Trans World Radio using peer-to-peer to stream international radio.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Trans World Radio, evangelical international broadcaster headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, "has started providing an audio stream. This is the first time Trans World Radio Africa has done this after 33 years of terrestrial broadcasts on shortwave, medium, fm and satellite." Victor Kaonga, NDHAGA blog, 29 March 2007. "By using P2P, all streams of the Trans World Radio broadcast are intelligently distributed over the entire network of clients making up the broadcast audience. As the audience grows so do the network resources available to distribute the broadcast without increasing bandwidth costs. This makes it possible to reach more users where Internet broadcasting is prohibitively expensive, such as in South Africa (thanks to the greedy and monopolistic practices of a certain entrenched incumbent operator). Simply put: by participating in the Trans World Radio P2P Internet broadcast and sharing of your upstream Internet bandwidth for stream peering, you allow more folks to listen and thereby assist in extending the reach of Trans World Radio's Internet broadcast." Antfarm's Trans World Radio P2P FAQ.

Deutsche Welle reporter frustrated in attempt to cover Arab Summit.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"'When we found out that we were being locked up inside a hall with no access inside, we went to another office where we found a television without audio,' said Manal Abdel Aal, journalist from Deutsche Welle. 'Moments later, a guard turned off the TV set and asked us to leave, saying that this was a private office. He cut me off while I was on the air giving a report to my newsroom.'" Arab News, 30 March 2007.

Uzbekistan's criminal charges against Deutsche Welle reporter could affect German relations with Central Asia.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The trial of a journalist working for Deutsche Welle radio in Uzbekistan could thwart efforts by Germany, which currently holds the European Union presidency, to strengthen ties with Central Asia." Institute for War & Peace reporting, 30 March 2007. "Bushuyeva fled the country after the charges were announced, local sources told CPJ." Committee to Protect Jounalists, 27 March 2007. "Michael Laubsch, the head of the Eurasian Transit Group and a prominent German expert, told Vremya Novostei that this episode reminded him of the tragedy of (Radio Liberty) correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova who had died in prison in September 2006, several weeks after the arrest." Turkish Weekly, 30 March 2006. See previous post about same subject.

Pro-Mugabe commentator derides VOA and SW Radio Africa.

Posted: 31 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Studio 7, an anti-ZANU-PF radio program carries programming by the Voice of America, an agency whose existence can hardly be said to be independent of promoting the aims of US capital around the world. The radio station SW Radio Africa, the self-styled 'independent voice of Zimbabwe,' broadcasts from the UK by short-wave radio. It may call itself independent, but the broadcaster is as independent as the British Foreign Office is, which, one suspects, is one of the principal backers of the 'international pro-democracy groups' that fill the station’s coffers with the cash that allow it to operate." Stephen Gowans, Global Research, 30 March 2007.

Threats to media freedom where?

Posted: 30 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
The Broadcasting Board of Governors and Freedom House announce the conference: 21st Century Threats to Media Freedom, 1 May 2007, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Rayburn House Office Building, Washington. No details available yet at either organization's website.

China's public diplomacy will have to be more interesting than this essay.

Posted: 30 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"We can't expect foreign media to portray China justly, or close the opinion gap they have created. China must present an accurate picture of itself to the world. The expansion of reform and opening up is necessary for the nation's peaceful development. In this regard, China should not only listen, but talk back." Zhao Qizheng, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, People's Daily Online, 30 March 2007.

Falun Gong radio moves to satellite (updated).

Posted: 30 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Since March 5, 2007, Minghui Radio Station has been broadcasting programs 24 hours a day to inform people about the persecution of Falun Gong and dispel the state propaganda attacking the practice to Asia. ... It was originally broadcast to China via short wave radio, but now, along with New Tang Dynasty TV, Sound of Hope, Voice of America, and Free Asia Radio Stations, Minghui Radio uses the Eutelsat W5 satellite to broadcast throughout Asia, including mainland China." Epoch Times, 17 March 2007. Update: "Satellite Station Two will also provide time slots for third party broadcasting stations or producers who wish to broadcast via satellite to mainland China with the purpose of enriching the information delivered to the mainland Chinese public." Epoch Times, 30 March 2007.

Arguments against surge international broadcasting.

Posted: 30 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Why at the time when America is facing increasing skepticism and hostility abroad, the White House and the BBG want to either eliminate or reduce American broadcasts to countries with a long-established record of suppressing free speech? ... Starting and expanding broadcasts when there is an impending crisis is nearly always too late to avert violence and produce a lasting impact. Perhaps if we expanded news and information programs to Iran ten years ago instead of reducing them, we would not be so close to a potential military conflict with that nation." Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline.org, 29 March 2007.

The Voice of America Learning Center is not educational radio.

Posted: 30 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
The new facility of Miami University (of Ohio) at the old VOA Bethany transmitting site "will house five classrooms, including a 150-seat tiered auditorium, a seminar room and an instructional media center." Middletown (Ohio) Journal, 29 March 2007. See also Cincinnati Enquirer, 30 March 2007. By the way, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has registered "Voice of America" as a trademark, so it's now Voice of America®.

DRM on a PDA? (updated)

Posted: 29 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"STMicroelectronics, a leader in technologies for digital radio, today announced the signing of an agreement with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS to jointly develop a dedicated low-power Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) for Digital Radio Mondiale™ (DRM™) applications such as fixed and portable radios, car receivers, software receivers, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). Allowing listeners to set their radio using station names or IDs, the ASIC will offer excellent audio quality and integration of sound with data and text." STMicroelectronics press release, 28 March 2007. Update: In new "teletext for radio" system via DRM or DAB, "drivers choose text news sorted by topics from a hierarchically organized menu." SVOX press release, 27 March 2007. Watching the road ahead is so twentieth century: now drivers are looking at their text news.

Will China block the Kids Web Japan website?

Posted: 29 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"In a bid to boost online information about Japan in Chinese, the Foreign Ministry launched Friday a Chinese-language Web site called 'Trends in Japan,' which introduces Japanese culture and other topics. The ministry also plans to soon launch another site featuring children's manga and animation called 'Kids Web Japan.' Daily Yomiuri, 29 March 2007. No URLs provided, but there is already an English-language Trends in Japan "sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and operated by a Japanese nongovernmental organization."

Fifteen thousand trees will be planted at former Deutsche Welle transmitter site in Malta.

Posted: 29 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The project includes the conservation of the steppe, garigue and marine habitats. The building will eventually include two further projects, a marine rehabilitation centre and a wildlife clinic aimed at rehabilitating injured wildlife for eventual release back to the wild. The University of Malta will also be creating a marine research institute on the site." The Malta Independent, 29 March 2007. The site was closed in 1996. It has three shortwave transmittres and a 600 kilowatt transmitter on 1557 kHz medium wave.

WorldSpace, announcing latest loss, eyes European and U.S. markets (updated).

Posted: 29 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
The Company added 22,274 net subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2006, ending the quarter with 199,105 subscribers worldwide, 73% higher than at year-end 2005. In India, the Company added 23,945 net subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2006, ending the year with 162,010 subscribers in India, 117% higher than at the end of 2005. ... The Company also announced that it is postponing its usual earnings teleconference (because it) is currently engaged in negotiations for a potential financing transaction. The purpose of these negotiations is to address the Company's cash flow issues arising from the Company's projected year-end cash position... . WorldSpace recorded a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2006 of $33.8 million, or $0.89 per share." WorldSpace press release, 26 March 2007. "If a merger between XM and Sirius is approved, and the new company is ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to relinquish one of its licenses, Silver Spring-based Worldspace Inc. would be interested in entering the U.S. satellite radio market, its CEO said Monday. 'We would love to look into that if that’s available,' Worldspace Chief Executive Officer Noah Samara said during a meeting with reporters Monday. 'We’ve always felt seamless global coverage is something the planet needs.'" Washington Examiner, 27 March 2007. Update: "Even if management did make false or misleading statements, there's no way any informed investor could possibly have been fooled about WorldSpace." Motley Fool, 28 March 2007. See previous post about WorldSpace.

New transmitting site for broadcasts probably related to North Korea (updated).

Posted: 28 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea "will start broadcasting radio programs to abducted Japanese in North Korea later this month using facilities provided by NHK, Japan's national broadcaster, and telecommunications company KDDI Corp. ... 'It is extremely rare for a private group like ours to receive this kind of permission.'" Bloomberg, 20 March 2007. See also AP, 20 March 2007. Update: Open Radio for North Korea declaration: "The South Korean government should also provide stable frequencies for North Korea broadcasting NGO’s in South Korea." The Daily NK, 27 March 2007.

Another American discovers international news.

Posted: 28 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"I was in Ireland for St. Patrick's day this year -- I go every year. ... There we sat, reading real news, watching real news on Sky news, the BBC News and even CNN International. We were discussing all the stories we don't see in the United States about the United States, about the coverage of Iraq that we don't see and how if we did see it this way, the war would end in a week. ... I watched the news in Ireland and Britain all week and came home and now I can't do my normal daily activities. Normally, I wake up, turn on CNN in my bedroom, and MSNBC in the kitchen. Well, I can't. Because I don't hear the news I want. So now, I use my computer and stream the news over the web." Charles Karel Bouley, Huffington Post, 27 March 2007.

Israel calling Iran.

Posted: 28 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"When Israeli President Moshe Katsav wanted to address the people of Iran directly, he needed only travel to downtown Jerusalem to do so. There in a radio studio of the Voice of Israel’s (VOI) Farsi language section, he was able to call for rapprochement between the two countries and then answer phone calls from listeners in the Islamic state." Canadian Jewish News, 28 March 2007.

BBC biased in Arabic? (updated again)

Posted: 28 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The World Service in English is one thing, and the World Service in Arabic is another entirely. If the BBC's Arabic TV programs resemble its radio programs, then they will be just as anti-Western as anything that comes out of the Gulf, if not more so. They will serve to increase, rather than to diminish, tensions, hostilities and misunderstandings among nations." Frank H. Stewart, International Herald Tribune, 15 March 2007. BBC rejects the allegations: "We go to great lengths to ensure that as many views of any situation are reflected in our output. This means balancing the story, supplying views from all sides and testing arguments on all sides with equal rigour — pulling no punches." Press Gazette, 25 March 2007. Brian Coniff, president of Middle East Broadacting Networks, objects to Stewart's comment that Alhurra "has not been a success." "Alhurra has an estimated weekly reach of 20 million people, and the vast majority of the viewers say the news is credible. By any standard of television measurement, these are impressive numbers, particularly considering the anti-American attitudes so prevalent in the region." Letter, New York Times, 26 March 2007. Update: More from BBC: "The article also asserts that we shy away from topics like human rights, corruption, and the role of security forces. This is not true as any regular listener to BBC Arabic would know. Independent research consistently shows we are popular in the region precisely because audiences can hear a wider range of views on these issues on the BBC than with other stations in the region." Asharq Alawsat, 27 March 2007.

EuroNews news.

Posted: 27 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"EuroNews and MultiChoice South Africa announced on Monday 26 March that MultiChoice will carry Europe's most-watched international news channel on its DStv platform." EuroNews content will be available in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Screen Africa, 26 March 2007. "The governments of Spain, Italy and France have asked the European Commission to launch an Arabic version of the European television channel EuroNews so that Muslim countries can learn more about life and politics in the European Union." Broadband TV News, 19 March 2007.

Continuing to find uses for shortwave.

Posted: 27 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Most of what I do is based on the musicality of spoken language. I love to listen to it and also to listen to languages that I don't understand. 'Idiot,' for example, is based on a one to one transcription of a shortwave radio broadcast where I cannot understand which language is spoken and what is said. I transcribed it as precisely as I could. What I believed I understood and what came out is a language that mostly does not make any sense. I like misunderstandings." Artist Alessandro Bosetti, interviewed by OnMilwaukee.com, 27 March 2007.

BBC World Service scoop on Iraq war deaths.

Posted: 27 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
A study "by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, prompted worldwide alarm when it was published in the Lancet medical journal in October last year. It estimated that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the violence in the country. ... President George Bush said: 'I don't consider it a credible report.' However, according to papers obtained by the BBC World Service's Newshour programme under the Freedom of Information Act, senior officials warned the methods used in the survey were 'robust' and 'close to best practice'." The Guardian, 26 March 2007. See also BBC News, 26 March 2007. And BBCWS Newshour, 26 March 2007.

Listening to RFA/VOA Khmer more difficult in Vietnam than in Cambodia.

Posted: 27 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Khmer Krom, the poorest of the poor in southern Vietnam, the most marginalized and disadvantaged and oppressed, use these days modern tools, even so they endure raids in their offices, temples, computers are checked on a monthly bases by the authorities, are arrested and imprisoned for having listened to foreign radio such as Radio Free Asia, or Voice of America, or checking in the internet information on human rights laws from the UN." Rebecca Sommer, Huntington (West Virginia) News, 27 March 2007.

More liberal spending proposals from Heritage.

Posted: 27 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Radio Farda broadcasts news programming in Farsi into Iran, but it also airs a great deal of popular music. To be more effective, Radio Farda should instead commit a large percentage of its broadcast to serious analysis and programming relating to history, culture, religion, economics, and law, especially human rights, democracy, and the Iranian constitution. As an alternative, a second 24-hour station could be established for this purpose. Funding should also be provided for the purchase and distribution of satellite radio receivers within Iran to widen the potential audience." Steven Groves, Heritage Foundation 26 March 2007. Mr. Groves does not mention VOA Persian, with its five hours of radio and four hours of teleivision per day. VOA Persian provides detailed news and analysis to complement Radio Farda's music oriented format. Expanding VOA Persian to hours when fewer listeners and viewers are available might not be appreciated by fiscal conservatives.

Deutsche Welle reporter faces criminal charges in Uzbekistan.

Posted: 26 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A spokesman for the prosecutor's office claims that Bushuyeva has never submitted her income declaration to tax structures in the five years of her work for Die Deutsche Welle. 'Lacking official accreditation from the Foreign Ministry, she regularly introduced herself as a correspondent of the German broadcaster which is also a violation.'" Fellow freelance reporter says Uzbekistan officials "are determined to intimidate and frighten whoever has the temerity to offer an independent opinion." Fergahana, 26 March 2007. "If found guilty, she could be sentenced to up to six months in prison." DW director Erik Bettermann says, "it is not acceptable." Deutsche Welle News, 26 March 2007.

Perhaps it should be called Propaganda24.

Posted: 26 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Zimbabwe's government prepares to launch "a propaganda radio news channel, to be called News24. ... 'We have hastened the project because of the onslaught (from the West) that has reached alarming levels.'" The Zimbabwean, 26 March 2007. Zimbabwe's government owned Spot FM, via BBC Monitoring, reports: "News24 will use the Short Wave link, which means it will go international." See previous post about same subject.

VOA interview startles Iran hawks?

Posted: 26 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Proponents of a US military strike on Iran, especially those among the more than 1 million Iranian exiles in the US, must have been rather startled by a recent Voice of America interview in Persian [with] Ardeshir Zahedi, former high-profile foreign minister under the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He was the late shah's last and most activist ambassador in Washington – no friend of the Iranian mullahs. Mr. Zahedi urgently cautioned Washington against any military adventure in Iran. Tightened UN and US economic sanctions, he also warned, would cause problems for Iranians, but wouldn't dissuade and might even accelerate the ayatollahs' nuclear programs." John K. Cooley, Christian Science Monitor, 26 March 2007.

British art as British public diplomacy?

Posted: 25 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The problem is not what the state does with art, but the notion that it can set artistic priorities in advance. When it does, all it gets is third-rate work hardly anyone wants to see. Until the artistic climate changes, the British Council should send democrats abroad if it wants to promote democracy and scientists if it wants to warn about global warming, because the wait for the artists to see what's in front of their nose could be a long one." Nick Cohen, The Observer, 25 March 2007. "Of course art can be 'accessible', 'regenerative' and 'life enhancing', but those characteristics can only come about within a free culture, not one that is based in strings-attached propaganda or 'strategic management'. The insidious control now detectable in the restructuring of the British Council and the realignment of its objectives to be 'consistent with governmental medium and long term goals' shows the dangerous hand of political interference. It cannot go unchallenged." Editorial, The Burlington Magazine, March 2007.

Malaysian plaudits for VOA coverage of International Womens Day.

Posted: 25 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"On the short waves, international broadcasters too ran plenty of IWD features. Perhaps the best – and most sobering of all reports – came from the Voice of America of Washington DC in the United States. It was about an international conference of women activists and government delegates held at the UN headquarters in New York just before the recent IWD to develop a strategy to end discrimination and violence against girls." Anthony Thanasayan, The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 25 March 2007.

Proposed Indian satellite radio law would reconfirm the need for shortwave (updated).

Posted: 25 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Satellite radio companies with news content will be allowed foreign direct investment of up to 26 per cent. They must have resident Indians as CEO, chief financial officer and chief marketing officer. No news and current affairs channel will be allowed on the satellite radio platform if it does not have Indian advertising and content designed for Indian audiences. Stand-alone international radio channels or a channel cleared by any other country's regulatory authority will not be permitted either. This means that foreign radio companies like BBC Radio and Australian Broadcasting Corporation will not be able to operate until they form an Indian joint venture." Business Standard, 17 March 2007. This has implications for WorldSpace, the only satellite radio company now serving India. Update: "This move is being seen as a step towards allowing news and current affairs on private FM radio channels in India. 'Once news is allowed on satellite radio, the same guidelines can be applied to FM radio channels too.'" Screen India, 23 March 2007.

Class action suit targets WorldSpace (updated).

Posted: 25 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The complaint alleges violations of federal securities laws, Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and was filed on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise publicly traded securities of WorldSpace, Inc. pursuant to the Initial Public Offering." Federman & Sherwood press release, 23 March 2007. Update: Rosen Law Firm also files class action lawsuit against WorldSpace.. "The Complaint alleges that the Company included in its subscriber count accounts that had either expired or been 'churned.'" Rosen Law Form press release, 23 March 2007.

BBG responds to charges about Alhurra content.

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Joaquin Blaya, writing on behalf of fellow members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, responds to Wall Street Journal column by Joel Mowbray, who claimed Alhurra broadcast of a speech by a Hezbollah leader. "Mr. Mowbray has accepted imprecise information and has spun a generalized web of inaccuracies about Al-Hurra's daily news content ... The only change in Al-Hurra's editorial policy is the dramatic increase in its coverage of U.S. foreign policy." In a separate letter, BBG chairman Kenneth Tomlinson dissents from his BBG colleagues "because they fail to deal with the charges raised by Joel Mowbray's commentary... . I believe there should be a thorough investigation of these issues." Subscription required (or see your local librarian): Wall Street Journal, 23 March 2007. See previous post about the Mowbray commentaries. Alhurra gets credit for video of embarrassing explosion in Baghdad. National Post, 23 March 2007.

More beards at Aljazeera?

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera's "Arabic service has also changed from its former iteration, in part to reflect a shift of mood in the Arab world towards a more Islamist and less traditionally Arab nationalist approach. A gradual increase in the influence of Islamist producers and journalists from Egypt and north Africa is notable in the past two-three years; there is regular observance of prayer-time, and more bearded journalists. ... Satellite discs in north Africa that a decade ago were turned to Europe now point towards the Gulf." Fred Halliday, openDemocracy, 23 March 2007.

BBC channels into India.

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Permission for downlinking had been given to the BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of Britain's public broadcaster... . One channel will focus on entertainment and the other will be devoted to programmes for children. BBC has a wholly-owned subsidiary in India 'BBC World India Pvt Ltd'." UNI, 23 March 2007.

Zimbabwe: CNN, BBC "enemy agencies" (updated).

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United States says CNN and BBC "champion the imperialist interests of the British and the Americans, so they are totally biased." Digital Spy, 21 March 2007. Update: "The images of Morgan Tsvangirai with a swollen battered face, so widely circulated in the international media, have still not been seen by the majority of people in our country. But by Thursday, a tiny minority of Zimbabweans with DSTV subscriptions had seen the footage and images on their screens of the government's barbarity - most notably in the 24 hour news programmes (BBC World, Sky News and CNN International) - and the detailed descriptions will have started filtering down." Fahamu, 22 March 2007. "Zimbabwe's government is accusing the western media of fabricating stories to create what it calls a climate of anxiety and alarm in the country. Zimbabwe's Information Ministry singled out CNN, saying the network is trying to orchestrate a campaign of falsehoods to build international hostility toward Zimbabwe. In a statement Thursday, the ministry also mentions several Western freelance reporters by name, including Peta Thornycroft, who contributes stories to the Voice of America." Malaysia Sun, 23 March 2007. Another story about SW Radio Africa and its SMS news delivery. Borehamwood & Elstreet Times, 22 March 2007. See previous post about Zimbabwe.

A review of recent budgetary politics of U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The overall budget sought by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees U.S.-funded international broadcasting, is by no means insignificant. At nearly $670 million, it would represent a continued spending surge for such broadcasting since 9/11, and is comparable to funding levels during the height of the Cold War. In scope and technology, the new broadcasters have moved far beyond the shortwave-radio era." Council on Foreign Relations, 23 March 2007. Overview of U.S. international broadcasting. CFR, 23 March 2007.

New Chinese regulations protecting foreign journalists apparently don't apply to BBC.

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"James Reynolds and another BBC World Service journalist went to Zhushan, in Hunan province, on 15 March to report on rioting that had just taken place there in protest against an increase in public transport fares. ... While trying to find out more about the rumoured death of a student, they were arrested by several policemen and soldiers and were taken to a hotel room, where they were questioned by six officers, filmed and photographed." Reporters sans frontières, 22 March 2007.

BBC Trust delays decision to allow advertising on BBC website for international users.

Posted: 23 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"BBC management provided an update on progress since February in respect of the Trust's requests for more information, in particular how advertising revenue from BBC.com would be reinvested in BBC Global News and the BBC's UK public services. BBC management was not ready to seek the Trust's decision yesterday." BBC Trust press release, 22 March 2007. See also BBC News, 22 March 2007.

In support of VOA's (ahem) "media diplomacy" (updated).

Posted: 20 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
The Voice of America's "media diplomacy is vital to America's national security, especially as the US tries to win "hearts and minds" in the war on terror. Ditto because of its battered world reputation. ... [Its] ex-directors' request that lawmakers preserve $26 million in proposed cuts is not a lot to keep an estimated 18 million listeners in the VOA fold; to retain its main service in English (spoken by a quarter of the world's population, after all); to continue native language services in still shaky democracies such as Georgia and Ukraine; and to keep VOA radio going in Russia, which could easily pull the plug on VOA TV. Meanwhile, about 300 million people, many in Asia, still listen to shortwave radio." Editorial, Christian Science Monitor, 15 March 2007. VOA personnel no doubt welcome this support from the CSM. The term "media diplomacy," however, is misleading. It suggests that VOA's content is manipulated to support America's diplomatic goals. Audiences for international broadcasting listen or view primarily to get news that is more comprehensive and objective than the news they get from their domestic media. The most independent, and therefore credible, station wins. Update: "There is still a huge English-language audience for VOA, not the least among leaders and elites who speak English in countries where it is not the predominant language." John Hughes, Christian Science Monitor, 21 March 2007.

Well, when you have to fill 24 hours a day, seven days a week... (updated again)

Posted: 20 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Ken Tomlinson, the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors -- the congressionally-created panel charged with overseeing Al-Hurra, among other government-funded broadcasters -- is currently demanding answers about (Al-Hurra's) decision last December to broadcast most of a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah. Sitting up straight and raising his index finger, he states emphatically, 'It's the single worst decision I've witnessed in all my years in international broadcasting.'" Joel Mowbray, Wall Street Journal, 12 March 2007. A letter from the Broadcasting Board of Governors "accuses me of 'accept[ing] -- lock, stock, and barrel -- imprecise information' that resulted in creating a 'generalized web of inaccuracies.' Reading on, however, it becomes clear that the BBG didn't find a single inaccuracy. Instead, the board dedicated the rest of the letter to boasting that it now airs even more C-SPAN-style programming than before." Joel Mowbray, Power Line, 14 March 2007. "Al-Hurra’s new news director, longtime CNN producer Larry Register, was summoned to the Hill on Wednesday, where he was grilled for roughly an hour. Register denied he was responsible for some of the bad calls, but otherwise was unapologetic about his editorial decisions. At one point, he 'pounded the table with his finger and his face turned red with anger,' according to someone present." Joel Mowbray, Power Line, 17 March 2007. Update: "The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is appalled that (Alhurra) is serving as a forum for terrorists and their sympathizers to espouse violence and hatred of America and Israel." ZOA, 19 March 2007.

BBC will partipate in new morning public radio news program.

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"...a need for another program with a more conversational tone that would reach out to a diverse audience and 'reflect the changing America,' including immigrants with a tradition of listening to the BBC." New York Times, 19 March 2007. "WNYC [New York] will air the show on AM 820, and continue to air Morning Edition on 93.9 FM. The program will originate in East Coast drive time and will remain relevant for West Coast drive time as well." Public Radio International press release, 19 March 2007.

Will this help bring the long awaited standalone DRM radios?

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"RadioScape announced today that it will immediately extend its current multi-standard radio product line to support all digital standards required for the French market. This will enable the development of multi-standard radio receivers capable of supporting DAB based standards including T-DMB and DAB+, as well as DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale), and current analogue standards AM and FM." RadioScape press release, 19 March 2007.

If you're reaching Toledo, you're reaching America (updated again).

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"On March 19, Buckeye CableSystem will begin showing Al Jazeera English, the world’s first English-language news channel headquartered in the Middle East. The new network is vastly different from its older cousin, the controversial Arab-language Al Jazeera, which is seen largely in the Middle East. The English-language network’s coverage is broader, and it has hired journalists away from the BBC and CNN. ... Block Communications Inc. is the parent company of Buckeye CableSystem and The Blade." Toledo Blade, 10 March 2007. The Toledo area has a large Arab-American community. "Some local residents aren't taking kindly to the new Al-Jazeera English network Buckeye CableSystem will begin televising Monday. ... Some even threatened to cancel their cable." Sandusky Register, 16 March 2007. Update: "We got an advance look at it the week before last, when it showed up for a couple days on Channel 70, normally occupied by a shopping channel. No televised beheadings, no anti-America rants, no State-of-the-al-Qaida address. Just something that sounded vaguely like BBC America on public television -- measured, thoughtful, slightly boring. No perky celebrity journalism, no bubba rants by the likes of Glenn Beck or Nancy Grace, just the news and, yes, analysis with more than a hint that countries other than the U.S. of A. might occasionally be right." Editorial, Sandusky Register, 19 March 2007.

International visitors among those taking the CNN tour in Atlanta.

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A wall sign notes that if English doesn't come easily, you can take the Inside CNN tour holding a hand-out script in French, German, Farsi (Persian), Hindi, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, Turkish, Russian, Polish and two dialects of Chinese. A cheap special effect? Not quite. The tour group I was with included visitors from Japan and France." McClatchy Newspapers, 18 March 2007.

Foreign broadcasters via SMS in Oman.

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Oman Mobile offers you an array of news services such as BBC, Al Arabiya, Sports Goal, Al Jazeera, Sabq and many more and give our subscribers an easy way to stay updated with news from around the world. The news channels offered cater to all interests are only an SMS away." Press release via Times of Oman, 18 March 2007.

Radio Veritas calling Sri Lanka.

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Re Philippines based Radio Veritas Tamil Service: "The Sri Lankan government has earlier protested against its bias in promoting Tamil Tiger politics. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj was with the Tamil section of the Veritas radio, broadcasting a half hour slots daily in the morning as well as in the evening. As this radio is a shortwave broadcast, many in Tamil Nadu do not listen to this radio broadcast. The radios in many houses in Tamil Nadu do not have the shortwave." Asian Tribune, 18 March 2007.

Report: "sparks fly" during VOA Urdu interview (updated again).

Posted: 19 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Pakistan's Law Minister Wasi Jaffar "repeatedly 'hurled naked abuse' on a Voice of America live radio discussion on Justice Chaudhry's suspension which was heard worldwide on Monday night, The News, whose correspondent Ansar Abbasi was part of the show, reported. Sparks began flying as soon as Abbasi said he feared speaking in the company of Jaffar due to the minister's 'peculiar temperament and track record'." Zeenews.com, 14 March 2007. "The Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) suspended the broadcasts of two privately-owned television stations - Aaj and [VOA Urdu affiliate] Geo TV - for several minutes on 12 March, after they transmitted footage of blood-soaked lawyers who had been beaten by police during a demonstration in support of supreme court president Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry." Reporters sans frontières, 14 March 2007. "Geo TV's show 'Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath' was banned on Thursday and while the reasons were not explicitly mentioned, its courageous coverage of the crisis clearly rankled. In particular, an episode that took note of a Voice of America talk show, on which the sitting law minister made some crude and unprintable remarks against an investigative journalist of this newspaper, had raised the temperature to fever pitch." Editorial, The News (Karachi), 16 March 2007. "Update Federal Law Minister Wasi Zafar on Saturday formally tendered an apology to Ansar Abbasi, Editor Investigations of The News, for using abusive language against him in a live Voice of America (VoA) programme." The News (Karachi), 17 March 2007.

France 24 covers an election that may determine its fate (updated).

Posted: 17 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"'We don't have our own destiny in our hands because we don't know who will be elected. The most important issue for France 24 is to have a strong audience, realize that objective and to be qualitatively different from the competition.' ... The personal campaign comes at a time when the new channel is fending off jostling from Radio France Internationale, the veteran international radio broadcaster that also benefits from public financing and is competing for limited government funding." International Herald Tribune, 11 March 2007. Update: France 24 will cover the election through its new observer.FRANCE24.com. France 24 press release, 16 March 2007.

New U.S. Muslim television network.

Posted: 17 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Speakers from Al-Jazeera and other Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian news outlets will be in Newark on Saturday for the launch of Global Forum TV, a network created by a Newark-based Muslim group. The American Muslim Alliance launched the network to give Muslims a voice in the public debate about civil liberties, war, human rights and other issues." Inside Bay Area, 16 March 2007. See also www.globalforumtv.net, a work still in progress.

Granma lobbies Congress.

Posted: 17 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Since its creation in 1985, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) – the mother-ship of Radio and TV Martí – has constituted a mechanism for corruption to which various politicians are fairly closely linked, as a Congress commission should be able to verify when it investigates, at the initiative of representatives Bill Delahunt and Jeff Flake, this branch of Voice of America." Granma Internacional, 16 March 2007.

Provides us a frequency, and perhaps we can Celebrate.

Posted: 17 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Celebrate Radio, a 2.5 year old, very unique non-profit international 24/7 radio station on satellite across the UK, Europe and Middle East, on shortwave radio to Latin America and everywhere on the web, will begin broadcasting on shortwave to India, China and Southeast Asia this summer and syndicate aweekly program to FM stations in the U.S. and overseas." Celebrate Radio press release, 14 March 2007. The press release does not provide a website URL or the frequencies for the shortwave transmissions. The website www.celebrateradio.com seems to be associated with the station, but no shortwave schedule is available there.

Kenya seeking parity in international broadcasting.

Posted: 16 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Raphael Tuju, once a famous newsreader on the Voice of Kenya’s evening news, recently tried to take Kenya’s voice to Britain and reverse 50 years of one-way broadcasting. ... Tuju’s request was turned down. UK broadcasting laws only allowed European companies to run a radio station in Britain, and all the licences for the London FM spectrum are taken until 2010." Bizcommunity.com, 14 March 2007. See previous post about same subject.

Governments are blocking internet content every which way.

Posted: 16 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Repressive governments no longer limit themselves simply to blocking access to websites they want to keep from their citizens. ... A restriction on internet bandwidth in Iran acts as a blunt instrument to prevent the use of potentially disruptive multi-media services. Brute force has also been turned outward. One technique has been to mount 'aggressive computer attacks' against the servers that host undesirable material, seeking to knock them off the internet altogether." Financial Times, 14 March 2007. See also another piece in Financial Times, 14 March 2007.

International broadcasting for audiences who are tired of governments.

Posted: 16 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Layalina Productions, "a non-profit U.S. media production company is getting into the game with a new reality TV show and other programs geared to Arab audiences. ... 'Because unfortunately, not many people watch Al Hurra. They are tired of governments, whether it is our U.S government or their own governments, providing their video outlets.'" Voice of America News, 15 March 2007. "Arab analysts are sceptical that Layalina's approach will work where government-sponsored public diplomacy has failed. 'The US attitude is always, we deal with everything but the politics. Whether in public or any other diplomacy, you are dealing with Arabs who feel humiliated and targeted.'" Financial Times Deutschland, 15 March 2007. See previous post about same subject.

BBC World Service Gaza reporter still missing (updated).

Posted: 16 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Alan Johnston's "car was found abandoned in Gaza City shortly after he left his office to drive home on Monday. ... Johnston, 44, has been the BBC's correspondent in the Gaza Strip for the past three years - and the only foreign journalist from a major media organisation based in Gaza. ... He joined the BBC World Service in 1991 and has spent eight of the last 16 years as a correspondent, including periods in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. He became Gaza correspondent in April 2004 and his posting was due to come to an end at the end of next month." BBC News, 13 March 2007. Update: "We would ... urge everyone with influence here to continue their efforts so that Alan may be reunited with his family and colleagues at the earliest opportunity." BBC News, 15 March 2007.

Confounded by the "U.S." in U.S. public diplomacy.

Posted: 15 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A speaking tour by the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University has exposed a conundrum for the State Department's public diplomacy program: The mere fact that the visit was sponsored by the Bush administration left many Indian Muslims unreceptive to the message." Washington Times, 15 March 2007. "In my travels in the Arab world, I have met young Muslim teens, with no prior Islamist or jihadist background, desperately trying to raise a meager sum of money to take a bus ride or an airline flight to the Syrian-Iraqi border and join the fight." Fawaz A. Gerges, Yale Global, 15 March 2007.

Psyops leaflets from a dispenser (updated).

Posted: 15 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Athena Technologies announced today that the Athena GuideStar™ successfully navigated and controlled the first drop of Textron Defense Systems’ Universal Aerial Delivery Dispenser (U-ADD) ... . Its mission flexible payload bay allows it to carry and deploy various payloads such as smart munitions, unattended ground sensors, PSYOPS leaflets, medical kits and supplies." Athena Technologies Press Release, 7 March 2007. Update: "Among the sponsors of the (Aerovironment Global Observer liquid hydrogen fuelled UAV) is the US Special Operations Command, which envisages mounting a psyops payload." UVonline.com, 15 March 2007.

How CNN will compete with BBC in India.

Posted: 15 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
CNN International senior VP Rena Golden: "This is the only market where BBC leads the CNN. ... India has a long historic association with Britain and BBC, especially BBC radio, which was here decades before CNN even came to the market. I respect the BBC, no doubt about that. But where CNN excels is in breaking news -- that's our DNA... . We also don't have a British style of presentation, a British view of the world. We have journalists from 50 different nationalities covering news for us. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for BBC, but I think CNN has very successfully differentiated itself." Indiantelevision.com, 13 March 2007. See also CNN South Asia press release, 14 March 2007, about CNN-IBN "Generation Next" special.

Will international radio via the internet run afoul of bandwidth limitations?

Posted: 15 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Television networks are posting shows online; retailers are lining up to offer music and movie downloads; thousands of Internet radio stations stream music; more people are using Wi-Fi phones; and 'over the top TV,' in which channels stream over the Internet, is predicted to grow. That means that more customers may become familiar with the little-known acceptable-use policy employed by Comcast, which allows the company to cut off service to customers who use the Internet too much." Boston Globe, 12 March 2007.

Radio Farda: evidence of an effect.

Posted: 15 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"'My mother is very nervous. Every time she listens to Radio Farda, she thinks American Special Forces are about to land in central Bandar Abbas and attack us.' Radio Farda is a Washington-sponsored radio station that transmits Persian-language news that tends to highlight developments regarding Iran's nuclear program and its poor human rights record." Washington Times, 14 March 2007.

Can star power help VOA/RFA Tibetan?

Posted: 14 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Richard Gere, at Congressional hearing, asks for "full funding of the government-sponsored Voice of America and Radio Free Asia's Tibetan broadcasts, which are crucial to the Tibetan exile community. ... The administration's proposed budget for fiscal 2008 slices $2 million from the $7.5 million that previously funded VOA's and RFA's Tibetan broadcasts. The cuts will effectively reduce Tibetan broadcast hours by half." Variety, 13 March 2007.

Would VOA be one of those strategic acquisitions? Well, maybe not.

Posted: 13 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Xinhua Finance Media Ltd, a provider of financial news and data on China's markets, has raised US$300 million from its American initial public offering to pay debt and fuel strategic acquisitions. ... Xinhua Finance Media produces and distributes television and radio programs that also cover entertainment and educational contents through Inner Mongolia Satellite Television and China Radio International." Shanghai Daily.com, 10 March 2007.

American Cultural Centers giving way to American Corners.

Posted: 12 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A striking contrast to the cultural exportation of the US Information Agency of old, today’s American Corner takes a much less heavy-handed approach to promoting understanding of American culture in Serbia. With branches in seven cities throughout the country, the American Corner operates on the principle of local cooperation. The Embassy funds the opening and the reading and film collection of each branch, while local libraries and cultural centers provide the space, maintenance and staff salary." B92 (Belgrade), 12 March 2007.

Text messages via cell phone get the news into Zimbabwe (updated again).

Posted: 12 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A radio station hounded out of the country by Zimbabwean strongman President Robert Mugabe has found its e-mails are monitored and shortwave broadcasts are blocked by Chinese-built jamming devices... . But, said SW Radio Africa founder Gerry Jackson, the censors haven't caught on yet to text messaging. It's a challenge to compress 'the complexity of Zimbabwe's news into 160 characters including spaces,' Jackson said. 'That's what I do every day.'" CNET News, 16 February 2007. Zimbabwe may not have such technology at present, but my friend Jukka Kinkamo in Finland reminds me of China's Golden Shield and similar projects. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service writes in its Commentary No. 89, September 2006: "The technical capacity of the system includes blocking domestic and overseas Web sites, filtering content and key words on Web pages, monitoring and suppressing e-mail and surfing; phone and SMS message tracking, hijacking PCs and sending out viruses." And this recent headline: "The Long Awaited SMS Firewall Is Here!" Best Security Tips, 15 February 2007. It refers to a new product from CM Technology: "Mobile companies such as telecom operators will be able to enforce local sms regulations, codes of conduct and privacy policies by using the Regulatory SMS Firewall." It would therefore not be a good idea to decommission those shortwave transmitters. Update: "With one of its largest supporters being the Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NiZA), SW Radio has been able to build from a base of 500 subscribers in December of 2006, to 2,000 subscribers today -- with about 100 new subscription requests a day. However ... the process can be prohibitively expensive. And SW Radio Africa depends primarily on donor funding." CNN, 12 March 2007.

Darfur calling Darfur, via Cyprus.

Posted: 12 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"There is a small group of Sudanese men and women based in the south Darfur city of Nyala who risk life and limb on a daily basis to deliver humanitarian information over the radio to the millions of displaced persons in the region. They work for the BBC World Service Trust, a humanitarian arm of the world’s best-known broadcaster, and every day they put out a 30-minute programme that is broadcast on shortwave to western Sudan as well as parts of Chad and the Central African Republic. ... Salam ila Darfur broadcasts on shortwave from transmitters in Cyprus at 0500 GMT and at 1700 GMT on 7150 kHz and 17595 kHz." Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 10 March 2007.

A critique of VOA Urdu, a.k.a Radio Aap ku Dunya.

Posted: 12 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Commentator questions the service's subject for an interview, and notes: "When Radio Aap ki Dunya was brought on the air — among other inexplicable things done by Uncle since 9/11 — it was said by the visionaries who had thought it up that the audience they wanted to reach had a maximum age of thirty-nine (all those above that number, move the dial to Radio Tirana)." Khalid Hasan, Daily Times (Lahore), 11 March 2007.

Anti Hughes commentary with a few factual errors (updated).

Posted: 12 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Karen Hughes "has ... overseen the programming transition of ill-conceived, expensive, and spectacularly unsuccessful radio and television broadcasts in the Middle East through Radio Sawa, Radio Farda, and al-Hurra Television, all of which now emphasize entertainment rather than news." Philip Giraldi, Antiwar.com, 7 March 2007. Hughes does not, or at least should not, oversee U.S. international broadcasting. She represents the Secretary of State as one of nine members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Radio Sawa, certainly, and Radio Farda, probably, are successful in many of their target countries. A 2006 survey in six Arab countries, reported by Prof. Shibley Telhami, showed Alhurra with five-day-per-week audiences ranging from 5 to 19 percent. Although these audiences are smaller than those of major competing Arab channels, they are better than U.S. international broadcasting to the Arab world has traditionally achieved. Alhurra's content varies, but it does not particularly emphasize entertainment. "Hughes threatens all her efforts by doing the one thing no diplomat should ever do: Making herself the story. Though she speaks no foreign languages, has a limited understanding of the world, and offers a folksy Texan persona that translates poorly into Arabic or Indonesian, Hughes is convinced that she must travel the world as an ambassador of American public diplomacy." Joshua Kurlantzick, The New Republic, 8 March 2007. Update: "Interactive technology can bring people to people communication to a 21st century brand of public diplomacy effort connecting cultures and people with the simple pressing of a power button. Video conferencing, the internet, e-mail, Skype, on-line television and radio can all serve to connect, engage, educate and empower young people on both sides of the divide to appreciate peoples and cultures thousands of miles away, and in numbers dwarfing any student exchange program." Rick Rendon, Arab American News, 10 March 2007.

VOA reports the news, verrugas y todas.

Posted: 12 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Voice of America conducted a random interview on the streets of Montevideo, Uruguay. Of more than a dozen people interviewed, only one said she was pleased to have Bush in her country." Ohmy News, 12 March 2007. Afro Cuban jazz musician Arturo Sandoval heard Dizzie Gillespie "playing bebop and Afro Cuban jazz while listening to Voice of America on short-wave radio when he was growing up in Cuba." South Bend tribune, 9 March 2007.

NHK's international broadcasting goes to court.

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A civic group filed a lawsuit Tuesday with the Osaka District Court, demanding the government repeal its order to NHK to intensify coverage of the North Korean abduction issue on its shortwave international radio service, members of the group said. The group, consisting of NHK subscribers in Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures and viewers in the United States and France, said Article 33 of the Broadcast Law, which authorizes the communications minister to give such orders, infringes on freedom of the press, which is guaranteed under the Constitution." Japan Times, 7 March 2007.

Positive development or worthy news story?

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, featured in recent U.S. public diplomacy efforts and (coincidentally or part of the same campaign?) in a Voice of America story. "'It's a very positive development,' said Voice of America's Faiz Rehman, a Pakistani native and senior political producer. 'He is the most famous freshman congressman in the world.'" McClatchy Newspapers, 6 March 2007.

More dollars for broadcasting to Iran.

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Congress allocated ... $36.1 million of FY 2006 supplemental Iran funds directly to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) for media programming into Iran, including our VOA Farsi television service and Radio Farda. ... For FY 2008, the President has requested over $100 million in Iran funding, including roughly $20 million for VOA’s Persian service and $8.1 million for Radio Farda... ." Statement of R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. State Department, 6 March 2007.

Sort of like the Duke moving into the trailer park (updated).

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Depending on the report, BBC will have two or three "channels" on YouTube, including news content from BBC World. See AP, 3 March 2007. See also BBC Worldwide press release, 2 March 2007. "To say that BBC is bullish on Asia would be stating the obvious. Continuing to mark its presence in the region, BBC Worldwide has become one of the first UK distributors to provide entertainment content to an Asian mobile television broadcaster's S-DMB (Satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) service." Indiantelevision.com, 1 March 2007. Update:Turkish court orders YouTube blocked "because of videos allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk." AP, 7 March 2007.

James Glassman new BBG chairman?

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"James Glassman, television pundit, American Enterprise Institute scholar, former editor of Roll Call, former Washington Post columnist and author of books including our favorite -- 'Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market' -- is said to be getting the job of chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a part-time -- but time-consuming -- gig overseeing the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and the Cuba broadcasting operation." Washington Post, 7 March 2007. See also his bio at TCSDaily.com.

International broadcasting via internet radio? Maybe not.

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has endorsed a plan by SoundExchange, the royalty-collections division of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to retroactively raise the fees Internet radio broadcasters must pay to broadcast their music. The royalty increases are so high that many Web-based radio stations will have to go out of business or dramatically increase advertising to cover the royalty fees. 'It's the end of Internet radio as we know it.'" ConsumerAffairs.com, 5 March 2007. This may not affect international broadcasting via internet radio, as international broadcasters tend to focus on spoken-word programming rather than music, or at least the music that would be covered by this development. However, if consumers' demand for internet radio receiving devices wanes because the number of available stations is reduced by royalty expenses, fewer such devices would be available for international broadcasters to build audiences. On the other hand, an intertional broadcaster in a renegade country might try to increase audience size by offering popular music but ignoring royalty payments. What would be done in such a case? Would the website and/or audio stream be blocked in the United States?

International broadcasting via 3G? Maybe not.

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Lauro Vives, president and chief analyst of XMG Inc., said in a statement the firm's recent market trend study showed that a typical phone user would find very little need to use the bandwidth capacity offered by 3G services. Vives said the study -- conducted across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific -- showed that 85 percent of the typical phone user's available time for phone use was spent only on SMS messaging and voice calls." Asian Journal, 5 March 2007.

WorldSpace Nasdaq uptick.

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The real performance, though, came from WorldSpace Inc., the sat radio company offering service in parts of the world far from North America. Shares of that firm were up 5.4% last month on no important news and despite the fact that it has little revenue to speak of and few subscribers." The Hollywood Reporter, 6 March 2007.

Less than pleasant memories of shortwave listening (updated).

Posted: 07 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Victim of 1976 kidnapping in Eritrea recalls: "The leader of one group had a radio and we used to listen to the Voice of America and the BBC, but never heard anything about our situation." BBC News, 4 March 2007. Derby County football fan in Singapore remembers from the 1970s: "I had no television to watch and relied only on newspapers and the BBC World Service on radio, which was broadcast on short wave. The reception was bad." Electric Newpaper (Singapore), 4 March 2007. Short wave radio was our life-line to keep track of the cricket matches that were being played in different parts of the world. Keeping track of the scores was a fix that we needed from time to time. The radio sets of Murphy, Phillips and Nelco seldom measured to our expectations. Short wave broadcast was the worst. The voice of the cricket commentator came in waves. Sanjay Kapor, Hard News (New Delhi), March 2007. A Bulgarian recalls: "The problem was that when we were listening to the language of the system, we knew it was false, exaggerated and hypocritical, so we weren’t really listening. There was a parallel set of values, whispered when our parents were listening to Voice of America in secret, talking to their friends in smoke-filled kitchens and reading books and magazines in English, which they kept hidden in closets." Sofia Echo, 5 March 2007. Update: "Just weeks ago, Fernando Araújo's only connection to the outside world was his shortwave radio. In six years as a hostage of Marxist rebels, his life had been reduced to a grim routine of forced marches, a diet of soggy beans and rice and the realization that freedom might never come. Now, after a confused and miraculous dash to freedom that has captivated Colombians, Araújo has become foreign minister, a critical post in a country highly dependent on foreign aid, especially from Washington. ... His only contact with those he left behind were the radio programs in which the families of kidnapping victims talk to their loved ones, filling them with hope. ... He also listened to the news programs of Caracol Radio, Colombia's main network, the BBC, Radio Netherlands and others." Washington Post, 6 March 2007. "Q: What are three items you would need to have on a desert island? A: Assuming people don’t count as items, I’d start with an iPod. I don’t actually own one, but if sentenced to a desert island I’d get one of those damn things and fill it up with my favorite music. It would be a solar-powered iPod, of course, and it would have a built-in shortwave radio receiver." Interview with independent music journalist Jon Sobel, Blogcritics, 5 March 2007.

The public diplomacy of entering the United States.

Posted: 05 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"A new global study conducted by the Discover America Partnership confirms a commonly held belief about tourism to the US: that entry processes have created a climate of fear and frustration that is both turning away business and leisure travellers and damaging America’s image abroad." Travel & Tourism News Middle East, March 2007. A friend from the U.K recently wrote: "I have just landed today from the USA, having traveled up the East Coast. Many people today are accustomed to Immigration and Customs at airports but nothing had prepared me for the surreal encounter on entering Philadelphia airport. Standard questions as 'what are you doing in the USA? How long will you stay here? Where are you staying?' were greeted with my standard answers. Nothing could have prepared me for the additional questions from Customs though - with suitcase in hand I handed over my form. 'What would I find in your suitcase if I were to look inside?' the security guard asked. 'What would I find if I were to search your backpack?' Then looking me up and down, head to toe, he calmly asked 'So...what are you wearing?' I was stunned. After a long pause all I could do was sleepily point to myself and mutter '...er...clothes.'. He looked at me again, smiled coolly, and repeated, 'yes but what are wearing?' pointing at my Vexed Generation outfit. He then told me to move on, leaving me thoroughly bewildered. Are there now fashion restrictions on entering the USA?"

CNN International versus CNN Anna Nicole (updated).

Posted: 05 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"My cable company provides both CNN and CNN International. I've watched CNN International in hotel rooms overseas, and it always struck me as fairly sophisticated news programming, although not on par with the BBC. Now I have the ability to flip back and forth between the CNN that caters to the American market and the CNN that aims at an international audience. The differences are striking." Pierre Atlas, Indianapolis Star, 1 March 2007. Update: "They have CNN International for those outside the insular walls of the United States and CNN-Lite for those trapped within the twilight zone of myopic news editors." Richard Buchanan, 4 March 2007.

Anchorless EuroNews pursues U.S. market (updated).

Posted: 05 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Unlike the media-conglom-owned Fox News or CNN, and Al Jazeera, which is held by an individual mogul, EuroNews is owned by 21 pubcasters in Europe that contribute video feeds with the goal of letting the pictures tell the story without on-camera anchors. The only EuroNews employees who appear on-camera are reporters, and only if they are conducting an interview. Stories are told with minimal voiceover narration, allowing the network to be dubbed simultaneously into seven languages." Variety, 24 February 2007. Update: "We provide the only news service for adults. We are exactly the contrary of entertainment news and we're on the opposite side with serious news." International Herald Tribune, 4 March 2007.

Will China also inform the outside world of its success in blocking information from the outside world?

Posted: 05 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: "We should conduct public diplomacy in a more effective way. We should inform the outside world of the achievements we have made in reform, opening-up and modernization in a comprehensive, accurate and timely manner. At the same time, we should be frank about the problems we have. We should be good at using flexible and diversified ways in conducting public diplomacy programs. We should use persuasive ways to communicate with the international community to ensure that our message is effectively put across. We should work to enable the international community to develop an objective and balanced view on China's development and international role, so as to foster an environment of friendly public opinion for China." China Daily, 3 March 2007

Radio Free Asia, domestically disseminated.

Posted: 03 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
Washington Times reprints RFA report on the trafficking of North Korean women in China, with full credit to RFA in the byline. "A severe shortage of younger women in Chinese rural communities has meant that bachelors must either head to the cities to find wives or buy a trafficked bride." Washington Times, 2 March 2007. And I see no reason why U.S. readers should be deprived of this exclusive reporting by RFA, which is also available at www.rfa.org.

VOA Uzbek, slated for closure on 1 October, still at work.

Posted: 02 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
At State Department briefing with Anne W. Patterson, Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs: "Voice of America, Uzbek Service: Has the worsening of U.S.-Uzbek relations affected the scope of partnership with Uzbekistan in combat and drug trafficking and what is being done to inform the public of U.S. assistance if there is any at the moment -- Patterson: In Uzbekistan. Q: -- given - right --given the fact that the Uzbek Government is running anti-U.S. campaign in the local press. Patterson: I honestly don't know the answer to that question." U.S. State Department, 1 March 2007.

North Korean jamming and blocking result in increases for VOA and RFA Korean.

Posted: 01 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"To encourage a peaceful, long-term transformation, we need to enhance significantly the quantity and quality of information going into North Korea that is not subject to censorship. Voices that are not part of the government's propaganda apparatus can open peoples' minds and provide encouragement to those who seek freedom. Through means such as radio broadcasting, North Koreans can learn that they do not live in a ‘socialist paradise,' and that contrary to the claims of the regime, people who live in freedom can enjoy a remarkable degree of prosperity. Last year, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) provided increased resources to the Korean services of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. For the next fiscal year beginning this October, the Administration has requested a significant increase for these services, from $4.6 to $8 million. Along with many other improvements, this increase will allow Radio Free Asia to begin transmitting in medium wave, which we believe will be a highly effective supplement to its current shortwave broadcasting." Jay Lefkowitz, Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, Statement to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, via U.S State Department, 1 March 2007.

BBC Albanian celebrates its 14th anniversary by ceasing all shortwave broadcasts.

Posted: 01 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"'We are delighted to celebrate our anniversary with this important change.' ... BBC Albanian's flagship programme, BBC Sot, will be available on the BBC's FM relays 103.9 MHz in the Albanian capital, Tirana, and 98.5 MHz in Prishtina, Kosovo, between 07.00 and 12.00 Central European Time from Monday to Friday." BBC World Service press release, 28 February 2007. Nikki Clarke is new BBCWS head of region for Americas and Europe. BBCWS press release, 28 February 2007.

Marketing BBC Arabic -- and English in the Arab world.

Posted: 01 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Faced with the twin challenges of competition from satellite TV and FM radio and an ageing audience, the BBC Arabic service sought to reposition itself with young audiences across the region." ASDA’A press release, 26 February 2007. "An English language journalism competition in Jordan called BBC NewsMaker ... aims to introduce younger audiences to the BBC's English news programmes." BBC World Service press release, 26 February 2007.

More proposed messages (A) to Iran (B) to achieve desired effects (C).

Posted: 01 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"Since the greatest threat to an autocracy originates from its own people, the U.S. should redouble efforts to mobilize and fund liberal opposition groups, while retooling Radio Farda into an effective voice for freedom." David J. Rusin, American Thinker, 1 March 2007. "The United States and its allies should also step up public diplomacy programs to explain to the Iranian people the growing costs of their leaders' stubborn refusal to abide by Iran's treaty commitments." James Phillips, Human Events, 28 February 2007.

Promoting China by promoting Mandarin.

Posted: 01 Mar 2007   Print   Send a link
"The Chinese government, through an institute called Hanban, has launched a number of initiatives over the past few years to spread the study of Chinese language and culture around the globe. ... It has opened 'Confucius Institutes' in more than 100 countries to fulfill the desire of a growing number of foreigners who want to learn Mandarin -- and to create even more demand." Seattle Times, 1 March 2007.