commitment to attracting increased foreign direct investments.
"Through this we focus on promoting economic and social transformation as StarTimes stamps its commitment to Kenya and the larger Africa," said Mr Pang. "We are also launching two new channels for the African market - Star Sport2 in July and Star Swahili in August 2014."

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said the government has approved the construction plan.
"The future is bright for both countries as stable investments continue building the economy," said Mr Pang.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Hassan Wario, who was present, said the proposed centre would help grow Kenyan talent in movie production.

Air service agreement

The announcement comes a week after Kenya and China signed a bilateral air service agreement allowing Kenya Airways to access more destinations in China. This sets the pace for more Chinese to visit Kenya and vice versa.

Mr Pang said the agreement would boost Chinese confidence in the Kenyan market.
The 20,000 square metre StarTimes headquarters will be based in Karen. It will employ dozens of Kenyans during the construction and during the production of cultural materials.

It is set for completion by the end of next year and will feature six units including StarTimes Africa headquarters, StarTimes Kenya offices, a film and television recording centre, StarTimes broadcast station, digital TV research and development centre as well as a training facility.

With the proposed investment, StarTimes plans to increase its revenue in the region in the face of competition from GoTV, which dominates the Kenyan market.

Source: Daily Nation website, Nairobi, in English 15 Jul 14