NASWA Journal Columns · Easy Listening, December 1997

John Figliozzi • 45 Algonquin Rd. • Clifton Park, NY 12065 jfiglio1◊nycap.rr.com

Easy Listening, December 1997

Tis the Season! And without further adieu, may yours be happy, healthy and fulfilling. As our gift to you, we have a special section detailing some of the excellent Seasonal programming available via shortwave this month. But first, we have to take care of business…

A reminder: all days and times are in UTC.

BBC World Service This Month

Listings are for the Americas/Europe stream. Frequencies for North America at different times of the day include 5965, 5975, 6175, 6195, 9515, 9590, 9895, 11750, 11865, 15220 and 17840. In a few cases, programs can be heard via the Americas/ Europe stream but only on frequencies intended for Europe. These are denoted with an * and these frequencies usually are listenable in parts of North America at those times: 9410, 12095, 15485, 15565, 15575 and 17640. Times marked with an # means that the program can be heard in western North America via the Asia stream on 9740.

Holiday Season Programming

See separate section later in this month’s column.

Civilization

Beginning Dec. 14 and 16, BBC World Service is broadcasting a 15-part history of Civilization (note BBC adoption of the Americanized spelling), which examines the great cultures of the past and assesses human achievement and moral values since 3000BC.

Starting with the invention of writing in ancient Mesopotamia and concluding with 20th century humanitarian ideas, Civilization seeks out defining moments in the history of humankind. From Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), the series moves through the ancient societies of Egypt, India, China, Persia and Greece. Later programs assess the influence of the Romans, the impact of Judaism and Christianity, the golden age of Islam, the Renaissance, the problem of colonisation, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. The last two programs during March consider different aspects of 20th century civilization which, on the one hand, has seen huge advances in science and technology, but also the devastation caused by two world wars and the brutal dictatorships of Hitler, Stalin and others.

Civilization is written and presented by Michael Diamond and is accompanied by an 80 page illustrated BBC Education booklet available by mailorder. (Sun. 1615; repeated Tue. 0330, 1130)

On Other Topics…

Beginning Dec. 6 and 8, Northern Lights investigates the “world music” of the northern world. Piers Hellawell, a composer who works in the remote Outer Hebrides of Scotland and has had his music performed at Arctic festivals, presents an 8-part series exploring music from Canada, the Nordic states, Russia and Iceland. Composers, scholars, researchers, performers and instruments from the lands of the midnight sun are featured and the program will examine the influences that climate, landscape and lifestyle have on the music. (Sat. 1030; repeated Mon. 0530, 2130)

On Dec. 7 and 8, a third in a series of Youth Debates will feature a panel of four students from Atlantic College in Wales thrashing out the pros and cons of a current international affairs issue, before the discussion is thrown open to a studio audience. Listeners will also be invited to write in with their comments and ideas. (Sun. 1401 [also #]; repeated Mon. 0815*)

Commencing Dec. 14 and 15, Matter for Debate gives listeners the chance to put their views on the big moral and ethical questions of the day. Proponents will argue their case in the studio before listeners are invited to call in with their opinions. Abortion, euthanasia, gay rights, capital punishment and animal rights are subjects under discussion for this 5-part series. (Sun. 1401 [also #]; repeated Mon. 0815*)

Starting Dec. 14, 16 and 18, a new 6-part series, Sense and Sensibilities, compares our amazing senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touchas well as our “sixth sense(s)”with those of other animals. (Sun. 1730; repeated Wed. 0145 and Thu. 0915*)

Beginning Dec. 27, 28 and Jan. 2, Wisdom of the World attempts to distill 2500 years of spiritual wisdom in 13 weekly programs. The program taps into a vast well of lived experience and explores what over the centuries has been discovered as wisdom, which transcends culture and time. (Sat. 0815*; repeated Sun. 0130, 1515# and Fri. 1615)

Premiering Dec. 27 and 29, Foul Play is a new “whodunnit” panel game which begins with the discovery of the body and a brief drama setting the scene. The players/investigators cross examine witnesses and suspects and then attempt to unmask the killer. (Sat. 0130; repeated 0730, Mon 1830*)

Starting Jan. 1 and 2, The Learning World returns with a new 13-week series of programs focusing on the latest developments in education for teachers around the world. (Thu. 0345; repeated 1130 and Fri. 0915*)

Some continuing series…

This month’s Play(s) of the Week are the classic Cyrano de Bergerac (in two parts, 6th/7th and 13th/14th) and The Speculator (20th/21st) by Honore de Balzac. (Sat. 2230; repeated Sun. 0630, 1830*)

On Dec. 6, 7 and 8, Short Story features the winning entry to the BBC’s worldwide competition chosen by a panel of judges from thousands of entries. (Sat. 1245; repeated Sun. 0815*, Mon. 0030)

Beginning Dec. 8 and 9, the only non-Holiday themed reading on Off the Shelf this month is The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing. Set in the former Southern Rhodesia, the murder of a struggling farmer’s wife reveals much about both the farm’s and the marriage’s failure. (Mon.-Fri. 0715; repeated Tue.-Sat. 0445)

Continuing or Concluding This Month

Pop on the Line, What Do Christians Believe,Journey to the Centre of the Atom, Children in Conversation, Options continue or conclude from November. Consult November’s EZL for details. The Deal With Drugs, Poems by Post, Heritage, Major Killers, and Pick of the World continue or conclude from October. Consult October’s EZL for details.

Westway

Well, I wasn’t exactly bowled over by your response to my invitation to offer opinions on this new BBC soap. I don’t know whether to take your apathy as a comment on Westway or on this column. But we are undaunted. Further efforts will be made in the new year to make this column more “interactive”. Maybe we’ll find the right combination to get you to want to be more involved.

Anyway, the sole response I did get was from Donald R. Putnick of California who observed that the accents made the dialogue a challenge to follow on shortwave. Thank you, Don. This is, indeed, one of the factors that broadcasters must take into account in producing this type of program for an international audience.

For me, a soap is not a preferred genre of program. So far, the program fits its description. Its content is shallow, its characters one-dimensional and its plotline quite pedestrian. Granted the program has just started and may be trying to establish a few things before getting into top gear. But up to now, I don’t even see in the far distance the kind of promise offered by the BBC when it introduced the program in November. However, I will continue to listen in for a bit longer and see if anything significant develops that gives some indication as to why the World Service is so high on this series. From the scripts heard to date, quite frankly, it’s hard to fathom.

More Seasonal Time Shifts

The winter shortwave season has brought a couple of positive developments for stateside BBC listeners. First, Composer of the Month has been retimed to Thu. 0730; repeated Fri. 0130, the latter a much more accessible time for east coast ears. This month’s featured composer is Sir Arthur Sullivan, best known for the ever-popular Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Second, John Peel, who is always at the forefront of the latest sounds, has been retimed to Thu. 1930; repeated 2330 and Fri. 0830* also restoring a more accessible time for the east coast.

Radio Netherlands Documentaries

4th/5th- 50th Anniversary Special: the 90’s. In honor of RN’s 50th, Pete Myers looks at this decade at the station.

11th/12th- The Social Cost of Transformation. Eric Beauchemin looks at Eastern Europe’s transition from centrally planned to market economies.

18th/19th- The Netherlands is Full. Is the country filled to capacity? Theo Tamis examines how the Dutch are managing their limited living space.

25th/26th- The High “C’s”. Amsterdam and Antwerp have a strong traditional link to the diamond industry. Marijke van der Meer looks behind that industry.

(Thu. 0054 on 6020/6165 and 0454 on 6165/9590; Fri. 2354 on 6020/6165.)

China Radio International Highlights

Dec. 14’s Cooking Show has the Mongolian Hot Pot recipeDec 14’s Music from China features works by the renowned Yueqin (a popular, traditional plucked instrument) soloist Lei Qunan and a symphony orchestra…Dec. 21’s edition of Chinese Folktales discusses how an illiterate man 370 years ago in the Ming Dynasty became a senior official and received three promotions from the emperor himself…Dec. 22’s Song of the Week is one that is in the repertoire of many popular Chinese singers, “I Love You, Snows in Northern China”…Dec. 22’s Listeners’ Letterbox responds to an Indian listener’s question about how Chinese athletes are preparing for the Sydney 2000 Olympics…Dec. 28’s China Scrapbook discusses the Analects of Confucius.

(CRI’s frequency schedule is in this month’s Journal’s special “Schedules” section.)

Deutsche Welle Highlights

Dec. 4’s Living in Germany (0130/0330/0530) goes “downtown” to Quedlinburg in eastern Germany’s Saxony-Anhalt state, a town dating to 922 and with a strong architectural influence from medieval timesDecember’s Spotlight on Sport (0130 /0330/0530 every Fri.) covers the women’s handball World Cup in detail, which is being hosted by Germany, and will look at the development of the sport in Asia, Africa and AmericaDec. 15’s Arts on the Air (0130/0330) marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the German writer Heinrich Heine with an examination of his works, ideas and beliefs.

(0100-0150 on 6040/6085/6145/9640/11810; 0300-0350 on 6085/6185/9535/9615/9640; 0500-0550 on 5960/6045/6185/9615.)

Holiday Season Programming

While far from comprehensive, the following list should provide you with a few listening options over the Holidays. Many stations do not program and schedule far enough in advance to make even the relatively liberal deadlines of The Journal. But, it would be fair to say that most stations will have some programming appropriate to the Season, especially during Christmas week, around New Year’s Day, and on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6), the latter especially on European stations and those from countries observing the Eastern Rite. Most of these will take the form of special features, reports and music broadcast within regular magazine-style programs and highlighting aspects of celebrations and observances within their home countries.

For example, from previous years’ experience, it is likely that RCI/CBC will feature some traditional stories read by “Fireside Al” and messages relayed between Canadian peacekeepers and their families back in Canada on As It Happens (Mon.-Fri. 2330-0100 on 5960/9755). As well, listeners’ greetings are likely to read out on The Mailbag (Mon. 0230 on 6155/9535/9755/9780/11865) each week during December.

The various religious stations in the US and around the world are certain to carry considerable special Christmas programming. For example, apart from meditations on Christmas onVatican Radio‘s and WEWN‘s regular programs, both stations could be expected to broadcast Midnight Mass. (Unfortunately, calls to each station for details were unanswered at deadline.) WYFR, WWCR, WHRI, etc. will likely have their own forms of celebration as well.

The eight days of Hannukah begin on December 24 this year. Kol Israel, both in its longer English Service transmissions (1500-1530 on 9365/12080 and 2000-2025 on 7465/9435/9365) and via the relay of Reshet Bet (24 hours on 7495, 11590, 15615 or 17545), one of its Hebrew domestic services, can be expected to have special programs and music observing the feast. The persistent and attentive listener will find them.

Also, check your time charts and try to tune around the world as each nation and time zone rings in the New Year. Until January, good listening!

Date UTC Station Program Frequencies
8 1330 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 13730
9 0130 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 7325
9 0530 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0630 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
12 0109 HCJB Studio 9–a unique rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 9745
0409 HCJB [see 0109]
16 0200 HCJB The Least of These–Christmas special part 1. 9745
0500 HCJB [see 0200]
19 0109 HCJB Studio 9–a special rebroadcast of a “Call of the Andes” program which aired 10 years ago today. Paul Bell and other “historic” HCJB’ers tell of Ecuadorian Christmas celebrations. 9745
0230 HCJB Inspirational Classics–seasonal music. 9745
0409 HCJB [see 0109]
20 0109 HCJB Studio 9–“A Villancico Christmas Special” with Jorge Zambrano featuring Ecuadorian carols. 9745
0409 HCJB [see 0109]
21 0109 HCJB DX Partyline–to the North Pole with KNLS. 9745
0409 HCJB [see 0109]
22 1230 HCJB Christmas in the Air–a drama tracing the plan and purpose of Christmas from the beginning of time. 15115
0109 HCJB Saludos Amigos–Christmas special. 9745
0409 HCJB [see 0109]
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–The Christmas Party by Dina Mehta. (5975/6175)
23 0200 HCJB The Least of These–Christmas special part 2. 9745
0445 BBC Off the Shelf–The Christmas Party by Dina Mehta. 5975/6175
0500 HCJB [see 0200]
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–O’Brien’s First Christmas by Jeanette Winterson. 5975/6175
1230 HCJB Back to the Bible Christmas Special–music and reflections on the first Christmas. 15115
24 0445 BBC Off the Shelf–O’Brien’s First Christmas by Jeanette Winterson. 5975/6175
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry 5975/6175
1230 HCJB Christmas at the Ranch–fun loving musical celebration from the Flying W Ranch with guest Paul Overstreet. 15115
1305 DW Music for Christmas German service–15285/17765
1330 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 13730
1410 DW Christmas Carols German service–13790/17715/17765
24 1502 BBC A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols–live from King’s College Cambridge. 9515/9590/9740/15220/17840
1632 DW Music and Words for Christmas German service–13790/ 17715/17765
1810 DW Christmas Carols German service–17860
2005 DW Sing for Peace German service–17810/17860
2105 DW Music for Christmas German service–17810/17860
2210 DW Christmas Carols (German service–6100/9545/9765/ 11785/11795/15275)
2230 BBC A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols–rebroadcast of 1502 program. 5975/6175/9590
25 0105 DW Christmas Service–from der Evangelischen Auslandsgemeinde Brussel. German service–6100/9545/ 9765/11785/11795/15275
0130 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 7325
0210 DW Christmas Carols German service–6075/6100/6145/11785
0315 BBC The Sporting Year: A Personal View–Harry Peart in conversation with the Daily Mail columnist Ian Wooldridge. 5975/6175/9895
0405 DW Sing for Peace German service–6045/6075/6145
0445 BBC Off the Shelf–The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry 5975/6175
0505 DW Music for Christmas German service–6045/6075/6145
0530 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0630 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “The Ghost Who Vanished by Degrees”. 5975/6175
1130 HCJB God Came Near–author/speaker Max Lucado looks at the various events in the Christmas story. 15115
1200 HCJB Handel’s Messiah–all 150 min. of this classic. 15115
1245 BBC [see 0315] 5965/6195/9515/9740/15220
1330 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 13730
1410 DW Christmas Concert German service–13790/17715/17765
1505 BBC Sporting Echoes of ’97–the year’s best interviews from Sports International. 9515/9590/9740/15220/17840
DW Songs and Thoughts for Christmas German service–13790/17715/17765
1600 BBC The Queen’s Christmas Message. 9515/17840
1605 DW New Christmas Carols German service–13790/17715/17765
1745 BBC [see 0315] 17840
2010 DW Christmas Concert German service–17810/17860
25 2100 BBC The Queen’s Christmas Message. 5975
2210 DW Christmas Concert German service–6100/9545/9765/ 11785/11795/15275
2245 BBC [see 1505] 5975/6175/9590
2305 DW Songs and Thoughts for Christmas German service– 6100/9545/9765/11785/11795/15275
26 0036 R. Netherlands Media Network–special 48 minute edition with greetings from and discussions with listeners and results from the survey on the program’s future. 6020/6165
0109 HCJB Studio 9–“Christmas Music in the Andes” 9745
0130 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 7325
0145 BBC The Sporting Year: A Personal View–Harry Peart in conversation with the Daily Mail columnist Ian Wooldridge. 5975/6175/9590
0210 DW DW Christmas Concert–from St. Gereon Church in Cologne. German service–6075/6100/6145/11785
0230 BBC Christmas in the Land of the Polar Bear–a story set in a remote Polish village on Christmas Eve. 5975/6175/9895
HCJB Inspirational Classics–special readings and carols for Christmas Day. 9745
0315 BBC Sporting Echoes of ’97–the year’s best interviews from Sports International. 5975/6175/9895
0409 HCJB [see 0109]
0436 R. Netherlands [see 0036] 6165/9590
0445 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “The Ghost Who Vanished by Degrees”. 5975/6175
0530 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0630 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “Dickens Digested”. 5975/6175
1130 BBC [see 0230] 5965/6195/15220
1405 DW 300 Years of Russian Spiritual Music–with the Royal Consort Vocal Ensemble of Belgrade-Bonn-Budapest. (German service–13790/17715/17765)
1605 BBC Sportworld Extra–second half commentary of a Boxing Day soccer match. 9515/17840
2205 DW [see 1405] 6100/9545/9765/11785/11795/15275
27 0445 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “Dickens Digested”. 5975/6175
1405 BBC Sports Review of the Year.9515/9590/9740/15220/17840
2230 BBC Play of the Week: Nativity to Judgement–Adrian Henri’s modern adaptation of the medieval Wakefield Mystery plays. 5975/6175/9590
28 0630 BBC [see 2230] 5975/6175
29 0715 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “When Satan Goes Home for Christmas”. 5975/6175
30 0445 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “When Satan Goes Home for Christmas”. 5975/6175
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “The Charlottetown Banquet”. 5975/6175
31 0445 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “The Charlottetown Banquet”. 5975/6175
0715 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “Offer of Immortality”. 5975/6175
1330 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 13730
1505 DW Tophits ’97 German service–13790/17715/17765
2005 DW [see 1505] German service–13790/17715/17765
2200 VOA New Year Call-In–tentative. to 0700/many frequencies
2305 DW Swing-Party German service–6100/9545/9765/11785/ 11795/15275
Jan.1 0105 DW End-of-Year-Special–looking back over the events of 1997. 6040/6085/6145/9640/11810
0130 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 7325
0305 DW [see 0105] 6085/6185/9535/9615/9640
0445 BBC Off the Shelf–High Spirits by Robertson Davies. “Offer of Immortality”. 5975/6175
0505 DW [see 0105] 5960/6045/6185/9615
0530 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0630 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
1015 R. Austria Int. New Year’s Concert–live from the “Grosser Musikvereinssaal” in Vienna. Music by Johann, Josef and Eduard Strauss and Helmesberger conducted by Zubin Mehta. (6155/13730*/15455/17870) *better after 1100
1330 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 13730
Jan.2 0036 R. Netherlands Media Network–another 48 minute special. 6020/6165
0130 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 7325
0436 R. Netherlands [see 0036] 6155/9590
0530 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0630 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
Jan.6 1330 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 13730
Jan.7 0130 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 7325
0530 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015
0630 R. Austria Int. Report from Austria–seasonal features. 6015

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