Tag Archives: VOA

Program favourites – Music Time in Africa

Listening to the short wave bands over a number of years, you build up a list of favourite programs on some of the stations. The Morning Show on R Thailand, a magazine program about what’s going on and what’s on in Thailand,  CRI’s ‘Drive Time’ program, also a magazine program for events in China, broadcast presumably, for people going to work. RRI has their regular ‘A world of Culture’ which gets you close to past and current cultural developments in Romania. If like me, you love all forms of music, then ‘Music Time in Africa’ from VOA is a must listen.

Broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays for one hour at 09:00, 15:00, 20:00, and 22:00 hours UTC, it offers an eclectic mix of music from all around Africa. If you like ‘World Music’ then you will love this show. Hosted by Heather Maxwell, who has an infectious enthusiasm for the music she presents, the show will give you, for instance, jazz-style music from Mali, or the tribal folk-style songs of Generale Defoe from the DRC amongst many. From her bio on the VOA pages for the program, ‘Heather Maxwell is an ethnomusicologist and experienced music professional in West Africa and the United States.

The program started in 1965, and so is one of VOA’s longest running shows. The show was founded by Leo Sarkisian, who retired from the show in 2012 and handed the reins over to Heather. Leo and his wife used to carry a reel-to-reel tape recorder with them all around Africa to get the recordings for the show. Over the years, he built up a huge library of music and interviews, which also was handed over to Heather on Leo’s retirement. Leo was so influential that on his retirement in 2012, he had a mention in the Washington Post:

Long before there was ping-pong diplomacy or pere­stroika, a short, balding Armenian American was lugging an enormous reel-to-reel from village to village, sweet-talking people into singing and playing for him.

[…]In Africa, he socialized with presidents, military dictators, accomplished musicians and tribal villagers. He outwardly steered away from politics, but under the surface he wove a subtle diplomatic tapestry based around grooving on tunes.”

That enthusiasm for the music and getting to know the musicians abides to this day. Heather interviews and records musicians from all over Africa, although the method of recording is now no longer a large, trusty, reel-to-reel!

So, next weekend, treat yourself to an hour of the best music in Africa, and tune into Music Time in Africa. I usually use the 15580 slot at 15:00, this seems to be the best for where I am in the UK.

Alternatively, if you miss any or you would just like to get an idea of what it’s all about, the programs are available on the VOA website at: http://www.voanews.com/z/1456. MTIA also has a facebook page at: http://www.voanews.com/z/1456.


The last set of logs for 2017

I had an idea today (they don’t happen very often!) of trying to listen to New Year celebrations from around the world. This was prompted by a post on one of the Facebook groups. So the plan was to listen to RNZI just after 11:00 UTC, as New Zealand sees the new year first. And then 2 hours later, tune into ABC Australia for their celebrations and so on and so on. Well, I hadn’t planned it very carefully, and with a mixture of family stuff to do and poor conditions, well, it didn’t happen. So my only resolution for next year is to plan this event properly, by drawing up a list of stations, frequencies and times. And if the propagation is OK, then it should work out. It will certainly make for an interesting listening schedule.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy and Peaceful 2017. Let us hope that the world is a little less fraught next year, and some of the ongoing wars finally come to and end. Thank you to all who use this blog, your support is very valued.

Let us also hope that some of the major broadcasters change their minds about shortwave (ABC I especially mean you!). Quite how the government ‘take over’ of VOA will pan out is any ones guess, but it would be nice to think they will not influence output, and stay in the background as a funding stream only.

Some listening from this afternoon took me to many parts of this wonderful world as usual. Hope you enjoy these and see you next year.


9645 Khz Australia Reach Beyond Australia 13:52 UTC English. Religious broadcast. Faith to Faith program SINPO: 44444 2016-12-31

15140 Khz Oman R Sultanate of Oman 14:20 UTC English. Pop music. SINPO: 44444 2016-12-31

15610 Khz USA WEWN 14:28 UTC English. ‘Agony Aunt’ show. SINPO: 43333 2016-12-31

15825 Khz USA WWCR 14:32 UTC English. Religious program. SINPO: 33333 2016-12-31

13590 Khz Thailand VOA Deewa Radio 14:34 UTC Pashto. OM with discussion program SINPO: 33333 2016-12-31

13630 Khz Botswana VOA 14:37 UTC Kinyarwanda. Mixture of english and african pop music SINPO: 33333 2016-12-31

13800 Khz Germany R Tamazuj 14:44 UTC Sudanese. Music and chat SINPO: 32222 2016-12-31

13800 Khz Madagascar R Tamazuj 15:01 UTC Sudanese. Music and chat. ID at 15:03 SINPO: 33333 2016-12-31

13820 Khz USA WWCR 15:05 UTC English. Religious program. SINPO: 44444 2016-12-31

13680 Khz Zambia Voice of Hope Africa 15:07 UTC English. Music and chat SINPO: 32233 2016-12-31

9335 Khz Phillipines VOA 15:52 UTC Burmese. OM and YL announcers with news. Obama mentioned a couple of times. SINPO: 33333 2016-12-31

9345 Khz Phillipines FEBC 15:55 UTC Mandarin. OM with discussion. SINPO: 44444 2016-12-31

9425 Khz North Korea V O Korea 15:58 UTC Russian. Severe ACI from FEBC on 9430 SINPO: 43333 2016-12-31

9525 Khz Java V O Indonesia 16:05 UTC Arabic. Quaran chant. SINPO: 43333 2016-12-31

Christmas Eve logs

I will be spending the evening doing family things (Xmas films and associated good-hearted nonsense), so I decided to get a bit if listening in this afternoon.

When I start a listening session, especially during the day, I usually start with the highest band I think will support communication, and gradually work down. You can soon work out from this what the MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency) is. So today, I started on the 17m band, but nothing doing So I moved down to the 19m band. There I found Oman with Pop music and English DJ, so moved on to 15580, knowing that VOA would have their Music Time in Africa program. I love this program as it show cases African music, which covers all genres. At the start, around 15:15, the signal strength was not too good. As time went on, the strength improved until 15:45 when it was very strong. Suspecting a bit of grey line influence, I checked the Grey Line map and sure enough, Botswana was still in daylight, and the UK just in darkness. This is a useful technique to discover which parts of the world you are most likely to hear stations from. The affect only lasts a short time, as by sign off at 15:59, the signal from VOA was starting to fade out again.

Another station heard today was ZBC on 11735, one which I hadn’t heard for a while, usually due to ACI (Adjacent Channel Interference) or same channel interference from CRI. Signal strength was poor though.

Just a few logs, but an enjoyable listening session nonetheless. Listening to Music Time in Africa was a perfect chill-out for me on Christmas Eve afternoon.

Have a really good day tomorrow. You never know, there maybe a new receiver in your stocking!


15140 Khz Oman Radio Sultanate of Oman 15:11 UTC English. Pop music. Some QSB SINPO: 33333 2016-12-24

15580 Khz Botswana VOA 15:15 UTC Englis. Music Time in Africa with Heather Maxwell. By 15:45 signal strength improved to 4n. SINPO: 43333 2016-12-24

13680 Khz Zambia Voice of Hope Africa 16:04 UTC English. Religious broadcast. SINPO: 32222 2016-12-24

11625 Khz Madagascar Vatican Radio 16:10 UTC Swahili. Discussion and carols. SINPO: 32233 2016-12-24

11735 Khz Tanzania ZBC 16:13 UTC Swahili. Discussion. SINPO: 22222 2016-12-24

12095 Khz South Africa BBCWS 16:20 UTC Christmas carols service. SINPO: 22222 2016-12-24

VOA Georgian Marks 65 Years on the Air

From Radioactivity:

WASHINGTON D.C., May 27, 2016 — The Georgian Service of the Voice of America celebrated its 65th anniversary on Thursday.
At a ceremony at VOA headquarters in Washington, Georgia’s ambassador to the United States, Archil Gegeshidze, said his country’s independence from the Soviet Union “was largely due to the positive influence of programs from broadcasters like the Voice of America.”
VOA Georgian first aired on May 26, 1951. “During the Cold War, you played a critical role in helping Georgians understand the world beyond the Iron Curtain,” added U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly. In a video message from the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Kelly said that “since Georgia’s independence, VOA Georgian has helped build the foundation for a strong U.S.-Georgia relationship that we continue to enjoy today.”
Other U.S. and Georgian diplomats as well as human rights experts, representatives of the Georgian-American community and past members of the Georgian Service joined VOA Director Amanda Bennett in honoring the service.
“VOA Georgian was an alternative voice speaking to and for Georgians during the Cold War, and it remains so today,” said Bennett. “VOA is needed today more than ever. VOA is one of the few media outlets in the region that provide accurate and credible news and information as well as objective, free and fresh voices and perspectives.”
VOA Georgian reaches 7.7 percent of adults in Georgia each week. In addition to radio programming distributed nationwide on FM via Georgia’s Public Broadcasting Corporation, the service produces a weekly television magazine program, Washington Today, that is carried on Georgian Public TV. The show focuses on developments in the United States, American perspectives on major developments in the region, the Georgian diaspora, social issues, medicine, science, technology and culture.
“VOA Georgian audiences can always expect us to provide exclusive, reliable news and information,” said VOA Georgian Chief Anna Kalandadze, adding that she is “honored to work with the service’s dedicated journalists who continue to positively influence Georgia’s traditional and new media environments.”
The service also maintains a dynamic website, providing video reports on its YouTube channel and engaging the audiences through Facebook and other social media.
VOA reaches a global weekly audience of more than 187 million people in over 40 languages. VOA programs are delivered on satellite, cable, shortwave, FM, medium wave, streaming audio and video and more than 2,350 media outlets worldwide. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
(VOA Press Release)

Some Sunday listening

In between gardening and a few other jobs around the house, I managed to kick back and do some listening. The bands were in great shape, with the having quietened down considerably. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but it’s nice to make the most of it whilst it lasts.

One of my favourite programs on a Sunday (it is also on throughout the week) is VOA’s ‘Music Time in Africa’. Hosted by Heather Maxwell, this features the eclectic mix of musical styles which abound on the African continent. All manner of styles are featured, from modern electronic pop, to traditional tunes using traditional instruments. This show has been running since 1965, way before the term ‘World Music’ was coined. And a lot of the musicians featured would not be heard anywhere else, even given the popularity of World Music. This is the sort of thing that Short Wave does really well, and yet another reason why none of the ‘big-gun’ broadcasters should be cutting their output. It allows those of us outside of the country to really connect with the culture, and yes, look for these musicians on CD and hopefully improve their lot by buying them.

V.O. Turkey tonight had the Ankara bombings as their headline news feature. It was also, as would be expected, in the ‘What’s in the newspapers’ section. Again, this is getting the news first-hand, without it being filtered through other news agencies before being served up to us by our media. Their was no presumption about who had carried out the atrocities, just a simple ‘no-one has yet claimed responsibility’ statement. A very measured tone to the whole bulletin.

And so to the logs from today:

6095 Khz Germany The Mighty KBC 08:27 UTC English. Country music. Part of the ‘Trucker Radio’ program SINPO: 43344 2015-10-11

21505 Khz Saudi Arabia BSKSA 14:32 UTC Arabic. Discussion program. SINPO: 54455 2015-10-11

17870 Khz Sri Lanka VOA 14:41 UTC Kurdish. Discussion program. SINPO: 43444 2015-10-11

17550 Khz Pakistan R. Pakistan 14:45 UTC Urdu. Female presenter SINPO: 43333 2015-10-11

17895 Khz Botswana VOA 16:01 UTC English. Music-time Africa. Sudden cut-off mid-song at 16:00! SINPO: 43344 2015-10-11

15275 Khz Sri Lanka DW 16:16 UTC Amharic. Female presenter with discussion program. SINPO: 43344 2015-10-11

13765 Khz Madagascar Vatican Radio 16:28 UTC Signature tune prior to next broadcast at 16:30.Amharic service started at 16:30. SINPO: 44444 2015-10-11

11750 Khz Sri Lanka SLBC 18:23 UTC Music. SINPO: 44333 2015-10-11



Some logs from 28th November 2014

I managed a small listening session last night and stuck to 49 metres. Propagation was generally good. This and the 41m band does tend to be dominated by CRI on multiple channels, but there are other interesting stations amongst them.

5865 Khz Kuwait R.Farda 21:35
UTC Farsi. Music with male voice overs. ID at 21:36. Kuwait relay SINPO: 43333 2014-11-28

5980 Khz Turkey V.O. Turkey 21:42 UTC Turkish. Middle Eastern music.  SINPO: 54444 2014-11-28

6080 Khz Botswana VOA 21:50 UTC English. ‘Music Time in Africa’. Some great music. Moepeng Hill relay. Sign-off at 22:00 SINPO: 54444 2014-11-28

6155 Khz Belarus R. Belarus 22:08 UTC Belarus. Rock music. ID at 22:13 followed by Sports news. Followed at 22:20 by Jazz music. SINPO: 54444 2014-11-28

R. Belarus was a new one for me. The music was very good so I will be tuning in to some more of their programs in the future. They do have some English language output so I will try to dig that out.

Listening next week I will have no time at all for listening as Lincoln hosts a Christmas Market, from Thursday through Sunday. My wife has a shop where the market is and I run a food stall outside it over the period of the market. So its 16-18 hour days for the 4 days. Tiring, but good fun.