måndag 30 mars 2009

Recommended reading: And the world listened - the biography of Captain Leonard F. Plugge

Author: Keith Wallis
ISBN 978-1-903053-23-2
220 pages, hardbound/pocket
Publisher: Kelly Publicatins
The name of Leonard F. Plugge may not be very well known amongst radio enthusiasts today. Yet he was a pioneer in the early days of European broadcasting, especially in the commercial use of this new medium. He effectively started as a DX-er (although this term was not yet invented in the 1920s). By using a simple crystal receiver he tuned in to several European stations and started publishing their schedules and details of their transmissions. What started off as a hobby evolved into a full time occupation and thus the IBC (the International Broadcasting Company) saw the light of day.

Plugge initiated the first commercial broadcast ever directed at a British audience from another country and this programme was a fashion show, transmitted by the station in the Eiffel Tower of Paris. This programme was sponsored by Selfridges in London. Later Plugge would travel around Europe in his car, equipped with state of the art receiving equipment which was most unusual in the 1920s and 30s. During one of these travels he met another radio enthusiast in the French village of Fécamp, Fernand Le Grand, who had established a local medium wave station for the area. The gentlemen connected instantly and from this a new station was born, Radio Normandie. A station which in the 1930s would become extremely popular with the British radio listening audience as the light programmes were seen as a very popular alternative to the output of the BBC. IBC also contracted a large number of European broadcasting stations for carrying their commercial programmes. Captain Plugge made several travels across Europe in order to check reception of the stations and he often broadcast directly from stations which he visited during his trips.

The book contains much of interest for others than radio buffs. The detailed reports about his travels across Europe give a very good picture of the meeting between different cultures in those early days. Plugge also visited Sweden during his travels and was then shown the radio stations in Stockholm and Malmö. He was a central figure of the jet set of the day and the book tells about many interesting anecdotes. Not to mention that those interested in vintage cars should find much of interest in this biography.
The book includes 165 illustrations and also contains detailed schedules of the IBC broadcasts over various European stations. It is a most interesting piece of work which tells of a hitherto little documented period in the history of European broadcasting. In addition, it is written in a very entertaining and inspiring way. The story of L F Plugge gives a fascinating insight into the life of a man who was active in many areas but who had a profound passion for radio. Eventually the IBC would concentrate on other things and at the last years of his life, Plugge lived under very limited economical circumstances as a contrast to all the lavish parties of bygone years. But he was indeed one of the true pioneers in broadcasting and this book is a welcome piece of radio history. Highly recommended.

About the author
Similar to L F Plugge, Keith Wallis is a man of many interests and talents. Soon in his 80s, he is after his retirement very busy writing books. One of his many interests is gemstones and he is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. He has also written a book on the subject: Gemstones : understanding, identifying, buying. His interest of radio and Captain Plugge started by a very unexpected find.In the early 1950s Keith Wallis was working as a consulting engineer in a building behind the IBC at Portland Place in London. During this work he found a lot of lanternslides plus a manuscript of a journey by a car equipped with radio through Europe. He took the material home and for many years it was gathering dust in the attic. When many years later he heard a feature on Radio Normandy by the BBC, he got in touch with the programme producer to tell him of his material. This led to contacts with people who had been involved in the IBC and Radio Normandy and during one interview somebody asked him if he were writing a book. “Yes, why not” he thought – and the rest, as they say, is history. Several years of research lies behind this book and one of the big obstacles was finding a publisher willing to publish the book. Eventually, the small company Kelly Publications, which is focused on radio related material, dediced to release the book.

Keith Wallis isn’t really a radio aficionado as such although he has always been very interested in the history of musical theathre. He tells over the phone that he generally listen very little to radio, mainly because the output for a mature audience is very limited. Yes, nothing special for Great Britain, as we all know….

fredag 20 mars 2009

Broadcast band loggings by Jan Edh from March 17-18

Log 17-18/3 2009 from our Fredriksfors shack by Jan Edh:
1530 17.3 2148 Celtic Music Radio, Glasgow med skotsk folkmusik och
bröt av mot oldies/fotboll som övriga tre britter på kanelen körde. JE
1314 17.3 2100 DWXI Delta BS, Paranaque annonserade. Religiöst. Fadade
upp med hygglig styrka korta stunder. JE
1413 17.3 2100 JOIF Fukuoka ganska stadig och stark. Svaga japaner
också på 1287 och 1242. JE
1190 17.3 2225 WLIB New York, NY med predikan. JE
1200 18.3 0424 WKOX Newton, MA med slogan och rumbor. Tack för tipset
HM! Ny effekt? JE
1240 17.3 2230 CKIM Baie Vert, NL med VOCM-annonsering. JE
1250 18.3 0440 WEAE Pittsburgh, PA med ”The Sports station”. JE
1250 18.3 0428 CJYE, Oakville, ON. Overnight (jfr 1320 som gick
bättre). JE
1270 18.3 0432 WXYT Detroit, MI annonserade som vanligt 97,1. JE
1320 18.3 0428 CJMR Missisuaga, ON ”You are listening to overnight, a
Christian family.... on CJYE 1250 and CJMR 1350”. JE
1330 18.3 0500 WRCA Watertown, MA ”A member of Beasley Broadcasting
Group, this is 13-30 WRCA Watertown, Boston”. JE
1440 18.3 0330 WHKZ Warren, OH med religiöst från WHKW. Spansktalande
störde. JE
1450 17.3 2220 AM Gold Bermuda ovanligt rent och fint. JE
1530 18.3 0500 WCKY Cicinnati, OH med religiöst // 1510 WWZN. JE
1550 18.3 0530 CBE Windsor, OH med CBC-program lade effektivt locket
på kanalen tillsammans med Rebelde. JE
1570 18.3 0515 CFAV Laval, QC med ”Boomer” och ”kanadensiskfranska”. JE
1190 18.3 0421 HJCV R Cordillera, Bogota kämpade med WLIB om platsen. JE
1250 18.3 0415 HJCA Radio Capital, Bogota hade en hel del prat också i
programmet. JE
1350 18.3 0320 HCYP2 Teleradio Guayaqil ”en AM y Digital” dominerar nu.
En religiös spansktalande med predikan kom upp stundtals. JE
1360 18.3 0500 HJTL Oxigeno 1360 Cartagena lika snett som vanligt.
Störd av WDRC. JE
1400 18.3 0330 HJKM Em Mariana, Bogota spelade Boggie Woggie i
programmet Manana. JE
1430 18.3 0331 HJKU AM 14-30 Radio, Bogota (ex Em Kennedy) ligger
fortfarande snett (1430,061). JE
1460 18.3 0530 HJMW Nuevo Continente, Bogota med en smäktande jingle. JE

onsdag 18 mars 2009

Spring is almost here - and the conditions are deteriorating....

I´ve just returned from Fredriksfors.It´s spring! A beautiful day. The sky is all blue, almost no wind and several degrees abouve zero. The night in Fredriksfors was also just great with all the stars.We really need this.As a radio enthusiast it´s not that great.I just got the information that one of the last foreign broadcasters with programs in Swedish will stop that service March 27th: Radio Moskva. It´s a pity.And the weather is far more fantastic than how the radio signals propagated this night.In the evening the philippino on 1314 DWXI and Japanese JOIF 1413 came through. Later some of the most common NA-stations from the east coast and some Puerto Ricans.In the morning there were far more stations and also much stronger signals. But still, I felt as it was the usual and wellknown stations with very few surprises.In the lower part of the band there were lots of Cuban stations and some of the stronger ones from Venezuela and Colombia. In the upper part of the band also some North American stations from the east coast came through.I spent much time on 1200 kHz and have some time recordet there for further checking, but I´m afraid that it is only CFGO and Radio Tiempo there. But a slight hope of something more...However, signals were still propgating, many at quite decent strength, a good time after 07 UTC, more than two hours after sunrise.

WCRA 1330 seems to be having a great period at the moment. New transmitter or aerial? I suppose it should be counted as a new station by now??? On 1490 there was a short spell of gospel, otherwise probably just Punto Cinco when anything at all was heard.
/Jan Edh - JE

söndag 8 mars 2009

Update: latest loggings from the Fredriksfors shack

Despite the previous somewhat pessimistic posting some stations were heard. Back to JE:
1460 7.3 659 CJOY Guelph, ON bokstavsanrop och ”klassisk” pop. JE
1460 7.3 0649 WHIC Rochester, NY. Tidigare EWTN-reklamer. JE
1470 6.3 2330 WWNN Pompano Beach, FL med sin ”hälsoradio”. Gick bra: JE
1480 7.3 0645 WHCT Canton, OH med ”Fox Sports Radio”. JE
1280 7.3 0602 WCMN Radio Noti Uno, Arecibo. ”Contacto Noti Uno”, men det blir allt vanligare med intressant musik mellan telefonsamtalen som gör att hajar till och hoppas på något annat. JE
1350 7.3 0420 CMFL Ciudad del Mar. Programmet verkade heta ”Ciudad del Mar de Radio”. JE
1540 7.3 0700 ZNB Nassau med härlig musik och den västindiska dialekten. En av de sista stationerna som gick fullt läsbart. JE
1560 7.3 0532 Radio Adventista del Panama med ”La Voz de Esperanza”-annonsering och sedan kristen sång. JE
1580 7.3 0500 HIAJ Radio Amanecer, Santo Domingo. Annonserar fortfarande 6025. Är den verkligen igång?. JE
1250 7.3 0606 HJCA Capital Radio, Bogota ”Clube de la sintadoras”. JE
1320 7.3 0555 YVWP Radio Apolo, Turmero ”La hora y 25”. Otroligt bra stundtals men Isla upp och störde. JE
1350 7.3 0615 HCYP2 Teleradio, Guayaquil. Annonserade sig som ”digital”. Mycket musik ovanligt nog. JE
1370 7.3 0558 HJBO Radio Minuto de Dios, Barranquilla med riktigt fartig gudstjänst. jE
1420 7.3 0532 YVNZ Radio Marabina, Maracaibo med dragningen i ”Loeria del Zulia”. JE
1490 7.3 0501 HJBS Emisora Punto Cinco, Bogota ”Punto Cinco 14-90 AM). JE
1240 18.1 0715 WOON Woonsocket, RI med telegrafi i testsändningen. Hittades tack vare tips från GN hur jag skulle ställa in inspelningen. JE

lördag 7 mars 2009

A nice evening in the shack without DX...

A brief report from Jan Edh tells us the following:
Fredriksfors 7.3 - almost nothing
A "bad night" in Fredriksfors, besides of nice weather (about 0 C.) and the already warm building, as Dan and Rolf were "on duty".
That´s the nice part of it.
The radio didn´t give much plesant to record and remember.
WWNN 1470, Pompano Beach was a little surprising at about 23.30 (UTC) - the best signal from the continent!
In the morning I listened from 03 UTC. Almost "only" Spanish speaking stations, and as far as I recognised only those you always expect to hear.
1350 could be the exception, but probably it was WEGA, PR that took over from earlier dominant Ciudad del Mar, Cuba. Something to check anyhow. Rebelde on 1550.
After sunrise the stations started to fade out rapidly. At the same
time (short before 07) some NA-stations came through, but then with a low signal and for quite a short time. Short after 07 most of the signals were gone.