NASWA Journal Columns · Easy Listening, September 1995

Richard Cuff • 42 North 37th Street • Allentown, PA 18104 richard◊

Easy Listening, September 1995

RFI: Have Tape Recorder, Will Listen

I’ve been regularly listening to Radio France International‘s regular 1200 UTC English language broadcast. Since RFI offers no prime-time (North American evening) broadcasts, and since I leave for work at that time, the only way I can listen to RFI is by taping the programs for later listening. RFI says its English language broadcasts are its fastest growing non-French service.

News and current affairs dominate the first half hour; the first 15 minutes provide a news roundup, with the remaining 10 to 15 minutes providing more background on the news. The news report contains a healthy dose of correspondents’ reports and interviews, similar to the BBC’s Newsdesk. While the hour is weighted more than 50% towards news and current affairs, there are four short segments in the second half hour of each broadcast offering some variety, and most of these short subjects are directly related to France and French culture. The regular features include:

The hour is reasonably slickly produced, with no dead air, but with good program transition, and jingles for various segments. The program presenters are generally polished, with little French accent in their English. You’ll either hate or love one presenter–David Page–who melodramatically–sometimes cynically–presents his particular segment, which varies by day, in a manner resembling the infamous “Ted Baxter” on the Mary Tyler Moore TV show of the ’70s. I, for one, enjoy Mr. Page’s style, but in small doses. I always enjoy the press review segments, as I often feel one gets a better sense of domestic perspective this way. Here in Maryland 13625 kHz has been rock-steady of late.

Future columns will include other program mentions of RFI features.

HCJB Highlights

HCJB has added a new travel feature, produced by the publishers and editors of “The Latin American Travel Advisor.” These monthly programs will help business and holiday travelers obtain the latest information on travel conditions, health, safety, the economy and other details regarding Latin America.

Robert and Daisy Kunstaetter publish the informative quarterly newsletter “The Latin American Travel Advisor” designed for the busy, discriminating traveler. Now their experience and insights are available to HCJB listeners on a monthly basis.

Tune in for The Latin American Travel Advisor on the Saturday following the third Friday of each month during Studio 9, beamed to North America at 0100 and 0500 UTC. On other Saturdays, hear HCJB‘s Travel Latin America feature.

Deutsche Welle 0200 South Asia Release

If you enjoy Deutsche Welle programming but hanker for a bit more variety, consider the 0200 release to South Asia. For reasons I’m not privy to, Deutsche Welle uses a Sines, Portugal relay that must be beamed towards North America. The frequency varies with the season; currently 9640 kHz is used. Asia/Pacific Report airs Monday through Friday following the news; other highlights not aired in any of the North American releases include The Week in Germany, a summary of the past week’s German news (0215 Saturdays), and Mailbag Asia, a regional listener response program (0225 Sundays).

BBC World Service Highlights

As of press time, BBC Worldwide at this point, I’ll shift gears and highlight some regular BBC features of possible interest, particularly those programs that don’t air on the Americas stream of the World Service.

Weekdays, 1045, European Stream: This is the best place to catch Off The Shelf, the regular 15-minute book reading program. The series is in the middle of a ten-part adaptation of George Orwell’s 1945 classic Animal Farm.

Sundays, 0430, European Stream: Weekend is a magazine program with contributions from various radio stations. The program should be audible, at least in Eastern North America, on 6195 kHz.

Thursdays, 1130, European Stream: Rock Salad wraps up in September with more rock music featuring loud guitar, from blues to punk to thrash to AOR. Tommy Vance, the program’s host, will air requests in the final show; you can send your requests to the usual Bush House address. Should be reliable on 12095 kHz in Eastern North America.

Thursdays, 1645, European Stream: Fourth Estate takes a weekly look at the European and Former Soviet Union press. A newspaper editor or correspondent adds comment, not on the news itself, but on how the information is portrayed. At this hour, 12095 or 15070 kHz should be viable in Eastern North America; the first airing, Wednesdays 0715, less so.

Other odds ‘n ends from the World Service you might not have seen (with all times in the Americas stream unless otherwise indicated):

Daily, 0045: Britain Today is a daily 15-minute report on news in the British Isles. While British news has been a staple of most longer World Service newscasts, this new program is the most focused effort at a daily domestic news program in recent years. Also airs daily except Saturday at 1645.

Mondays, 0810: Take Five is a weekly 5-minute human interest vignette.

Mondays, 1615: Pick of the World is a weekly 30-minute series selecting of the best of the BBC World Service. A mix of music, personalities, and humor is stirred up by well-known presenters Paddy Feeny and Nicola Barranger. Also airs Tuesdays 0630.

Tuesdays, 2230: Megamix is the weekly 30-minute youth magazine show looking at new trends, entertainment, sports, and issues. Tape it and introduce your children to shortwave! Repeated Wednesdays 0530, Thursdays 1530.

Wednesdays, 1215: The Vintage Chart Show is a weekly 30-minute review of Top 20 hits from various British pop singles charts. You never know if you’ll hear music from the ’50s or the ’90s or somewhere in between.

Wednesdays, 1505: Shapes Of Power looks at how complex meanings are derived from simple shapes like circles, triangles, and crosses. The role of simple geometric shapes in things sacred and metaphysical is developed.

Thursdays, 0810: An A-Z of Composers looks at famous and less well-known classical music composers in a brief 5-minute program. By September, the tail end of the alphabet should be coming up.

Fridays, 0030: The Farming World is the BBC’s weekly look at food production and agriculture around the world. Repeated at 1445 and 2145.

Saturdays, 0810: Spotlight is a weekly program focusing on the theater. Directors, writers, actors, and critics are interviewed, some from behind the scenes of current BBC World Service productions.

Target Topic: Education

When I selected that topic for September, I thought I was being clever-students were returning to school after the summer recess, and so forth. Unfortunately there are relatively few programs on shortwave dealing exclusively with education. Sometimes programs on economic development look at education, though.

The easiest-to-hear Education program here in North America is The Learning World on the BBC World Service. Developments in education in various countries are reviewed in this weekly 15-minute program. Socioeconomic issues, government policies, and cultural trends-as they impact schools and education processes-are reviewed. North American airings are Mondays 0430, and Thursdays 1145 and 1515.

The BBC also airs Education Express in its Africa release. This program examines African education issues, and also provides career guidance to young people in its regular “so you want to be…” slot. Education Express airs Thursdays 1905, Saturdays 1835, Sundays 0435, and Sundays 1505. Remember all these are only in the BBC’s Africa Stream.

There are programs geared primarily on economic development which may incorporate Education in their discussions; examples include Radio Netherlands with A Good Life, Mondays 2353 to North America; and China Radio International with In The Third World, 45 minutes after the hour in CRI’s Saturday and UTC early Sunday releases.

Upcoming Target Topics:

October: Arts reviews and other cultural programs
November: Inventions and Innovations
December: Domestic Life programs such as Living In Germany

And finally…

The program listings for most of the non-BBC material are made possible in part by the Shortwave RadioGuide, written by NASWAn John Figliozzi and available in both hard copy and in delimited ASCII on diskette from the NASWA Company Store. I have imported the ASCII file into a Lotus Approach file, which makes searching for particular broadcasters, program categories (news, sports, music, et cetera), and air times a breeze. I know John is working on an update; as soon as I hear any details, I’ll pass them on.

Thanks also to Ken MacHarg of HCJB for the program information.

I have dropped my GEnie membership in favor of a graphical Internet service provider; the best E-mail address to use (if you’re so inclined) is

Until October,

73 DE Richard

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