NASB NEWSLETTER www.shortwave.org
IN THIS ISSUE:
“No Other Medium has the Universality of Shortwave”
NASB Representatives Speak at TWR Staff Meeting
Cary, North Carolina (May 8, 2008) - With the beautiful background of a North Carolina forest visible through the glass walls of the Trans World Radio auditorium, TWR’s John Summerville welcomed everyone to Cary and the headquarters’ weekly staff meeting. He noted that this meeting was being broadcast live via the Internet to TWR sites around the world.
NASB President Jeff White thanked TWR for hosting this 20th annual meeting of the Association, and gave a preview of the day’s activities. He said that TWR had asked NASB personnel to talk about the viability of shortwave radio in today’s world in the midst of new technologies like satellite and the Internet.
Allen Graham of NASB associate member HCJB summarized a document prepared by former BBC World Service audience researcher Graham Mytton. Mytton’s research shows that the area of the world with the most access to radio in general is North America. But in terms of shortwave households, the highest percentage is in sub-Saharan Africa. The lowest percentage of shortwave households is in North America and the Caribbean. The amount of weekly shortwave listening is highest in sub-Saharan Africa. In general, Mytton’s studies show that where more local stations are available, there is less shortwave audience. Mytton asserts that the audience for shortwave remains large and consistent.
Often, he said, people don’t know that they are shortwave listeners. “They don’t know if they’re listening on AM or FM or shortwave or DRM or IRS or whatever,” said Allen Graham. “It doesn’t matter. What they’re looking for is the content.” Stations need to offer something that is not available on the listener’s domestic media. “What attracts listeners,” explained Graham, “is when international broadcasters provide something that they otherwise can’t get.”
Mytton stated that there are large shortwave audiences in countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, Egypt, Pakistan, Burma, Cuba, Syria and Somalia, and that shortwave audience “will remain large and eager” in these countries. Only shortwave can overcome all local regulations and problems such as local broadcasts being pulled by governments because of political problems.
“Many people say the Internet is the shortwave radio of the 21st Century,” continued Graham. “But Internet is not available in many of the places we broadcast to.”
In summary, Graham cited Mytton’s conclusion that “No other delivery mechanism is capable of sending material over huge distances without interference and with virtually no cost to the receiver. No other medium has the universality of shortwave.”
NASB Vice President Mike Adams, of Far East Broadcasting Company, spoke about what we can do to mitigate some of the negative trends in shortwave radio. Adams sees a challenge caused by more local media choices and a general decrease in the shortwave audience in certain regions of the world. FEBC is taking a two-pronged approach to dealing with this situation in the affected areas.
“I just came back from Mongolia,” said Adams. “We have an FM station in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. Half of the nation lives in Ulaanbaatar. If you put on a station that covers the capital city, you’ve reached half the nation in Mongolia. Have you reached the whole nation? No. There are still a lot of people scattered widely across a huge country. Shortwave radio has this advantage of reach -- one service covering a nation. So we do both.”
Adams went on to say that even in a country where the shortwave audience is declining, “You can be the station that people listen to.” He said a lot of shortwave stations sound “Robotic” with canned half-hour programs. In Indonesia, he said that a lot of air talent has gone from shortwave to FM stations, taking the listeners with them. CVC (Christian Vision) has six hours per day of shortwave programming to Indonesia. They say their audience response is increasing, with thousands of letters monthly. CVC’s programming is not automated; it has live hosts. “It’s a real live program like you get on a local station,” said Adams. “So shortwave content can be live, engaging, like local radio.”
Adams said we could think of defining shortwave differently. “I would even challenge us to think about shortwave as a local radio outlet,” he said. “It just depends on how you manage the content. Say for example we said that a shortwave transmitter that reached into a nation is now the service for Shanghai, rather than it’s a Chinese national service. It doesn’t matter that the shortwave signal will land a bunch of other places. If we have content and information related just to that city, we can create a local radio service that just happens to be delivered over shortwave radio.”
“Just because a local FM station reaches a local community doesn’t make it community radio,” continued Mike Adams. “It’s only when you talk about what matters to the community, engage in the community’s issues and problems, and content that’s packaged and looks like it’s built for your town and your people in your city. Then people engage in community radio, and shortwave could even be a medium for community radio.”
Adams said that FEBC is continuing to use shortwave to reach certain niche groups. He said many minority language groups in Southeast Asia -- “isolated people groups,” as he called them -- will continue to be avid shortwave listeners for many years to come.
Another niche for international broadcasters is humanitarian disaster response, according to Adams, such as the tsunami in Asia. FEBC has created an “FM radio station in a suitcase” for use in those types of situations. It is going to be used in India in the near future. This will enable international broadcasters to get the information that people need to them as soon as possible after disasters.
Allen Graham of HCJB embraced Adams’ comments about the need for format changes in shortwave content. He said it even happens at his own station, “where our automated system plays this 30-minute program for this Christian broadcaster, and 30 minutes from [another one], but there’s nothing that brings all that together so that there’s one complete sound for that station. If we can do that, we’re going to have a lot more impact in going into our communities. Otherwise it’s four or five or six different radio stations maybe within a three- or four-hour program, because there’s nothing that really brings that together except for that 30-second ID every half hour.”
Graham also expressed the view that there is still a lot of need for shortwave to reach indigenous populations in South America, in places like the Andes and the Amazon. Shortwave is still very popular in these rural regions. He said that some of HCJB’s broadcasters travel to isolated areas of the Amazon and find that they are well-known “radio stars.”
Don Messer, former chairman of the DRM Technical Committee, pointed out that with DRM transmissions it is possible to transmit four different programs or languages on a single shortwave channel. Mike Adams added that “A special DRM service for Shanghai, for example, could work.”
Allan McGuirl of NASB associate member Galcom International mentioned that his company is in the process of developing a “fix-tuned” shortwave receiver that will switch automatically to multiple frequencies. He said Galcom is seeing an increase in requests for shortwave receivers.
In response to a question from the audience, Allen Graham explained that HCJB has been given a six-month extension for the dismantling of additional towers at its Pifo transmitter site in Ecuador, since the construction of the new Quito airport has been delayed.
Following the TWR staff meeting, the NASB and USA DRM meeting attendees were given a tour of the TWR headquarters building and treated to a coffee break sponsored by TWR.
Remarks by TWR President Thomas Lowell to NASB Annual Meeting
Thomas Lowell has worked with Trans World Radio for 44 years. He went to Bonaire in 1965, when TWR’s station there was broadcasting on shortwave. (Today it is mediumwave only.) He served two years on Guam, where KTWR broadcasts on shortwave. Later, he returned to work with TWR in the United States until he retired as president six years ago. He stayed on as Chairman of TWR’s Board of Directors. In November of 2007, TWR’s president resigned, and the Board asked Lowell to step back in as president on an interim basis. An outside search committee is currently looking for a new president.
Lowell explained that TWR has a long history of shortwave broadcasting. It currently transmits some 105 hours per week on shortwave -- most of it from its facilities in Guam and Swaziland, but also via leased time in Albania, Monaco and Russia. Lowell said: “We don’t consider ourselves a shortwave broadcaster per sé.” He said the word “radio” doesn’t even appear in TWR’s mission statement or vision statement. TWR’s founder, Dr. Paul Freed, “was not a radio person, but he recognized that the way to reach the masses was via radio.” TWR began broadcasting from Tangier, Morocco in 1954, transmitting across the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain.
Following are some excerpts from Lowell’s remarks at the opening of the NASB-USADRM annual meetings in Cary on May 8:
We continue to recognize that communication at its most basic definition is all about the message. It’s the message you communicate, the method that you use to do the communication, and what you expect that message to accomplish. As professionals in the media industry, we have to be conscious of all three of these areas or we will fail to meet our global communication expectations.
Our audience speaks many languages, and we have endeavored to focus historically on the major languages of the world. However, in recent years we have included some of the lesser, minor, languages -- if you can call them that. We speak primarily the “heart” language of the people. Even though people may speak English as a second or third language, our interest is speaking their heart language -- the language they use at home, the language they speak with their friends, the language that they use at work. Presently we broadcast in 225 languages and the number continues to grow.
Another challenge is to relate culturally the message to the people we speak to. We’ve found that the best solution to this challenge is to use members of our audience communities in the production of our programs. Our mission is to assist the local church around the world, and we use their people to produce programs.
Our hope is that the end result will be changed lives, because changed lives will produce changed citizens, and changed citizens result in changed countries. Thus as a broadcaster, we attempt to bring positive impact on the societies to which we broadcast. The 300,000 or so listener responses we received last year indicate how much the audiences appreciate the messages. We know that the size of our audience in many countries is in the hundreds of thousands, and perhaps in the millions according to research institutions such as InterMedia.
Our focus this week is to study how or in what manner we communicate. Research tells us that the demise of shortwave broadcasting is very, very premature. We do acknowledge that statistics indicate the number of shortwave listeners in the world is shrinking or declining, but this is not consistent across the world as many political hotspots are turning back to shortwave radio. We also do not know what revitalization will occur due to digital shortwave broadcasting, and we look forward to that in the future.
We at TWR stand on the principle that the means is not the primary factor. Our main commitment is to communicate the message of the Bible to as many people as possible and to do this in a cost-effective manner. Thus we must consider the medium most people use in their daily lives, and see if we can use the same medium in a cost-effective way. Sometimes we are restricted from broadcasting locally because of political or religious factors. Other times, geography or other barriers limit our ability to deliver our message in a way the majority of the people use the media. Our local staff strive to be relevant in our content and as relevant in our delivery mechanisms as possible.
I want to applaud your efforts as an association in educating people about the strengths of shortwave broadcasting. Many in our part of the world are not aware of the millions of people who receive their current events and entertainment by shortwave radio.
I remember coming back from living overseas where I lived with shortwave radio, listening primarily to news that was coming from a number of different organizations. I came back here to a country that was shortwave ignorant. I found myself trying to educate people that I came in contact with on what shortwave radio was all about and how vital is was to many people in our world today.
Today in 2008 there are people who are listening to shortwave radio. And I am also grateful that you devote yourselves to the benefit of our broadcast community with a type of innovation that has resulted in the DRM standard. We’re grateful for the new DRM equipment and the receivers that are becoming available. May I encourage you during these days to strive to make these innovations and technologies available to the most people possible. We are in the business of mass media, and we look forward to your efforts in these days to work together so that shortwave radio will be a mass media tool available to our global community for many years in the future.
“DRM Will Succeed, and Cheap Receivers are Coming Very Soon”
DRM Update at the 2008 USA DRM Annual Meeting
Adil Mina grew up in his native Lebanon listening to radio stations from around the world on a large shortwave radio, with all of the inherent static, fading and interference. Eventually he would find himself working for Dallas-based Continental Electronics - an NASB member and premier manufacturer of shortwave transmitters. For the past 43 years he helped to design, build and commission many high power medium-wave and shortwave transmitters and systems all over the world. Lately he has been traveling around the world selling shortwave transmitters to religious, government and commercial stations.
Mina is a true believer in shortwave. “I can really tell you that shortwave is alive and it is going forward,” he told the USA DRM annual meeting in Cary, North Carolina May 8. He admits that sales have been a little slow during the past four or five years. “Except for some huge numbers of transmitters that have been sold to China during the period from 2000 to now, shortwave has been a little bit quiet, especially in the building of new stations.” But he says that even with a worldwide recession, many international customers are still making plans to modernize and buy new transmitters.
Why is Adil Mina so bullish on shortwave? “I once asked a friend from Saudi Arabia if he was going to put all of his programming on satellite. He said: 'Mr. Mina, do I look that stupid? Do you think for one moment I would trust my broadcasting to anyone who controls a satellite or a local radio and who could shut me off at any moment they desire?' There's what the beauty of shortwave is. Whatever your faith and your belief in shortwave is, it is justified. Shortwave -- no matter how many other ways of broadcasting are invented in the world – DAB, DMB, DVD, whatever it is – is still the only medium that you can broadcast from your backyard to any country in the world.”
“What's happening today,” explained Mina, “is that we finally realize that we, the technical people, should help you [the broadcasters] make that sound clear and make it practical. And that's what DRM is all about. It allows you to broadcast your program with clarity.”
But Mina admits that DRM is not quite where it should be today. “I'll be very honest about it,” he said. “DRM is about two years behind, in our opinion. It's not because of transmitters or antennas or exciters. It's because of the receivers. I would estimate we are about two years behind.”
The DRM Consortium began 10 years ago at a meeting in China. For 10 years the Consortium was led by Chairman Peter Senger of Deutsche Welle. Most DRM administrative responsibilities during this time have been centered at Deutsche Welle. But Senger had to retire in March of this year due to German law, and his project director Anne Fechner has also retired. The BBC stepped forward to take over the leadership of DRM. Everything is being moved to Bush House. The BBC's Ruxandra Obreja is the new chairperson. Unlike Peter Senger, Obreja is not a technical person. The BBC believes DRM has matured, according to Mina, and thus they nominated a person with business development background instead of technical background to be the chairperson. Mina said "Ruxandra, with her experience in business development, will do a great job in promoting DRM worldwide."
Until three and a half years ago, DRM was a digital system for longwave, mediumwave and shortwave – up to 30 Megahertz. Then DRM Plus was introduced. Now DRM works with frequencies up to 108 MHz – basically FM, so it can compete with IBOC/HD Radio. Unfortunately, Mina points out, no major transmitter manufacturer has yet made FM transmitters with DRM Plus because they have spent too much developing IBOC/HD Radio transmitters. “We are still looking for somebody to jump on top of it,” says Mina.
Now back to the receivers, and the reasons why they aren't readily available yet. “Part of the reason,” says Mina, “is maybe we took our time on the standard – deciding what we want the receiver to do. We had a lot of debate and a lot of discussion. What should the receiver have in it? Should it be simply a small receiver that you can buy on the street in Hong Kong or Taiwan hopefully for $10? Well, you can't do that. Most of us were hoping for a $50 receiver to replace what I call the regular or standard $10 or $15 shortwave receiver that you can buy in Asia today.
“Some of the receiver manufacturers said: 'I'll wait maybe until you finish your DRM Plus. Why do I want to make one receiver and then possibly have to combat some of the others?'. Some manufacturers said I will combine DRM with DAB and come up with a receiver that some of the early ones – most of them – do.
“But for whatever reason, even though we had Sony as a key member of DRM on the Steering Board – and we had Bosch also and many of the others – none of them really came up [with a receiver], even though they were the key people who helped us, and helped Dr. [Don] Messer – one of his subcommittees – to come up with a specification. None of them – Sony, Panasonic or what I would call the big people – the key people who were driving DRM – and I give them a lot of credit; they really pushed and promoted it – none of them came up with a receiver. It is disappointing, I think, to me and to many of the others.
“So what I would call some of the secondary players introduced receivers. Many of them were waiting, like everybody knows today, for an IC chip – the good chip, the right chip. We do have some receivers now – Roberts, Morphy Richards, Himalaya. These are some of the receivers that you see today. Many of us have got the software receivers. But even some of the early receivers, in six to eight hours the batteries were gone. They were just eating batteries like crazy.
“So the receiver that all of us are looking for is still the small receiver, the inexpensive receiver that will have a good battery life. That's what most people are looking for. It's the one that should be like your Blackberry, your telephone, that can sit for two days, three days, without you having to go back and charge it.”
But Mina is hopeful. New chips were introduced a few months ago by Analog Devices, and a new receiver is expected to be built in India. “We've seen the prototype,” said Mina. “They're very encouraged. And we hope that we will have the $100 receiver.”
That $100 receiver could be a major improvement on the current situation. “When we started talking about the $100 and the $200 receiver – that was six years ago,” said Mina. “Well, there are receivers you can buy today for 200 euros. The 200 figure we were hoping for six years ago is here, but it's in euros, and that's 300 dollars. Many of us are still hoping for the $100 receiver.”
Mina is also encouraged about what's coming out of China. His friends at Thomson Broadcast found and worked with Dr. Lin Liang who founded a private company, Newstar Electronics, that plans to make DRM receivers. “I have seen three of these small receivers,” said Mina. “Today the design is being completed on these receivers – a very, very small receiver. This is the new star that is coming from China, that is going to make DRM a success.”
The new Chinese receiver will have a small LCD screen, a built-in photo album, a GPS and a DRM receiver. “What's going to make DRM are these devices,” Mina believes. “You're going to step out of your airplane. You're going to travel to any city you want. You're going to pull it out, and right there you're going to have a DRM receiver. You're going to receive your program with good quality anywhere in the world. This is what is going to be the success of DRM in my opinion.”
Mina says there are many other DRM receivers that are being developed right now. Students at LeTourneau University are working on a receiver. Three to five different groups in China are working on receivers. There is also a group in South Africa working on a DRM receiver, specifically for use on shortwave.
There had been talk in the business that the Chinese would have a lot of DRM transmissions on air in time for the Olympics. “That's not going to happen,” said Mina, “But eventually we will see DRM broadcasts in China.” Explains Mina: “The reason China will develop DRM receivers is that all of the transmitters they're buying are DRM-ready. One transmitter is broadcasting DRM, but all of the others are ready. Why would China use DRM? China uses shortwave to talk to their own people. Because of that, they will go to DRM to cover their own territory. People in rural China need shortwave.”
“DRM will succeed,” concluded Mina, “and the cheap receivers will be coming very soon.”
Mina said that most shortwave transmitters bought during the last 20 years that have solid-state modulators are ready for DRM with a minor modification and new exciter. Older transmitters with high-level plate modulation can be modified for DRM. “We have done many of them. We just finished one in Saipan. We put new solid-state modulators on them, and they're ready.”
Although DRM isn't being used on mediumwave in the United States, there have been very successful mediumwave simulcast tests in Mexico, Brazil and India. There are also regular DRM broadcasts on mediumwave from many broadcast organizations in Europe.
Mina sees great potential for DRM on shortwave. A TCI International study showed that five transmitters could cover all of the United States with a high-quality DRM signal. “We need a UPS, a DHL, a trucking company. Somebody will have the vision to use DRM and send messages or programs over a large area with a single transmitter.”
If you order a new shortwave transmitter today from companies like Continental, there's no extra cost for DRM capability; it's already built in. If you need a DRM exciter for an existing transmitter, it's a slightly different story. “Our exciters are still a little bit too expensive,” said Mina. “We acknowledge that. But prices have come down, and hopefully can come down more.” He mentioned that HCJB is trying to develop a low-cost DRM exciter, which if successful could cause the big companies to drop their prices.
Mina said prices are still a bit prohibitive for most potential 26 MHz DRM operations. A TCI study showed that a 200-watt AM transmitter could cover the San Francisco Bay Area with one antenna – providing the FCC would license it. “But exciters are still 40,000 to 50,000 euros,” he lamented. “That is discouraging.” He noted that IBOC exciters cost around $20,000.
Finally, Adil Mina thanked former Technical
Committee Chairman Dr. Don Messer for all of his contributions to DRM. Messer
retired from the DRM Consortium at the end of March, although he is still
working hard to promote DRM in the United States. “If you want to get an
experimental license for DRM, don't try to do it on your own,” cautions Mina.
“Contact Dr. Messer.”
What's Happening with DRM in the United States?
Dr. Donald Messer left the DRM Consortium at the end of March. Some months earlier he had relinquished his role as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the DRM Consortium. He is now actively involved in promoting DRM in the United States. At the USA DRM annual meeting May 8 in Cary, North Carolina, he talked about some of the activities he has been involved in during the past several months regarding DRM transmissions from the US to the US.
Messer said there are two major elements involved in domestic DRM broadcasting in the US. One is getting the FCC to approve domestic shortwave broadcasting, which is not permitted currently. Experimental testing is needed for this. The second element is building a constituency by doing developmental work to be able to convince the FCC that domestic DRM has value, includes local content, etc. Thus, we are dealing with getting digital modulation approved in the HF broadcasting bands for domestic use.
As far as mediumwave is concerned, Messer agreed with those who have said that it has to be an analog-DRM simulcast on adjacent channels. “You can't disturb the analog transmissions,” he said. He noted that very successful simulcast DRM mediumwave tests have been conducted in Mexico, Brazil and India.
Messer explained that DRM+ includes all the broadcasting bands above 30 MHz and below 108 MHz. He insists that “there is some activity, although very limited, in the United States with regard to trying to get experimental licenses for DRM+.”
But shortwave is where most of the activity is with DRM in the United States. Messer divides this into three categories: local coverage on 26 MHz, regional coverage, and traditional shortwave broadcasting for long-distance coverage.
On 26 MHz, Messer said transmitters of 200 watts or less can provide local community radio services. He noted 26 MHz is a natural alternative for the FCC, given the controversy about using channels within part of the existing FM band for low power FM community radio stations. Using DRM on 26 MHz would reduce the political pressure that the FCC is receiving from both sides – the NAB on one, and – for example -- universities and religious organizations on the other. These low-power DRM stations would cover 10-100 square miles. Messer says at least three organizations are working with him on developing DRM tests on 26 MHz for local coverage, but no experimental licenses have been issued yet.
The second category of DRM on shortwave is a medium-range regional service. Messer explained that he has been working with a group that has filed an application for at least two years of experimental operation in Alaska, and the FCC has recently accepted that application for evaluation. “Alaska is roughly twice the size of Texas,” said Messer. “so you're talking about a fairly large regional coverage.”
The plan is to use a 10 or maybe 20 kHz DRM signal with up to four languages of audio to cover the entire state using old 100-kilowatt Defense Department transmitters near Fairbanks. Says Messer: “The Cold War ended, so the transmitters are up there and are not being used.” He says he is working with a company located near Fairbanks that would eventually like to provide a digital audio service throughout the State of Alaska. Does he think the project will be approved? “My guess is that the FCC evaluators will approve this application sometime before the end of this year when the cold sets in and the sun doesn't rise anymore. We will have the antenna field constructed in accordance with a very good antenna design. Then starting next year when the snows go away... we will start experimental broadcasting.”
Messer cites two key reasons why he thinks the FCC will approve the Alaska application. First of all, he says there isn't much information about ionospheric propagation at latitudes of around 60 degrees north with regard to how a digital signal such as DRM would work for a broadcasting service. “So this is pioneering,” he says.
Secondly, the Alaska population outside of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau is sparse. Taking this to a global level, Messer says: “If a country has half its population living in three cities, what about the other half?” He criticized some Voice of America research in parts of the world like West Africa that has been used to downplay the importance of shortwave in favor of FM and Internet. Messer asserts that often this research has not taken rural areas sufficiently into account – areas that still depend largely on shortwave.
“Without trying to minimize the value this has to Alaska,” he said, “this is transportable to other places in the U.S. Just think about – if I can use the phrase – the “red states” in the United States. A lot of them are sparsely populated – the Dakotas, Montana, up and down the Rocky Mountain area.”
The final category of DRM on shortwave is “traditional” shortwave for long-distance skywave coverage, but aimed at a domestic audience. Messer said TCI International did some research showing that five transmitters could cover the U.S. with a DRM signal “at power levels that are consistently lower than what you're used to.” He said it remains to be seen if existing shortwave stations in the U.S. or other commercial concerns will show an interest in the possibility of domestic HF broadcasting. As for the U.S. Government, “the IBB is prohibited from doing this, but I can tell you there is some interest in trying to help us out with some domestic broadcasting.” He noted that IBB is a DRM member.
Messer realizes that the big challenge in the long term for these domestic shortwave DRM applications is that the FCC would have to change its rules to permit domestic broadcasting of digital signals from the U.S. to the U.S.
In summary, for DRM on mediumwave in the United States, Messer says “the technical capability is there. I think the market there depends on how well HD Radio does in the mediumwave band over time.” For shortwave – local community services, Alaska-type regional services, and long-range DRM services – the question is, “are there markets – perhaps niche markets – in the U.S. for this kind of broadcasting? The kinds of things I am talking about within the U.S. will require at least 1 to 2 to 3 years of testing. By that time, if there aren't consumer receivers ready, forget you heard this speech.”
Meanwhile, Messer pointed out that there are currently shortwave DRM transmissions to the United States from Canada, Bonaire, French Guiana and other sites. And “nobody can prevent some Mexican entrepreneur from broadcasting out of Chihuahua or something like that as long as it's coordinated with the HFCC.”
Introduction to WWCR
NASB's newest member station is WWCR in Nashville, Tennessee, which rejoined the Association after a hiatus of several years. Brady Murray and Jason Cooper of WWCR attended the NASB Annual Meeting in Cary and gave a brief introduction to their station.
Murray explained that WWCR is co-located with its sister AM station WNQM. There are a total of five transmitters on site, each operating 24 hours per day. WWCR/WNQM have 14 hourly employees, three managers and an engineer. Some 350 independent programmers have airtime on the stations.
Jason Cooper was particularly impressed by the DRM sessions in Cary. “I've been interested in DRM for a long time,” he said, “and locally, I don't know if I was just in a bad pool of people or whatever, but every time I would try to talk about it or get it going, I would just get it pooh-poohed, you know. So I met Mike [Adams] in England, and it was like the first positive voice I'd heard about DRM. And then I find all of you guys, and it's just great being in like-minded company.”
WWCR will co-host next year's NASB-USADRM annual meeting in Nashville along with World Christian Broadcasting.
Don Messer interviewed on “Ask WWCR”
Jason Cooper and Brady Murray from NASB member station WWCR interviewed Don Messer at the annual meeting in Cary. WWCR has a bi-weekly 15-minute program called "Ask WWCR" (5070 kHz Saturdays at 8:45 pm EDT) in which they broadcast the interview in three parts. At press time, the interview segments were also on WWCR's website, .
DRM Has New Website
News release from Fanny Podworny, Communications and PR Assistant, DRM Consortium
The Digital Radio Mondiale website www.drm.org has, as of May, a dynamic new look. While it remains the most comprehensive and accurate source of information about the DRM standard and global digital radio, the site now has a more user-friendly feel with exciting improvements in design, content and navigation.
The new website www.drm.org now has:
- An improved look and feel – Enhanced graphics and the homepage “DRM a Unique Global Solution” provide Internet visitors with a better user experience.
- Clearer navigation – Web pages work in intuitive and consistent ways, making it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for and know where they are within the website.
- A more logical structure – The website is clearly targeted at three groups - listeners, broadcasters and manufacturers.
- A wealth of information – DRM broadcast schedules; receivers on the market; the latest on DRM+; technical downloads, and more.
Click and view the new DRM website on
DRM-Capable Equipment Displayed at NAB 2008
A variety of DRM members showcased DRM-capable equipment at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas in April.
Continental Electronics Corporation Showing:
• Continental DRM products and solutions
• TRANSRADIO DRM exciter
• Fraunhofer DRM content server R4
Dolby Laboratories Inc Showing:
• The integration of Coding Technologies and Dolby Technology Solution
HARRIS Broadcast Showing:
• DRM Capable 3 DX50 AM Transmitter
• DRM content server, modulator
• 1kW DAX transmitter, simulcast and full digital DRM transmissions
Hitachi Kokusai Electric Showing:
• Hitachi Kokusai DRM products and solutions
• Shortwave Broadcasting System
• All Solid-State 10kW DSB/DRM SW Transmitter
Nautel Ltd. Showing:
• Nautel products and solutions for DRM
Thomson Broadcast & Multimedia AG Showing:
• Thomson DRM products and solutions
• DRM Content Server, Cirrus Stratus Modulator Exciter
• DRM Commercial Receivers
TRANSRADIO SenderSysteme Berlin AG Showing:
• New! Exciter DRM DMOD3
• Fraunhofer DRM content server R4
[Source: DRM Consortium]
President of Madagascar Visits NASB Member World Christian Broadcasting
by Paul Ladd, WCB
It's not every day that a head of state visits World Christian Broadcasting's headquarters in suburban Nashville, but staffers were ready when President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar arrived in town for World Christian Broadcasting's annual benefit dinner in May.
When staff got word of President Ravalomanana's impending visit, there were a lot of arrangements to be made and not much time to take care of them. The U.S. Secret Service customarily provides protection for foreign leaders when they're in America and agents made several visits to World Christian's building to prepare for Ravalomanana's arrival. Agents also visited the hotel where the presidential party would stay, as well as the venue for the dinner itself. WCB staffers also began making preparations for the President and those who wold accompany him to the U.S.
President Ravalomanana and his party arrived on Wednesday, May 8 at a hangar on the campus of Nashville International Airport. They were escorted by Madagascar's chief envoy to the U.S., Ambassador Jocelyn Radifera and his wife Erna; and Earl Young, a friend of World Christian Broadcasting and also President of the U.S.-Madagascar Business Council. Also in the party were presidential staff, including medical and press officers. Several World Christian Broadcasting staffers were on hand to greet the visitors, who were soon hustled into waiting cars and driven to their hotel.
That evening, President Ravalomanana and his wife Lalao were guests of honor at a dinner hosted by World Christian board member Caroline Cross at her home. Also in attendance was former Tennessee Governor Winfield Dunn.
Thursday morning, WCB staff gathered in the conference room for the President's arrival. The guests arrived shortly after 9 AM and President Ravalomanana greeted each staff member, after which he sat down for an interview in the KNLS studio.
Next, the party headed to Lipscomb University where President Ravalomanana spoke at a brief convocation and then a luncheon and news conference arranged by WCB and Lipscomb staff. Ravalomanana, Lipscomb officials and officials from World Christian Broadcasting discussed ways they might be able to work together in the future.
Prior to the benefit dinner, a reception was held in President Ravalomanana's honor at the Embassy Suites Cool Springs. Distinguished guests in attendance included Mayor John Schroer of Franklin and Chuck Blackburn, husband of Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who was in Washington for a vote.
2008 WCB Nashville Benefit Dinner
by Rob Scobey, WCB
The banquet hall at the Franklin Embassy Suites had space for 700. Kathy Caudill was already expecting a capacity crowd at World Christian Broadcasting's 2008 Spring Benefit Dinner. The invitations for the dinner had already gone out. Other than the WCB website, there was no practical way to get out the late word that Madagascar's president would attend. The people came anyway. And so did the president – with the protection of our U.S. Secret Service.
It was this determined President Marc Ravalomanana who had donated the 84 acres for the new radio station, Madagascar World Voice. And the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he and his wife Lalao entered the room. The president said: “From the new radio station, you will send a message from Madagascar to many countries of the world. The content of this message is, 'Let's shape this world around our Christian values.' In the end, we'll not be able to come up with a rose garden. But we'll be able to leave [the world] with less poverty, more peace and security, and better opportunities for future generations.”
After the President spoke, WCB President Charles Caudill presented him with a painting of irises, the state flower of Tennessee. The painting is the work of Murat Kaboulov, husband of WCB Russian language specialist Marina Aboulova. World Christian Broadcasting Vice President Andy Baker then introduced the 2008 video “The Next Step, to Cover the Earth,” which includes interviews with those working on the construction site in Madagascar.
World Christian Broadcasting Update
by Andy Baker, WCB
The containers that had been held up at the port in Madagascar have been released. After being detained for 170 days, the containers which held needed building supplies finally were delivered to our radio station site. The next shipment will contain the transmitters that will power the antennas. A water well has been dug. A 1-1/2 mile security fence has been built. Earth anchors have been placed to support the towers and curtain antennas. A generator building, guard house, staff home, transmitter building and tool and equipment buildings have been built. The first of three diesel powered generators has been placed and is now providing electricity. The towers and curtain antennas have arrived on-site, and the towers will be raised in the fall of 2008. The fourth antenna to Madagascar will also be raised later this year. The three 100,000-watt transmitters are now being built in Mesquite, Texas. They are digital-ready, and when digital is in use they will provide an FM quality signal and be capable of four simultaneous broadcasts.
Radio Free Asia Releases Second Radio Pioneer QSL Card
(News release from Radio Free Asia)
April 2008 Radio Free Asia is proud to announce the release of its 21st QSL card honoring German physicist and radio pioneer, Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (1857 - 1894). Hertz was the first to broadcast and receive radio waves. He demonstrated the existence of electromagnetic waves by building equipment that not only produced radio waves, but also detected them. His experiments with electromagnetic waves led to the development of the wireless telegraph and the radio. His name is also used for radio and electrical frequencies: hertz (Hz). The QSL card will be issued for all valid RFA reception reports from April 1 – June 30, 2008. This is the second in our series of QSL cards honoring radio pioneers. Future QSL cards will include other radio pioneers like Nikola Tesla, Reginald Fessenden, and others.
More information about Radio Free Asia, including our current broadcast frequency schedule, is available at www.rfa.org RFA encourages listeners to submit reception reports. Reception reports are valuable to RFA as they help us evaluate the signal strength and quality of our transmissions. RFA confirms all accurate reception reports by mailing a QSL card to the listener. RFA welcomes all reception report submissions at www.techweb.rfa.org (follow the QSL REPORTS link) not only from DX’ers, but also from its general listening audience. Reception reports are also accepted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org , and for anyone without Internet access, reception reports can be mailed to: Reception Reports, Radio Free Asia, 2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036 United States of America. Upon request, RFA will also send a copy of the current broadcast schedule and a station sticker.
A Standing Offer to Shortwave Broadcasters from Monitoring Times
Monitoring Times is a monthly magazine about radio. You, as a broadcaster, ARE radio. In a sense, advertising your station and getting people to listen to it is what you are all about. Our English Language Shortwave Guide section in each month's Monitoring Times is like a phone directory, showing people how to find you. To be sure the information we provide about your station will be accurate, send us your updated frequency list and schedule on a regular basis.
To be sure your information is correct and to keep current with what listeners are hearing and saying, you should also receive Monitoring Times. As long as your station's English language broadcasts are listed in the Shortwave Guide section, you are eligible for a free subscription to the electronic edition of the magazine, called MT Express. Just let us know the name of your station, the contact person and the e-mail address to which we should send notification that the next issue of MT Express is available for download. Send this to us at:
To test out how it works, you can download a sample issue of MT in pdf format right now at You may choose to download the low or high resolution magazine (large or smaller file size).
All we ask is that you place Monitoring Times on your media list to receive schedules, updated and programming and industry news. You may send any information to Rachel Baughn, MT Editor () for distribution, or you may send schedules directly to Gayle Van Horn, Frequency Manager ( ).
Station program producers who find items in MT that might be of use in their programs are welcome to quote from these items as long as they give credit to Monitoring Times.
TDP Radio – Worldwide Radio
NASB associate member TDP Radio brings you the best dance and trance mixes of the moment by talented DJ's worldwide. You can tune in every Saturday to our digital radio broadcasts in DRM as follows:
To Europe from 4 to 6 PM Central European Time (1400-1600 UTC) on 6015 kHz.
To North America from 12 to 2 PM Eastern Daylight Time (1600-1800 UTC) on 11900 kHz.
Or you can listen to our 24 hour Internet radio station. TDP Radio is an official affiliate member of the DRM Consortium (). DRM is the new digital standard for worldwide radio broadcasting.
TDP Radio is looking for new talent. You can contact our program manager Daniel Versmissen for more information. If you have any questions regarding TDP Radio, feel free to contact one of our staff members:
Program Manager: Daniel Versmissen ()
Technical Manager: Ludo Maes ()
P.O. Box 1
Grove Enterprises Catalog
We are often asked where you can buy shortwave receivers, books and other items in the U.S. Grove Enterprises, which publishes Monitoring Times magazine, is one of the major mail-order providers of shortwave radios and related items in North America. In their current catalog, you will find scanners, receivers, WINRADIO PC-based receivers, antennas, tuners, preamps, filters, multicouplers, speakers, test equipment, books and software. You can download a copy of their current catalog at:
Fundamental Broadcasting Network
NASB member Fundamental Broadcasting Network (FBN) is a listener-supported Christian radio network for the family. It is a ministry of Grace Baptist Church in Newport, North Carolina (Clyde I. Eborn, Pastor). Their flagship station is WOTJ on 90.7 MHz FM in Newport. There are local FBN affiliates on AM and FM in Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. FBN operates two 24-hour shortwave stations transmitting from Newport: WTJC (Working Till Jesus Comes) on 9370 kHz, and WBOH (Worldwide Beacon of Hope) on 5920 kHz, plus an Internet streaming service at . You can contact FBN at 520 Roberts Road, Newport, NC 28570 USA. Telephone +1-800-245-9685. E-mail:
Deborah Proctor, General Manager of WCPE FM in Wake Forest, North Carolina, writes: “I wanted to thank you for letting John Graham and me attend the shortwave broadcaster's conference last month. I learned a great deal about both DRM+ and IBOC-FM and it was especially helpful to hear from some of the engineers who were involved with both. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and for giving me more information to help me make decisions for WCPE (FM).”
Meet the NASB Board
Partial transcript of the Voice of the NASB report on HCJB's DX Party Line program on May 17, 2008
Allen Graham: Well on today's DX Party Line, as we do the Voice of the NASB, we're actually doing it at the recent meeting of the NASB -- the 20th annual meeting of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters. And here's the producer of the Voice of the NASB, Jeff White.
Jeff: Thank you Allen, and I've brought some guests into the studio here with me today. We actually have five of the six NASB Board members with us. My Vice President, Mike Adams, from Far East Broadcasting.
Mike: Hello, this is Mike, and I do a range of engineering jobs for Far East Broadcasting. I'm the Engineering Coordinator at our international office, and I'm recently managing the international disaster radio project. So we spent a little bit of time talking about that -- how shortwave radio can be used as a tool to respond to disasters, and our FM radio in a suitcase -- how we've been using that in responding to disasters. So its been fun to meet the rest of the members here and get together with lots of other people doing shortwave and see what they're doing.
Jeff: And then we have Glen Tapley, who's with WEWN in Alabama, Eternal Word Broadcasting. Glen, tell us what you do.
Glen: Well let me just first say I'm glad I'm no longer the new guy on this Board of Directors [laughter]. I work as frequency manager for WEWN. I'm also affiliate engineering manager for our television side, and just do the day to day engineering and whatever happens to come along and what everybody wants done, I'll do.
Jeff: And we have our newest
member of the Board of Directors, Bill Damick of Trans World Radio, where we
are right now. Bill has been on the NASB Board for all of about 30 minutes now, so what do
you do, Bill?
Bill: Well I'm involved in two capacities with Trans World Radio. One is in contextual research of desk research, learning about the areas that we broadcast into so we can advise our programmers. And also in partnership development, working with other Christian ministries to find new ways to use media in what they do overseas.
Jeff: And I was tempted to say our “oldest” member of the Board of Directors, but I shouldn't say that. He hasn't been on the longest, but well -- Adrian Peterson of Adventist World Radio.
Adrian: Yes, thank you. And to state that I am the oldest is indeed true. And I'm grateful for health at my age. But anyway, it's a privilege and a pleasure to be a part of the NASB event and activity here at the Trans World Radio facility, and nice to be on the DX program with you again, Allen. My work with Adventist World Radio is in the area of international relations, which involves listener response and program development and production and so on. And interestingly, at the present time in our DX program Wavescan, which is coordinated and produced in the AWR studio in Singapore, we're in the middle of a DX context -- the alphabet DX contest regarding QSL cards. The initial mail response is very interesting. There is some concentration of mail coming in from Latin America, which is not one of our main target areas from Asia. And the other fact is the large number of mail responses are coming in from many different countries on different continents. So it's a privilege to be here again at the NASB event.
Jeff: And Allen I should mention that the sixth member of the Board who's not with us is Charles Caudill of World Christian Broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee, which operates KNLS in Alaska, and they're building the Madagascar World Voice, I believe it's called, in Madagascar. Charles couldn't be with us because he has to host a visit by the President of Madagascar this week. So that completes the Board.
[Jeff White, NASB President and Board member, is general manager of WRMI in Miami. The NASB has two officers who are not members of the Board: Dan Elyea, is in charge of the WYFR transmitter site in Okeechobee, Florida, is NASB Secretary-Treasurer; and Thais White of WRMI in Miami is Assistant Secretary-Treasurer. Ed Bailey in Houston, Texas is the NASB Legal Counsel.]
Preliminary Programme of 2008 European DX Council Conference Announced
from EDXC Secretary General Tibor Szilagyi (email@example.com )
Dear DX Friends all over the world. The preliminary programme of the EDXC Conference 2008 in Vaasa, Finland has just arrived. All conference activities are in English, unless otherwise noted. Please note that this conference agenda is subject to change without notice. All times Finnish local time (UTC+3).
Friday, 5 September 2008
15.00- The DX reception will be opened.
17.00- The DX Service will be opened.
18.00-20.00 Opening of the conference, DX quiz, lectures.
20.00-20.30 Greetings from the officials of the city of Vaasa at the hotel.
21.00-23.00 The evening party (snacks and beverages) at the barbeque area.
21.00- Listening and other activities (the DX shack is open).
Saturday, 6 September 2008
09.30-11.00 The official opening of the conference, introduction of the international guests, lectures.
11.00-15.00 Sightseeing (incl. lunch + English-speaking guide): the city of Vaasa and , Finland's first World Natural Heritage on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
12.00-14.00 Items in the Finnish language, the introduction of the 50th anniversary history book of the Finnish DX Association, hearing of the board of the FDXA.
15.00- The official photograph of the conference.
15.15-1900 Lectures and panel discussions: the latest of the SDR radios and equipment, FM panel summarizing the FM summer 2008, MW results of the season 2007-2008, introduction of the Scandinavian Weekend Radio.
20.00-23.30 The EDXC conference banquet. Banquet dinner, speech, entertainment, prizes and awards, lottery, auction.
23.00- Listening and other activities (the DX shack is open).
Sunday, 7 September 2008
09.30-11.30 Meeting of the European DX clubs, international panel.
11.30-12.00 Check-out of hotel rooms.
12.00-13.30 The final session of the conference.
13.30- Departure to the EDXC Baltic tour.
For more information about the 2008 EDXC Conference, see the meeting's website:
How to reach Vaasa?
Vaasa is located on the west coast of Finland by the Gulf of Bothnia, about 400 km north-northwest of Helsinki. It is said to be the sunniest city in Finland.
By train: There are several daily train connections to Vaasa. Usually, you will have to change trains at Seinäjoki, about an hour's trip away from Vaasa. For connections from Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and elsewhere, please check
By bus: Vaasa is served by numerous bus connections from all over Finland. Please check for details.
By ferry: Vaasa has a regular ferry connection to Umeå, Sweden. The service is, however, somewhat limited. Please see ?bo). These run more frequently, and you can spend a night on board, enjoying the beautiful archipelago. Note that there is a direct train connection from the Turku harbour to Tampere and further to Vaasa (via Seinäjoki). The ferry liners are and . for more details. If you are coming from southern Sweden (including the Stockholm area) and wish to take a ferry, we recommend ferries from Stockholm to Turku (
Our conference hotel: is located about 1.5 km south of the Vaasa city center ( ). The local buses no. 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 will take you near the hotel.
Adventist World Radio
Assemblies of Yahweh
EWTN Global Catholic Radio WEWN
Family Stations Inc.
Far East Broadcasting Co.
Fundamental Broadcasting Network
La Voz de Restauracion Broadcasting, Inc.
Le Sea Broadcasting Corp.
Radio Miami International
Trans World Radio
World Christian Broadcasting
World Wide Christian Radio
NASB Associate Members:
Comet North America
Continental Electronics Corporation
George Jacobs & Associates
Hatfield and Dawson Consulting Engineers
HCJB World Radio
TCI International, Inc.
National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters
10400 NW 240th Street, Okeechobee, Florida 34972
Ph: (863) 763-0281 Fax: (863) 763-8867 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org