| Communications World Script: 10 March 2001|
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Some material below, marked in italics, was broadcast in the half-hour edition only.
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OPENERS TAPE: CUT 1 (in full to :28 then fade under to Kim and lose)
KIM: Welcome to Communications World for the weekend of March tenth, 2001. This weekend, I am attending the Winter SWL Fest in Kulpsville, Pennsylvania. It's the largest annual gathering of shortwave listeners and other radio listening enthusiasts in the United States. I'll bring back stories from the Fest next week.
Later in today's program, a look at the new shortwave broadcasting service of the Methodist Church directed to Africa. And we'll hear new ideas about radio programming from XM Satellite Radio.
Because of my departure for the Fest, I recorded this program on Thursday, one day earlier than usual. Here's the media news up until Thursday.
Three top officials of Vatican Radio will refuse a summons from an Italian court to face charges of electromagnetic pollition. The Vatican said Tuesday that Father Pasquale Borgomeo, director general of Vatican Radio, and two other station officials are not subject to Italian law because the Vatican Radio shortwave transmitters, located at Santa Maria de Galeria, north of Rome, are located on Vatican territory. Italian Environmental Minister Willer Bordon said the decision is "incredible," adding that the Pope himself has often come out in favor of environmental issues. The trial was scheduled to begin this Monday.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin answered questions in a live Webcast. It was organized by BBC News Online and two Russian news Web sites, gazeta dot ru and strana dot ru. This was an Internet-only event; it was not heard on BBC World Service radio. Some fifteen thousand questions were submitted from within Russia and worldwide. During the hour-long Webcast, President Putin answered 18 of these, chosen by journalists of the three news organizations.
President Putin described a question about press freedom in Russia, submitted by an American living in London, as "cheeky" and "not very tolerant." The Russian leader said that democratic institutions will not be broken up, but this does not mean that anarchy and total permissiveness must flourish in Russia.
Klaus Nindel in Germany tells me that Broadcasting House Gardarika, an FM station in St. Petersburg, Russia, also known as Radio Studio, is relaying its programs on shortwave, 6235 kilohertz, from 19 to 21 Universal Time. Klaus and Erik Koie in Denmark sent me audio excerpts of the shortwave relays. Programs are in Russian, but there are announcements in English...
KIM: ...sounds like a refreshing change of pace on shortwave.
If you are interested in news about the media in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe,"Media Matters," a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is very good new source of information. It does not contain DX tips, but it does have many items of news about print and broadcast media compiled from RFE/RL's own news reports and other sources. The service is free. You can subscribe by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . Then type the world "subscribe" as the subject of the message. Each "Media Matters" is lengthy the March second edition was 533 lines long so don't subscribe if you access the Internet on your mobile phone. "Media Matters " is one of sixteen free e-mail news services available from RFE/RL.
The Voice of Justice, the clandestine radio station of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party, was back on the air last Saturday, after a weeks absence. Masao Hosoya in Japan heard it on 15455 beginning at 958 and ending abruptly at 1033 Universal Time. Masao received it with a fair signal.
The ClandestineRadio.com Web site interviewed Sam Rainsy himself during his visit this past week to Washington. Sam Rainsy said the Voice of Justice was not on the air February 24th, because they did not have time to prepare the program. He said the station now expects to be on the air every Saturday. Voice of Justice broadcasts from an undisclosed transmitter site.
Robert Sutton in New Zealand informs us that JJY, the time signal station of the Communications Research Laboratory in Japan, will end its shortwave transmissions on March 31st. JJY provides the exact time on 5, 8, and 10 megahertz. JJY will continue to transmit on 40 kilohertz longwave, and the exact time can also be obtained from the Web site of the Communications Research Laboratory http://www.crl.go.jp.
Toru Yamashita in Japan tells me that the Communications Research Laboratory is issuing a special QSL card for reception of JJY during this last month of its shortwave operation. The address is
Include one International Reply Coupon, available at your post office, and a label or piece of paper with your name and address, with your reception report. Frequencies again are 5, 8 and 10 megahertz.
CD: World-Com, track 40 (in full to :12 then fade under to Kim and lose)
The Senate of Jamaica has voted to allow BBC World Service to transmit on FM in Kingston, the capital of the Caribbean nation. Jamaican Senator Burchell Whiteman said that a benefit of the BBC FM presence, besides clear reception, is that local Jamaican broadcasters will be able to gauge their services against a globally recognized benchmark. This item from the Cana News Agency via BBC Monitoring.
Now, what's this?
KIM: You might have heard this new station on your shortwave radio. It's the Radio Service of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. At 26 syllables, that might be the longest name of any international radio service. This Methodist broadcasting service transmits to Africa using transmitter time leased from Deutsche Telekom at Juelich, Germany.
Brian Brightly, a Methodist minister from Florida with experience in public radio, is a consultant for this new radio service. I spoke to Pastor Brightly during his recent visit to VOA.
KIM: Pastor Brian Brightly, media consultant for the Radio Service of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. The schedule is English, 17 to 19 Universal Time, on 13810 and 15485 kilohertz. French 4 to 6 on 11775 and 13685.
KIM: Two satellite radio services in the United States are planning to begin operation later this year. Sirius satellite Radio, based in New York, has already launched its three satellites, which are in elliptical orbits. XM Satellite Radio, with headquarters here in Washington, is planning the launch of its first satellite on March 18th. Eventually, XM will have two satellites, named "Rock" and "Roll," in geosynchronous orbit.
VOA's Keming Kuo visited XM Satellite Radio earlier this week and spoke to Lee Abrams, their chief programming officer. Keming asked Mr. Abrams what advantages XM satellite radio would have over conventional terrestrial radio.
KIM: Keming asked Mr. Abrams if XM will use research panels to create tight music playlists, the way commercial terrestrial radio stations do.
KIM Lee Abrams of XM Satellite Radio speaking to VOA's Keming Kuo. Keming also brought back some samples of the type of programs XM plans to do.
KIM XMU time, which seems to be local time converted to a 24-hour clock. Another channel on XM will be for children.
OMTAPE: CUT 9 (in full to :08 then open Kim's mic)
KIM: Up to now, we've been talking about satellite radio services directed to the United States. Your e-mails are certainly talking about Worldspace, the satellite radio service directed to most parts of the world, but not including the United States.
I heard from Jacob K. In Bangalore, India, Tarun Sethi in New Delhi, and Kenji Ohyama in Japan. They are all pleased to note that a World Radio Network channel is now on the Worldspace Asiastar satellite. The WRN channel has a variety of English-language programs from international broadcasters around the world. Kenji even heard Communications World last Saturday at 930
KIM: Jacob K. Says that the Bloomberg financial news channel is also now on Asiastar. But he agrees with Tarun Sethi that there is not much variety of programming on Asiastar.
In his e-mail, Tarun reports that Sony recently donated five thousand shortwave radios to victims of the Gujarat earthquake. He says it is ironic that Dxers in India do not have access to Sony shortwave radios, but that Sony gave shortwave radios to people for whom, Tarun says, they are useless. By this, Tarun is referring to the trade restrictions and high tariffs that make the Sony shortwave radios too expensive fro most Indians to buy. On the other hand, the victims of the Gujarat earthquake probably would not get much useful information from distant shortwave stations.
I heard also from Thomas on the island of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia. He wants more information about "World Satellite Radio." By that, I'm sure Thomas is referring to Worldspace, which is the only world satellite radio service either in existence or planned. Looking at the coverage map for Worldspace Asiastar, Micronesia is outside any of the footprints. However, with the optional high-gain antennas for the Worldspace receivers, it might be possible to receive Asiastar on Yap. There is only one way to find out for sure, and that is to get a Worldspace receiver to Micronesia, and try it.
KIM: Michael Hoover in Portugal was, I think, the first listener to receive a test signal from the Worldspace Afristar satellite. He recently sent an e-mail with a picture of the display on his Sky Digital receiver. He was tuned to channel 937, the WRN channel on Sky Digital. At 930 last Saturday, the display said, "Communications World - VOA's Weekly Media Show." Cool. I will include that picture on the script for this week's program at the Communications World Web site.
My report last week about Radio Voyager, the commercial U.S. international radio service, brought responses from Mark Hawkins in the U.K. and David de Jong in the Netherlands. Mark is hearing Radio Voyager on the WRN bouquet on Eutelsat Hot Bird 5. Mark says there seem to be 16 channels of 128 kilobits each on the WRN bouquet, some not yet occupied. David de Jong thinks that the 128 kilobit per second channel does not provide good enough audio quality for a music service such as Radio Voyager, and that it does not sound as good as the analog [Sorry - I should have said digital] Radio Voyager channel on Astra, which is soon to end. David things that 196 kilobits per second should be the minimum for stereo, and 128 kilobits per second for mono. What do the rest of you satellite users think?
Finally, greetings to Ivan Huziak in Croatia. Ivan keeps in touch constantly by phone and e-mail with reception reports. News Now reception in Croatia is generally dreadful, according to Ivan, but it's useful to know that. Ivan recently reached the age of eighteen, and last week he made his first blood donation. You know, Ivan, these days I rarely receive invitations to anything. But the Red Cross does call me every sixty days, inviting me over to donate more of my O-negative blood.
Please donate your questions, suggestions, and observations about the media scene. My address is Communications World, Voice of America, Washington, D.C. 20237 USA. The postal code again is 20237. E-mail to c-w at v-o-a dot g-o-v. That's c-w for Communications World, at v-o-a for Voice of America, dot g-o-v for government.
And please visit the Communications World web site. You can get there by way of the VOA home page, w-w-w dot v-o-a dot g-o-v. There you can find the script for this and previous programs. The updated Communications World schedule. And links to the program in RealAudio format.
Thanks for listening. I'm Kim Elliott. Please join me again next week for Communications World. This is VOA, the Voice of America.