To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Middleburgh Radio

Last week (and a bit) a HKU student doing a survey on radio listening habits cold called. I usually insist on speaking English to Cantonese speaking telemarketers who mostly ring off because they can't manage in English. On this occasion, the caller stepped up to the mark - and even rang back seeking clarity on answers. Perhaps she couldn't believe my stock response of "BBC World Service" to virtually all her qestions, which essentially were variations on "what did I listen to, how often and where", as opposed to why or how?.

When I was knee high to a grasshopper in the UK, I could listen on the "trannie" to either the BBC Home service (now R4) or the BBC Light Service (now R3). This was when "trannies" were radios and not gender benders and predates FM broadcasts, Sony Walkmans and the internet. In those early years it was the radio which fed my imagination.

I listened to comedy shows like "Round The Horne", and The Goon Show etc now available on BBC Radio 7 and also to plays and audio theatre rather than the the banal music then available on the "Light" Service. At some point I even built/acquired a crystal radio set of which I was quite proud, to secretly listen late at night, in bed.

The BBC's monopoly of the airways was challenged in the swinging sixties (I wasn't quite old enough!!) by "pirates" such as radios Caroline, London and Luxembourg.Although the latter was an established and licensed broadcaster in Luxembourg, it targeted UK audiences and under the UK Wireless Telegraphy Act it was illegal to listen to it's "unauthorized broadcasts". Radio Caroline came on line in Easter 1964 and was followed by Radio London in December 1964. These brought us John Peel and Tony Blackburn.... need I say more.

Apart from the fact that these stations exposed my friends and I to a far wider range of music than was available on the "Beeb" it introduced us to the concept of listening to "other" radio stations. Ray Robinson (who I believe now lives in California) got me into Short Wave Radio. Although aware of European Stations broadcasting on SW,I had never made a conscious effort to 'listen' to them. I wasn't particularly into the pop music then - at the time I was getting a weekly fix of live folk music above a pub deep in Essex whilst discovering the delights of under aged drinking) so when I did start scanning the airwaves I hunted out stations broadcasting news in English. The one exception however was the French language station which I found, broadcasting, from the Isle de France (??) really cool jazz music from (former) French African colonies . It was magical and in this I think I was years ahead of my time and I have to say, Andy Kershaw still has a way to go....

The Vietnam war was in full swing so listening to foreign news broadcasts gave some interesting and contrasting perspectives. Radio Moscow could be recieved clearly as could the vatican Radio, Voice of America, Radio's Suisse, France and Nederlands( Hilversum) and Very occasionally I could also get Beijing, Australia and Albania but the reception was appalling. It became very clear by comparing the way stories were presented by the different services how the news was 'slanted' depending on the broadcaster's agenda. VOA was as crude a propaganda tool as Radio Moscow and I discovered that the BBC had some very interesting "ommissions" when compared with the Vatican, Swiss and Dutch broadcasts. (alas Radio Suisse no longer broadcasts in English so the mantle of "other" independent European broadcaster now falls to Deutsche Welle)

My interest in radio fell away as girls, university and work took priority. Having said that, I listened to contemporary Welsh pop music on the radio on whilst at university (in Wales) and whilst living in Ireland to the local stations for the music and updates on the latest political shennanigans. These make current Taiwanese politics look positively trivial.

When I returned to the UK,I used to listen to the sports on Radio 5 whilst driving, and when travelling overseas, to the BBC World Service, particularly after my father died. I think his death depressed me and I bought a Philips SW radio "to keep in touch" with home,

When I moved to Australia I was pleasantly suprised to discover that the BBC World Service amongst other European stations were relayed by the Australian Broadcasting Service. I got a particular buzz listening to the soccer commentaries from Highbury.In Hong Kong the BBC World Service is also rebroadcast locally,albeit on 675M AM and and there are 2 local channels with some english programming neither of which do I listen to. Hence my reponse to nearly every question in the survey was "BBC World Service".

These days, things have come full circle and once again I mostly listen to the radio late at night in bed (with earphones) although I have configured a playlist on both my PC and Mobile Phone with my "favorite" stations - I rarely use either to listen, although in theory I am now tooled up to test how effective mainland censorship is with respect to streaming radio from outside the Great Wall. Just to give the censors a heads up on what I might be listening to, the following table lists the radio stations .Enjoy !! All,With the exception of Africa #1, use RealPlayer. (I have provided links to the program listings from which streams for other players may be found).

Australia ABC News Radio Listing
ABC Digital Music About
Triple JListing
National Radio MelbourneListing
Hong Kong RTHK Radio 3Listings
RTHK Radio 4
UK BBC World ServiceListing
BBC Radio 4Listing
BBC Radio 7Listing
BBC Radio 5Listing
BBC Radio CymruListing
Radio CarolineListing
Ireland RTE1Listings
France RFI MusiqueHome
Africa #1
Others Radio VaticanListing
Voice of RussiaOther
Voice of AmericaHome
Deutsche WelleListing
Radio NederlandsListing
South Africa Radio NewsStations
Channel Africa
RADIO NHK world liveListing
| More