A number of comments left on these posts have said the same thing-- that this series has in some way inspired them to consider twiddling the dial of a shortwave or AM radio again to seek out some distant signals. Well, it’s had the same effect on me.
And when I do get a break from everything else I pick up one of my radios to hear what’s out there. Just recently I discovered I can listen to the first hour of Lionel’s show on WCKY in Cincinnati, and I picked up Kuwait on shortwave for the first time in ages. But I haven’t had time to reserve a few hours to actively listen and record the results. And adding to my desire is the fact that I recently a replaced a radio I’d previously had a lot of fun with and I’m trying to figure out how to reserve a future evening or two just to play with the damned thing. But the truth is I haven't had enough meaningful spare playtime lately.
Meanwhile, to write this I’m listening to more of the medium wave dial scan recording from August 2001 that I’ve featured in the last two posts. Two weeks ago, the audio accompanying my post started at beginning of the AM dial, at 530 KHz or so. By this week I’m up to the middle of the band, nudging the knob from 910 KHz up to 1060.
Not having any idea I’d ever showcase this recording, I now hear instances where I wish I would have fought harder to pull in a station or other notches on the dial I seem to have passed over in haste. But that’s the thing, when you’re DXing with a decent radio it’s easy to get frustrated with the ghostly echo of an almost impossible to read signal when a broadcast less distant, but more entertaining and intelligible, is probably just a slight turn of the knob.
At this point, I’m tempted to reach for some grand metaphor comparing the DX experience to something more meaningful, but I’ll resist. In some sense, scanning the medium and shortwave bands is no more of a significant cultural act than sitting on the sofa with a remote and flipping through the cable TV channels. It’s another type of self-appointed journey through contemporary media content. However, it is more of a challenge and a far less popular form of leisure.
Unlike cable TV or the internet, a radio receives its input out of the
air. And getting a viable audio from hundreds or thousands of miles
away without going through a satellite or hard wired connection is
still a difficult miracle. I guess the magic of that is still a bit of a thrill to me. And
the things about radio itself that used to be so important– an approach
of reaching out to individual listeners, and a sense of service to
their broadcast target area, are still ingrained in much of what occurs
on AM & shortwave.
So, here’s chapter three from this AM radio listening session from August 23, 2001, recorded near the top of the lower peninsula of Michigan on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The audio from the last post left off at CHML at 900 KHz in Hamilton, Ontario. So the section of the recording featured here begins at 910 KHz.
910 - WSBA York, PA (probably)
It’s CBS News. Ohio is getting electric chair warmed up for the first time in decades.
920 - (Nothing Intelligible)
Might have been able to find something here if I would have been patient.
930 - WBEN Buffalo, NY
Ugly situation in the news. Angry suicidal vet, Samuel Bobo waged a homicidal attack on a Buffalo Veterans Hospital. Said if he was going to die, “he was going to take somebody with him.” While there were no fatal injuries, you gotta wonder why people like this guy don’t go ahead and commit suicide first and then see how they feel before causing more trouble.
If you're in the mood, pinch your nose and sing along with the lame Willie Nelson impersonator on the Isuzu SUV commercial included here.
940 - (Passed Over)
It’s simultaneous reception, with the big Detroit news station right underneath a louder Spanish language call-in show. While both broadcasts are directional at night, WWJ is broadcasting at ten times the power of WNTD. The expected coverage map of WNTD favors my location, and the monstrous inland body of water offers an ideal reception path.
960 WSBT South Bend, IN
As I said before, I don’t really keep logs, so it can take a bit of detective work to figure out some of the stations received in these old listening sessions. Even more frustrating here is that the call letters are there, but almost unintelligible. After repeated listening I heard mention of meteorologist "Rick Mecklenberg" who I discovered via Google that he predicts the rain down in South Bend. Then when I heard a mention of South Bend buried in the radio noise and I knew I'd figured it out. This station is also not far from the southern lobe of Lake Michigan.
970 (Several Stations At Once)
980 WCUB Two Rivers, WI (probably)
Just across the big lake. A souped up version of “Brown Eyed Handsome Man.”
Two women talking, one on the phone. A hard-core DXer would have stuck around to figure this one out. I didn’t. I guess I was weak.
1000 - WMVP Chicago, IL (probably)
It’s sports again. Can’t get away from sports. The topic for an upcoming
call-in segment? What now-famous person did you play against in little
league? That's a TOPIC? Maybe I didn’t spend enough time in little
league, but I don’t remember name of any of those kids, let alone
whether any became celebrities.
1010 - (Nothing Intelligible)
1020 KDKA Pittsburgh, PA
Call in show, didn't stick around long. I believe the hamster dance is played in some way. Not coming in as well as usual. This station claims to be the world's first radio station, and it just might be true. Either way, they've been broadcasting since 1920.
1030 WBZ Boston, MA
I really like WBZ, at least what I know of it from overnight listening. It’s a conversational talk station with a local and eclectic focus. I wish more clear channel AM stations put out programing as unique and professional as WBZ overnight.
That said, this isn’t an amazing clip, just what I happened across that evening. It’s the Steve Leveille Show. Apparently his show has united listeners Ellen and Rosie. Nice. And there’s some more legal guesswork on the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy situation from listener Floyd.
1040 - WHO Des Moines, IA
It’s a Trucker show. Although WHO plays “Coast To Coast” overnight these days, I seem to remember that they ran a trucker show in that slot not that long ago. And in my experience, WHO has been the westernmost reliable AM clear channel catch from Michigan.
From the sound of it, some guy named Keith Bissell caused a lot of grief for truckers passing through Tennessee. And the host here also bemoans a plan to save some Salmon in Washington state. It's typical righteous talk radio fare, along with a low-grade piercing whine for your enjoyment.
1050 - (Nothing Intelligible)
1060 - KYW Philadelphia, PA
KYW was one of the first all-news radio stations. The tradition continues here, with a another flavorful slice from Chung's TV news spectacular featuring Gary Condit under fire.
Thanks For Listening