Sunday, October 30, 2011

The silence of Deutsche Welle Radio: last broadcast in German

Trincomalee relay station: turned off

Internet streaming recording made at 0h UTC, October, 29.

Shortwave recording  from USA (Cypress Creek) in 17.820 khz, at 22h UTC.

That was the last broadcast of Deutsche Welle Radio in German. The end of an era, as the former German radio broadcaster self described it.

This last and very nice broadcast, with important moments in history of the broadcaster, is a proof of the courage of the top management of DW (to interrupt such an important service), that doesn’t see the strategic role that the radio plays.

It’s a contradiction in face of the increasing competition between international broadcasters, as alleged by the direction of DW for cutting services, giving up a loyal audience won over nearly six decades of hard, serious and competent work from a highly qualified team. So, of course, DW’s director general, Erik Bettermann didn’t convince in this last broadcast, when he told that he likes radio even more than TV. He's giving on a plate large audience to the competition. China Radio International is probably saying ‘’thank you very much”.

Beyond nostalgia, this historic program has also important information in Bettermann’s speech: after many years of heavy investment, DW has decreed, officially, the end of Digital Shortwave (DRM).

And I, probably, will try to listen to some more broadcasts in other languages, preceded by Fidelio’s Interval Signal, till, probably in not that long time, DW Radio will be completely in silence.

Below DW's notice informing that the game is over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New paths and farewell

With the euphemism “new paths”, Deustsche Welle is, finally, announcing clearly to the listeners of the German radio service, since last Sunday, that the broadcast on October 29 will be the last of its history. Important moments from the station, founded in 1953, will be remembered in this last broadcast, as you can hear on the following excerpt from the end of the program “DW Das Magazin”, from Monday, October, 24. DW’s director general, Erik Bettermann (below in the official picture) will have a speech in the program. Could he convince you?

Bettermann: convincing?

Friday, October 21, 2011

The story of Sines Transmitter Park

(read more about)

To mark the end of the activities of the Sines transmitter park, in Portugal, Deutsche Welle presents next October, 29, a special edition of its Portuguese program “Contraste”, telling the story of the German transmitting station in the Iberic Peninsula. It has been informed by the chief of the Portuguese redaction, Johannes Beck, during the night broadcast of DW in Portuguese for Africa, last Saturday. As you can hear in the recording below, Beck was telling about the changes for listeners in Africa with the closure of the transmitters in Sines and Trincomalee (Sri Lanka). The Sines picture above is in a discussion forum in the internet (link).

The recording of this night program of DW in Portuguese goes to my archive of shortwave, since was broadcasted from Trincomalee, with pretty good reception in Brazil, at 19h30 UTC, in 15.640 khz. I think that a special program about the Asian station would be a good idea too. A curiosity: before beginning the Portuguese program, Trincomalee keeps using the classical “Pausezeichen” of DW.

The new scheme of transmission in Portuguese for Africa, from October 30 on, just from Kigali, Ruanda, is in DW’s site and reproduced below:

- Morning Edition - 05h30-06h UTC: 9.800 kHz (250 kW) and 12.045 kHz
- Night Edition - 19h30-20h UTC - 6.145 kHz (250 kW) and 9.735 kHz (250 kW)

And, as we’re talking about closure of transmission parks, there is an interesting
 article from Victor Goonetilleke in the blog DX Asia, defending it would be technically better broadcast for Africa from Trincomalee than from Kigali. Goonetilleke writes also about the growing up of China Radio International in the vacuum from the spaces abandoned by the big occidental stations.

Part of the program of DW in Portuguese for Africa, on the October, 15

Monday, October 17, 2011

The end of Deutsche Welle Radio: a bad decision

Read more and listen to the last broadcas here.

Close to complete 60 years, Deutsche Welle is, step by step, closing the operation in radio, which it began in 1953. One of the most important movement in this sad strategy will be given at the end of this Month, with the closure of most of shortwave broadcasts, except targeting Africa, and the closing of the relay station in Sines (Portugal) and Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), as announced in May. I commented about it in this post and think that, although precipitated, it is a understandable step, if you consider the technical evolution and the pragmatism that characterizes the Germans and the recent decisions from DW’s board.

What I can’t understand is that DW is giving up not just the shortwaves, but the medium radio. The image at the top of this post is in the goodbye e-mail sent to listeners of the German Service, on September, 27. There, one of most traditional international radios explains that even the linear live streaming will disappear from its web site, keeping only podcasts and some programs in audio on demand. The same text is on the site (
click to read – in German).

Who follows DW’s programs in TV perceive that the German international broadcaster has a relevant investment to produce high quality programs from Berlin. Of course, investing in TV and internet is completely reasonable nowadays. But, considering the very low costs of the streaming in internet, and the big volume of content generated at DW’s quartier in Bonn, closing the offer through this medium is really a strange decision. For pessimists, this movement could give reasons to ask if it is logic to keep DW’s big structure in Bonn. The complete absence of emotion (to say the least) in the last decisions, gives fear from the answer for this question.

Above are two recordings that I’ve rescued from old reel tapes, from the times in that DW had budget to send programs worldwide to radio stations in magnetic media. “Schlagercocktail”, in German, featured the so called “Schlager”, popular songs in Germany. The edition above is from 1993. “Música de interlúdio”, was the Brazilian version of the German "Promenadenkonzert”. The recording is from 1996 and hosted by Arno Rochol, who worked long time in the Brazilian Service and then went to DW Akademie.


Música de Interlúdio

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don't set your watch according Austrian Radio in shortwave

It’s almost nothing, but Austria still has some international shortwave broadcasts. Nothing comparable with the old Radio Austria International, that used to broadcast in many languages, including Spanish for Latin America. ORF 1, a station with national coverage in Austria, has a shortwave broadcast for South America of its news program Abendjournal, in German. The reception is quite reasonable in South of Brazil.

The transmission is a bit strange. The station doesn’t identifies itself on the beginning, simply turns on the transmitter and begins broadcasting. The end is as drastic as the beginning of the emission. If you are going to listen to this broadcast in shortwave, attention: don’t set your watch following it. ORF simply records the Abendjournal at 18h Austrian local time and plays it later in shortwave.

Above, I edited the end of a recording made
 on September 8, at 1h UTC, in the frequency of 9.820 khz. After 25 minutes, the news program goes to the end with information about a 2 billion euro Siemens contract in Russia for regional trains, and announces the weather forecast, and then is abruptly interrupted, as you can hear.

Monday, October 10, 2011

IRIB’s listener kit has even the Iranian flag

While moneyfor the occidental public broadcast companies is falling fast, it looks like the reality is different in Iran. Although the budget numbers of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) aren’t published in the site of the giant state-owned company, it is estimated that the annual budget is around US$ 900 million, according to an article in the site of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), which says also that IRIB has 46 thousand employees for its radio and TV networks targeting the internal and external public. It is not that much if compared with German ARD, which has a budget of 6.3 billion of euros and 23 thousand employees or BBC (US$ 5.4 billion), but is a big number considering Iran’s GDP (US$ 385 billion in 2008).

The kit sent to IRIB’s listeners also suggests that the lean times in the international stations aren’t affecting Ahmadinejad’s broadcaster. I sent a reception report to the Spanish Service of IRIB, about a transmission from May, 27 (you can listen to a part of the broadcast in this
link). Beyond the Khaju Brigdge QSL card I received a CD with the Magazin “Miscelánea Persa”, the printed Magazin “El Panorama Islámico” and a flag from Iran.

Talking to “Miscelánea”, the director of the Spanish Service, Nader Edalatmanesh, says that there are no indications of a drop in the audience of shortwave in Latin America, despite new technologies like internet streaming. He says that in the long term IRIB wants to reach credibility for its programs, considering that listeners make an evaluation of the broadcasts and of the international scene. “For example, in the 22 days War in Gaza, we propagate the selvage image of the Zionist regime and his crimes against innocent Palestinians, while the occidental media tried to benumb the emission of this kind of news”, says.

In its material, the station defines itself as “designed to face the occidental media and the information imperialism in the word, which tries to restrict the public opinion”.

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the coverage (or the lack of) of IRIB from the protests against Ahmadinejad and the charges of fraud in the elections that kept him in power.