"Persistent interference" may force cuts to BBC Chinese (updated).

Posted: 28 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The World Service is looking at re-allocating resources so we can improve our coverage of domestic Chinese issues, both for the Chinese audience and across the whole of World Service. At the same time we must maintain our international news current affairs output and ensure that programmes are broadcast at times when they have the most impact." BBC employee newspaper Ariel, 15 February 2007, plus Kim's commentary. Update: "Some World Service staff claim management is preoccupied with reaching a Muslim audience at the expense of other parts of the world. 'The World Service is becoming the BBC Islam service.'" The Guardian, 26 February 2007.

More talk about (but no date for) a House hearing about Radio/TV Martí.

Posted: 28 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Bill Delahunt, the subcommittee (on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight) chair, 'will likely hold hearings on Radio and TV Marti,' (Rep. Jeff) Flake said. Marti's broadcasts have been jammed by the Cubans from day one. The project isn't working and is an embarrassment, besides being a waste of money. Flake told me that if the subcommittee does take on Marti, it will likely have bi-partisan support from both himself and fellow GOP committeeman Ron Paul." Pierre Atlas, Real Clear Politics, 27 Febryary 2007.

Perhaps Butler County would be interested in buying VOA itself.

Posted: 28 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
West Chester Township, Ohio, turns over Voice of America Park, at the former Bethany transmitting station, to Butler County Metroparks. "Metroparks owns the Ronald Reagan Voice of Freedom Park adjacent to the VOA park and has built a successful conference center, lake, sledding hill and well-used walking path there. The township side includes a dog park, but much of the land is overgrown and underused." Cincinnati Enquirer, 27 February 2007.

At White House press briefing, questions, but no answers yet, about U.S. international broadcasting cuts.

Posted: 28 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Tony Snow: "If you're responding to a budget -- something that's in the federal budget, he certainly supports the budget that he presented to Congress. Q: But it's the overall concept of cutting international broadcasting -- Snow: I understand. You're trying to engage me in a debate about this, and I'll get some information. You can ask me at a subsequent briefing." White House press release, 27 February 2007.

China increases the incentive to seek foreign media.

Posted: 27 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"'In foreign countries, televisions are privately owned and you can broadcast whatever you want,' Wang Weiping, deputy head of the series division at China's State Television, Film and Broadcasting Administration, told the Southern Weekend newspaper recently. 'But in China, television is the mouthpiece of the party and the people. This is its main mission, and entertainment is secondary.'" Washington Post, 27 February 2007. "Restrictions have been placed on coverage of historical events including the anti-rightist campaign under Mao Ze Dong, the Cultural Revolution and more recent events such as the ongoing anti-corruption campaign, the media freedom debate, and legal and rights protection campaigns." AsiaNews, 26 February 2007.

We interrupt this program to bring you this psyops.

Posted: 27 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"In a new tactic, [Israeli] troops broke into transmissions of [Nablus] local TV and radio stations Sunday and broadcast the names of the men, all residents of the old city. Soldiers warned civilians against hiding the fugitives. Abir Kilani, director of the local TV station Gama, said her broadcasts were interrupted several times by the army. Kilani noted that this method is much more effective and cheaper than the military's previous tactic of dropping leaflets with messages to residents." Haaretz and AP, 27 February 2007. "Journalists are issuing daily condemnations of the attacks they are facing. Tareq Abu Kishek has difficulty broadcasting the news, as Israeli forces throw sound bombs when he tries to broadcast on air. Legislative Council deputy Jamal Tirawi confirmed that this is happening throughout the city and that Israeli forces are scrambling the airwaves." Palestine News Network, 27 February 2007.

Looks like Tibet is no longer the oppressed country of the month.

Posted: 27 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"At a time when the Bush administration is fighting a war to promote democracy in the world, the White House-appointed Broadcasting Board of Governors voted to reduce funding for government broadcasts to Tibet by more than 20% and the number of broadcasting hours by 50%, leaving Tibetans to rely increasingly on official Chinese radio." Variety, 26 February 2007. See previous post about U.S. international broadcasting cuts and reductions.

Shortwave listening memories.

Posted: 26 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Commenting on the 25th anniversary of Monitoring Times magazine: "I took up an on-air offer from Radio Sofia and wrote to the station requesting a Bulgarian pen pal, a heady activity for a Catholic school student during the Eisenhower era. I corresponded for several years with a girl of my age in Sofia. In 1968 I got the chance to knock on her door. Unshaven and grungy, I was on my leisurely way back to New York from a two-year stint teaching English in South Vietnam and dodging the draft. It turned out that her daddy was a barrel-chested major in the Bulgarian Army, his uniform heavy with medals and ribbons. An awkward Cold War encounter." Ed Rust, Blogcritics, 26 February 2007. "Radio Deutsche Welle ... never discouraged me and my letters were enthusiastically accepted and acknowledged. I was later selected as a winner of their 50th anniversary essay competition and as a gift I was sent a powerful receiving unit; a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 so I could listen to Germany in a more timely manner." M. Gayanga C. Nanayakkara, Daily News (Colombo), 26 February 2007.

An Aljazeera journalist's inside story.

Posted: 25 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Sami al-Hajj, of the Al-Jazeera TV network, was stopped at the Afghanistan border by Pakistani authorities in December 2001, turned over to U.S. forces and hauled in chains six months later to Guantanamo... He is believed to be the only journalist from a major international news organization held at Guantanamo." AP, 23 February 2007.

The work of a bureaucrat with too much time on his/her hands (updated).

Posted: 25 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Before this week, Internet users who typed the word 'Bush' into the search box under the news tab at USA.gov received VOA news articles as the top results. Stories from Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe also were appearing on USA.gov searches. On Wednesday morning, VOA and the other select independent media sources no longer were in the search results for 'Bush' or anywhere else on the USA.gov site. The General Services Administration, which runs USA.gov, said that an official at the State Department's electronic information division had questioned GSA about the publication of Radio Free and VOA stories." govexec.com, 22 February 2007. Update: Depauw University News, in story about VOA report about 1920 Depauw graduate Percy Julian, invites its readers (presumably mostly in the USA): "Access the complete Voice of America story by clicking here." Depauw University News, 24 February 2007.

SAIC scrutinized.

Posted: 25 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Iraqi Media Network represented an opportunity to push the U.S. agenda in Iraq in the most simplistic sort of way. With SAIC's cooperation, the network quickly devolved into a mouthpiece for the Pentagon -- 'a little Voice of America'... . Iraqis openly snickered at the programming." Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Vanity Fair, March 2007.

Planned elimination of VOA Uzbek and News Now (English) services in the news (updated).

Posted: 25 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"It's not a secret that Uzbekistan is one of the most politically oppressed countries. There's not a single outlet that can call itself independent there." Washington Post, 23 February 2007. "President George W. Bush will ensure that the beleaguered and news-starved people of Uzbekistan will be even more isolated if his administration’s proposal to eliminate the Voice of America’s Uzbek language service is approved by the US Congress." Ahmed Rashid, EurasiaNet, 22 February 2007. See petition to save VOA services and other items at freemediaonline.org. Update: See also AP, 23 February 2007, and AP at-a-glance list of cuts. See previous post on same subject.

South Africa's ANC unhappy about BBC World documentary (updated again).

Posted: 24 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"BBC created an impression that crime in South Africa was racially and politically motivated." Daily News, 19 February 2007. "We have no doubt that this broadcast represented a deliberate attempt by BBC World to insert itself as a player in the determination of our future as a people." ANC via Moneyweb, 17 February 2007. BBC reports: "South Africa's ruling ANC party has been strongly criticised for a scheme charging fees to business leaders to meet senior government officials." BBC News, 19 February 2007. "BBC World said in a statement that it was aware of the allegations, but 'as the commercial news channel of the BBC we pride ourselves on impartial and unbiased reporting'." The Guardian, 20 February 2007. In letter to the ANC, "BBC World editorial director, Sian Kevill, gave detailed examples of the range of the BBC's African news coverage (and wrote) 'We do not accept the ANC's comments or analysis of our coverage, and will continue to cover South African news and business stories on BBC World accurately and in depth.'" The Guardian, 21 February 2007. See also New York Times, 21 February 2007. Update: Text of BBC's response to ANC, and of ANC's response to BBC's response to ANC. Moneyweb, 23 February 2007.

No shortage of Arabic satellite channels.

Posted: 24 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"According to a recent report from the Arab American Institute, the number of Arabic satellite channels has risen from one in 1990 to over 200 today, second only to the number of satellite channels in English internationally. The penetration rate of DTH satellite broadcasting is approximately 34% across the GCC, a figure that is rising rapidly as deregulation allows a greater volume of local content to be produced and as the level of output increases from the four regional broadcasting hubs of Dubai, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan." Dubai World Trade Centre press release, 24 February 2006.

Johnny Dark: international broadcaster.

Posted: 24 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Former Baltimore local disk jockey "Johnny Dark is on the air five hours a day, seven days a week -- but don't try listening in the U.S. He is now on WorldSpace satellite radio and commutes to its Silver Spring studio three times a week from his Reisterstown home. At last count, he is heard in 132 countries around the globe. 'I get e-mails from Qatar and sunny South Africa,' he said yesterday about his music and his program, The Hop, which features songs of the 1950s through the early 1970s." Baltimore Sun, 24 February 2007.

Voice of America on the list to show world the quickly repaired Building 18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"'Some of these people are not on our list and are not coming in,' announced Lori Calvillo, Walter Reed's chief spokeswoman. 'C-SPAN, you're not on the list. You're not coming in.' She then attempted to evict a Washington Post reporter, who appealed, loudly... . Spec. Duncan, in his new room. 'Unfortunately, I had to stand up and tell them, Hey, the room is messed up,' he told a Voice of America camera. 'I got my point across.'" Washington Post, 23 February 2007.

North Korea distances "freedom and democracy" from its "socio-political system."

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
North Korean news agency KCNA, responding to an increase in U.S. international broadcasting to North Korea, says: "The U.S. is sadly mistaken if it calculates that such propaganda machines would help spread freedom and democracy and bring down the socio-political system in the DPRK." Xinhua, 23 February 2007. "The U.S. human rights advocacy group Freedom House, will reportedly give US$25,000 to a Korean NGO, Open Radio for North Korea... . The station opened in December 2005 broadcasts on shortwave on 7390kHz from 11 p.m. to midnight every day." Chosun Iblo, 23 February 2007.

Prospects for American popular culture abroad.

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Hip hop's popularity in the (Arab world) might seem like an opportunity for some 'cultural diplomacy', a notion that harkens back to the brilliant officially sponsored jazz tours by Louis Armstrong in the 1950s ... But, frankly, hip hop makes a poor candidate for official cultural diplomacy. Its blistering social and political critiques (to say nothing of the materialist, violent, sex-and-drugs drenched lyrics of too many rappers) clash rather starkly with the image that the US govenrment would prefer to convey. ... But forget governments. The popular American Muslim rapper Mos Def doesn't need the American government to play Dubai." Marc Lynch, Comment is Free, Guardian Unlimited, 22 February 2007. "American entertainment, for largely economic reasons, will lose relative standing in the global marketplace." Tyler Cowan, International Herald Tribune, 22 February 2007.

Psyops leaflets fall short.

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Around Kajaki, Afghanistan, "Psyops (psychological operations) leaflets dropped by Nato aircraft appear to have had no impact on the civilians either. Rather than focus on the potential employment opportunities afforded by the dam project, they have concentrated on the might of Nato bombing capabilities or defeating the Taleban. 'If the leaflets just say, "Get rid of the Taleban," then they’ll alienate a lot of the people they could get working.'" The Times, 23 February 2007.

Reuters to launch website for Africa.

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Reuters is to launch a consumer-targeted African news and information portal that will include a continent-wide network of local bloggers. Reuters Africa aims to bring together a range of financial news, breaking general news and features that the company's diverse and extensive network of reporters file from across the continent. ... 'We want to show that Africa can be covered as a business story, not just a disaster story. While it is true that African information is available from other sources, there is no single media I know that has the breadth of content Reuters has available.'" The Guardian, 22 February 2007.

Now broadcasting across the security fence (updated).

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"An English-language radio station based in Ramallah and financed by a Jewish South African went on air live this morning with the aim of providing a platform for 'peaceful dialogue' between Israelis and Palestinians. The station, 93.6 RAM FM, is based on the popular South African radio station, 702 Talk Radio, which its founders believe played a key role in the transition from the country's apartheid regime to democracy." Haaretz, 21 February 2007. "What we're aiming for is ultimately to be a talk station to enable Israelis and Palestinians to phone in and talk about issues that affect their lives." Jerusalem Post, 20 February 2007. See also AP, 20 February 2007. Update: "RAM FM is not your typical do-gooder, save-the-world, promote-a-cause media outlet parachuted into a challenging environment and run on remote control. It is a live on-the-spot commercial radio station aimed at a highly motivated market segment: English speakers in Palestine and Israel ready to talk about change." followthemedia.com, 22 February 2007.

More opposition to BBC plans for international web advertising (updated).

Posted: 23 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"A group of MPs, supported by BBC staff, have written an open letter to the BBC Trust, to be published in daily newspapers today, lobbying the trust to veto proposed advertising on its BBC.com international website." Brand Republic, 21 February 2007. "The BBC already carries advertising on its commercial outlets. These include Radio Times and other magazines; UKTV, the commercial TV service partly owned by BBC Worldwide; and BBC World, its global TV news channel. Indeed, the BBC World website already carries advertising for companies like Barclays, HSBC and Shell." BBC News, 21 February 2007. Update: BBC Trust says: "'For the BBC to meet its purpose internationally, it must invest more online. It cannot use the licence fee for this purpose.' But they said more work was needed on how advert revenues would be spent. A decision is expected later this spring." BBC News, 22 February 2007. See previous post on same subject.

Germany's "portal for dialogue with the Islamic World" adds Turkish.

Posted: 22 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Qantara.de "has been publishing articles online in German, English, and Arabic since March 2003. The online magazine is funded by the German Foreign Office as part of its "European-Islamic Cultural Dialogue" initiative, and supported by Deutsche Welle, the Goethe Institute, the Federal Centre for Political Education, and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa). Qantara.de examines intercultural commonalities and encourages dialogue without avoiding controversial issues." Deutsche Welle press release, 7 February 2007. See also www.qantara.de

This might be a story for Alhurra.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Coral Gables, Florida, based Terror Free Oil Initiative, that "purports to sell gas that originates from countries that do not support terrorism and from oil companies that don't do business in the Middle East" declined an Aljazeera English request to report about the company's gas station in Omaha, citing AJE's "ties to the Middle East." AJE responds: "What's terrifying about the decision by 'Terror-Free Oil' is that such ignorance and prejudice still exists in America. Al Jazeera English and our sister channel represent the first and strongest elements of a truly free press born in the Middle East, and are the cornerstones of democracy that all of us wish to take root in the region." Fox News, 21 February 2007.

Shortwave numbers stations back in the news.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"They can be transmitted by a man or woman, in any language, and some are even in Morris [sic] Code. The timing of number stations is also a mystery. They appear and disappear without any warming, rhyme or reason. According to shortwave radio enthusiasts, these number stations can be found all the way back to world war one. That would place them among the earliest radio broadcasts." KTVX TV (Salt Lake), 21 February 2007.

VOA sponsors youth soccer tournament in Burundi.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The staff of Ejo Bite? (What about the Future?), a youth-oriented VOA radio program ... reported and produced primarily by Burundian teenagers in refugee camps and in Burundi's priority repatriation areas ... 'planned the soccer tournament as a way of helping create a sense of community in Ngozi for recently returned refugees, to help ease some of their difficulties returning to their homeland.'" Voice of America press release, 21 February 2007.

How Edward Said's concept of orientalism might inform U.S. public diplomacy.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Overwrought language concerning a 'clash of civilizations' should be abandoned. ... The forces driving divisions between Western states and states in which non-Western values are dominant derive in part from enduring legacies of the colonial era. Acknowledging this context, and accounting for it in the policymaking process, could help alleviate deep-seated resentment of the West in certain societies." Oxford Analytica via Forbes, 21 February 2007.

The commonwealth of polysyllabic states.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Pridnestrovie, South Ossetia and Abkhazia use public diplomacy to seek recognition. The three states "founded the Community for Democracy and Human Rights, a joint international effort to speak with a common voice in the United Nations and other international venues where the rights of self-determination are often neglected. Two months ago, the organization launched a website at the Internet domain www.community-dpr.org with information about its member states and their desire for closer international relations with the world community." The Tiraspol Times, 22 February 2007.

Iran authorities use Radio Farda as excuse to close women's rights seminar.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The seminar launching the Campaign [to end Iran's discriminatory laws against women] was cancelled by security forces. We were told that 'the problem was not with the seminar itself, rather there was a problem with the fact that members, in promoting and announcing the seminar, had an interview with a foreign broadcast (Radio Farda).' So, it was that our seminar was banned and our Campaign targeted from the very start. Quickly, we too realized that no one has a problem our demands or the conference hall in which our seminar was being held, rather the problem is with the fact that we chose to inform the public about our seminar. We knew for certain that if we were to hold our seminar in an empty hall, delivering speeches to ourselves and for ourselves, there would be no problem." Payvand, 20 February 2007

How will the XM/Sirius merger affect international broadcasting?

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Sirius has BBC World Service (all news stream), World Radio Network, Radio Korea, and from Canada: CBC Radio One, Primiere Plus, Info Plus, and RCI plus. XM Satellite Radio has BBC World Service (full programming mix), Canada 360, and Quoi de neuf. Will some of these international channels be removed because of the merger? Or will the consolidation of the music channels make room for more international offerings? The companies, if the merger is approved, promise "broader selection of content, including a wide range of commercial-free music channels, exclusive and non-exclusive sports coverage, news, talk, and entertainment programming." See Sirius/XM press release, 19 February 2007.

More good news about Iraq from Alhurra.

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Al-Hurra TV aired a report on the story [about families returning to Iraq] and interviewed some of the returning Baghdadis, one man said 'those who returned earlier and saw the change in the situation called us and encouraged us to return, and I too will encourage the rest to come back'. The report showed those families asking the army to stay and not abandon their neighborhood, and showed the officer in charge giving his number to the locals so that they can contact him directly in case of emergency." Iraq the Model, 19 February 2007.

Whatever happened to Bob Holness?

Posted: 21 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
The 78 year old former host of "Anything Goes" on BBC World Service is recovering from several strokes. Daily Mail, 20 February 2007. Bob Holness was also host of programs on BBC domestic radio and television. On his Anything Goes program he would take requests for any genre of music from World Service listeners all over the world. It was good radio, because of Holness' personable delivery, and a good international experience because of the participation of listeners from all parts. BBC World Servive took Anything Goes off the air in 1998, perhaps because the program had a whiff of the old British Empire to it, or because it was hardly in line was the Cool Britannia movement of that time. Those were the same reasons I liked Anything Goes.

Kenyan official again tells international rebroadcasters: reciprocate or ship out.

Posted: 19 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Foreign Countries with broadcasting frequencies in Kenya will from now on be expected to offer the same on a reciprocal basis or ship out of Kenya. Foreign Countries with broadcasting frequencies in Kenya will from now on be expected to offer the same on a reciprocal basis or ship out of Kenya." Kenya London News, 20 February 2007. It would therefore not be a good idea to decommission those shortwave transmitters. See previous post on same subject.

Transition at CNN International.

Posted: 19 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Managing director Chris Cramer prepares to depart. "CNN International's networks are now in 200 million homes compared to around 80 million in 1996, and 95 per cent of the programming does not appear in the US. Only three of the 'American' signature programmes appear regularly on CNN International." Raymond Snoddy, The Independent, 19 February 2007. Cramer will receive International Achievement Award from the North American Broadcasters Association. Indiantelevision.com, 19 February 2007.

What's Arabic for "And thus I clothe my naked villainy/With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ"?

Posted: 19 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Royal Shakespeare Company will present Richard III in Arabic. "I decided to move into a very different context - that of a television studio like al-Jazeera's or another Arab satellite TV station. They're presenting a sort of religious programme which is being taken over by these opportunists who are using religion very much for their own ends." BBC News, 19 February 2007.

Year of the Pig via CRI.

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"For a global taste of how the Chinese are spending the Pig Year in other countries, including of course the land of their ancestors, a good broadcaster to start is China Radio International (CRI) from Beijing. CRI, which has been widely lauded for its top programming, can be heard in English in Malaysia every day from 8pm to 10pm." The frequencies on shortwaves are: 13.41 (medium wave) [sic: should be 1341 kHz], 11.980kHz, 25m; 9.730kHz, 31m; and 15.180kHz, 19m." Anthony Thanasayan, The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 18 February 2007.

Watching international television while abroad.

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"When milling around my room preparing to go out, I like CNN International for stories that would be sidebars or invisible in the United States. I vividly remember watching in-depth coverage of the land distribution in Zimbabwe in a hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland, and feeling shocked and ashamed of how little I knew about the violent upheaval." Sophia Dembling, Dallas Morning News, 18 February 2007. "Back in London, CNN International is all about Anna Nicole." Chelsea Cain, The Oregonian, 18 February 2007.

Satellite dish crackdown in Cuba (updated again).

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The most recent maneuver against the Cuban people and their Revolution was the illegal renting of Direct TV and Dish satellites ... . As a result of this, Granma revealed today the detention of two illegal manufacturers of satellite equipment, whose materials were confiscated and a penal process imposed for engaging in illicit economic activities." Prensa Latina, 8 February 2007. "Just two months after the U.S. government announced it would transmit TV Martí, its anti-Castro propaganda channel, on Direct TV -- which Cubans can watch with banned satellite dishes -- Cuban authorities appear to be going after the illegal signals with a vengeance." Miami Herald, 10 February 2007. "There is a government-approved satellite television service in Cuba, but it's offered only to resident foreigners, tourists and a select group of officials, and subscribers need a special license to receive the Florida programming." AP, 8 February 2007. In the third of his articles about the possibility of extending TV Martí to the entire Hemisphere, Alvin Snyder comments about VOA's present model of program placement on domestic Latin American stations: "It's not so much the number of affiliates that run programs or program excerpts from the U.S., but the power and reach of those stations, the time of broadcast, and finally authenticating actual placement." USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 8 February 2007. See previous post about TV Martí. "For all the government's concern over subversive US-sponsored programs transmitted from Miami by Radio and Television Marti, many Cubans say they are not in the least interested in politics when they tune in their illegal programming. They just want to escape from everyday worries, and tune out." AFP, 14 February 2007. Update: "Concealed on rooftops throughout Havana, thousands of illegal satellite antennas have become one more symbol of the ceaseless efforts by communist authorities to control the information that flows to the island and by hard-line exiles across the Florida Straits to undermine the government of ailing president Fidel Castro. Many Cubans who rely on state-controlled media for entertainment and news are caught in the middle. They merely seek to circumvent the tired political rhetoric coming from both sides, they say." Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), 18 February 2007.

Shortwave history in the news.

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
George Scott "got into Ham radios in the mid-1960s while serving in the Army and stationed in Greece. When the Greek government was overthrown and all media were squelched, Scott and his counterparts would have been left in the dark if not for shortwave and Ham radio technology." Yuma Sun, 17 February 2007. At Fish Harbor, California, in 1942, Japanese immigrants' homes "were ransacked of shortwave radios, weapons, cameras and anything in Japanese writing." Rafu Shimpo, 18 February 2007.

Iranian PD woos Brazil, while Australian PD woos funding.

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Australia spends a meagre 17c a person on 'cultural diplomacy', compared with $19 a head in Britain, a(n Australian) Senate inquiry has heard." The Canberra Times, 18 February 2007. "Iran and Brazil launched their friendship association in an effort to expand mutual ties and cooperation. The association, which deals with scientific, cultural and economic issues, has been formed to develop and consolidate relations between Tehran and Brasilia and utilize potentials existing on both sides, specially considering the Islamic Republic's policy for expanding ties with Latin states." Fars News Agency, 17 February 2007.

Karen Hughes visits Iraq.

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Rice was accompanied by Karen Hughes, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, whose job includes trying to improve America's image in the Muslim world. Hughes hadn't previously visited Iraq." Austin American-Statesman, 18 February 2007. "Q: Is TV still the main outreach? Even beyond the Internet? Hughes: We just a few weeks ago, for the first time, engaged in Arabic on blogs. We have what's called here a 'digital outreach team' . . . that is actively going on the Arabic blogs and responding to misinformation and disinformation and propaganda and rumors with facts. And we're very above board that it's the digital outreach team of the State Department." Austin American-Statesman, 18 February 2007. "The military's encroachment into traditionally civilian activities risks blurring lines of authority and weakening the secretary of state's lead role in foreign policy." Senator Richard Lugar, Washington Times, 18 February 2007.

VOA history in the news.

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Voice of America taped [Thelonius Monk at Carnegie Hall in 1957], and the recordings landed at the Library of Congress, where they sat untouched until an archivist tripped across them in 2005. The discovery was heralded as one of the great jazz finds." Kansas City Star, 18 February 2007. Media Heritage Inc. is collecting Cincinnati area local broadcasting history at the Voice of America Museum (former Bethany transmitting site) in West Chester Township. Cincinnati Enquirer, 18 February 2007.

Will he teach the seminar on public diplomacy phraseology? (updated)

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
The State Department's Alberto Miguel Fernandez will go to the George Washington University to be its second Public Diplomacy Fellow. "Mr. Fernandez, who heads pubic diplomacy at the Bureau of Near East Affairs, generated enormous controversy recently when reportedly telling Al Jazeera television that the United States has shown 'arrogance' and 'stupidity' in Iraq." Washington Times, 13 February 2007. Update: Fernandez: "Propaganda is one thing and reality is another thing. The reality is that Venezuela is not free from threats [from Al Qaeda]." El Universal (Caracas), 16 February 2007. See previous post about Fernandez.

More reaction to proposed VOA language cuts (updated).

Posted: 18 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"With Russian President Vladimir Putin bullying his neighbors, manipulating the Russian media and throwing increasingly audacious anti-American tantrums, one would think U.S. policymakers would have the sense at least to maintain relatively modest VOA operations in and around the Russian Federation." Editorial, Washington Post, 16 February 2007. "There are many other noncritical programs within the U.S. international broadcasting bureaucracy controlled by the BBG. Reducing these support programs instead could easily pay for new programming to the Middle East and for the much needed enhancement of programs to countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and China." Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline.org, 13 February 2007. "The closure of the Uzbek Voice of America service is like cutting off the oxygen to a young democracy. Its audience includes Uzbeks in Kazakstan, Tajikistan and other countries." Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 16 February 2007. Update: "Were we to eliminate farm subsidies to a certain presidential candidate’s home state, we could add more than 50% to the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ budget request." Nathan Hamm, Registan.net, 16 February 2007. "The media are unhappy about the disappearance of the Russian-language Voice of America. Commentators are concerned that the U.S. may switch its efforts to the Muslim world, although the situation with freedom of the media in Russia leaves much to be desired." RIA Novosti, 16 February 2007. See previous post on same subject.

Decline of the All India Radio Tibetan Service.

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"This station that played a crucial role in enlightening the Tibetan people and the Tibetan-speaking community in the Himalayan region, and in the promotion of India's strategic interest since the late 1950s is today on the verge of disappearance. According to people who know the situation things have reached such a stage that there is not even one permanent broadcaster/journalist at the AIR Tibetan service. All the permanent staff members have retired with no one having been appointed to replace them." Bhuchung K. Tsering, Phayul.com, 16 February 2007.

Arab and Iranian bloggers challenge regimes -- and obsolete international broadcasting?

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"[Internet] is a new threat just the way Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and BBC were a threat in the post World War II years." Poynter Online, 14 February 2007. International broadcast audiences are mainly seeking news. A good multilingual news website, if not blocked, might replace a good international radio station. But blogs are generally not satisfactory sources of news.

BBC plans for international web advertising do not click with UK online media companies.

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
British Online Publishers Alliance says "online advertising on the BBC would hit the revenues its own members could make online. The group also claims that showing advertising to non-UK readers of BBC websites would also undermine the BBC's 'worldwide reputation for integrity and impartiality.'" domain-b.com, 16 February 2007. "So-called geo-IP technology would ensure that only non-UK users of the site would see the advertising, although critics argue that the technology is not 100% reliable." BBC News, 16 February 2007.

DRM in the news, in India and elsewhere (updated).

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Short Wave bands will be digitalised first and this can be achieved by 2015, provided the Planning Commission releases the entire amount, but medium wave 'which is the poor man's band' will not be fully digitalised and more specifically, there will not be complete switch off from analogue to digital radio. ... 'As of now, most countries are using DRM technology for SW for their external broadcasting.'" Indiantelevision.com, 10 February 2007. Most countries are not yet using DRM for shortwave international broadcasting. "The two big advantages of DRM is that it can be broadcast via existing AM transmitters, so no need for all that expensive investment. Second, and more important, DRM signals are stronger and can be broadcast for much longer distances than DAB." John Plunkett, Guardian Unlimited, 12 February 2007. "RadioScape is now shipping the RS500 module, which provides reception for DAB (Band-III and L-Band), DRM (LW, MW and SW), FM-RDS AM (LW, MW and SW) including AMSS, automatic alternative frequency switching (AFS), EPG (DAB), SDCARD recording (DAB/DRM) and playback of MP3/WMA files. RadioScape says Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is taking off." Components in Electronics, January 2007. Update: "The first digital transmitter for All India Radio (AIR) on the short wave is already going through a successful trial run, officials say." Indiantelevision.com, 15 February 2007. See previous post about DRM in India and about a BBC trial of DRM for domestic medium wave.

Inspired by James Brown on the shortwave.

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"As a child growing up in a small village in Kenya, (Victor Sila of Sila and the Afrofunk Experience) remembers tuning in to a shortwave radio for the latest pop offerings from the West. By way of a faint, crackling radio signal, Sila first became acquainted with the guttural howls and shrieks of the Minister of Funk. 'One of the first James Brown songs I remember hearing on shortwave radio was "I Feel Good." Growing up very poor in my village and having a song like that play on the radio was very inspiring.'" San Francisco Examiner, 15 February 2007.

Why RFI got the boot from Djibouti.

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
French authorities are investigating the role of Djiboutian president Ismael Omar Guelleh in the 1995 death of French judge Bernard Borrel. "The state-owned 'Radio France Internationale' (RFI) - which at the time was widely received and listened to in Djibouti - became so instrumental in the case that it had dedicated a special programme on the Borrel case, thus questioning the integrity of the Djiboutian authorities at home. The Djiboutian government decided to close the 'RFI' transmitter in the country in January last year." afrol News, 15 February 2007.

Perhaps not the most resounding assurance of media freedom.

Posted: 16 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Prime minister of Malaysia tells Aljazeera: "We are not imposing on you any conditions. You have the freedom to operate this station in the way you want to because we believe you will be fair." International Herald Tribune, 16 February 2007. See also Bernama, 16 February 2007. As far as I know, Aljazeera is on a subscription satellite service in Malysia, but not on any cable or terrestrial outlets.

VOA takes flak from the starboard.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has released a pair of bombshell reports on U.S. government broadcasting to Iran, writing to President George W. Bush that the broadcasts 'undermine U.S. policy on Iran, often even supporting the propaganda of the Islamic Republic of Iran.'" Kenneth R. Timmerman, NewsMax.com, 14 February 2007. See also documents at Senator Coburn's website. "The solution? Coburn wants Bush to throw out the VOA board of governors and just turn VOA into a straight-up Nazi propaganda broadcaster. That’ll learn ‘em about our precious freedoms!" Wonkette, 12 February 2007. "High intensity propaganda like the effective operation of Voice of America beyond the Iron Curtain, broadcasting from Iraq's long borders and satellites, as well as clandestine intervention, may also help strengthen the internal opposition." Unnamed columnist, New York Sun, 14 February 2007. At an American Enterprise Institute event, a "questioner was not so polite. In heavily accented English, he asked a rambling and difficult to understand question, the gist of which was: How dare Ayaan Ali call the United States a democracy when it cast so many of its own people into poverty and was responsible for so much poverty and misery throughout the world. His employer? The Voice of America." David Frum, National Review Online, 14 February 2007.

Overcoming China's anti-democracy.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"It is insufficient to utter the word 'democracy' endlessly without acknowledging valid reasons for skepticism. The American government should issue fact sheets, brochures, and public statements about the freedoms that democratic countries enjoy and why the risks involved in transitions from authoritarianism to democracy are worth taking. It should meet head on, rather than ignore or dismiss, a central debate in the war of ideas against authoritarianism." Ying Ma, Policy Review, February/March 2007.

Tough market for international broadcasting.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Rwanda's "governmental press has ... been displaying hostility towards some news media, especially the US public radio station Voice of America (VOA). During a news conference on 2 February, Franck Ndamage, a journalist with the state-owned weekly Imvaho Nshya, even called for VOA’s closure for alleged bias in favour of the Rwandan opposition. After expelling Sonia Rolley, the correspondent of the French public radio station, Radio France Internationale (RFI), without any explanation in June 2006, the government ordered the closure of RFI’s local FM relay station in November after breaking off diplomatic relations with France." Reporters sans frontières, 13 February 2007.

Is that your toddler watching BBC in high definition?

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Former WB Network chairman Garth Ancier has been named president of BBC Worldwide Americas' U.S. operations, part of a corporate restructure that will bring all of the company's U.S. activity under the leadership of one person. In the newly created post, Ancier will be responsible for developing the BBC brand in the U.S., including expanding BBC Worldwide's portfolio of channels, which includes the flagship cable channel BBC America, now in more than 53 million homes. Management also has expressed a desire to expand its BBC World news channel in the U.S. (it's now in about 2 million homes) and to launch a preschool kids channel and a high-definition channel." The Hollywood Reporter, 14 February 2007.

An essay on America in an unpopular stretch.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"A generation or two ago, most of us, wherever we lived, loved the generous self-satisfaction of it, if not in the general, at least in the particular. The GI was not then a sort of goggled monster in padded armour, but a cheerful fellow chatting up the girls and distributing candy not as a matter of policy, but out of plain goodwill - everyone's friendly guy next door. To millions of radio listeners around the world, the Voice of America was a voice of decency, and one could watch the lachrymose patriotic rituals of America - the hand on heart, the misty-eyed salute to the flag - with more affection than irony." Jan Morris, The Guardian, 14 February 2007.

Well, the program has a very North Korean sounding name (updated).

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Ha Tae Kyung, the president of Open Radio for North Korea (ORNK), a shortwave radio broadcast company that targets NK, said that ORNK is going to start the program titled, 'the second aid movement for North Korean people.' Its goal is to promote a public campaign for participating in broadcasting to North Korean people and to open the real path for real reconciliation between North and South Korean people." The Daily NK, 13 February 2007. Update: "Recently, North Korean authorities have been going to great attempts to inhibit the infiltration of radio broadcasts, TV’s and VCD’s which defame the regime. ... 'Since the late 90’s, Chinese and Korean culture has rapidly entered North Korea through China. It is an open secret that youths share and watch copies of Korean dramas and movies.'" Daily NK, 14 February 2007.

VOA's three-part television series about life in Cuba.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The series, entitled Reporter's Notebook, was shot on the island two weeks ago by a freelance team on assignment to VOA who had gained surreptitious access to Cuba. Through candid interviews with ordinary Cubans as they go about their lives, the series seeks to shed light on Cuba's current economic struggles, its government's efforts to control media and its citizens' desire for a better future. Images of those interviewed were withheld to protect their identities." Voice of America press release, 12 February 2007.

Not a recommended way to make money from international broadcasting.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"A TV Martí executive charged with failing to disclose about $112,000 in kickbacks he pocketed from a video vendor pleaded guilty Tuesday in Miami federal court. Jose M. Miranda, nicknamed 'Chema,' accepted about 73 checks from Perfect Image Film and Video Productions from November 2001 to December 2004 while the vendor was doing business with the TV Martí operation. ... A spokesman for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the broadcasting office, said Miranda had been placed on administrative leave and faced suspension without pay until the case was resolved. Miranda earned $103,000 yearly at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, federal records show." Miami Herald, 14 February 2007. "Based on evidence gathered from interviews and documents, defendant Miranda was receiving as much as 50% of the monies paid by TV Marti to the vendor. ... A copy of all press releases may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov." LawFuel.com, 13 February 2007.

A story that needs a second source.

Posted: 14 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"CNN International has launched broadcasting a weekly TV programme that aims at promoting Ethiopia's tourist attractions and the culture and norms of its nations and nationalities. The transmission that started yesterday is organized in accordance with the agreement reached between [pro Ethiopian government] Walta Information Centre and CNN International to introduce to the world the positive images of the country in the spheres of culture and tourism." Nazret.com, 14 February 2007. I would guess this is referring to paid advertisements on CNN International.

Former U.S. public diplomacy official now advising foreign governments on their public diplomacy.

Posted: 13 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Matt J. Lauer, former executive director of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy at the Department of State, joined Qorvis in 2004. Lauer provides strategic counsel and media relations to a large number of clients, including foreign governments, multinational corporations, and industry coalitions." Qorvis Communications press release, 12 February 2007.

Arab viewers see America, unpolished.

Posted: 13 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Popular pan-Arab channel MBC purchases On the Road in America series from U.S. non-profit Layalina Productions. "Mazen Hayek, the head of MBC's marketing and public relations, says the station's interest in buying On the Road to America was to show that there was common ground between Americans and Arabs despite US foreign policy. Although American entertainment is popular in the region, it provides only a 'snapshot' of the country. 'On the Road to America has an unpolished image of America through the eyes of students, normal people. It feels real, and it shows cross-cultural interaction.'" Financial Times, 12 February 2007. On VOA's Talk to America, 6 February (midway through the program), I interviewed Richard Fairbanks, chairman of Layalina. I also botched their URL, which should be www.layalina.tv.

An international broadcasting could-have-done?

Posted: 13 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Senior officials in the Administration could have taken control of the process. They could have publicly and frequently denounced the slaughter. They could have branded the crimes 'genocide' at a far earlier stage. They could have called for the expulsion of the Rwandan delegation from the Security Council. On the telephone, at the UN, and on the Voice of America they could have threatened to prosecute those complicit in the genocide, naming names when possible. They could have deployed Pentagon assets to jam 'even temporarily' the crucial, deadly radio broadcasts." Dallaire, The Malysia Sun, 13 February 2007.

U.S. conduit for Aljazeera English wants other cable channels.

Posted: 12 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"If you want English broadcasts from Al Jazeera, the Arab TV news channel, Internet cable TV provider VDC Corp. has a deal for you. But if your programming tastes are a little different, well, stay tuned. VDC, which started offering live streaming video over the Internet last spring, has struck out repeatedly trying to buy the broad range of TV programming it wants, mostly due to resistance from the cable television industry and its suppliers." Chicago Tribune, 11 February 2007. Aljazeera English is the only foreign broadcaster in the modest VDC channel lineup, which costs nine dollars a month.

Head of RFI repeats proposal to "mutualize" French international broadcasting.

Posted: 12 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Radio France International president Antoine Schwarz "repeated the call first made in a Le Monde op-ed column last December to 'mutualize' RFI, France 24 and TV5. He suggested a single State structure, perhaps SOFIRAD. Schwarz also proposed a European international broadcast service to 'affirm a European dimension' financed by the European Union." followthemedia.com, 13 February 2007. Doesn't the new global distribution of Euronews satisfy his EU proposal? "Le PDG de RFI a donné en exemple 'l'immense rédaction' de BBC News, avec ses 2000 journalistes et ses 58 bureaux, qui travaille désormais en multimédia." AFP, 8 February 2007. In the case of BBC, it's not only the consolidation of international broadcasting, but also a partnership with the domestic broadcasting entity.

Telesur on new free-to-air satellite, and future plans.

Posted: 12 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"From February 9th, the new TV station of the South Telesur will change its satellite signal to an open-signal broadcasting in Venezuela. ... Furthermore, Telesur autohorities plans to launch its signal in Europe by next May 2007, first starting operations in Madrid, Spain and London, England. In addition, Telesur plans to open a sport channel and an international news channel in a medium term." Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, 9 February 2007. The report provides no details of the new satellite service, but Lyngsat reports that Telesur is now on Intelsat 1R (formerly PAS 1R) ku-band, with strongest beams into Venezuelan and other South American urban concentrations.

A New Zealander who watches DW- and VOA-TV (updated).

Posted: 11 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Triangle television - the little community/access station now transmitting in both Auckland and Wellington - should have picked up Al Jazeera for late-night broadcast, offering ideal deprogramming for any unfortunate viewers caught like possums in the headlights of the Fox juggernaut or bored to tears by the patronising monotone of the Beeb... . In Auckland at least, Triangle has long been a refuge for anyone interested in offbeat mainstream international news brands. It carries both Deutsche Welle, the stolid and relentlessly sensible German world service, and a Voice of America package of The McLaughlin Group and the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer." Finlay Macdonald, Sunday Star Times (Auckland), 7 February 2007. Update: I am informed by Jim Blackman, CEO of Triangle Television, that his station does rebroadcast Aljazeera English programming at various times during the day. See www.tritv.co.nz.

Obviously hoping for a multiplier effect.

Posted: 10 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
BBC Hindi's Your World, Your Voice campaign in northern India reached over 73,000 people through audience participation and promotional activities. In responses to questionnaires, "the local residents expressed demand for increased air-time of BBC Hindi's Hum Se Poochiye (Ask Us) and Career Kya Karoon (Career Advice). They also want more content on health, science and arts as well as entertainment." BBC World Service press release, 8 February 2007. That works out to about 0.03% of India's Hindi-speaking population, age 15 plus. But this is more positive than U.S. international broadcasting: VOA Hindi is slated to end its radio broadcasts, shifting to whatever television placement it can get in India.

Is the president's speech *still* continuing?

Posted: 10 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Foreign TV networks are broadcasting live the speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday at Azadi Square here. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), French TV's Channel 24, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera's English channel, Arab-language Al-Arabiya channel and Iranian international Al-Alam channel are among the international TV channels covering the event directly. The president's speech is still continuing." IRNA, 11 February 2007.

Global Voice: Britain's Future in International Broadcasting

Posted: 10 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
is introduced by Richard Sambrook, director of BBC Global News. Its eleven essayists include Joseph S. Nye Jr. and Nicholas J. Cull, who writes, "Audiences are hurt by the disappearance of international voices from their media market. As Americans and their broadcasters once lobbied to preserve British international broadcasting so British voices should now be calling for the protection of Voice of America in English and the full breadth of America’s international broadcasting." The 114 page publication is available as a .pdf document at Mr. Sambook's personal SacredFacts blog, 5 February 2007.

When a post-doctoral fellow discusses public diplomacy...

Posted: 10 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Students of rhetoric often refer to Kenneth Burke's notion of 'terministic screens' to illustrate how language can selectively narrow interpretations of reality within rhetorical discourse. Burke also observes that, 'there is kind of a terministic compulsion to carry out the implication's of one’s terminology.' Following this logic, if the U.S. describes the terrain of public diplomacy policy as a kind of branding milieu, then its policies will reflect this -- including all the advantages and disadvantages that such a communication policy would entail." Craig Hayden, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 9 February 2007.

Reaction to proposed U.S. international broadcasting language cuts and additions.

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"It's true that the Bush Administration's FY2008 budget calls for enhancing U.S. broadcasting to countries that are some of the worst violators of human rights and press freedom: North Korea, Iran and Cuba. But the BBG again failed to convince the budget planners at the White House that media freedom is also under severe threat in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tibet and China." Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline.org, 6 February 2007. "Since 1947 Russian-speaking 'Voice of America' was only one source of alternative information for citizens of USSR. Now the USA decided to stop financing of the project and to direct these funds to development of broadcast in Moslem countries." forUm, 10 February 2007. Proposal would eliminate VOA Russian radio, but keep television. "Tamara Kaleeva, president of Adil Soz, a Kazakstan-based free speech group, said that despite its comparatively small audience, Radio Azattyk [RFE/RL Kazakh] plays an important role in providing an alternative to the mainstream domestic media." Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 8 February 2007. RFE/RL Acting President Jeffrey Trimble: "We are eager to continue to enrich our programming for Iran, and while RFE/RL programming to Romania and Macedonia remain popular in those countries, the elimination of these broadcasts and other proposed reductions are necessary to allow the BBG to achieve its stated priority of strengthening targeted programming to provide essential access to news and information to critical audiences." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 6 February 2007. See previous post about the proposed international broadcasting budget. Also my charts of proposed cuts/additions for FY 2008 and not yet implemented but still (mostly) in effect proposal for FY 2007.

VOA reports on the "wart" in "warts and all."

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Attitudes towards the United States have become increasingly negative among people in the Middle East and other parts of the world, according to recent international public opinion polls. Experts agree that the war in Iraq is a major reason behind the shift, but they disagree on how to reverse the trend. Some believe a policy change is the answer, while others stress the need to bolster America's public diplomacy." VOA News, 7 February 2007.

VOA history in the news.

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Khen Chen, a broadcaster for the Voice of America's Cambodian Service, has retired after 44 years with the agency. She was best known for being on air April 15, 1998, with a report that Khmer Rouge officials had decided to turn former leader Pol Pot over to an international tribunal to face trial for crimes against humanity. According to the Far Eastern Economic Review, Pol Pot listened to VOA every night and, shortly after hearing Chen's broadcast, died." Washington Post, 9 February 2007. A Hawaiian state project at the former Voice of America transmitter site in Ma‘ili would house approximately 220 homeless people. Hawaii Reporter, 10 February 2007.

Former VOA director skewers the MTV model of U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The BBG has achieved part of its objective in gaining large youth audiences in some areas of the Middle East, such as in Amman, Jordan, where it has an FM transmitter. But as the Jordanian journalist Jamil Nimri told me: 'Radio Sawa is fun, but it's irrelevant.' We do not teach civics to American teenagers by asking them to listen to pop music, so why should we expect Arabs and Persians to learn about America or democracy this way? The condescension implicit in this nearly all-music format is not lost on the audience that we should wish to influence the most -- those who think." Robert R. Reilly, Washington Post, 9 February 2007. Using Alhurra television for the news and information "freight," while using a music format on radio to reach youtful audiences, does make sense in light of media use patterns in the Arab world. Radio Sawa is one the few instances where a mass, rather than elite, strategy of international broadcasting seems to be working. But when domestic radio in Arab countries becomes more competitive, Radio Sawa may lose its present advantage. The Broadcasting Board of Governors has embraced a mass strategy of international broadcasting, but, in general, an elite strategy has a much higher chance of success.

How Europe should speak to Iran.

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"We need a skilful public diplomacy, media innovations like the BBC's new Farsi-language television service, people-to-people contacts, and a hundred other initiatives to inform and to open up Iranian society. Europe has not begun to unfold its full potential in this regard. The effects will only be apparent over a number of years, but it may be a number of years before Iran is within striking distance of making nuclear weapons." Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, 8 February 2007.

Aljazeera English covers Georgia mayor's conversion to Islam.

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"A crew from the English language service of Arab broadcast network Al Jazeera is in Macon today shooting a feature piece on Mayor C. Jack Ellis’ conversion to Islam and impending name change." WMGT-TV (Macon GA), 6 February 2007. "Al-Jazeera finds this a fascinating story because it celebrates the diversity - racial, religious, certainly cultural and ethnically - that the United States stands for." Macon Telegraph, 7 February 2007.

You mean they were not already in a single division?

Posted: 09 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's new "International division would now include Radio Australia, Australia Network and International Projects." The current head of Radio Australia, Jean-Gabriel Manguy, will "stand down from the leadership of Radio Australia in order to take up another senior role with the Corporation." ABC press release, 7 February 2007. "The new International division ... is largely welcomed as a pulling together of the efforts of Radio Australia and the television arm Ausnet. Competition in the international media arena is getting much tougher. Cheaper satellites have made it easier for many national broadcasters to set up their own international divisions. Better marketing and better management are needed, insiders say – and this has profound implications for Australia’s place and influence in the region." Margaret Simons, Crikey, 8 February 2007.

We're starting a news channel. But not right away.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Radio Television Malaysia " will continue with its plan to have an international channel with the launch of Measat 3 recently, Director-General of Broadcasting Datuk Abdul Rahman Hamid says." Bernama, 3 February 2007. "Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will not be hasty in setting up an international news channel although technically it has the capacity to do so, said Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin." Bernama, 5 February 2007.

Satellite gambit by deposed Thai prime minister?

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Government officials are scrambling to verify rumours that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has rented a Chinese satellite to beam attacks against the junta into Thailand." The Nation (Bangkok), 5 February 2007. "China will not allow deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to use its territory as a launch pad to attack Thailand and Thai citizens, Chinese ambassador to Bangkok Zhang Jiuhuan said Tuesday." The Nation, 6 February 2007.

New international distribution of CNN via mobiles.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Turner will provide news and entertainment material such as CNN International and programs from the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, while Ericsson will host and deliver the content management technology. Ericsson said the first services will be launched in Europe on Feb. 12, bringing a new CNN Mobile service to users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa." AP, 5 February 2007

Moving power line broadband interference from the shortwave amateur bands to the shortwave broadcast bands.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Since existing PLC technologies sit in the 3 to 30MHz band, concern has often been expressed regarding the prospect of powerline communication interfering with radio broadcasts. Certainly, technologies using spread spectrum techniques or orthogonal division multiplexing (OFDM) across a large part of the short-wave band can cause problems (Figure 2). Conversely, POEM technology's detect and avoid scheme effectively moves carrier signals to avoid interference with any amateur radio band in local use (Figure 3). This has long been demanded by the amateur radio and broadcast community as the only effective way of ensuring local radio users are not disturbed by powerline carriers." ECN Asia, February 2007. Power line communication (PLC) is called broadband over power line (BPL) in the United States.

From Vermont, another example of BBC World Service on a digital side channel.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"For those with HD digital radios, a new technology, the separate station concept is already on air. The digital technology allows for separate channels at one spot on the dial, in this case 107.9. Currently the channels are VPR, the all-classical station and programming from BBC World." Burlington Free Press, 6 February 2007. I assume that is BBC World Service, the radio service, rather than BBC World, the television news channel.

Alhurra might actually be flattered.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"While sectarian parties such as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa control several newspapers and TV stations, there's no real outlet for liberal ideas. Even the U.S.-sponsored Al-Hurra ('The Free One'), [Mithal al-Alusi, head of the Iraq Nation Party] laments, often seems little better than a facsimile of Al-Jazeera." Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, 6 February 2007.

Israeli website reports about Aljazeera.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"It sometimes seems like al-Jazeera really does reach everywhere in the world. During the summer’s war in Lebanon Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah granted the station a special interview from his hiding place, and Osama bin Laden has given Al Jazeera videotapes to broadcast. All of this was apparently done with the understanding that the station is the pan-Arab arena of today. It is so widely viewed that in poor countries such as Mauritania, Sudan, and Somalia, al-Jazeera’s TV programs are broadcast on radio." ynetnews, 6 February 2007.

First international broadcaster to offer a master's degree?

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Deutsche Welle has announced it is establishing an educational center in Bonn that will combine theoretical and practical training for up to 40 journalists and media managers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The proposed two-year applied course of study will lead to an internationally recognized master's degree." followthemedia.com, 6 February 2007. Belarus authorities claim "Yuliya Salnikava, having no accreditation as a representative of foreign mass media, is performing work of a journalist at the territory of Belarus for two foreign radio stations, Deutsche Welle (Germany) and Radio Racyja (Poland)." Charter 97, 6 February 2007. Grahame Lucas is new head of the DW's South Asia Service. DW press release, 29 January 2007. See also DW Facts and Figures.

Cuba grumbles about Radio/TV Martí via U.S. private stations.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Acquisition of air time on WMPF-TV and WAQI radio are "new ways to get their meddlesome and subversive messages, designed to destabilize the Cuban revolution, seen and heard in our country," writes Granma, cited by AP, 5 February 2007. Several news outlets use the headline "Cuba blasts U.S. move to sell TV Martí to Miami station," even though it is Radio/TV Martí that is paying for the time. See previous post about same subject. "Should Raul Castro allow Cubans to open their own businesses, in order to meet the pent up expectations of Cuba's youth for jobs and better pay, Mr. Bush could remove restrictions that block the sale of computers, televisions and radios, thereby enhancing the flow of information and ideas that would prompt more and faster political as well as economic reform." Vicki Huddleston, Washington Times, 6 February 2007.

U.S. international broadcasting ranks at bottom in job satisfaction survey.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Homeland Security is the largest agency to rank at the bottom of the employee survey, but it’s not alone. Employees at the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Small Business Administration also registered deep dissatisfaction with their jobs and leaders. Both independent agencies have had controversial leaders. Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, who railed against a perceived liberal bias in public broadcasting programs during his four years as chairman, withdrew his renomination to the post Jan. 9 amid allegations that he misused government funds while chairman. ... The Broadcasting Board of Governors intends to analyze the survey results but didn’t have any immediate comments, an agency spokesman said." Federal Times, 5 February 2007.

Thanks

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
to everyone who tuned in to my appearance on VOA's Talk to America, 6 February 2007. Audio of the program is available here.

More VOA language service cuts in 2008 federal budget proposal.

Posted: 06 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
VOA to eliminate, while RFE/RL keeps, Uzbek. Both VOA and Radio Free Asia will drop Cantonese. See chart for reductions and expansions proposed for FY 2008. Proposals for cuts and reductions in FY 2007, not yet implemented, remain in effect, except that VOA Turkish is reprieved. See updated FY 2007 chart. Broadcasting Board of Governers' headline: "Broadcasting Budget Strengthens Targeted Programming." BBG press release, 5 February 2007. "VOA would eliminate all 14 hours per day of VOA News Now English broadcasting." VOA News, 5 February 2007.

Anti-Chavez voices on South Florida radio stations.

Posted: 03 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Venezuelan exiles say they want to use talk radio much in the same way Cuban-Americans have for decades. Many also hope the U.S. government eventually will finance a Radio Marti-style station for their country. The idea gained traction in a bill sponsored by Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., in 2005. So far, however, the government's only plans are to increase the Voice of America's Venezuela programming." South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4 February 2007.

More international television into Malaysia.

Posted: 03 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Astro is now offering Aljazeera English, BBC Entertainment, and Taiwan's ETTV Asia. The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 4 February 2007. Astro is Malaysia's subscription direct-to-home satellite television, with " 55 channels to more than 1.93 million subscribers, or some 35% of television homes." Astro is Malaysia's only outlet for Aljazeera English, even though AJE has one of its major anchor centers in Kuala Lumpur.

The public diplomacy cavalry.

Posted: 03 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The U.S. government is ... cluelessly clinging to a media and public relations strategy best suited for the day before yesterday. The president put in charge of public diplomacy an old friend, Karen Hughes, whose best-known sortie in this job was a 'listening tour' of the Mideast that more or less flopped. In earlier times, it might have been acceptable to put America's propaganda operation in the hands of a conventional political operative. But we are now living in a time when something as crude as a grainy cellphone video of Saddam Hussein's execution can rocket around the Arab world in a day or two via the Internet and do more damage to America's policy in Iraq – in terms of further radicalizing Sunnis in Iraq and in the region – than a month of car bombs. ... It's like sending the Polish cavalry forward to engage the Wehrmacht. Is this the best we can do?" Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News, 4 February 2007. "Efforts to implement cultural conservatism as a tool of public diplomacy invite constant self-doubt and embolden increasingly censorious impulses among foreign commisars struggling to stem the raucous tide of cultural creativity." penandneedle, TPM Cafe, 3 February 2007.

This may turn off the target youth audience in Iran, but will be loved by the target audience of pundits in Washington (updated).

Posted: 03 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio Farda has added 30 minutes to its main evening news program, doubling its length to one hour and increasing the total amount of daily news and information programming to Iran to nearly nine hours, more than any other Persian-language international broadcaster." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 1 February 2007. See previous posts about Radio Farda on 17 January, 6 January, and 14 November. Update: "Radio Farda’s confusion is elementary. Unfortunately, the same confusion increasingly infects most of our broadcast efforts throughout the world. The confusion is between public diplomacy—which features telling America’s story and advocating for America’s positions—and strategic communications, which is very different. The VOA, the official voice of the U.S. Government, has always been part of the public diplomacy architecture, but the Radio Frees, better known as “surrogate” radio stations, have not. Their mission is fundamentally different. While public diplomacy is all about “us,” the surrogate Radios are all about “them.” The surrogate radios were successful during the Cold War because they were less concerned with how or why people dislike us or with advocating for America than in spurring intelligent listeners to think about the costs to their nation of runaway ideologies and isolation from critical globalizing trends." Testimony of S. Enders Wimbush to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, 31 January 2007. VOA's Persian Service, on radio and television, has succeeded not because it is "telling America's story and advocating for America's positions," but because it provides the combination of Iranian, world, and U.S. coverage that news-oriented audiences in Iran want. Meanwhile, another audience in Iran seeks the music that is not available from the tightly controlled domestic media. Why would the United States want to forgo such an opportunity for a large youth audience? There may be more informational horsepower in transmitting brief, well-written, well-edited newscasts to large audiences, than in broadcasting hour-long news and current affair magazines to the smaller audiences with the patience to sit through it all. And a station like Radio Farda can convey not only information, but also goodwill. In successful international broadcasting, the mission is defined not by the broadcaster, nor by its funding government, but by its audience.

The BBC in India, a decade or so ago.

Posted: 03 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Those accustomed to today’s fiercely competitive and cash-rich media may find it odd that BBC commanded such enormous credibility and respect throughout the country. It was, as Mark Tully writes in the foreword to his erstwhile colleague’s book, 'a unique period in the history of global media, a period in which a foreign broadcaster became more important than a domestic broadcaster...'. Under draconian state control, All India Radio and Doordarshan lacked credibility and people tuned into crackling short-wave stations broadcast from Bush House to gauge if something important was being kept hidden by the government." From review of Beware Falling Coconuts: Perspectives of India by a BBC Producer, a book by Adam Clapham apparently on sale only in India, Outlook (India), 12 February 2007 issue.

A shortwave listener's essay.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Something is lost when I'm listening online. It's too easy. Just about all the work has been done for me, and there is little to fire the imagination. From time to time, I still like to turn a dial, gently and patiently, in search of an ephemeral, transoceanic signal that may transport me to a place far, far away." Stephen J. Morgan, Christian Science Monitor, 2 February 2007. Mr. Morgan can no longer heard the shortwave broadcast station of the Christian Science organization, which sold off the last of its transmitters in 2004.

Private sector efforts in public diplomacy and international broadcasting.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"The 'brand' associated with the United States government is so diminished that proxies must take its place in the global conversation that is public diplomacy. Basically -- someone else has to speak for the U.S. government." Craig Hayden, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 1 February 2007. "The failure of the multi-million dollar satellite network Al Hurra, the government's public diplomacy station in the Middle East, was well-know. Al Hurra failed to attract viewers, and as many of the people I've talked to while doing fieldwork have told me, the last thing the Middle East needs is another government run news station. I've always thought that the US should have focused on producing content that would be shown on existing channels rather than create its own. That's exactly what Layalina did." Coutney C. Radsch, Arabisto, 1 February 2007.
See previous post about Layalina Productions, one of whose programs will be seen on pan-Arab satellite channel MBC.

Yes, when foreign visitors come to the United States, they will surely want to see North Dakota.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Travel industry leaders applauded pledge of Sen. Byron Dorgan [D-ND] "to develop legislation aimed at implementing a three-step plan for increasing travel to the U.S. through reforms in visa policies, enhancements at arrival points and efforts to change perceptions of the U.S. abroad. ... 'Our plan to welcome more international travelers to the U.S. while strengthening security is vital for improving our nation’s economy and public diplomacy efforts,' said Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels." Travel Daily News, 2 February 2007.

Listeners driven away from their shortwave radios by the awful sound of educational programs.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Hundreds of millions of Chinese own radios on which they can pick up international stations whose output is in sharp contrast to Chinese radio. Millions listen to the BBC and Radio Free Asia programmes in Chinese, but their broadcasts are jammed. Some of the equipment used to create this 'great wall of sound' was purchased from French company Thalès. In 2006, Reporters Without Borders tested the jamming of Voice of Tibet and Radio Free Asia in Tibet. The authorities overlay programmes on short and medium wave with thudding sounds or educational programmes in Chinese." Reporters sans frontières 2007 annual report for China.

India tests DRM (updated).

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Digital Radio Mondiale "will be available only on special DRM receiver which will allow us to provide the listener number of Programme Associated Data. So while a listener is listening to a song we can let the listener see the name of the movie, the name of the singer, composer, on the LCD screen on the Radio." Hindustan Times, 31 January 2007. It appears that the test will be on a medium wave frequency. DRM is also touted as a means to improve reception quality on shortwave, though only one standalone DRM receiver is, so far, for sale, and only in Europe. This DRM is not to be confused with the other DRM: Digital Rights Management. Update: AIR actually has been testing DRM on shortwave, 6100 kHz, according to Alokesh Gupti of New Delhi, and received (text, not audio) by Craig Seager, Bathurst, Australia (HCDX), as reported in Glenn Hauser's DX Listening Digest, 29 January 2007. "AIR has planned to take a big initiative in the field of transmission in Short Wave and Medium Wave bands during 11th Plan by introducing Digital Transmission in a big way." India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1 February 2007. "China uses DRM technology for external services. We have spoken with China about DRM. It has shown a keen interest and once the two countries collaborate, the prices of receivers would dramatically come down. China would have to collaborate to set up factories in India, because if we have to import, prices would be very high. ... It would be the Short Wave transmissions that would go digital first. Each state capital would have one Short Wave transmitter and there will be three transmission complexes with five transmitters per complex for national digital radio coverage. These complexes will be suitably located. Each complex will transmit five digital channels across the country, including regional language channels. This will mean that these channels will be accessible across the country. So, a Bengali in Mumbai would not have a problem if he wishes to hear All India Radio Kolkata." Interview with AS Guin, AIR engineer-in-chief, Indiantelevision.com, 31 January 2007.

Radio Free Afghanistan, not to be confused with Radio Free Afghanistan, is five years old.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio Free Afghanistan, the Dari and Pashto language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, today celebrates five years on the air, broadcasting 12 hours daily to millions of regular listeners nationwide. Radio Free Afghanistan is the leading broadcaster in Afghanistan with an audience of nearly 60 percent of the adult population. An independent survey, conducted by the Washington-based Intermedia research organization in 2006, shows that Radio Free Afghanistan is regarded as the most trustworthy and reliable media in the country." RFE/RL press release, 30 January 2007. A colleague observes from the most recent survey in Afghanistan: "BBC radio has a statistically equal weekly reach measured at 57.7% to RFE/RL's 58.8%, BBC leads RFE/RL by a statistically significant 44.5% to 41.8% in mentions as a top news source, and BBC is regarded as very trustworthy by 74% of its weekly listeners (91% very or somewhat trustworthy) while RFE/RL gets a 'very trustworthy' rating from 68% of its weekly listeners (90% very or somewhat). Radio Afghanistan [domestic] also gets 'very trustworthy' ratings from 67% and very or somewhat from 90% of its weekly listeners. And of course we don't ask respondents to name 'the most trustworthy and reliable' media.'" This is the second Radio Free Afghanistan. The first operated from 1985 to 1993, from RFE/RL's old Munich headquarters, during and a bit after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The first Radio Free Afghanistan supported some of the people that the second Radio Free Afganistan opposes.

New RFE/RL president, who must now decide: news or propaganda (choose only one).

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Jeffrey Gedmin selected as new president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Inc. He is presently director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. "I'm delighted by the opportunity to join this great institution. Its mission has always been dear to my heart and for a number of reasons Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is more important than ever." RFE/RL press release, 2 February 2007. See Gedmin's November 2001 article critical of then Secretary of State Colin Powell: "It's an odd state of affairs when the U.S. secretary of state in a Republican administration starts sounding more European than the Europeans themselves." Weekly Standard, 5 November 2001. "Perhaps not coincidentally, the successful public diplomacy of the 1950s and 1960s was abandoned in favor of softer, less controversial approaches like the Fulbright program. This was one of the more foolish errors of our time." Gedmin and Craig Kennedy, The National Interest, Winter 2003. Profile, Right Web, 1 December 2003. See also JTA, 6 February 2007.

Trying to unblock the blocked internet.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
Toronto based Psiphon project "was mostly designed to be better than the Anonymizer project designed for Iranian web users and advertised via Voice of America. That project was irresponsible, since it didn’t encrypt traffic between the surfer and Anonymizer, meaning the government could monitor the content accessed." WorldChanging.com, 31 January 2007. In the Global Online Freedom Act (introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ), "Section 205 does say that U.S. companies may not block or remove sites that are operated by the U.S. government, or by any entity that receives grants from the International Broadcasting Bureau to help defeat foreign censorship. Presumably that would include Peacefire, at least during the periods when we're under contract to the IBB to develop the Circumventor software (but before you start calling me Hallibennett, I'm not working for the IBB right now, and it was my own idea to write this). So the American government, while requiring schools to block us in the U.S., would actually be helping to get us un-blocked in China and Iran! But Section 205 only says that a U.S. business may not block or shut down such sites. As far as I can tell, that means if the Cisco engineer on site in China sets up their routers for them, the Cisco engineer can't put VOANews.com on the block list. But then the Chinese official can walk across the room and add it to the list himself, can't he? Which is almost certainly what they'll do, since the routers are in their country." Rob Malda, Slashdot, 31 January 2007. "The internet cannot be jammed as effectively as the radio and there are still ways of gaining access to blocked websites." BBC World Service information pack, May 2006. BBC World Service really ought to know better. While upstart projects like Psiphon and Anonymizer battle net censorship, a much larger industry (much of it based in the United States) produces software and hardware to help countries like China block web content. Shortwave remains the least interdictable of the media available to international broadcasting because it propagates better over long distances than within short distances. "Now, with China enjoying increasing geopolitical influence, people are wondering ... whether perhaps China’s Internet model, based on censorship and surveillance, may one day be imposed on the rest of the world." Reporters sans frontières 2007 annual report for China.

"Some changes" in store for Radio Veritas Asia.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"Divine Word Father Roberto Ebisa, 42, who became the general manager of Manila-based Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) in January, says he plans 'some changes' to improve the effectiveness of its service. ... The short-wave station, which the Asian bishops set up in 1969, now runs services in 16 languages. ... Funds for the station are 'really going down.'" Indian Catholic, 1 February 2007.

International radio on U.S. radio.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007   Print   Send a link
"On KXOT, the station is adding programs to replace repeats of local KUOW shows. ... 'Newsline' from Radio Netherlands and 'Asia Pacific' from Radio Australia air at 3 and 3:30 p.m." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1 February 2007. KXOT is the online and HD radio second channel of KUOW, Seattle. Chicago Public Radio's new Global Overnight includes programs from BBC and CBC and, via World Radio Network, Channel Africa, China Radio International, Israel Radio, Radio Canada International, Radio Polonia, and Voice of Russia.

Not a good idea to incur the displeasure of television viewers.

Posted: 31 Jan 2007   Print   Send a link
"An Azerbaijani government decision to ban Russian television channels from domestic broadcast frequencies has caused lots of grumbling among television viewers in the Caucasus nation. ... The decision is not the first to target foreign broadcasters. As of January 1, the British Broadcasting Corp., Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were banned from domestic Azerbaijani airwaves." Eurasianet, 31 January 2007.

VOA competes with Venezuela's Telesur, bilingually, on a cable system in Nicaragua.

Posted: 31 Jan 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Nicaraguan company Earth Satellite Stations, or Estesa, has been transmitting the U.S. government-funded news broadcasts on the Channel 71 cable station since last month, the U.S. Embassy said Tuesday." A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy Embassy said the new Voice of America feed "is not about trying to counteract Telesur, but to give the Nicaraguan community a quality news and cultural service." AP, 30 January 2007. The program stream consists of VOA Spanish television programs, acquired Spanish programs, as well as VOA-produced and acquired English programs.

New docs on CNN International.

Posted: 31 Jan 2007   Print   Send a link
CNN International will launch "World’s Untold Stories," a weekly 30-minute documentary series, on 17 February. "The first documentary in the series, The Very Thin Blue Line, highlights the police recruitment in Iraq and takes viewers inside a police training camp in Jordan." WorldScreen.com, 30 January 2007. Australian formerly with CNN says: "Working for CNN shoves you into the deep end of international news, and working for CNN International was like working for the UN of news." The Courier Mail (Brisbane), 30 January 2007.

Fancy digs for an internet radio station.

Posted: 31 Jan 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio Company.net Co., Ltd., the Founder of RadioBangkok.net, the largest English language internet radio station in Asia ... moved to a new corporate HQ at Fenix Tower on the corner of Sukhumvit 31, right in the heart of Bangkok. ... RadioBangkok.net produces local Thailand news updates 24/7 at 30 minutes past each hour, giving listeners the pulse of Thailand. This unique radio presents the only English language radio station in, on and about Thailand from Thailand." RadioBangkok.net press release, 31 January 2007. Listening at 0900 UTC on 1 February, I heard a newscast "from Washington." It sounded a bit like VOA, but turned out to be FSN World News, "an audio news service specifically designed for use by LPFM, RSL, Hospital, College, Internet or High School radio stations." (And maybe eventually by VOA as VOA continues to cut back its worldwide English service?)