Listeners are helping BBC validate World Service archive metadata.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC Internet Blog, 24 Sept 2013, Tristan Ferne: "The BBC World Service Archive prototype allows you to search, browse and listen to over 36,000 radio programmes from the BBC World Service archive spanning the past 45 years. For a limited time you can explore this archive and help us improve it by validating and adding topic tags that describe the programmes. ... So far, users of the prototype have listened to around 12,000 of the 36,000 programmes that are available and tagged or edited about 7,000 of these. This has generated over 70,000 individual metadata 'edits' (votes, new tags etc). We've even had some dedicated listeners send us recordings of programmes that were missing from the archive. We are currently analysing the data so far to see how good the tags are by comparing professional archivists, listeners and our algorithms."

VOA's Willis Conover has a (memorial) Facebook page.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Willis Conover Facebook page: "Willis Conover (1920-1996) was one of VOA's treasures, an internationally-known jazz aficionado, well-connected within the jazz community but little-known in the United States." "Although few Americans knew the name Willis Conover, his distinctive baritone was the voice of jazz — that quintessentially American music — for millions around the world. From 1955 until 1996, Conover’s Music USA Jazz Hour brought sounds that Louis Armstrong once called 'not too slow, not too fast — kind of half-fast' to listeners of the U.S. government-sponsored Voice of America radio service."

The overlooked history of the international TV distribution business.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Connect 2 Media & Entertainment, 25 Sept 2013, Dom Serafini: "[O]ne can find plenty of historical references about TV technology, production, advertising and broadcasting. But for academia, it’s as if 50 years of international TV distribution business never existed. And yet, international program sales made commercial television viable and fostered its growth outside the United States. If it weren’t for American international distribution, Canada couldn’t have supported its first commercial TV stations that later formed the CTV network. If countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil hadn’t started to export Telenovelas in the 1950s and 1960s (first selling scripts, then kinescoped versions and later, in 1965 versions on two-inch videotapes), Latin America’s TV industry couldn’t have developed as it did. If not for TV content sold internationally, Italy couldn’t have introduced commercial television in Europe. And yet, very few records remain of those milestones."

Director of Radio/TV Martí describes his station's media mix.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Radio Prague, 19 Sept 2013, Carlos Garcia-Perez, director of Radio/TV Martí, as interviewed by Patrick McCumiskey: "We are a multi media operation. ... Why is that? Well, there are two primary reasons. Firstly, it’s the most efficient way of carrying on our operation today, and, as you know, the internet is a big player. You (Radio Prague) play a big role on the internet now, so internet and social media has changed the spectrum of how information is disseminating and the availability of information. Secondly, it is the attempt to jam us by the Cuban government. And we go from the most primitive way of distributing information, which is through flash drives and DVDs on the island, where we put our radio and TV content to satellite. In between those, we have an AM station, we have our own 1180 [kHz] signal, but we buy time from commercial stations in Miami- that’s in a test period- but we do that because we know it reaches the island, and we are getting great feedback from the island on these. We are doing short wave and we are also testing FM. We know the access to internet is a big component of distribution - although we know access to the internet on the island is very limited." -- Former shortwave broadcaster Radio Prague is now Internet-only.

Deutsche Welle's departing director on the roles on shortwave, internet, television.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
The Times of India, 19 Sept 2013, Deutsche Welle director general Erik Bettermann as interviewed by Debasis Konar: "The importance of shortwave has decreased dramatically almost everywhere, largely due to increasing dominance of the internet. That's why Deutsche Welle (DW) has reduced its shortwave radio programmes significantly and invested more resources into its online presence and television activities. ... Despite the increasing importance of the Internet, radio is still a vital source of information in many regions, where Internet access is limited. In sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, DW not only distributes its radio content via shortwave, but also via partner stations. We provide our users with audio files and podcasts in a variety of languages. Many young people are accessing DW's audio offerings through mobile devices even." -- Erik Bettermann's term as director general of DW ends on 30 Sept. See previous post. Sofia News Agency, 20 Sept 2013: "Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, was the target of [a] protest in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, because it sacked without explanation the journalists Ivan Bedrov and Emi Baruh. The self-proclaimed 'anti-government online information agency' condemned the dismissal of journalists Ivan Bedrov and Emi Baruh from Deutsche Welle (DW) It appears that both were sacked from the media without any explanation."

How useful are the weather forecasts from the global news channels?

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
The Telegraph, 21 Sept 2013, Colin Freeman: "Is there really any point in these big international weather forecasts that the likes of BBC World, CNN and other 'international' channels do? Quite apart from anything else, they try to cover an absurdly vast chunk of territory. The slightest sweep of the weatherman's arm usually takes in an area the size of Western Europe, so there isn't much scope for detailed analysis anyway – say of humidity, for example, which changes a lot in coastal cities like Tripoli, and can turn otherwise manageable day intolerably sweaty. Or might it just be that English-language broadcasters assume that everyone worldwide is as weather- obsessed as people in Britain, where it changes every day? At the risk of generalising, I don't really think most people in the Middle East take that close an interest – for the simple reason that they don't often need to. I travel in the region a lot, and while life here is not short of unpredictability, one thing I never hear anyone say is 'weather permitting'. The first year I spent living in Iraq, for example, I scarcely saw a cloud in the sky between April and October, much less a drop of rain. ... Seldom did I ever have to worry about how to dress before going out, other than occasionally whether to don a flak jacket or not." -- In East and South Asia, the weather is more volatile, and there is a great deal of interest in weather information from the broadcast media. A pan-Asian channel featuring genuine meteorological experts could have potential in the region.

"Hunting is completely closed in Voice of America." In Washington. The other Washington.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Peninsula Daily News, 19 Sept 2013, Lee Horton: "Bad news for pheasant hunters: There will be no hunting in the area known as Voice of America this year. In fact, there probably won’t be any hunting of any sort in the Dungeness Recreation Area in the near future. 'All hunting has been discontinued indefinitely,' Bryan Davidson of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife told me this week. There has been a big load of confusion about this because some of the hunting regulation pamphlets were printed with incorrect information. So, don’t believe everything you read, but do believe this: Hunting is completely closed in Voice of America. The area isn’t being stocked with pheasants as it has in the past. Apparently, the area’s lease ran out and it wasn’t renewed." -- Pheasant are not very often seen in the corridors of the VOA headquarters in Washington. This article refers to a site in Washington state where, in the 1950s, a VOA transmitter site was planned until it came under the scrutiny of Senator Joseph McCarthy. See previous post.

Irishman accuses Dutch company of stealing his idea to steal the "Voice of America" name for TV talent show.

Posted: 25 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Irish Independent, 24 Sept 2013, Fiona Ellis: "An Irishman is suing a Dutch production company for millions of dollars claiming he came up with the idea for the international hit TV show 'The Voice' and they stole it. Roy Barry, from Co Meath, is suing production company Talpa Holding and its affiliates, for breach of contract claiming he came up with the concept for 'The Voice' and the company stole it costing him millions of dollars. 'The Voice' is franchised in 49 countries and recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Show. In his lawsuit, Mr Barry claims in June 2008 he conceived a novel idea for a reality television series titled 'Voice of America'. Mr Barry's concept for the series was: 'A singing talent show where the judges cannot see you as they are behind screens. Where the contestants are judged solely on their voice (rather than on their appearance).' ... On September 17, 2010 'The Voice of Holland' premiered on Dutch TV and Talpa distributed rights to 'The Voice' show across the globe."

Entertainment Law Digest, 24 Sept 2013, Elizabeth Warmerdam: "In July and September of 2010, Talpa registered the domains,,, and ... 'Talpa distributed purported rights to NBC for The Voice of America, in December 2010. Talpa and NBC originally intended to call the show "The Voice of America," the precise name of the show pitched by Barry, but, upon information and belief, due to the pre-existing political organization, The Voice of America, the show was renamed simply The Voice and premiered in the United States on April 26, 2011.'" -- "Political organization"? VOA's continuing image problem...

TV5Monde expands distribution in South Korea and offers Korean subtitles.

Posted: 18 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Media Research Asia, 17 Sept 2013: "‘TV5MONDE Pacifique’ joins SK’s Btv platform in the ‘Standard’ package (extended basic) and adds over 500,000 subscribers to its existing customer base in Korea, making the channel now available in more than 1 million homes in the territory. ... ‘TV5MONDE Pacifique’ is also carried on KT’s Olleh TV, CJ’s tving and several MSOs, and offers Korean subtitles up to 10 hours per day. SK Group is the 2nd largest telco in Korea with 27 million mobile and 4.4m broadband subscribers through its subsidiaries SK Telecom and SK Broadband respectively. The latter is also the 2nd largest IPTV provider in the country with 1.8 million subscribers." -- Subtitles are allowing more and more international television channels to become multilingual channels. TV5Monde also has subtitles in English, Vietnamese, Japanese, Spanish Portuguese, Arabic, and perhaps others for some of its programming.

Euronews Hungarian will delay coverage of Hungarian domestic news until after 2014 election.

Posted: 18 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link, 16 Sept 2013, Lili Bayer: "Euronews will delay all planned Hungarian-language domestic news broadcasts until after the 2014 elections, director Attila Kert revealed in an interview with liberal daily Népszabadság. Kert, who became director of Euronews’ Hungarian-language programs after a career in Hungary’s public media, explained that while Euronews already broadcasts international news in Hungarian, plans for the channel to begin dedicating 15-20% of broadcast time to domestic news will be put on hold to avoid any appearance of Euronews influencing Hungary’s election campaign. The Lyon-Écully, France-based Euronews was founded in the early 1990s by a consortium of public broadcasters on the continent, and covers news from a 'Pan-European' perspective. 800,000 Hungarian households currently have access to the Euronews channel." -- If Euronews Hungarian is a proper news organization, it would 1) want to cover the Hungarian election, 2) assume that its journalism is reporting on on rather than "influencing" Hungary's election, 3) be confident that it is giving only the "appearance" of an objective, balanced news service.

Comment to ibid from MagyarViking: "Given that Euronews is owned by a 'consortium of public broadcasters on the continent', who are well-known to stay clear of any political accusations (compare EBU and the Eurovision Contest), this means that Euronews can never work if there is one 'public broadcaster', like the Fidesz-controlled Hungarian State-TV MTV that puts in their veto."

TV Martí transmitter plane, grounded by sequester, stored for $79,500 per year (updated).

Posted: 18 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Washington Post, 2 Sept 2013, David A. Fahrenthold: "'Aero Martí' ... was outfitted to fly over the ocean and broadcast an American-run TV station into Cuba. The effort was part of the long-running U.S. campaign to combat communism in Cuba by providing information to the Cuban people uncensored by their government. But Cuban officials jammed the signal almost immediately, and surveys showed that less than 1 percent of Cubans watched. Still, when Congress started making budget cuts, lawmakers refused to kill the plane. But then they allowed across-the-board 'sequestration' cuts. And there was no more money for the fuel and pilots. So the plane sits in storage at taxpayer expense — a monument to the limits of American austerity. ... This plane is a last remnant of a long, weird experiment in television broadcasting across the Straits of Florida. The plan was to broadcast uncensored news and commentary on a station named for Cuban patriot José Martí. The hope was that something boundless — American disdain for the communist regime of Fidel and Raúl Castro — could overcome something fixed. Which was the laws of physics. Much of Cuba was simply too far over the horizon to get a strong-enough TV signal from aircraft flying in U.S. airspace. ... The federal Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which pays for the plane, asked Congress to eliminate it. The savings: about $2million a year. 'We have evolved from the airplane to distribute our TV content toward means that we know are popular on the island,” said Carlos A. García Pérez, a Cuban American trial lawyer from Puerto Rico who now heads the office. The station, for instance, now broadcasts on DirectTV [sic, should be DirecTV], to reach Cubans with pirated satellite dishes. And it burns newscasts onto DVDs and sends 1,000 a week to be handed out by Cuban activist groups and churches. ... Now, the agency still pays $79,500 a year to keep the aircraft in storage, paying money for nothing in a time when sequestration is causing painful cuts in other programs." -- This article is the first on the subject that acknowledges the laws of physics. Aero Martí does not really "fly over the ocean," because international radio regulations prohibit broadcasting on or over international waters. Accordingly, Aero Martí must be flown over the Florida Keys, in US territory. That's 145 kilometers to the nearest point in Cuba, a distance over which signals on television frequencies attenuate significantly, and are easy prey for jamming transmitters in the target country.

Update: Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), 16 Sept 2013, editorial: "Radio Marti began in 1985 with high hopes that its broadcasts would circumvent the government-controlled media and, by exposing Cubans to freedom and democracy, prompt the overthrow of Castro. It didn't work. The island nation still isn't free, and TV Marti's signal has been jammed almost since the start. Surveys show that fewer than 1 percent of Cubans have seen its programming, yet Congress refuses to kill funding for the plane, which helps transmit the signal. ... With a simple stroke of a pen, Congress can end this absurdity by taking Aero Marti out of the federal budget and mothballing the plane for good. Radio and TV Marti are Cold War relics whose time has come and gone. It is time to close the book on this failed experiment." -- The people of Cuba are not getting complete and reliable news about Cuba and the rest of the world from their domestic media. It is appropriate for the United States to provide such a news service. It should be a comprehensive, balanced news service, not a "gotcha" bad-news-about-Cuba news service. And it should be rebranded.

Former director of BBC Global News worries about government move to "politicise the BBC."

Posted: 18 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 15 Sept 2013, Richard Sambrook, former director of BBC Global News: "This government may be about to politicise the BBC to a greater extent than any of its predecessors. Traditionally, governments of all colours have protected its independence, recognising, whatever their differences with the organisation, that it is the source of the BBC's credibility and international standing. Now, in the wake of the public accounts committee's roasting of BBC executives, the culture secretary Maria Miller has indicated she wants the National Audit Office to have greater and immediate access to the BBC. ... The worry is that a disgruntled MP might demand some immediate review of the BBC in retaliation for difficult questions being asked on Newsnight or Today – and the BBC would be powerless to resist. ... Critics will say the NAO has reviewed the World Service for years without undermining its independence. But the World Service has very little purchase on UK politics."

Against the trend, All India Radio orders two 100-kW shortwave transmitters.

Posted: 18 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, 19 Aug 2013, Clare Hill: "India’s national radio broadcaster has ordered two 100 kW shortwave transmitters from the Swiss-German-Chinese group Ampegon. The new systems will replace existing analogue transmitters with simpler and more efficient analogue-digital ones. They will be used for both DRM digital and analogue transmission. All India Radio (AIR) is said to have plans to upgrade 36 of its AM medium wave and four its AM shortwave transmitters to DRM. ... AIR will install the transmitters near New Delhi, with plans for them to be operational by October. The acquisition contrasts with the long-term decline and switchoff of SW in Europe and North America, as well as broadcasters such as the BBC and Deutsche Welle switching off their foreign SW services in India to reduce costs. However shortwave is still considered to be the superior medium in reaching remote areas and poor people. Shortwave’s very long distance reach (international and even intercontinental) [and when] natural disasters bring local transmitters down, it is a key communication tool." Via @aborgnino.

i24 News, from Jaffa, Israel, joins crowded field of international TV news channels.

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Jewish Daily Forward, 5 Sept 2013, Anne Cohen: "The founders of i24 News, which launched in late July, say they mean to provide a broad and diverse Israeli perspective on regional and international news that will represent more than just the Jewish majority to an international audience. This is why i24News airs simultaneously in English, French and Arabic — no Hebrew. Its target audience is not Israeli. The channel is the brainchild of former French diplomat Frank Melloul, who, as media advisor to former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, served as head of France 24, the country’s international news channel — a similar project to the one he has recently launched. Like France 24, i24news’ target audience is international, not local, with roughly 70% percent of coverage dedicated to international news and 30% to Middle East coverage. 'When you are watching France 24, you get the French point of view; when you are watching CNN, you get the American point of view,' Melloul said in a phone interview from Israel. 'One was missing: the Israeli point of view, with all its components.' ... Will i24 countenance ... critical coverage of Israel? 'There’s no question of censorship of any kind,” said [editor-in-chief Adar] Primor. 'Arabs and Jews and foreigners write for the same site what they think of [a given] situation. This is important and that’s what was promised to me from the start.'"

US News & World Report, 27 Aug 2013, Ilan Berman: "[W]hether i24News can catapult Israel into serious contention with Arab media outlets in the 'war of ideas' that is now being waged in the Middle East is still very much an open question. The fledgling channel faces an uphill battle for both market share and legitimacy in the region's saturated (and unsympathetic) media market. What is clear, however, is that—for what is perhaps the first time—Israel now possesses the tools to truly compete in that arena."

PolicyMic, 25 Aug 2013, Adam Asher: "Looking at their coverage of the recent Israeli air force strike in Lebanon side-by-side with Al Jazeera’s, they’re similar with some subtle differences. i24 places more emphasis on the number of rockets fired from Lebanon and reports that one of the rockets caused damage; Al Jazeera mentions that an Israeli drone was reported flying over Lebanon the day before the initial rocket attacks, which i24 does not, and characterizes the damage in Israel as 'light' and suggests it might have been caused by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system rather than the Lebanese rockets themselves. i24 News has one task before it at the moment: To provide consistent, high quality news coverage. That mission has nothing to do with Israel, Palestine, or anything else besides journalistic integrity. Viewers will determine whether or not they succeed in that."

Tablet, 20 Aug 2013, Debra Kamin: "An expansion onto U.S. screens is slated for as early as January 2014. Meanwhile, it reaches an unlimited number of viewers worldwide via a live stream—which has attracted a handful of hits from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Egypt, executives say, though i24’s website has already been blocked by at least one Internet provider in Tunisia."

See also

Mr. Melloul's reference to the French, American, and Israeli "point of view" on their respective international channels might mean that the channels portray news as it is done by journalists in those countries. More likely, he is presuming that each channel has a bias that reflects the interests of its country. If that's the case, it's not something that any good journalist would want to hear, and it doesn't bode well for attracting an audience.

i24 is unlikely to match the global news coverage of Al Jazeera English. It might be watched for its Middle East coverage, although i24 reporters may not be able to travel to some Arab countries. Essential for any 24-hour news channel is carriage on cable, DTH satellite, and other multichannel systems. Here, globally, Al Jazeera English is likely to retain the advantage. Some US cable systems that will not carry Al Jazeera America could, on the other hand, be willing to carry i24.

It's interesting that none of these articles mention Jewish News One (JN1), an international news channel based in Brussels. This shows that a news channel can be inaugurated with great fanfare, then fade completely from notice.

Voice of Greece shortwave service, now operated by redundant ERT employees, will be turned into scrap metal.

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link, 17 Sept 2013: "The degradation of Greek Radio is going on, having shortwave radio 'Voice of Greece' as a victim. This includes 39 shortwave antenna masts hosted in Avlis, which the government plans to sell as scrap metal. The shortwave service started 75 years ago and it is still transmitting in 5 frequencies that cover the globe with shows in Greek for expatriates and foreign language news. The facilities are currently controlled by redundant ERT employes and broadcast the guerrilla service of the Greek National Radio ERA. Eighteen months ago, shortwave facilities in Thessaloniki were dismantled. ... The union body of ERT notes that this is an area of 1160 acres, featuring 39 metal masts, with a height between 30 and 70 meters each, that function as the shortwave aerials that transmit the 'Voice of Greece', the ERA-pénte, across the world. 'Greek shortwave started operating in 1938 and later was also used sent information to the Greek soldiers fighting Fascists in Albania. The only ones who dared to turn it off were the Nazis during the occupation. Since the liberation, it never stopped to link the country with Greek seafarers and the Diaspora. The Voice of Greece broadcasts information, entertainment, culture and tradition from Greece with programs in 12 languages, all over the globe'." -- Even as a "guerrilla" service, the Voice of Greece has putting a commanding signal into eastern North America, with lots Greek music.

Study compares Syria coverage of CNN, MSNBC, Fox, BBC America and (not so different) Al Jazeera America.

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link, 16 Sept 2013, Mark Jurkowitz, Amy Mitchell and Katerina Eva Matsa: "In its coverage of the Syrian crisis, the fledgling Al Jazeera America cable news channel provided viewers with content that often resembled what Americans saw on other U.S. cable news outlets, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. ... A breakdown of coverage of the Syrian crisis during the period studied reveals that CNN, by far, spent the most time on the subject-about 381 minutes or nearly six-and-a-half hours of programming. Al Jazeera America outpaced Fox News, 273 minutes to 220. And MSNBC ranked last, at 194 minutes. Because BBC America airs few news programs than the other cable outlets, one-third fewer hours were analyzed in the report. Even so, BBC America spent as much time on Syria as MSNBC, at 194 minutes. ... Despite having access to more than 60 international Al Jazeera network bureaus, about three-quarters (76%) of Al Jazeera America stories originated from Washington, D.C., or New York City. That is slightly higher than CNN (71%) and lower than MSNBC (85%) or Fox News (94%). Only 19% of BBC America's coverage originated from those two cities compared with 42% coming from London." -- BBC World News, available as a separate channel to US cable systems, is absent from this analysis even though it is more the equivalent to the other four channels than BBC America. The conclusions of this study support the concerns of other observers (see previous post) that the creation of Al Jazeera America has displaced the international perspective provided by Al Jazeera English.

The Atlantic Wire, 16 Sept 2013, Arit John: "What's disappointing about the Pew results is that Al Jazeera America, the great hope of the media world, the non-partisan anomaly in this crazy, mixed up liberal-conservative media world. The last thing we need is another network putting on the same old song and dance as the other ones, especially to a much smaller audience. But despite our disappointment, AJAM seems pretty happy with the news — they even tweeted about it. Yep, AJAM, you're American and officially on par with CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Congratulations."

State Department supports radio stations in Syria; its officials "cringe at" comparisons with RFE.

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
The Daily Beast, 13 Sept 2013, Mike Giglio: "As part of America’s efforts to aid the Syrian opposition, the State Department is supporting around 10 radio stations countrywide. State officials select and vet the journalists running the stations, then arrange for funding, which is provided by civil society NGOs and other channels using State Department money. ... Like the other Syrian journalists receiving U.S. support who were interviewed for this article, [Siruan Hossein of ARTA FM] says his American backers don’t influence his coverage. 'We are not forced to do anything we don’t want to do,' he says. 'The only thing we can’t do is support violence, which of course we don’t.' ... State Department officials cringe at — and reject — comparisons between their Syria radio program and Radio Free Europe, which the United States famously ran during the Cold War as part of its efforts to undermine the Soviet Union, and which was later revealed to have acted, at times, under the directive of the CIA." -- These stations compete with the BBG's Radio Sawa -- unmentioned in this piece -- for ears in Syria. Radio Sawa is probably audible in Syria via its Cyprus medium wave transmitter.

Kobani Kurd, 3 Aug 2013: "Radio 'Arta FM' strives to support the national and religious diversity in Kurdish areas and the rest of Syrian areas. ... 'Arta FM' is one of the projects of the Syrian Center for communication and cooperation in the Kurdish areas (SCCCK). It is a civil institution and non-profit based in the Kingdom of Sweden."

"Why China is making a big play to control Africa's media."

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Globe and Mail, 11 Sept 2013, Geoffrey York: "From newspapers and magazines to satellite television and radio stations, China is investing heavily in African media. It’s part of a long-term campaign to bolster Beijing’s 'soft power' – not just through diplomacy, but also through foreign aid, business links, scholarships, training programs, academic institutes and the media. Its investments have allowed China to promote its own media agenda in Africa, using a formula of upbeat business and cultural stories and a deferential pro-government tone, while ignoring human-rights issues and the backlash against China’s own growing power."

The Chinese English 24-hour TV news channels, CCTV and CNC World, are good examples of the futility of mixing public diplomacy with journalism. Because they are state-controlled, they are predictable and relatively boring. This disadvantage is countered by their state subsidies, which make the Chinese channels available without carriage fees. CCTV News and CNC World are therefore available even on the cheapest packages of DStv and on other multichannel television platforms in Africa. Among 24-hour English news channels, CNN International is the US player. It is self-funding and for-profit, and cannot give its content away to multichannel providers. Accordingly, CNN International tends to be available only on the more expensive channel packages. Many television viewers in Africa have access to the Chinese channels and Al Jazeera English, all subsidized, but not the CNN International and BBC World News, each self-funded.

America's Got Talent. Asia's got audience.

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link, 12 Sept 2013, Mansha Daswani: "RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network, the newly formed joint venture between RTL Group and CBS Studios International (CBSSI), will be led by Jonas Engwall as CEO. Engwall will be based in Singapore and report to the new company's board of directors. ... Engwall commented: 'This is an unprecedented partnership between two leading global broadcasters in a region with huge growth potential. Together with my team, I look forward to launching our two first channels, RTL CBS Entertainment HD and RTL CBS Extreme HD, across Asia. Our new channels will offer world-renowned content including exclusive first runs of some of Asia’s favorite reality programs America’s Got Talent, Fear Factor and The X Factor USA; dramas Under the Dome, Elementary and Beauty and the Beast and daily shows Entertainment Tonight and Late Show with David Letterman. I am very confident that these programs will prove extremely popular across our footprint and represent a highly valuable proposition for all our partners. We have already had very positive feedback from all premier platform owners in the region.'"

The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Sept 2013, Scott Roxborough: "He will oversee the launch of two branded RTL CBS thematic channels -- RTL CBS Entertainment HD and RTL CBS Extreme HD -- in up to 29 Asian markets including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam." See also CBS press release, 13 Aug 2013., 17 Sept 2013, Richard Middleton: "Bertelsmann-owned RTL and CBS’s overseas arm both hold equal stakes in the venture, which is rolling out channels in 29 markets across South East Asia in English and local languages." -- "Local languages"? How? Subtitles? Separate channels?

Psyop in the news: Taking over the radio dial, and a Chinese Commando Solo.

Posted: 17 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Computerworld, 26 Aug 2013, Darlene Storm: "The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) posted on FedBizOps that it is: 'seeking sources to provide a radio broadcast system capable of searching for and acquiring every AM and FM radio station in a specific area and then broadcasting a message(s) in the target area on all acquired AM and FM radio station frequencies." -- This signal displacement objective would be more difficult to accomplish on shortwave, where distant signals often prevail over those from closer transmitters.

Forbes, 17 Sept 2013, Michael Peck: "Some might wonder whether this technology can be used inside the United States. The answer is yes."

Stars and Stripes, 29 Aug 2013: "A KC-130 Super Hercules was flying over southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, with a message to deliver to those below. ... As the aircraft passed over selected areas, leaflets by the thousands were thrown out the tail end and scattered to the wind. The hope was that the leaflets drifting down from the sky would reach their intended audiences and convince locals to support Coalition efforts to defeat the insurgency influence in the region."

The Diplomat, 14 Aug 2013, Aaron Jensen: "The recent unveiling of China’s new PSYOP (Psychological Operations) aircraft, the Gaoxin-7(高新七号), marks an important step forward for People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) psychological warfare capabilities. Based on a Y-8 airframe (similar to the U.S. Military’s C-130), the Gaoxin-7’s primary mission is to conduct PSYOP missions against enemy forces. Although specific details are few and far between, People’s Republic of China (PRC) media has compared the Gaoxin-7 to the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) EC-130J 'Commando Solo' in terms of its mission and capability. The EC-130J Commando Solo is essentially a flying broadcast station which can transmit media in AM, FM, HF, TV and military communication frequencies to enemy positions."

USA Today, 11 Aug 2013, Tom Vanden Brook: "USA TODAY uses the term propaganda in referring to the Pentagon's MISO [Military Information Support Operations] programs. The paper has been examining the programs for the past two years. Many MISO practitioners find the term pejorative, object to it and say its use shows the paper has a vendetta against the program. Propaganda is an evocative term. Bad guys use it, often without regard to facts or truth. So far, USA TODAY has never found U.S. propaganda filled with lies. Most of what is publicly available — a small sample to be sure as much is classified — is benign. Support the Afghan government, for example. Join the police." -- Wait, how can propaganda be propaganda if it is classified?

Radio Farda reporters' relatives in Iran still intimidated despite new government.

Posted: 16 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 11 Sept 2013: "RFE/RL's Persian language Service, Radio Farda, has reported several recent instances of intimidation targeting reporters' relatives in Iran, despite widespread expectations that the new government of President Hassan Rohani would usher in a period of more moderate politics and ease societal tensions. In five separate instances in August, relatives were approached, and in some cases interrogated, by agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry with the aim of pressuring them to persuade their sons, daughters, and siblings to resign from their jobs. Radio Farda journalists are banned from working in Iran, and RFE/RL President and CEO Kevin Klose called the harassment 'censorship by other means.'"

BBC Worldwide: More focus on emerging markets and integration of operating divisions.

Posted: 16 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link, 12 Sept 2013, Paul Dempsey, president of global markets at BBC Worldwide, as interviewed by Mansha Daswani: "[There were] fast-emerging markets in the world where the appetite for our content was strong, but we hadn’t really focused on them—particularly Latin America and Asia—and then there were the more mature environments where we were more established, like the U.K. and North America and Australia. We felt we had to shift the organization to allow us to put more focus on the [emerging] regions. Secondly, the media landscape is getting so much more complicated that I don't know how in the future it will be easy for companies to operate with separate operating divisions in any one market. There’s so much fluidity between the channels you operate yourselves, third-party sales and the digital markets. We had areas of global expertise in all of those activities, but on the ground [were] disconnected and, ironically, incentivized to try and deliver different things. So as well as going to a regional structure, we integrated all the activities in the regions. [That gives you] focus and the ability to respond quickly to this changing environment." -- Recommended reading: this is a comprehensive interview. BBC Worldwide is the BBC's commercial arm, operating channels and selling programs and program formats outside of the UK to provide additional funding for the BBC in the UK.

BBC Worldwide press release, 21 Aug 2013: "BBC Worldwide today announced a deal with CCTV, providing China’s state television broadcaster with more than 65 hours of BBC programmes. The deal was announced at BBC Worldwide’s China Showcase today. The event, held for the third time, saw BBC Worldwide unveil hundreds of new programme offerings from a variety of genres to over 100 industry partners in the country. The event also served as a forum to exchange ideas for future collaborations. This new programming deal with CCTV involves factual programmes, with natural history making up the bulk of the package."

TV channel "to promote the image of Italy and Italian products" launches in China.

Posted: 16 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Telecompaper, 10 Sept 2013: "The first TV channel in China entirely dedicated to Italy is launching on 10 September. Giglio TV is the result of a partnership between Italy's Giglio Group and Chinese broadcaster CIBN Oriental Network, owned by China Radio International. The aim of the new channel is to promote the image of Italy and Italian products to Chinese consumers. It will be available on a variety of distribution platforms: satellite, cable, IPTV, web, mobile and tablet, via an integrated platform that currently reaches over 150 million users."

The Local (Rome), 12 Sept 2013: "The initiative was launched at the Italian embassy in Beijing and aims to 'promote Italy and its culture in the country', the foreign ministry said in a statement. ... Ambassador Alberto Bradanini said the move had 'strategic and cultural' value. The programming available to Chinese viewers will include everything from fashion to food, cinema and documentaries, Bradanini said."

CNN is over-the-top (OTT) in India, awarding journalists in Indonesia.

Posted: 16 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
BestMediaInfo, 30 Aug 2013: "Ditto TV, India’s first OTT (Over-The-Top) TV distribution platform from Zee New Media, the digital arm of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL), further strengthened its content offering by partnering with Turner International India and adding three of their globally renowned channels – CNN International, Cartoon Network and POGO – to its bouquet. Ditto TV subscribers will have access to top news stories across the globe via a live feed of CNN International. CNN International’s award winning coverage of news and current affairs will be available via news packages and programmes such as Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria GPS and International Desk. Subscribers will also be able to get the latest updates and current trends in global economy, travel, environment, arts and entertainment in the expert voices of CNN anchors and special correspondents including Richard Quest, Philippe Cousteau and Anthony Bourdain." -- "Over the top" (OTT) means television content distributed over the top of the existing Internet. Usually it refers to the distribution of individual programs, e.g. Netflix.

Asia Media Journal, 30 Aug 2013: "The CNN Television Journalist Award is returning to Indonesia for the second year and entries are now open. A collaboration between CNN and Indovision, the Award seeks to encourage, promote and recognize excellence in Indonesian television journalism and reinforce the role journalists have played in Indonesia’s development." -- Indovision is a direct-to-home satellite TV service in Indonesia.

What CNBC is doing to win in the international broadcasting scrum.

Posted: 16 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Enfield Independent, 5 Sept 2013: "Saracens have announced an agreement with global business news outlet CNBC, who will become an Official Broadcast Partner for the club. The global partnership strengthens Saracens' links with the City of London and will help increase awareness of the Saracens brand, and the values of rugby, to CNBC’s international business audience. The renowned CNBC brand will appear on Saracens playing jerseys, with the network also benefiting from player appearances, access to tickets, hospitality and branding at Allianz Park for two seasons. ... The agreement allows Saracens to engage with CNBC’s unmatched affluent and influential business audience around the world, via its regional television networks in Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific."

Discovery Channel has widest distribution of all channels in Europe.

Posted: 15 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 11 Sept 2013: "The Discovery Channel is the network with the widest distribution in Europe, according to new research. The Digital TV Research report surveyed 270 channels across 212 operators throughout the EMEA region. It found that Discovery is carried on 171 operators ahead of National Geographic, Eurosport and MTV, which were on 169, 164 and 160 channels respectively." -- Despite reference to EMEA -- Europe, Middle East, Africa - the study covers only European countries. The Digital TV Research press release, 11 Sept 2013, also shows that 157 operators carry CNN International, and 153 BBC World News.

Advanced Television, 11 Sept 2013, Branislav Pekic: "Discovery Italia has purchased the exclusive TV, online and mobile rights for the Six Nations rugby tournament from 2014 to 2017. No financial details were revealed. This marks a first for the third largest broadcaster in Italy after RAI and Mediaset in terms of audience share, (surpassing 7 per cent this summer)."

Religious broadcaster TWR reaches Syria via medium wave from Cyprus.

Posted: 15 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
TWR Blog, 6 Sept 2013: "Hope for Syria, an interactive live broadcast produced by TWR with other Christian media partners, has become a forum for lament, advice and encouragement since going on the air in early July. ... The radio program, which airs for 30 minutes daily in the Syrian Arabic language at 11:56 p.m. Syrian time on 1233 AM, includes devotions, an emphasis on God’s love, hope and peace, and other encouraging topics." -- TWR, originally Trans World Radio, has headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. The 1233 kHz medium wave transmitter is in Cyprus, shared with France's Arabic language international broadcaster Monte Carlo Doualiya which, along with Radio France International and France 24, is a component of France Médias Monde.

President Obama declines CNN's invitation to be an impromptu international broadcaster.

Posted: 14 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
The Daily Caller, 9 Sept 2013, Jeff Poor: "During his interview with President Barack Obama on CNN’s 'The Situation Room' Monday, Wolf Blitzer took a moment to make a promotional statement about CNN, which included a peculiar request to the president. Blitzer is a habitual on-air booster of the second-place news network, constantly pointing out CNN’s international presence, for example, by saying 'we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.' But in the midst of part of Obama’s media blitz for the Syria attack plan, Blitzer outdid himself. 'You’re being seen on CNN and CNN International around the world, including in Damascus,' Blitzer said. 'What I would like you to do, Mr. President, if you’re amenable to doing it — look into the camera, talk directly to President Bashar al Assad. Tell him specifically what you think he must do to avert a U.S. military strike.' Obama declined Blitzer’s request. 'You know, I don’t need to talk to the camera,' Obama said. 'I suspect he’s got people who will be watching this.'"

Radio Free Sarawak back on the air and back in the news.

Posted: 14 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 16 Aug 2013, Gerry Mullany: "[Clare] Newcastle Brown has given voice to growing concerns among Malaysians about environmental degradation. She spreads her message on social media, her Sarawak Report Web site and broadcasts on Radio Free Sarawak. ... Radio Free Sarawak [was] helped along by a drive that put 10,000 shortwave radios in the hands of Malaysians to hear the broadcasts, an effort aided by local churches and opposition groups. 'They have verandas where families will sit together and listen to the radio,' Ms. Rewcastle Brown said. To increase the audience, they eventually moved the broadcasts to later in the day to accommodate workers coming home from rice paddies."

Radio Free Sarawak returned to the air in August after a hiatus beginning just after Malaysian elections in May. See also The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 12 Aug 2013.

Deutsche Welle: Parliamentary elections, Beethovenfest, and a new DG.

Posted: 14 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 10 Sept 2013: "On Sunday, September 22, DW’s programming will focus on Germany’s parliamentary elections. Deutsche Welle is set to present results, analysis and background reports as well as interviews with election winners and losers. Beginning at 15:30 UTC, DW's six TV channels will each present several hours of special programming in German, English, Spanish and Arabic. Additionally, all of the information is available at DW's multimedia special 'German Elections 2013' - supplemented by live reporting on social media sites."

Deutsche Welle press release, 6 Sept 2013: "Deutsche Welle will offer audiences worldwide a wealth of content on the Beethovenfest Bonn in 2013. Features in up to 30 languages are planned for television, radio, online and as podcasts."

FilmOn.Com press release, 12 Sept 2013, via "FilmOn.Com - the world's largest provider of free internet television owned by billionaire Alki David – today announced a landmark partnership deal with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). Under a new agreement, Deutsche Welle's highly respected international news and current affairs channel will be available in four different languages via the platform on PC's and smartphones. The deal represents a significant addition to the impressive stable of official state broadcasters choosing to make their content available via It follows similar agreements with TVE of Spain and ABC in Australia."

Erik Bettermann's term as DW Director General ends on 30 Sept, when he will be replaced by Peter Limbourg.

China Radio International's next contest: Can you spot the photo that does not belong with the others?

Posted: 14 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
South China Morning Post, 3 Sept 2013, Jeremy Blum: A "photo gallery, which appeared on September 2 on the website of China Radio International, a state-owned international radio broadcaster, ran under the title 'People of many nations hold demonstrations in protest of United States military intervention in Syria'. The photos appear to have been compiled from various news agencies, and while all portrayed anti-war demonstrators, one image was slightly different from the others. Although it appeared with the caption 'Americans outside the White House protesting military action against Syria', the image showed demonstrators holding up two signs – one labelled 'Free Syria' and the other reading 'China, shame on you, your veto is killing Syrians.' ... China Radio International removed the photo from the gallery several hours after it was first uploaded, but not before the image was picked up by other Chinese media outlets, including Sina News and East Money.", 3 Sept 2013, Zhang Lulu: "Smashing a packet of cashew nuts with a bottle of white vinegar may not be the best way to crush them -- but time was short for Bobby Brill from the U.S. who had just minutes left to produce his Chinese-style prawn taco sauce. He has competed against his rivals in the exciting 'Chopsticks & Beyond' cooking competition held by China Radio International (CRI) in Beijing August 31. The competition is the third leg of the series of Chinese cooking competition, in which foreign cooking enthusiasts are asked to prepare a dish combining elements from Chinese cooking and their home country's cuisine."

China Radio International, 28 Aug 2013: "The 2013 Global Knowledge Contest, named 'Experience China,' on the theme of Northwest China will officially launch on Wednesday, August 28. The contest is sponsored by the State Council Information Office, and hosted by China Radio International (CRI). ... CRI will promote the contest news feature in English, Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Japanese, Cambodian, Hindi, Chinese and 10 other languages via radio, Internet, print, mobile, microblog, Facebook, Twitter and other media platforms. The theme of the contest revolves around the economic, social, cultural, natural and culinary aspects of Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia provinces. Participants are encouraged to capture these nuances through expressive means such as: essays, poetry, prose, paintings, or audio and video performances."

China Daily, 20 Aug 2013, Zeng Jun: "More than 14.4 million netizens voted online for China's top ecological city through the 2013 Chinese City Ranking: Promote Ecological Balance in China event, organized by China Radio International. The event started in May and lasted until the end of July. Roughly 79 percent of voters came from overseas. The top 10 ecological cities are Guiyang, Weihai, Xiamen, Chengde, Beihai, Xichang, Yingtan, Argun, Zixing and Baoting."

"Urgent Need to Protect the Internet."

Posted: 14 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Yale Global, 8 Aug 2013, John Negroponte: "Nation-states are increasingly attempting to regulate social, political and economic activity and content in cyberspace and, in many cases, suppress expression they view as threatening. Justifying their actions by claiming to protect children or national security, more than 40 governments have erected restrictions of information, data and knowledge flow on the internet. Censoring the internet takes many forms including censorship of opinions (Vietnam, Saudi Arabia); censorship of specific websites or ISPs (Australia, Pakistan, Russia); censorship of specific information (China, Germany); demanding information be taken down (France, Singapore); demanding users’ IP addresses (more than 50 countries); and erecting regulatory barriers to cross-border, information flow (Brunei and Vietnam). More drastically, others including Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia have considered building national computer networks that would tightly control or even sever connections to the global internet. ... The open, global internet is unlikely to continue to flourish without deliberate action to promote and defend it. Political, economic and technological forces are seeking to splinter the internet into something that looks more like national networks, with each government controlling its own domestic sphere as well as the flow of data and information among countries." With link to CFR white paper on the same subject.

Sky News Arabia sharing "expertise and reports" with Voice of Lebanon.

Posted: 11 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 5 Sept 2013, Rebecca Hawkes: "UAE-based TV broadcaster Sky News Arabia has teamed up with the Voice of Lebanon radio station to share expertise and reports. ... Sky News Arabia is available on free-to-air satellite on transponder 15 of Arabsat Badr 4, transponder 14 on Nilesat 201, and online. It can also be watched on IPTV in the UAE on either Etisalat's eLife service or Du TV, or the OSN pay-TV platform across the Arab world. A 50:50 joint venture between the UK's BSkyB and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC), the channel has been broadcasting rolling news in Arabic since May 2012." -- Despite a susbstantial investment of money and fanfare, we don't see many mentions of Sky News Arabia, nor any evidence that it is mounting any sort of ratings challenge to Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya among Arabic-speaking news viewers.

BBC Burmese now on the FM band in Burma.

Posted: 11 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC World Service press release, 30 Aug 2013: "BBC Burmese radio programmes - Mobigeno (Mobile Generation) and the English learning series Flatmates - will now be available for listening on FM in Burma (Myanmar), thanks to a re-broadcasting agreement with the country’s leading radio network, Padamyar FM. This is a first for the BBC in Burma. The Padamyar FM network, which is available in 120 towns across Burma, will now re-broadcast two BBC Burmese programmes which have a special appeal to younger audiences." -- Previously, BBC Burmese could reach Burma only via shortwave, satellite, and Internet.

NHK World expands distribution in Australia, Israel, Middle East.

Posted: 11 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Kyodo, 10 Sept 2013: "NHK said Tuesday its English-language channel NHK World TV is being shown in Australia and Israel through contracts with local broadcasters. The channel, which features news and lifestyle programs from Japan, began broadcasting on Australia’s largest satellite TV provider, Foxtel, on Sept. 3, and on Israeli cable television provider Hot on Sept. 1. Since it was started in April, NHK World TV has been picked up in Los Angeles, Britain, Tanzania and regions in the Middle East and North Africa. With the addition of 1.6 million households in Australia and 600,000 more in Israel, the channel is now available to about 265 million households worldwide, NHK said."

Broadband TV News, 3 Sept 2013, Robert Briel: "Japan International Broadcasting (JIB) has announced that NHK World TV is now available in the Middle East and North Africa region through Nilesat 201 on the OSN DTH platform." See Lyngsat list of OSN package channels.

Al Jazeera America may still have more detractors than viewers.

Posted: 10 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Media Bistro, 27 Aug 2014, Alex Weprin: "Al Jazeera America launched last week, and we have the ratings from Nielsen for its first few days. Not surprisingly given the low-rated channel it replaced (Current TV), and the fact that it lost a few million homes from AT&T before launch (it is currently in just over 40 million homes), AJAM’s launch ratings were pretty low by traditional cable news standards. The highest rated show on AJAM last week was the Thursday evening edition of 'Real Money with Ali Velshi,' which drew 54,000 total viewers."

The Wrap, 27 Aug 2013, Sara Morrison: "Though the Nielsen numbers are low (too low to accurately report, in some cases), the cable channel told TheWrap that the results are 'consistent with Al Jazeera America’s growth-oriented strategy, including beginning our marketing campaign at launch' and all indications say the audience will build. In other words, there's nowhere to go but up."

Gulf News, 2 Sept 2013, K. Raveendran: Al Jazeera's "American dream seems to have started on a sour note, although it may be too early to write off its prospects, given that there is a clear space available within the western audiences that desire a different perspective. US critics have been very quick to pick holes, including some technical glitches, in the fare presented so far."

The Telegraph, 5 Sept 2013, Katherine Rushton: "Earlier this week, Republican law maker [New York state assemblyman] Kieran Michael Lalor wrote to the chief executives of America’s biggest cable operators demanding that they drop Al Jazeera from their basic TV packages, or face commercial sanctions. He promised to stage a boycott of the cable providers who did not agree, or to lobby regional authorities to revoke the licences that grant them their miniature fiefdoms."

Hudson Valley Reporter, 29 Aug 2013, Greg Maker: "Lalor said that he is not against Al Jazeera being available to people who want it, but doesn’t think that people who order a basic cable package should have to pay for it if they don’t want it. Lalor said that the issue came up because some constituents complained to him that the network appeared recently on their basic cable package and they don’t want it. ... Lalor said that this is not a first amendment issue, adding that a company owned by a foreign power doesn’t have the right to broadcast in the United States." -- Which means that BBC America, BBC World News, France 24, NHK World, Arirang and others also don't have the right to broadcast in the United States. Assemblyman Lalor may be thinking about the requirement that over-the-air broadcast licenses be held by American citizens, but cable channels are not licensed. See also American Thinker, 9 Sept 2013, Kieran Lalor.

Philly Post, 29 Aug 2013, Christopher Moraff: "[A]s anyone who has ever spent any time watching its English broadcasts knows, Al Jazeera has established a tradition of presenting hard-hitting, fact-based reporting on stories that often get overlooked by the American mainstream media. Call me overconfident, but I’m betting that this is the aspect of the network that will shine through as it advances its U.S. presence."

National Review, 29 Aug 2013, Clifford D. May: "I’m not suggesting Al Jazeera America will be an echo of Al Jazeera Arabic. I am suggesting that, like its sister station, AJAM — as it’s affectionately called – will have a mission, drive specific messages, and observe certain prohibitions."

The Daily Beast, 4 Sept 2013, Elizabeth Wurtzel: "My mom, a Republican who has been known to put an American-flag bandanna on my dog and take her to Tea Party rallies, loves Al Jazeera America. She likes it because it is all news reporting, it is always live, there are few advertisements, and most especially there is almost never any commentary—liberal, conservative, or whatever Rand Paul is."

Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug 2013, Mary McNamara: "The decision to pitch the network with an emphasis on national, rather than international, coverage may have seemed necessary — no shifty-eyed foreign agendas here, folks, we have a bureau in Nashville! — but it also undercuts the news organization's most marketable resource, the very reason many Americans wanted an Al Jazeera station in the first place."

PolicyMic, 23 Aug 2013, Geoffrey Gordon: "Whereas Al Jazeera English made a name for itself by presenting viewers with voices and perspectives they rarely heard on CNN, MSNBC, or (especially) Fox News, the new American network has self-consciously aimed to more closely resemble their competitors as they attempt to appeal to a broader American audience than the small corner of the intellectual elite who watched AJE on the internet. ... Additionally, their desire to increase the emphasis on domestic issues offsets Al Jazeera's potential competitive advantage in reporting on foreign affairs, which they can do in more depth from more places than other cable networks. Because of their lack of financial pressure to limit the number of journalists they can deploy to such far-flung places as South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia, Al Jazeera can cover stories from all over the world before they develop into catastrophes. In contrast, other more profit-oriented news outlets have closed bureaus all over the world in recent years, choosing instead to send war reporters to whatever global hotspot the U.S. government has turned its attention to at any given moment."

Reuters, 9 Sept 2013: "Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and Al Jazeera English senior political analyst Marwan Bishara lashed out after their networks were left out of President Obama's media blitz, writing that the president was leaving Hispanics and Arabs out of the Syria crisis debate."

RT (Russia Today) "is a never-ending, forever-repeating documentation of the American tragedy."

Posted: 10 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
DNA (Mumbai), 6 Sept 2013, Mayank Tewari: "For the last year or so I religiously watch a news channel called Russia Today (RT). It helps me comprehend the world better and keeps my unchecked anger in control. ... It is the Breaking Bad of television journalism. Often blasphemous but seldom boring, RT is a never-ending, forever-repeating documentation of the American tragedy. As a news channel, it has the potency of a street drug and the clarity of a well meaning (but) ideologically-tainted high school teacher. I am hooked."

Washington Post, 22 Aug 2013, James Kirchick: "For too long, journalists in democratic countries who take Western freedoms for granted have either accepted job offers or appeared on this network and others like it, lending these propaganda outlets undeserved credibility. They should instead treat RT with the contempt it merits."

New Republic, 21 Aug 2013, Julia Ioffe: "When Russian President Vladimir Putin talks about the editorial process of RT, he uses the first person plural -'we' - because it was founded by the Kremlin not as a news channel, but as a counterweight to Western (and, in the Kremlin's view, anti-Russian) media. Moreover, it hires Westerners, often ones who can't hack it in the West, to run its shows, using their perfect English and either their cynicism or naivete to present its view without an accent. If you've ever wanted to see what cognitive dissonance looks like, try having a drink with an RT employee living in Moscow."

International Business Times, 30 Aug 2013, Christopher Zara: "RT, Russia’s state-backed news organization, is crying foul after its website was banned from one of Reddit’s most popular forums. In a blog post on Friday, RT blasted the popular vote-oriented message board, saying it had been kicked off the /r/news subreddit for alleged spamming and vote manipulation."

New Republic, 14 Aug 2013, Laura Bennet: Former CNN interview show host Larry King "now hosts two separate online talk shows, 'Larry King Now' and 'Politicking With Larry King' on, both, as of June, broadcast on Russia Today (though the network has no creative oversight)."

Deal brings CNN to former Yugoslavia and maybe to its languages.

Posted: 10 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Digital TV Europe, 5 Sept 2013: "Turner Broadcasting has signed a broadcast affiliate agreement with N1, a new channel for the Adria region. Under the agreement, N1 will be the exclusive news channel affiliate of CNN in the region, joining CNN’s extensive global network of affiliate channels. The deal gives N1 exclusive access to video and newsgathering resources from CNN International including live breaking news, news stories and programming, for transmission in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. N1 also will also have the option of translating selected CNN programming and news into localised languages for the first time in the region. N1 will give CNN access to its own reporting from the Adria region, which will be gathered by teams based in its Belgrade headquarters and in regional hubs including Sarajevo and Zagreb.", 10 Sept 2013, Michael Hedges: Kanal N1 "is already seen competing with Al-Jazeera Balkans, which was launched in Sarajevo in November 2011."

Are you learning English from BBC Learning English or from VOA Learning English?

Posted: 10 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
@PeterHorrocks1, 10 Sept 2013: "See how Learning English transforms lives. Celebrating 70 years of Learning English from the BBC."

YouTube, 9 Sept 2013, bbclearningenglish: "The BBC has been teaching English for 70 years. In this video, learners from around the world talk about their shared journey." See also "70 years of BBC Learning English."

BBC Russian, 9 Sept 2013, Catherine Chapman: "I begin to wonder, as a modern-day writer of ELT materials here at BBC Learning English: which elements of the early 'English by Radio' programmes are still found in today's output - and why?"

VOA's Special English has changed its name to VOA Learning English. So now we have two major international broadcasting organizations with a product called "Learning English." See BBC Learning English and VOA Learning English.

Kevin Klose is president of RFE/RL, again.

Posted: 10 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty press release, 3 Sept 2013: "Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Jeffrey Shell today announced that distinguished journalist and broadcast executive Kevin Klose has accepted an offer, unanimously supported by the BBG, to serve as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In its capacity as RFE/RL's corporate board of directors, the BBG had hired Klose as Acting President in January 2013. Meeting today with RFE/RL leadership and staff at the organization's headquarters in Prague, Shell noted that the entire board approved a multi-year contract for Klose, to be reviewed annually. ... Klose was president of NPR from 1998 to 2008, and named President Emeritus in 2008. Before joining NPR, he directed the International Broadcasting Bureau at the U.S. Information Agency from 1997-1998. Klose first joined RFE/RL in 1992 as director of its Radio Liberty division, and as president of the network from 1994 to 1997 oversaw its relocation from Munich to Prague. Prior to this, he was an editor and reporter for The Washington Post for 25 years, including posts as Moscow bureau chief, city editor and deputy national editor."

RFE/RL, 29 Aug 2013, Azerbaijani Service: "The U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan has criticized what it calls 'disgusting personal attacks' against Khadija Ismayilova, an RFE/RL investigative journalist and talk-show host in Baku. ... Ismayilova has been the target of a personal smear campaign by pro-government media and websites in Azerbaijan since March 2012, shortly after her investigative reports exposed high-level government corruption in Baku."

ՕՐԵՐ (Prague), 6 Sept 2013: "In her essay, Veronica Sulla tells the story of a former RFE/RL journalist Anna Karapetian. Anna is one of many former and current RFE/RL foreign journalists who are denied the protection of the Czech labor law and can be fired by the American management at any time for any reason or no reason at all. Anna is one of two former RFE/RL employees who are suing the American public media institution for engaging in discrimination. Anna’s lawsuit is now before the Czech Constitutional Court. A lawsuit by another former RFE/RL employee, Snjezana Pelivan, is before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg."

Big news about the BBG chairman. Except that it doesn't mention the BBG.

Posted: 09 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
New York Times, 9 Spet 2013, Brooks Barnes: "Jeff Shell, an NBCUniversal television executive, will soon take over day-to-day operations at Universal Studios, according to three people briefed on the development. Ron Meyer, who has been the movie and theme park company’s president for 18 years, is expected to move up the ladder at NBCUniversal. An announcement could come as soon as Monday, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Universal was still completing the executive changes. A Universal Studios spokeswoman did not respond to a query. ... Although Mr. Shell is not widely known in the film industry, he is well-liked and respected among television executives and small-screen creative powers. Before he ran Comcast’s networks, which include E! and Style, Mr. Shell was chief executive of TV Guide International. And before that he helped oversee Fox Sports, FX and the National Geographic Channel." -- Unmentioned in this piece is that Mr. Shell is the recently appointed chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

New head of France 24 English has been based in Washington since 2008.

Posted: 09 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Rapid TV News, 9 Sept 2013, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "Françoise Champey-Huston has been appointed deputy director of France 24 in charge of its English service. Since 2008, Champey-Huston has run the production company she founded, Pomm Productions, which is based in Washington. She formerly worked for Reuters, Antenna 2, Arte, France 5, France 3 and Discovery Network. Between 2007 and 2009, she also took on the role as editor in chief at Al Jazeera English for North and Latin America. Champey-Huston will work with Robert Parsons who becomes the editor in chief of France 24's English service."

Rapid TV News, 29 Aug 2013, Pascale Paoli-Lebailly: "France 24 has extended its outreach in the US, after inking a distribution deal with digital terrestrial network WYBN in New York State. The English version of the French international news channel is now accessible to 550,000 homes in the area of Albany on channel 14.8. With the agreement, France 24 also joins the basic offer of regional cable operator Mid Hudson Cable. France 24 has also strengthened its satellite capacity across the whole American continent. The English version is now available on Intelsat-21, covering both North and South America. The new deal will allow South American operators to carry the English version in addition to the channel's French version, which was already available on the satellite."

France 24 is an entity of France Médias Monde, the former Audiovisuel extérieur de la France (AEF).

Daventry, England, honors its BBC World Service history in a roundabout way.

Posted: 09 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
Daventry Express, 25 Aug 2013: "The final design for a piece of artwork at one of the gateways to the [Daventry] town centre has been voted for by the public. 'Daventry Calling' was the winning piece, representing the town’s broadcasting heritage with symbolic masts radiating words to the world. The artwork will go on the roundabout at the junction of Abbey Street and South Way and has been paid for by the developers of the nearby Abbey Retail Park... . The BBC World Service was originally broadcast from Borough Hill using the radio call sign of ‘Daventry Calling’ making the town’s name well-known across the world. In 1935, this radio station was used for the first-ever practical demonstration of radar. The sculpture will stand at around 7 metres high and will consist of five ‘masts’ with a laser-cut ‘radio wave’ text ring." -- Of course, in the 1930s, it was the BBC Empire Service. "World Service" came decades later. See also Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 17 Aug 2013.

On BBC Swahili, it will no longer be London Calling.

Posted: 09 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link

BBC World Service press release, 27 Aug 2013: "Director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks [announced] plans by BBC World Service to move the entire radio and online production of BBC Swahili service to East Africa. Production of BBC Swahili’s morning programme, Amka na BBC, will relocate to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania while the afternoon flagship programme, Dira ya Dunia, moves to Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Online production of the website will be shared between the two cities. "

BBC World Service press release, 16 Aug 2013: "The BBC Swahili weekend radio programme, BBC Ulimwengu Wa Soka (BBC World Of Football) is geared up to start the Premier League season commentary for Kiswahili-speaking audiences across East Africa."

BBC Africa Debate, 1 Sept 2013: "For decades, the BBC has dominated the media landscape in many countries in Africa. ... Over the years, BBC output has evolved as audience demands have changed and competition has increased – from radio, TV and digital media. What is the place of the BBC in Africa today? What do audiences want from the broadcaster – and is the BBC delivering? How should the BBC change or adapt in order to retain or increase its influence? This programme is a rare opportunity for listeners in Africa to put their questions to the director of the BBC World Service, Peter Horrocks. It is one of three debates and discussions ahead of the transition of the BBC World Service to funding by UK audiences in April 2014." With audio.

BBC World News press release, 2 Sept 2013: "The BBC is opening a new pan-Africa Business Unit this month, Director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks has announced. ... The unit will contribute business news from Africa to a wide range of BBC outlets, including World Service radio, BBC World News’ daily World Business Report, BBC online and on-demand services, and domestic services in the UK. ... The Africa Business Unit will be based in Johannesburg."

BBC World News press release, 28 Aug 2013: "BBC World News has announced that in October, it will launch Africa Business Report, a new weekly flagship business TV programme, presented by Lerato Mbele, covering key business stories and trends from across Africa. It will broadcast weekly on BBC World News. Africa Business Report will be produced from the BBC‘s production centre in Johannesburg and will utilise the expertise of BBC correspondents in 48 African countries."

BBC's Japanese service is BBC World News translated into Japanese.

Posted: 09 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
BBC World News press release, 2 Sept 2013: "Starting today, Yuji Watanabe will join BBC World News Japan as Managing Director, heading up the BBC’s new business in Japan. His priorities as Managing Director will be exploring new business opportunities for the channel, expanding existing platforms and building the profile of BBC World News with Japanese audiences. BBC World News has been available to Japanese audiences since 1994 and Japan continues to be a key market for the channel’s international business strategy. It is currently the only territory in which the BBC translates its English-language content into the national language." -- BBC World News is a 24-hour global English television news channel.

Al Jazeera says its satellite signals are jammed from Egypt.

Posted: 09 Sep 2013   Print   Send a link
The Guardian, 3 Sept 2013, Lisa O'Carroll: "The source of jamming of al-Jazeera's Egyptian TV service is outside Cairo, according to a company that investigates interference with satellite signals. Bruno Dupas, president of Integral Systems, said his company was able to geo-locate the origin of the interference which al-Jazeera says it has been suffering on a daily basis since 3 July when Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was deposed. ... Al-Jazeera, which commissioned the investigation, said the locations Integral provided are close to Egyptian military sites, leading it to believe the jamming was carried out by the Egyptian government."

Gulf Times (Doha), 6 Sept 2013: "'The Al Jazeera Network condemns the jamming of its operations and stresses that any attempt to disturb the broadcast will not affect the network’s quest to report facts and bring truth to viewers,' [a] statement said. 'In reaction to this clear violation of broadcasting rights, Al Jazeera has decided to take legal advice and action against those who are responsible for the jamming of the signal.'"

Al Jazeera English, 4 Sept 2013: "The Qatar-based broadcaster has been forced to change frequencies several times to allow viewers to continue to watch the network's news and sport channels."

Egypt Independent, 7 Sept 2013, translating Al-Masry Al-Youm: "Qatar will maneuver around the Egyptian government’s shutdown of Al-Jazeera, media experts say, by launching its first satellite 'Suhail 1' in a bid to reaffirm its place in Arab media. ... [A] source expressed fear of the consequences of the ruling which ordered Al-Jazeera channels be banned on Nilesat. The source said Al-Jazeera, which monopolizes all international and continental sporting events, will move to Suhail 1, taking all football and sports audience."

VOA News, 3 Sept 2013, Edward Yeranian: "An Egyptian court has ordered four television channels to halt their broadcasts, including Aljazeera's local affiliate and a network belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. ... Aljazeera reported the court had placed restrictions on it and said Aljazeera was 'broadcasting without a license.' The station says it was granted a license in April. Aljazeera Direct played a jingle Tuesday on its airwaves, amid an abbreviated news schedule, calling for the 'victory of Islam and the defeat of secularism.'"