Sunday, June 29, 2014

MN.11.02.1988.Radio Bop & Basicode

This edition of the programme reports on a raid on Radio Bophutatswana. We also profiled Radio RIAS in West Berlin, which has announced TV broadcasts to East Berlin. The US government paid for the transmission costs. Cable systems in Holland have been cleared to carry Worldnet and CNN. Radio 10 has run into problems. STAD Radio in Amsterdam will be expanded to include the rest of Noord Holland. Philips have developed a new laser - which was later used to DVD. MV Communicator, home of Laser 558, has gone into Harwich, UK. Don Otis, announces plans to broadcast from Palau. NOS Hobbyscoop is still broadcasting Basicode transmissions. We interview producer Hans G. Janssen. Arthur Cushen has tuning tips from Invercargill, New Zealand.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Billionaire Vinod Kholsa on Failing to Try

Interesting presentation by Indian born entrepreneur Vinod Kholsa. He says we should rely more on machine analysis of the data rather than just rely on expert opinion. Human diagnostic error is around 10-20%. Diabetes is not one disease, but a probably a dozen diseases with the same symptom - poor blood sugar control.

I like his point that often people want reduce  risk to a point where they increase the probability of success so much that when it comes it is inconsequential. You usually make more money by focussing on the mission that just the financial rewards.

5 minutes 34 seconds into the video, he explains that just having facts on your side is not enough. You need powerful storytelling. The press especially are interested in an emotional connection. 

Empire of Booze

Unbound, the site for authors looking to write their book, is just brilliant. Crowdfunding with a purpose - celebrating brilliant storytelling.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

USIB Suddenly cancels most of its shortwave radio frequencies to Asia.

Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have decided to suddenly pull the plug on shortwave radio to Asia.

The US Congress has just approved major cutbacks to US international broadcasting using shortwave radio. Several former VOA staff shared an an internal announcement to this effect, which I have edited for clarity.

VOA to end shortwave broadcasts in English and several language services Monday.

Late Friday June 27th it emerged that Broadcasting Board of Governors proposed shortwave cuts for for the financial year 2014 have been approved by Congress.

As of the end of the day on Monday, June 30th 2014, all shortwave frequencies for English News programs to Asia will dropped permanently. VOA will no longer be heard via shortwave in the morning (12-16 UTC), and the evening hours (22-02 UTC)…mostly in Asia.

Shortwave frequencies for the following VOA language services will also be eliminated: Azerbaijani, Bangla, English (Learning), Khmer, Kurdish, Lao and Uzbek. Shortwave transmissions being used by services at RFE/RL and RFA are also being cut.

VOA programming via FM/AM affiliates in Asia is not affected by these changes, it's purely that direct shortwave is being curtailed, reflecting a change in the lay audiences get their news. VOA will continue to supply services via the web and via podcasts.

VOA is still using shortwave to the African continent. Several countries (e.g. Somalia, Northern Nigeria, and Sudan) still use shortwave as a way of reaching listeners outside the main cities.

Jonathan comments: Personally I would have started broadcasting continuous announcements on shortwave-only ASAP, advising people that they should retune to local broadcasters or go to a special landing page on with more details. It is what satellite broadcasters do when they switch channels. Make sure there is a path for people to follow. Now they are assuming that the listeners have already gone away.

As they do this, I believe it also spells the end of DRM30, the digital radio transmission system designed for AM broadcasters below 30 MHz. DRM may have a future as a standard for use on higher frequencies, as part of a suite of technologies in the World DAB camp. But not as a stand-alone technology. I believe India will fail in its roll out of DRM because it is definitely a technology still looking for a solution.

Signal monitoring on board the EC130's in the says before Facebook and social media. 
So what could replace shortwave as a means to distribute news to remote locations. Probably airborne Internet. Remember the US Psyops planes? They used to distribute programmes from VOA during conflict situations. In more recent years they have switched to becoming flying "internet routers" instead, providing a wifi signal where it's never been before. How else could video from opposition groups get out of places like Benghazi in 2012?   Many don't know that their name was changed in 2010 to Military Information Support Operations. 

Dropping propaganda leaflets over Iraq in 2008. 
And Facebook is also playing around with airborne connectivity.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Voice of America Offshore radio remembered

From 1952 -1964, amidst the Cold War, a 338-foot Coast Guard Cutter was transformed into the mobile broadcasting base of the Voice of America. Its mission for more than a decade: send information beyond the Iron Curtain to counter Soviet propaganda in more than a dozen native languages. Daniela Schrier reports from an exhibit in New London, Connecticut honoring the veterans and broadcasters who served aboard the ship in the waters off of Rhodes, Greece.

Interesting that in later years, when others tried to start offshore broadcasts off the coast of New York State, the fact that the US government had broadcast from the high seas was quietly ignored. High power broadcasting was said to be a danger to vital ship to shore communications. But we all knew that just wasn't true.

This Media Network programme which I produced examined the boarding of Radio New York International , which broadcast from a radio ship anchored in international waters just off Jones Beach, Long Island New York in 1987 and 1988. I seem to recall that the authorities said one of the reasons for the boarding was that it is illegal to broadcast from a ship. Except that the Voice of America did exactly that off the coast of Greece in the 1950's. The "
Courier 410" was fitted out with 150 kW diesel generators by RCA and transmitters designed to put a shortwave signal out via a tethered balloon. The good old Interwebs has plenty of photos here and here. - there was nothing like that when we made the programme on August 30th 1987!

From 7th September 1952 till May 1964 the USCGC Courier broadcast Voice of America programs in 16 languages to Communist bloc countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, transmitting these programs 10 hours each day. During these tense years, USCGC Courier, operating as a sea station, was constantly alert to crisis, with the ability to move to a "hot spot” and begin broadcasting in a matter of hours. They had two Collins 207B 35 kW short-wave transmitters on board coupled to the folded Discone antennas, up front at starboard a higher frequency MW antenna and at port a lower frequency MW antenna. They also had an RCA MW transmitter with 150 kW. output. Originally it was planned to have six additional ships but due to the high cost, only the Courier was put into service. According to the German offshore radio site, "the ship was not allowed to broadcast on the high seas and was only permitted to operate within the territorial waters of a country when granted permission. The local population viewed the ship and its crew with mixed emotions. Rhodes was under Italian domain from 1812 to the end of WW2 and now they were back under the Greek Flag and Queen Fredrica. After a period of adjustment, the Americans were generally accepted into the Greek community.
For the first year or so the main antenna was carried aloft by a barrage balloon. The ballon was 69 x 35 feet in size and held 150.000 cubic feet of helium. It was held by means of a winch-operated line to float 900 feet in the air to support the medium-wave antennas. The ballooon was lost a couple of times, and it ended up in Turkey. Then a VOA engineer, Ivan Boor, designed an inverted delta antenna that fitted between the masts. There was a slight loss in signal output but being free of the balloon problems proved to be well worth the loss. A receiving site was constructed on the highest point of Monti Smith, a hill south of the city of Rhodes. A VHF link was set up to send the program material sent from Washington DC on tape and via SSB link down to the ship. Many innovative antennas were designed and implemented to thwart Russian jamming and natural phenomena such as selective fading. There was a very large impedance matching device under the flight deck.
Oh, and the rest of the programme reports on the launch of Music Television into Europe. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hilversum & the Rise of Innovation Districts

Hilversum Media Park has closed-off buildings and car parks but no open creative spaces. Just one cafe!

Hilversum still struggles with its future. Even though it has drastically cut the prices of office real-estate in the hope of attracting some talent back to this town, it is outside the triangle of what I regard as the innovation triangle that's growing up in the Netherlands. At the recent media future week, one of the student teams was asked to come up with a plan for what the media city needs to do next.

Amsterdam is attracting media companies away from Hilversum
But I fear the media students haven't read the Brookings Report on the Rise of Innovative Districts. The trend explained there is for companies to move away from Research parks and back into the city centres where things are happening. That seems to be what's happening. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven is where real life is being experienced.

Hilversum seems to be focused on its past - even the names of streets reflect names that are no longer on Dutch TV screens. Watch what the students thought could be a solution. See what I mean?

Final presentation Hilversum Media Stad team 6 MFW14 from iMMovator on Vimeo.

Ustream isn't just for firing people

Vooza CEO gives his earnings call - sort of. Great parodies of the start-up world - often closer to the truth than we think.                      

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fiona Bruce is inside my head!

The BBC Future Media dept has recently produced an immersive news broadcast, accessed through an Oculus Rift headset.

The broadcaster used a 360° camera set up to film its inside its newsroom, live editing gallery and presenter Fiona Bruce. Viewers could then use Oculus Rift headsets to view the broadcast. The short video above shows some of the responses from participants.

Cyrus Saihan, head of business development at BBC Future Media, says that digital media is changing rapidly.

“When the BBC starting making the world’s first regular public television broadcasts in 1936, there were only about 20,000 TV sets capable of receiving the programming,” said Saihan. “Today, more than 20,000 smartphones will be sold around the world in the next 10 minutes.”

The BBC says it is actively looking at delivering “immersive experiences” with video and audio.

It is offering the broadcast as a free download to anyone that has an Oculus Rift headset.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The rise of the writer's guilds in Spain and USA

The Listening Post on Al Jazeera tends to focus on those producing hard news. But as this item from Spain proves, the disruptive nature of some of the small startups is starting to have effect in Spain. The big broadcasters have huge overheads (studios, transmitters, large production teams). And yet they don't practice investigative journalism - it's all event reporting. So what happens? You see the rise of the social commentators. And when stand-up comedians turn out to be excellent political commentators (e.g. John Oliver), then the audiences find them and follow. Oliver's piece on FIFA for instance just says what everyone is thinking, and yet mainstream media doesn't cover. Why does it work? Because its a tightly written story using the most powerful weapon there is: humour. 6 million views for an item segment on YouTube is good for a show that only started in April.

Oliver is brilliant because he's remained humble. He still takes part in a weekly podcast called the Bugle. Hope success doesn't alter his character.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Media Network Vintage Podcast15.07.1993 DC777 and Phase Track

The date of this programme is only approximate. It contains an interesting interview with Pat Gowan, G3IOR, who has concerns about interference being caused to UoSAT by RAF Fylingdales. We visit Reading to learn about the plans for a new Phase Track Receiver from Edward Vorster. Lou Josephs has spot on predictions about the AM Superradio from Denon. Dave Rosenthal reviews the Philips DC-777 for the in-dash reception of shortwave radio signals. He did an elaborate comparision while out on the open road. Corrections on the date? Please comment below.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Chinese Puzzle as CRI expands again

China Radio International has been making a fuss in London together with its commercial radio distributor Spectrum Radio and a Chinese-owned TV production company called Propeller TV. They are considerably expanding local production, following an example set by Qatar.

I still find it fascinating to compare how government broadcasters launch things these days compared to thirty years ago.

Actually nothing has changed at all.

It's always a flag waving press conference where a button is pushed and something new is launched.

And "the press" gather round to capture what the Director General has to say. That's usually only the press somehow connected to the deal being struck. Then they have drinks and everyone goes home.

Last Monday June 16th 2014, Wang Gengnian the director general of China Radio International was in London on the same day as the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang kicked off a European visit to Britain and Greece.

China is busy investing in the infrastructure of both countries. But, when it comes to international broadcasting, it looks like Britain is where China is trying to focus its media influence in Europe.

CRI has had a deal with Spectrum Radio, a commercial radio operator that has been distributing the output from several foreign broadcasters since it started in 1990. I remember that World Radio Network brokered the original deal - and they hired Radio Luxembourg's 1440 kHz sender for many years. Great signal, but where was the audience? It quietly went away.

Spectrum have a mediumwave (AM) and DAB licence. They sell the airtime to anyone who wants to reach what they define as "ethnic" communities. That includes Polish Radio in Warsaw (who want to reach Poles living in London) and Sout al Khaleej, an Arabic radio station established by the director of Qatar Broadcasting and Television Corporation H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Thamir Al Thani. Spectrum Radio made the following promo video below which claims 100% awareness amongst "Arab Businesses".

They claim the medium-wave signal reaches 10 million people during the day. That doesn't mean that 10 million people are listening. Just that they could pick up Spectrum if their AM radio is tuned to 558 kHz.

And the coverage map for night-time stretches even wider. I suppose the reported coverage in the insert is a result of listener reception reports. Mind you, that's not a listenable signal on a simple portable radio.

They have six studios near the old Battersea Power Station.

And then there is the TV production company

Propeller TV was created in 2005 by a company connected with Grimsby Institute, with UK government investment. Those plans didn't work out, so in 2009 Propeller TV was bought by the Xiking Group based in Central London who changed it into a bi-lingual business, culture and entertainment channel. Propeller TV also quote coverage figures rather than actual viewing figures.

Propeller TV is broadcast on SKY 189 and reaches over 10 million viewers. Our free-to-air channel via Cablecom provides access to higher education television networks across the UK, covering an audience of 230,000 students. Our audience is affluent, well educated and includes business professionals, academics and university students.

The programming is wall to wall coverage of China, including language lessons. I find the programme China Insight to be especially fascinating, probably because of the topics that CCTV never covers.

What intrigues me is the announcement that CRI has now brokered a deal with Spectrum and Propeller-TV to produce 12 hours a day of UK produced English language programming to be aired on DAB in London, as well as ten hours of a day of CRI English programming via 558 kHz in London. CRI has also relaunched its UK website, and a bilingual trade magazine Opportunities China.

Remember this is all in addition to CCTV News which has its own 24 hour channel in the UK on Channel 511 (Sky Platform)

I'm just curious to find out whether anyone is really watching or listening. The transmission schedule looks light years behind what the Russians are up to with RT and all the social media platforms they manage. And I wonder if the BBC Chinese Service gets reciprocal access to the airwaves in China? (er no, they don't) What do you think?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Looking forward to the Judge

Personal audio to Antarctica

The longest night is upon us.

No that is not a mistake, providing you live in Antarctica that is.

Not many people know that each year, on this longest day for us, the BBC World Service fires up three shortwave transmitters for a special 30 minute broadcast specifically for those on Halley VI, the British Antarctic Survey's movable base down there.

How many potential listeners to the broadcast? About 44 if we can trust Wikipedia and the British Antarctic own site.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Commissioner for the British Antarctic Territory, Dr Peter Hayes, have sent messages of support.

In her own message to staff BAS Director, Jane Francis, said:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to every one of you for all your hard work down south. You are all vital to the science that helps understand that amazing continent. You are part of an exceptional team of scientists and logistics people that make work in Antarctica a great adventure – and a safe one too.”

BAS has four stations which it operates over the winter months; Bird Island, Kind Edward Point, Rothera and Halley VI. There are currently 44 staff based at these stations. They include scientists, electricians, plumbers, chefs and doctors.

The show consists of music requests and special messages to the team recorded in Cambridge by the RAS team back home. Reminds me of Two Way Family Favorites on Radio 2. 

If you still have a shortwave receiver that works, here are the details you are going to need.

From us to 44 of you, via BBC World Service

The program will air today (only), June 21, 2014 at 21:30 UTC/GMT on the following frequencies:

7,350 kHz; Ascension Island; beam of 207°
9,890 kHz; Woofferton, UK; 182°
5,965 kHz; Dhabayya, United Arab Emirates; 203°

Update 22/06: This is what the broadcast sounded like via Ascension Island, as recorded by Domenik for Note that the first couple of sentences were missing from the broadcast.

Halley VI Research Station is the first fully re-locatable research station in the world. It was commissioned in 2006 and its unique and innovative structure was the result of an international design competition in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The state-of-the-art research facility is segmented into eight modules, each sitting atop ski-fitted, hydraulic legs. These can be individually raised to overcome snow accumulation and each module towed independently to a new location.

The station took four years to build and delivered its first scientific data in 2012. Its iconic design houses a cutting-edge science platform and modern, comfortable accommodation.

The central red module contains the communal areas for dining, relaxation etc., while the blue modules provide accommodation, laboratories, offices, generators, an observation platform and many other facilities. Remote scientific equipment, set up for long-term monitoring, is housed in a number of cabooses around the perimeter of the site, which also contains numerous aerials and arrays for studying atmospheric conditions and space weather (i.e. the ionosphere and plasma physics)

Approximately 1.2 m of snow accumulate each year on the Brunt Ice Shelf and buildings on the surface become covered and eventually crushed by snow. This part of the ice shelf is also moving westward by approximately 700m per year.

There have been six Halley bases built so far. The first four were all buried by snow accumulation and crushed until they were uninhabitable. Various construction methods were tried, from unprotected wooden huts to steel tunnels. Halley V had the main buildings built on steel platforms that were raised annually to keep them above the snow surface. However, as the station’s legs were fixed in the ice it could not be moved and its occupation became precarious, having flowed too far from the mainland to a position at risk of calving as in iceberg.

View from inside the Halley VI research station

One of the reasons for the location of Halley is that it is under the auroral oval, resulting in frequent displays of the Aurora Australis overhead. These are easiest to see during the 105 days when the sun does not rise above the horizon.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brad Templeton on Privacy

Brad Templeton is an interesting guy. I remember he started one of the earlier usergroups devoted to humour around the time I was experimenting with using the Internet to reach foreign audiences on Radio Netherlands. He later played a key role in the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and now does consulting work for Singularity University. He is famous on the conference circuits for two talks, both which he gave at a recent media conference in Hilversum's Sound and Vision Archive. Judging by the stats on Vimeo, it looks like many people haven't found it. That's because its great content without a clear context. The first part of his talk was about privacy. I agree that equates to freedom. Would be interested to know what others think.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Facebook Crashes for 30 minutes

We don't crash ever says founder Mark Zuckerberg - in the film.  Until you do. Curious how the Guardian opened a live blog about it. Must remember that next time the 3G network fails.

Channel 4 beats the Beeb on Paxman's Farewell

I thought Channel 4 did a better job of interviewing departing Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman than the BBC did itself. Paxman exits Newsnight. But from UK TV screens? Not yet. Pity you can't embed the Channel 4 item. But here it is.

The BBC jolly involved procuring a tandem and strapping GoPros to the bike and Boris Johnson's bike helmet. I would have hired a drone!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Negroponte on Next Steps for Graduates

Have met so many people who wasted decades of their lives doing something meaningless. The reason is that they had the vision, but didn't have the money to sustain that vision. Large companies and foundations are notoriously poor at spotting that talent and nurturing brilliance.  Negroponte is right that the chances are better now. But the funding to make it happen is being guarded by those who are frightened of hiring someone brighter than themselves.

Do you have examples to prove me wrong? Please add them in the comments below.

I'm forever curious

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Buzzfeed is ad-busting big time

I am fascinated by the way that Buzzfeed is ad-busting the big corporates like McDonalds. And getting 2 million views in the process. Figures many campaign sites just pray for. And never achieve.

Lessons Learned: Show is more powerful than tell.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Steve Jobs at the launch of the Think Different campaign

"Our customers want to know who is Apple and what do we stand for." We knew then before Think Different at the end of the 1990's. But what does Apple stand for now? I think Apple needs to tell us in much clearer language. 

Anyone know the original origin of this clip? Would like to link to it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Serious Radio Mikes appear in the White House podcast

Is the White House copying This Week in Tech with the use of "vintage" radio mikes. Compare

with this

May be it is just this week because of the visit to France to commemorate D-Day on June 6th.

MN.17.02.1983. Broadcast Museum & Contest Results

We all sound rather young and hesitant in this early edition of Media Network, except Pete Myers. This was a regular edition of the programme with a lot of tuning tips, plus a short feature on the opening of the Netherlands Broadcasting Museum in Hilversum. Curator Cor van Driel explains that the Netherlands claims to have started the first regular series of broadcasts. Entrepreneur Hanso Schotanus à Steringa Idzerda not only broadcast from the Hague in 1919, he tried to make his own receivers to sell to the public. He also discovered the signals were crossing the Atlantic and even got sponsorship from the Daily Mail Newspaper for an English language programme. 
This edition also contains a report by Stig Harvig Nielsen from Copenhagen about new legislation for local radio and TV stations. There have been pirate radio stations on the air complaining that the law is taking too long. This included a spoof takeover on the DR P4 network. Radio Enoch, a right wing pirate has returned from Coventry. Lady Jane Birdwood was one of the presenters. Simon Spanswick explains about the EDXC Conference in London. The Receiver Shopping List Edition 6 is now out. Dan Robinson in Washington has been hearing Radio 15th of September and La Voz de Sandino. And the results of one of the very early DX quizzes.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Never Forget Radio Beijing on June 3rd.1989

(with update) Back in 1989, satellite television was in its infancy. I remember watching events in China unfold on CNN, which had only just been added to the cable system in Holland. Then in the early hours of June 4th, shortwave listeners in North America started calling the Radio Netherlands answerline with an off air recording of Radio Beijing. Apparently an announcer at the English Service of Radio Beijing had spliced a short but very clear message onto the front of the transmission tape. A very courageous thing to do. When he'd finished, the programme continued with the usual political commentary. We rebroadcast this clip in Media Network. I've reprocessed it again for clarity.

At the time, the story in Western Media (and later in publications) was that the voice belonged to Li Dan, then Head of the English Service at Radio Beijing. He disappeared for a time, but did return later as on-air.

Keith Perron, now living in Taiwan, supplies this version. Impossible for me to verify, but sounds more plausible.

"Li Dan like other heads of department at Radio Beijing were sent to what the Chinese call Communist School for a bit, but then returned to RB.

The two who did the story. The writer being the deputy director of the English Service Wu Xiaoyong who was also the news editor on duty was placed under house arrest for many years. When he did manage to leave China a few years later. He moved to Hong Kong and became one of the key people at Phoenix Television. Wu Xiaoyong was only placed under house arrest, because his father was a high ranking government official. 

The guy who read that announcement on air Yuan Neng didn't fare so well. He was sentenced for 14 years in a prison labor camp and was banned from ever working in media in China.

After Li Dan returned from Communist School he resumed his position the new deputy director was Xu Huazhen who was a nobody in the English Service in 1989. But she had reported to the officials who in Radio Beijing was a supporter of the students. Not long after she became the deputy director she was promoted again to the party secretary of the English Service. Around 1994/95 Li Dan was promoted to one of the vice-president positions around the time the station changed its name from Radio Beijing to China Radio International. a few years later he became the president of CRI and in 2003 was promoted to CCTV as a vice president."

MN.26.02.1988 Guatemala & Deutsche Welle

A news edition of the programme. TROS, AVRO and Veronica are thinking of going commercial in the Netherlands, TV-SAT is given up for lost, Deutsche Welle is experimenting with rebroadcasting its programmes via Radio Bras, and an intriguing arrangement with Radio Veritas. DW's service to Russia and Afghanistan are still jammed. Radio Caroline has gone back on shortwave on 6210 kHz. SW Radios have changed. We bemoaned the fact that many major manufacturers like Panasonic and Sony have now a confusing range of radios on the market. We link up with Nashville TN to found out why they are building a 100 kW shortwave transmitter, WWCR. Christian Zettl shares developments about broadcasting in Guatemala and we find out why Capital Radio is being heard on a subcarrier of a US satellite.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Monday, June 02, 2014

John Oliver on Net neutrality

John Oliver nails the subject of net neutrality.

Screwy Wind Design with awful video

This is a classic case of a great idea but, I think, an awful video leading to a missed opportunity.

The Archimedes windmill design comes out of Rotterdam.

Using the soundtrack of Pirates of Caribbean means your video will be blocked for copyright infringment in no time. Which is a hell of a shame because the design IS revolutionary. Gizmodo gave it some coverage.

Along with its claim of being able to achieve 80 percent of Betz' limit, The Archimedes adds that "The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household." Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what independent testing reveals. The company states that it has tested the Liam "over 50 times" to confirm the figures, and has already sold 7,000 of the turbines in 14 countries.
That said, the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine should be officially available as of July 1st. Although no price was given in today's announcement, a previous posting on the company website puts it at €3,999 (about US$5,450).

Lessons learned: 

Audiences are less interested in what happened at your press launch and far more curious about what you know and learned.

MN.15.05.1983. Before it was Zimbabwe

A collection of short news items in this edition of the show. Roy Neal reports on ham radio plans from Skylab with astronaut Owen Garriott. Pete Myers reports on satellite relay piracy. BBC broadcasts a documentary on Electromania. Andy Sennitt reports on changes at Vatican Radio. The Hungarian service of Radio Free Europe carries pop music in English.

Richard Ginbey made a feature on broadcasting in what later became Zimbabwe. (Some rather rare off-air recordings of broadcasting from Northern and Southern Rhodesia). Roger Tidy has items on China. Jim Vastenhoud explains whats going on in Geneva to regulate the shortwave broadcasting bands. Victor Gonnetilleke has his regular Asian Media News report.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.12.05.1983. Propagation Mysteries Explained with John Brannigan

This edition has African Media News from Richard Ginbey. Mediumwave is expanding in Southern Africa. Parakou in Benin is being heard (later went to the transmitter site). We test a new automatic notch filter made by DATONG with a rather extensive demo. Grundig has announced the Yacht Boy 300.

The major part of the programme is an interview with propagation specialist John Brannigan based in Scotland. He was active in the amateur satellite sector. One of the few interviews I have ever conducted where there was virtually no editing. This is fascinating story about what we know and still don't know about the way the ionosphere works. Ever heard of an equatorial aurora? Africa Number 1 in Gabon had problems with flutter fading which no-one expected. John explores what mother nature is teaching us.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

MN.29.01.1988. Aspidistra & Lebanon

This news edition of the programme starts with the news that Radio Al Quds from Lebanon is taking a far more active role. Pete Myers reports on a new use for the Crowborough transmitter site which has now been dismantled and moved to Orfordness. We look at broadcasts to Cuba by the US, by a radio station called Radio Marti. An investigation has been launched into starting a TV Marti. Is Radio Marti thinking about FM? Ginger da Silva reports on a scientific expedition going between Russia and Canada. And we ended the show with a cryptic quiz using a number station and the news that TWR's has put away its musical box. Pat Gowen in the UK has a theory about CFC's and the ozone layer.  Is he right?

MN.22.09.1983.ABC Radio Suriname

More vintage podcasts from Media Network. The Ampies Broadcasting Corporation started in Paramaribo, Suriname in 1975. "It was a new station with influence in a new republic", said the founder André Kamperveen. But on 8th December 1982, André Kamperveen and a fellow journalist Frank Wijngaarde were among 15 people murdered by the military government which then ruled Suriname. Two stations, one of them the ABC, were torched and set alight. We spoke to one of André sons, Johnny Kamperveen (pictured) in September 1983, just before they went back on the air with a new station on December 6th 1983. Johnny passed away in 2003 at the young age of 56 from a bacterial infection. More history, in Dutch, on ABC's website.

MN.14.04.1983. RadioPrague & OMD

In 1983, the UK pop group Orchestral Manoevers in the Dark released an album called Dazzle Ships.  OMD, then at their peak of popularity, opted for a major departure in sound on the record, using shortwave effects and off-air clips from Radio Prague. It was interesting to discover much later that Radio Prague announcers didn't know about it, but were actually quite flattered. We called up OMD to find out more - those analogue lines from London were ropey!

MN.13.10.1983. Radio Montserrat & STS-9

Media Network was a radio programme on Radio Netherlands. We had no travel budget. But we did have enthusiastic contributors who were travelling around. Like Jeff White, who found himself on the island of Montserrat well before the volcano caused devastation to this Caribbean holiday destination. Radio Antilles was subsidized by Deutsche Welle, then in Cologne. And Radio Canada International also planned to use. Radio Earth has to move from the Netherlands Antilles to Florida. We also had news about US astronaut Owen Garriott, one of the crew on board Space Shuttle STS-9. They were using 145.55 MHz. This edition also has shortwave receiver news including on a voice chip to announce the frequency that you're tuned to. Richard Ginbey explains how Radio Botswana explains its shortwave schedule. Dan Robinson is now in Nairobi, Kenya and reports on what he can here. Sony 2001 costs 450 Dollars on the local market there. And a UK group has been checking on whether time pips make sense on shortwave stations.

MN.24.02.1983.Latin American Clandestines

I believe that 1983 was probably one of the best years for listening to shortwave. All kinds of stations were popping up between 3 and 30 MHz on the radio dial. With the help of Bob Horvitz and Alfonso Montealegre, I compiled an overview of the political clandestine radio stations that were beamed into Latin America for a variety of reasons. Remember that this research was based purely on what had been monitored off the air. There was no Wikipedia. And many wirelesses still got hot!

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault