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Barnac1e
31-08-08, 13:30
Below is an extract from mail sent in reference to the cessation of BBC World Service transmissions on short wave to Europe.

Does the team think that the World Service fulfils a role in the modern world and was this action by the BBC justified?

Dear BBC World Service,

I am aware of the change of BBC World Service policy for European coverage - that all short wave transmissions beamed to Europe ceased early this year on the grounds that alternative reception possibilities make short wave transmission unnecessary. I wonder how much research was made on this subject and if the backroom beancounters had more to do with this decision than your audience research staff.

I spend my summers cruising the Mediterranean in my sailing yacht and this was the first year without the World Service to listen to in my varied anchorages. In my travels I also found remote places that no longer can receive your excellent programme material - believe it or not, some people manage to survive without any affordable Internet connection and certainly do not have alternative World Service reception possibilities.

For myself, I now resort to the equally excellent Deutsche Welle for my news - not only excellent in content but also in number of frequencies and signal strength, which the BBC never was.

Not everyone has the fortune to have German to emulate my example, but there are other good alternatives in French and Spanish for those who may have those languages. However, for the many other nationalities whose only second language is English, there are always other countries that believe that English language programming on short wave radio can project not only their county's culture but also their government's policies and points of view. The USA, with VOA, is a major player and that emerging super power, China, is starting to fill the breech that the BBC has vacated. Clearly an indicator of the shifting nuances of global power and influence.

Yours in sadness of an old friend lost,

KellysEye
31-08-08, 16:27
Well they axed the Caribbean in March this year - we complained to them. Their view is that they have signed up many local stations who take some or all of their output. Which rather misses the point.

Do you know if they have they signed up European stations?

LadyJessie
31-08-08, 17:30
It really is a shame that this service has ended. The BBC World Service has been an important companion throughout my cruising life. I miss it. To my knowledge, only one local radio station in the Med has picked up the World Service News; Riviera Radio that covers the French Riviera on FM 106.5.

Having said this; I must admit that I have found the World Service podcasts to be excellent. Get iTunes (free on www.apple.com (http://www.apple.com)) and you will have access to many of the World Service programmes. The benefit of this is that you can listen to it when you want, the reception is digital clear (no more 'this is grmmmufff....don with hrmsssspfff.... 'odays news). I usually download the 'World News' every day, even when I am at sea. It is pretty quick download so not too expensive. Then I stock up on all other programs when I reach a wifi spot. They even have 'the best of Wogan' every week. Say no more!!

Barnac1e
31-08-08, 17:31
[ QUOTE ]
Do you know if they have they signed up European stations?

[/ QUOTE ]
Not local stations that I know of but yes, most central European cable companies take a BBC World Service feed 24/7, but, as you point out, that misses the point.

Or perhaps it doesn't for their marketing gurus. Perhaps they figured that free short wave transmissions were inhibiting cable companies signing up for the feed. Perhaps the cable operators themselves were applying pressure after they had subscribed and were supplying the channel.

There is a big world out there, even in Europe, that cannot access, or afford to access, cable outlets.

Barnac1e
31-08-08, 18:23
[ QUOTE ]
It really is a shame that this service has ended. The BBC World Service has been an important companion throughout my cruising life. I miss it.

[/ QUOTE ]
Absolutely, me too. This year I could catch the early news on the African service on a few different frequencies but by 08:00 CET nothing more.

[ QUOTE ]
Having said this; I must admit that I have found the World Service podcasts to be excellent.

[/ QUOTE ]

This is indeed a boon, but as I don't seem to find myself in range of any wifi lately in the Adriatic, have to stock up while at home (like now).

If not already done so you may care to partake of the regular Stephen Fry podcasts, free for the downloading here (http://www.stephenfry.com/podcasts/).

LadyJessie
31-08-08, 19:52
Thanks for the Stephen Fry podcast link. It is brilliant! I have now added it to the 'always download new' in my iTunes podcast service. Life just gets better.....

Ken_Irby
31-08-08, 22:21
I think that this happened in february. my old boss who was english was very angry about it when he heard that it was coming long time ago and he sent messages to an english lord who has a yacht in the med about it. the lord could do nothing about it. world service had some very boring shows. one was called west way which was not like life in london as i remember it. maybe it was not such a loss. with a sat tv set you can still get it if you want. i think that they still send football on saturday pm but morning news and late night news and shows from their african stations is acceptable quality in aegean and s ionio. i hope that the lady who writes about my spelling of english believes that this is here ok.
Kentrina

LadyJessie
31-08-08, 23:44
If there ever was a good clear 'troll' warning, I could not think of any that was more obvious than this one. Just ignore this nonsense.

whipper_snapper
01-09-08, 05:15
While I completely agree with you, the BBC world service has been an important part of my life for decades, I doubt your letter will cut any ice at the BBC. They have no interest at all in reaching a few wealthy yotties. In fact they have very little interest in reaching the expat community as a whole. That is simply not their remit. If they can reach more overseas listeners per pound spent by using local FM stations then they have little choice but to take that approach.

Given that, I often wondered what the world thought of the UK when the world service went from a serious news programme to just a minute!

Thanks for the Stephen Fry link, I have subscribed! One word of caution, one of the most infuriating things about itunes is that if you don't listen to an episode for a period of time then it stops downloading. I like to accumulate a lot of stuff which I only listen to on my ipod when traveling. I don't know an easy fix for this, except to remember to listen to a few seconds of each podcast every now and then.

Barnac1e
01-09-08, 07:28
[ QUOTE ]
"I doubt your letter will cut any ice at the BBC."

[/ QUOTE ]

Of course it won't - not a jot. But I do not accept things without a fight, even lost causes. Dylan Thomas comes to mind:
"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."


[ QUOTE ]
they have very little interest in reaching the expat community as a whole. That is simply not their remit.

[/ QUOTE ]
Of course, I knew that, which is why mentioned that I cruised areas where the local inhabitants had no recourse to their service other than short wave. Also, they had no reason to assume that I was an expatriate, resident in Switzerland, cruising the Med.

[ QUOTE ]
I often wondered what the world thought of the UK when the world service went from a serious news programme to just a minute!

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually, I enjoyed more the news magazines and such as "From our own Correspondent" than the news sections themselves. In fact, I became disillusioned with the quality, quantity and veracity of the news as presented by the official BBC presentation.

No doubt that raised your eyebrows. Surely the BBC news is known the world over for honesty of reporting; the one true information source to be listened to in every dictator-ridden republic or oppressive regime, in order to know just what was really happening. I thought so too but became more and more of the realisation just how slanted and manipulated the service had become; how focused on a limited set of themes to report on.

It came to a head a few years ago as the story of an "incident" in Basra, when a mob attacked a British contingent and locked up some soldiers in civvies in the jail there. The army had to storm the jail to recover the soldiers.

The story raised more questions than it answered. Why had that happened? What had the soldiers done to provoke this? Was it just the current mindless violence of Iraq or was there a more tangible explanation? For the next days I made sure I was in a position to listen to every BBC news broadcast intently for a sequel - there was none; I was left hanging with suspense.

Then late one night, lying in my bunk and idly sweeping the SW band for any interesting snippets of news, I came upon an English commentary concerning the very incident that had raised my curiosity. I couldn't identify the station, it wasn't any of the usual sources I listened to; the news reader was perfectly enunciating the words - no foreign accent here, only the hint of a non-native speaker - the signal was loud and clear and the report was well-written and appeared impartial, but the story-line was very different to the BBC one.

A story unfolded of armed soldiers dressed in Arab clothes that had acted as agent provocateurs in order to incite violence in the local populace for some end or other; they had been detected for what they were and imprisoned in the local jail. The British army had to storm the jail and release them by force. The news item ended and the station announced itself - Radio Tehran.

The report left me mentally reeling - was it just anti-British propaganda? But all the pieces fell into place, it was all so plausible, all so factual and logical, so well crafted as a news report. In fact it was the sort of report I would have expected as a sequel from the BBC, whose entire reporting of the incident had been left in the air and not continued.

I later came to the conclusion that the Tehran report was correct and that the BBC had been muzzled by some form of injunction by the British government. It was then that I lost my faith.

whipper_snapper
01-09-08, 08:44
I spent the last 3 days on board listening to BBC on HF while working on the boat. I got very irritated by the constant diet of sports, sports news and sports discussion interspersed with more sports and repeated news. They still have some outstanding programmes still but they are fewer and further between.

As to their vaunted 'unbiased reporting'. I too am more and more cynical every day. I think individually they genuinely try, but are limited by their inherently biased sources of information. I use Al Jazeera a lot as a counter-balance; and it has to be said that there is usually very good agreement between them. On a story such as the one you mention, I think there is genuinely no way to know the truth but broadly I would trust the BBC not to explicitly and knowingly lie. But of course that is not quite the same thing as saying that everything they report is true or complete.

Barnac1e
01-09-08, 09:10
[ QUOTE ]
On a story such as the one you mention, I think there is genuinely no way to know the truth but broadly I would trust the BBC not to explicitly and knowingly lie.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not saying they lied, but were "economical with the truth". The story begged to be told in its entirety, but was truncated; not continued as and when it unfolded. I was left to hearing the full story from other sources, a story, incidentally, that was not complimentary to the British forces but that was not crudely highlighted by the Iranian news media but reported with seeming impartiality.

david_brighton
01-09-08, 10:13
I have managed to receive the BBC World service in the Adriatic for the last two months.
Only from 7 to 9 CET and again from 17 to 19 CET but that's enough.
In fact I find it "too" impartial !!
Has been described as the Guardian on air.
But it's pleasant to hear an English voice twice a day.

Barnac1e
01-09-08, 14:07
I too received those transmissions, which are beamed to Africa. What I think we experienced was serendipitous reception not intended for European coverage and due to fortuitous propagation conditions that we cannot rely on.

Whatever your tastes in impartiality I cannot believe you prefer the local Italian radio (or worse, TV) for your news.

Ken_Irby
01-09-08, 15:31
Excuse me please but are you saying that what i say is not the truth. my posts i think have not ofended anyone. i am sorry that i thought you were a lady. i see now that it is your boat which is a lady but you are not. i apologise for this. what is a troll. i had a toy as a child which was a troll but i thing maybe this is not what you mean. i think that maybe not everyone who writes here wants to be helpful. we are going to corinthiakos next week where there are no hot spots or 3g so you will have a break from my not too good english.
Kentrina

lenseman
02-09-08, 01:44
Have you thought about purchasing a WorldSpace radio which uses C-Band transmissions from a geo-sync satellite. I have one and it works very well indeed. The BBC World Service broadcasts via this service:

http://www.1worldspace.com/

http://www.worldspace.in/worldspace/channel.php?channelid=31

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/worldservic...d45&Tz=ES01 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/worldservice/psims/ScheduleSDT.cgi?Pg=Ce&Ce=226755%3a37NW%3aM%e1laga& Co=ES%3aSpain%3a0%2d45&Tz=ES01)

http://www.worldspaceradios.co.uk/reception.html

Suppliers here:

http://www.worldspaceradios.co.uk/

Barnac1e
02-09-08, 05:15
Thanks for this David, I was unaware of this possibility, but I suspect it won't come cheaply, and I am a cheap sort of guy.

The technical data implies that shipborne installations need some sort of gyro-driven orientation - as with other satellite receivers, not normally practical for small sailing boats.
FAQ:
"Can I listen to WorldSpace on ships/boats at sea?
Yes, you can listen to WorldSpace on ships/boats at sea. However, depending upon where you are located and the degree to which your ship/boat shifts direction, you may need to reorient the receiver’s antenna periodically to insure that you maintain a line-of- sight to the satellite."

Probably quite feasible in a marina but what about on an anchorage or underway? What do you have for your installation?

When they perfect in-car systems, presently being developed, it may become more attractive.

lenseman
02-09-08, 05:27
I was lucky and got mine off eBay for about £35 last year!

I don't suspect it would be very good whilst on passage. I did take mine with me when I left UK for the Med earlier this year but did not try it out whilst sailing.

The satellite pointing is no where near as bad as the 12GHz signal coming down from the geo-sync birds for TV and I know that whilst riding at anchor you would have no problems finding a signal. It seems to have about a 15º beam-width on the antenna and sort of slightly left of south and about 40º elevation. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I use Africa Star for my signal.

Barnac1e
02-09-08, 05:33
Kentrina, your post did not offend me and I found your information, that others that you know were upset by the BBC closures on short wave, interesting, thank you for that.

Don't worry about your English, it is fine, infinitely better than my (or most others here) Greek, or whatever is your language.

lenseman
02-09-08, 07:43
This forum does not allow me to write in Greek. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

At least you can write good English and there is nothing wrong with what you have written, Kentrina. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

david_brighton
02-09-08, 09:10
I've noticed that when the BBC does the African news at 19.00 the reception is then much worse on the same frequency and I invariably switch off. But before then propagation/reception is usually good enough for the Adriatic. At the weekends transmissions arrive earlier in the afternoon but then it's "only" football!!
Propagation is particularly poor this year with no rise from the bottom of the solar cycle yet.
I have seen a World Space radio in use on a friend's balcony, but I heard that operation had changed hands recently and would be more expensive?

whipper_snapper
02-09-08, 10:03
I looked at worldspace, but it seems a lot of money and hassle just to get the world service. There is absolutely nothing else of any interest to me - just the usual dozens of channels of garbage. If they broadcast radio 4 that would be a different matter!

LadyJessie
02-09-08, 18:51
Agree. I did the same review and found that worldspace is just too expensive and too much hassle for what it offers. I think that podcasts from itunes via your normal mobile phone gives you a much better selection of programs (lots of R4 there... not to mention radio from all over the world) and it is much easier and cheaper (with some planning) to download. The main benefit for us is that we can listen when we want and the reception is perfect. Bliss for cruisers in secluded anchorage!

Jock89
02-09-08, 19:36
Surely the BBC news is known the world over for honesty of reporting; the one true information source to be listened to in every dictator-ridden republic or oppressive regime, in order to know just what was really happening. I thought so too but became more and more of the realisation just how slanted and manipulated the service had become;

You're not wrong there.
I discovered this over 25 years ago while living in RSA, & listening to BBC regularly.
Unless you were actually living in the country they were talking about, you'd have no option but to take what they said as 'gospel', which of course is what most of the British public did.
What was said about South Africa back then was absolutely criminal, & I never heard 1 good word said about the country.
Meantime, the South African economy supported the entire sub-Saharan continent, which, of course, was never mentioned. Very few Whites were ever interviewed in documentaries, but plenty of Blacks got to put their point of view over to the interviewer.
Impartial my ar.e!
Jock

LadyJessie
02-09-08, 19:58
[ QUOTE ]
What was said about South Africa back then was absolutely criminal, & I never heard 1 good word said about the country.

[/ QUOTE ]This is sooo very much off subject, but that comment can not be let standing.

I was also living in SA 25 years ago and I know it as one of the most repressive dictatorship in the world at that time, well up there with the likes of the Soviet Union and those likes.

I find your implied defence of this apartheid regime repulsive and unworthy of this blog.

Barnac1e
03-09-08, 05:51
By "slanted and manipulated" I did not mean, as you seem to have interpreted, some sort of 'left-wing loony' type of news dissemination - one which another referred to as "the Guardian on air". Instead, I meant a middle-class, UK-centric and parochial service that reflects too much the establishment view that even allows itself to be gagged by the MoD (the Basra incident).

In no way would I wish my words to be thought to have any association with, or support of, apartheid, which I believe to have been a truly evil regime.

Relax
03-09-08, 08:15
Possibly, but as always (and has been said above) there is another side to every story.

Just short of twenty years ago I was living in the 'left wing loony' - and front line state - United Republic of Tanzania. At more or less the same time as RSA was getting rid of aparteid Tanzania was supposedly becoming democratic. The BBC knew and chose not to report on the 70 unarmed people shot dead by the Tanzania police on the island of Pemba at an opposition rally. As I think the OP said when you live there you get a different slant on the news.

(Strangely the first job I did in Tanzania was for the ANC)

Jock89
03-09-08, 08:15
Apologies offered for the drift, & of course LJ your absolutely right. An impulsive post I confess, but I do tend to get defensive about RSA as I had the best years of my life there, & did in fact get on well with all race groups.
Obviously things had to change, methinks not for the better though.
Jock

whipper_snapper
03-09-08, 09:20
The thing is, they reported not about SA but about apartheid in SA because that was the newsworthy story. I don't think they can be blamed for that.