There Is No Cat

Hollering into the void since 2002

Monday, November 24, 2003

Broadcasting to Zimbabwe

It's not often you see mention of a shortwave radio station in the mass press, and even less often when the station is a half-dozen or so exiles supposedly working on a shoestring, rather than the behemoths of the medium like the BBC World Service or the Voice of America. But The Guardian has a nice puff piece on SW Radio Africa, which broadcasts three hours a day to Zimbabwe from studios in London. I've long had an interest in Zimbabwe, particularly their wonderful music. I've even managed to hear the government-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on a few occasions on my shortwave radio. But I've never been able to hear SW Radio Africa on the radio, since their broadcast hours and frequency happen at a time when propagation from their transmitters in South Africa to my location in New Jersey just isn't going to happen.

My friends at Radio Netherlands, keen watchers of international broadcasting themselves, have a dossier on Zimbabwean media, with an article about SW Radio Africa that includes some interesting information not mentioned in the article in The Guardian. For example, there are rumors that much of the budget for the station comes from a U.S. government agency. I guess that buys a lot of shoestrings (that transmitter time in South Africa doesn't come cheap). Then there's evidence of links with the BBC, as well. Interesting stuff.

Posted at 9:37 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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