MEDIA NEWS FOR VOA COMMUNICATIONS WORLD, APRIL 22, 2000 by Glenn Hauser [subheadings inserted editorially] RADIO CALLS TO PRAYER Britainís ever-growing Moslem population hears calls to prayer over the radio rather than from a muezzin through the air. Since 1987, paging services have been used for this, but now a new system with its own frequencies in the 454 Megahertz band called The On-site Religious Observance Radio service, is being phased in by the Radiocommunications Agency. It will be open to all religious groups. Transmissions are limited to 10 minutes, so longer weekly services may not be transmitted. The normal coverage area has a radius of 3 kilometers. Complete services are being transmitted from some churches unofficially on the 27-MHz citizens band. This report from the Radio Magazine via Chris McWhinnie and Dave Kenny of the British DX Club. FOLK ROOTS ON THE WEB In the shortwave programs newsgroup, Ralph Brandi writes: Anyone who thought the BBC World Service was insane to cancel Ian Anderson's program Folk Routes a year or two ago might be interested to know that Ian is now producing a monthly Internet audio program based on the music covered by his magazine Folk Roots, for a web site called the World Entertainment Network. The site also has programs by Charlie Gillett, an influential world music DJ in London. The programs also include online playlists. Ralph says, On my cable modem, the 96.7Kbps SureStream feed sounds magnificent. The URL is http://www.wen.com/ HACKER SEIZES ONLINE RADIO STATIONS Via Rod Williams we have a report from UPI that a hacker seized three online radio stations, operated by EbandMedia from Los Angeles -- E101, Pro G, and Trance Invasion - were knocked off the air and "literally stolen from their sophisticated server," said a release from Internet Incubator iWeb, the parent of EBandMedia. The company said the incident appears to be the first case ever of "online radio cyber terrorism." iWeb President James West said, "We could incur a multi-million dollar loss if the radio stations, which we hope this individual has saved on CD Rom, are not returned safely to us." The alleged hacker is described as a disgruntled former employee and was being sought by police in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO BUYS LOS ANGELES PRODUCTION COMPANY Minnesota Public Radio purchased an FM station in Los Angeles, KPCC, a few months ago, with plans to upgrade it into a major source of news and original programming. Now MPR has also purchased Marketplace productions, formerly part of another public radio station in Los Angeles, KUSC. Marketplace is a major source of financial news on public radio and also produces the weekly program Savvy Traveler with Rudy Maxa. New state of the art digital production facilities are also being built for KPCC and Markeplace, and now KUSC can devote even more of its time to classical music. PICTURES OF ANTENNA, TRANSMITTER SITE CONSTRUCTION Would you like to see a new expanded band transmitter site under construction? WTAW, 1620 kilohertz in College Station, Texas, went on the air earlier this month. Bill Dvorak points out that the WTAW website displays a number of photographs, underlining the importance on mediumwave of the buried ground radial system. Take a look at http://www.wtaw.com/construction.htm CITY TRIES TO TAX SATELLITE AS LOCAL PROPERTY Can a city tax satellite equipment orbiting the earth? The Fox television network is suing the city of Virginia Beach to get a refund of $630,000 in personal property taxes the Family Channel, which is now owned by Fox, paid on satellite equipment over six years. Fox contends the city cannot tax equipment that was not built in, launched from, and has never even been in that city. However, Virginia Beach says it can tax property in space if it is owned by a local company. At issue in the lawsuit are three transponders, worth $12 million apiece, attached to satellites launched in 1992. That report from AP MoneyWire via Mike Cooper. SUPERDARN SHOWS IONOSPHERIC SOUNDINGS Ionospheric radar soundings can be viewed in real-time with Java applets from several near-Arctic locations, at the SUPERDARN website - that stands for Super Dual Auroral Radar Network. The ever-changing shortwave frequency in use is also displayed. This is one of several propagation tools on the web pointed out by Mike Dawson in hard-core-dx. Youíll find the URL in the script for this report: http://superdarn.jhuapl.edu/java/index.html ITALY CONCERNED ABOUT DANGERS FROM RADIO TRANSMITTING SITES There is great concern in Italy that high-power radio broadcasting sites near Rome may be causing cancer in nearby residents. First, the authorities ordered off the air the major national Rai frequency of 846 kHz from Santa Palomba. And now Bruce Johnston in the Daily Telegraph reports that radio transmitters operated by the Vatican are under official investigation over claims that electromagnetic pollution is causing cancer among local residents near the antenna farm at Santa Maria di Galeria, near Cesano, a northern suburb of Rome. Residents have reported the complex to magistrates; and doctors who examined the cause of 7500 deaths over six years in Cesano found the incidence of tumours was 30 per cent above the national average. A separate inquiry by the Lazio region found that electromagnetic energy in the area was almost three times the legal limit. Francesco Ferrante, the director general of Italy's Legambiente, or environmental league, said people living near the antennas had found their computers switched on by themselves, telephone conversations were "invaded" by radio transmissions and watching television was impossible. The Legambiente claimed that 60 per cent of deaths in the area in 1996 were due to cancer. However, the Vatican maintains that Italy has no jurisdiction over this, due to the extra-territorial status of the antenna farm. Magistrates have now asked Italy's Foreign Ministry to intervene to prevent diplomatic deadlock over the case. That item via Mike Cooper. MOROCCO CLAMPS DOWN ON MEDIA The following editorial analysis is by BBC Monitoring: In an apparent attempt to muzzle criticism of Morocco's policy towards the disputed Western Sahara, the Moroccan authorities have launched a media clampdown. The government has sacked three managers of a state-run TV channel and banned the latest editions of two newspapers for reporting interviews with a leader of the Polisario Front, which campaigns for an independent Western Sahara. It is the latest setback for the media in a country hoping to experience political liberalisation set on course by the ascendancy to the throne last July of King Mohammed the Sixth. But despite assurances from Communications Minister Larbi Messari that censorship is a thing of the past, the number of newspaper seizures and bans has increased since the beginning of the year. The Paris-based media monitoring group Reporters Sans Frontieres [RSF] say seven foreign and local newspaper editions have been banned in Morocco since January first. On Monday, Minister Messari announced the sacking of three managers of the popular public broadcaster 2M Television. A government statement on the newspaper ban said, "The government of His majesty King Mohammed is committed to guarantee press freedom... But also it confirms its firm commitment to deal severely with those who plan to hurt national feelings... and Moroccan territorial integrity and sovereignty." Meanwhile, the Polisario Front radio station, National Voice of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, can be heard in Arabic on 7470 and 1540 kHz, at 07- 08 and 18-23 Universal Time, plus another hour in Spanish until midnight. ISRAEL CHANGES SCHEDULE AT ODD TIME Shortwave listeners tuning for Israel suddenly found different languages if anything at all, starting April 14 when Israel went to summer time on a different date than any other country. The idea was to do it one week before Passover. Major English broadcasts from Israel radio are now one hour earlier at 0400 UT on 9435, 15640 and 17535; 1400 on 15650 and 17535; and 1900 on 11605, 15640, 15650 and 17535, say Joel Rubin, Doni Rosenzweig and Bill Westenhaver. PAPUA NEW GUINEA STATION BURNS In Cumbre DX, Richard Jary in Australia reports hearing on NBC Papua New Guinea April 17th, that the transmitter building of the station on 3345 kHz, Radio Northern, Popondetta went up in flames after an apparent electrical fault. An investigation is underway as the land used for the transmitter building has been the subject of land payment claims since 1972. The transmitter may be relocated as part of the rebuilding process, though no indication was given as to when the station would be back on the air. RADIO AUSTRALIA SPECIAL Many regular programs are missing from Radio Australia this weekend due to the combination of the Easter holidays and ANZAC Day, commemorating the World War II alliance of Australia, New Zealand, And Canada. Radio Australia will broadcast a special live service from the Cenotaph in Canberra at sunrise Tuesday, that is UT Monday the 24th at 1930. NEW ZEALAND FREQUENCY CHANGE Listeners to Radio New Zealand International have been enjoying good reception on 15115 in the 0705 to 1205 UT period, except the final hour when HCJB is on the same frequency. But from May 7, RNZI plans to make another frequency change, to 11720. Before 0705, 17675 will remain in use for most of the day, and two interference problems with it from Canada and Abu Dhabi have been resolved. BRITISH COASTAL STATION CLOSING, INVITES HAM CONTACTS Portishead Radio, Britainís major coastal communications station, is about to close down. Next Saturday, April 29, the British Telecom station will be making crossband contact with hams on CW only, as a special commemorative event. More about this on World of Radio, or at their website: http://you.genie.co.uk/d.barlow Thatís the media news on Communications World. For VOA News Now, Iím Glenn Hauser.