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Re: BBC WS stops shortwave broadcasts to US

Now just a cotton-pickin' minute.  Some folks here are talking about the
BBC World Service programming offered on public radio stations and
WGBH-TV's SAP as if it were the same thing we're getting on shortwave
only in higher fidelity and at different hours.  T'ain't so, my
friends.  True, the WBUR Website says their overnight programming "may
include talk and quiz shows, news, drama, and other programming" but
that's a bunch of horsefeathers!  Balderdash and poppycock!  The BBC WS
they're giving us actually includes news and news shows, news, news, and
other news programming.  That's because what PRI is distributing to U.S.
public stations is its version of the BBC WS 24-Hour News Channel.  This
allows you to enjoy The World Today followed by another edition of The
World Today followed by World Briefing followed by World Update followed
by Newshour and so forth.  All right, I'm slightly exaggerating, but
only slightly--you can see the schedule at
<http://www.pri.org/PublicSite/listeners/index.html>--click on BBC World
Service, then BBC summer schedule.  For comparison, the shortwave
schedule is at
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/worldservice/psims/ScheduleSDT.cgi>, where
you'll have to enter some time zone information and then choose the
daily or weekly sked, er, shedule.

Some of my favorites like Letter from America, Science in Action, and
Outlook manage to make it onto the PRI schedule, although I find their
shortwave airings more convenient than WBUR-FM's early morning listening
opportunities, but where are the quiz shows and dramas?  You won't hear
Play of the Week or Brain of Britain through your local public

For a long time BBC WS was a wonderful throwback to radio's golden age,
with any given hour likely to bring you some news, a little music, a
talk, and a quiz show or drama or comedy.  In recent years BBC WS has
squeezed out a lot of the variety to accommodate more and longer
newscasts (recognize this trend, public radio listeners???) and
consequently I don't tune in as often but there's still a bit of
interesting programming there, particularly on weekends (hey, just like
on my local public radio station!).

Unlike public radio and TV listeners, online listeners can choose to
hear the "classic" WS but I've tried this and I have to ask: this is
progress?  Whether you're talking about the shortwave technology of
today or of, say, 50 years ago, it's light-years ahead of the Web
streaming offered by the Beeb in terms of intelligibility and euphony,
two factors that should be important to any broadcaster.  Today's
shortwave receivers also beat computers for portability, cost of
purchase, cost of
operation, and overall convenience.  In fact, I have a little
solar-powered radio that pulls in the BBC North American frequencies
fine and dandy--I can take it anywhere, it costs nothing to operate, it
doesn't require a little fan to be whirring away all the time, it
doesn't require an extended boot-up time or log-in procedure, it doesn't
tie up my telephone line, and I suspect it'll be a loooong time before
computers come down to the 25 bucks it cost me to buy that radio.

Now some good news.  When the Beeb says it's cutting shortwave
broadcasts to North America, it really means Canada and the U.S.A.
Other parts of North America--Central America and the West Indies*--will
continue to have BBC WS beamed at them and a number of those frequencies
come in reasonably well here, although not always as solidly as the
soon-to-be-a-memory 5965 in the morning and 6175 at night.  Try 15220
for morning drive, then 17840 for midday.  5975 should take care of
evenings, and you can try 12095 or 15070 for those in-between times.

*Those who object to the inclusion of the islands of the Caribbean as
part of North America will kindly direct their thoughts to the editors
of numerous textbooks and reference materials which hold this to be so,
not to me or this list.