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Get set for radio changes

On November 23 the BBC swings into action on a number of new frequencies in the Medium waveband (AM). All the stations you know and love, or don't, perhaps, if you don't appreciate what good radio is all about, will wander over to new frequencies. This is partially the result of re-organisations to European broadcasting agreed at the Geneva conferences in 1974-5; as a result of decisions made then there are to be a great many more transmitters operating in Europe on Medium Wave, and that means, of course, more interference.

The new allocations, effective from November 23 (we said it again so you won't forget) will make BBC radio more effectively available in the UK, although there may still be a bit of interference at night, when MW radio waves travel a lot further. Discerning listeners will, of course, be tuned to VHF-FM, and hear their fave progs in glorious stereo (or not, as the case may be), where frequencies will remain practically unchanged.

Coinciding with this, Radio 2 will get separated from Radio 1 and go over to 24-hour broadcasting which they haven't been able to afford before, because the BBC doesn't get enough money to do all the amazing things they like to get up to (unlike the IBA stations who make lots of bread and are completely unable to do anything amazing at all 'cos they're businesses rather than radio services, knock, knock). Plans also include more Radio 1 stereo VHF programmes (goody, goody); more rock music in stereo as well, rumour has it; the odd new presenter and loads of other things to improve the excellence of the Better Broadcasting Corporation.

So here's where the stations will pop up in their new places on the Medium waveband; well they're all on MW except Radio 4:

Radio 1 - 1053 and 1089kHz/285 and 275 metres
Radio 2 - 693 and 909kHz/433 and 330m
Radio 3 - 1215kHz/247m plus a local transmitter on 1197kHz/251m in the Cambridge area
Radio 4 - 200kHz/1500m LONG WAVE, for the National service, with local MW services as follows:

Tyneside 603kHz/498m
N. Ireland 720kHz/417m
Aberdeen 1449kHz/207m
Carlisle 1485kHz/202m

Certain regional services will stay the same, except for very slight increases in frequency.

Most of the BBC's local radio stations (our nearest approach to community radio) stay the same.

The main change, of course, is Radio 4's national service going on to Long Wave; rather a strange one, that; but presumably it can provide a central National Service in the case of something disastrous happening, like a nuclear attack or something. But it makes it important to have a 3-band radio (LW, MW, VHF) if you want to catch everything (one reason being that the Open University programmes still go out on Radio 4 VHF and you'd lose the real Radio 4 if you don't have 1500m).

Further information from your local BBC Studio Centre or from Radio Changes, BBC, Broadcasting House, London W1A 4WW, England. These sources can also supply details of other minor local changes which aren't listed here.

Big K, Little k

We seem to have aroused a teensy little bit of controversy about the use of a capital K to represent 1000 times, as in kilohertz (KHz) and so on, and it is perhaps time to admit that we have been labouring under a misapprehension. Logic would seem to indicate that you should use a capital K for 1000 because then all multiples of a unit, eg kilo (K), mega (M, to avoid confusion with milli, m) would have capitals, whereas all smaller divisions would have lower-case little letters, as in pico (p), milli (m), and so on. However, it must unfortunately be remembered that in the SI (Systeme Internationale, not Sound International!) system, the basic units include the kilometre and the kilogram (or should it be kilogramme... oh, no, more problems; programme, program...) so perhaps it is fair to use a little k for 1000.

There's another reason too: with the increasing influence of digital technology, it could cause confusion to use a large K for 1000. This is because, in computer technology, K is used to represent 210. Thus the appearance of the figure '1K' in a technical work on digital processes could mean either '1000' (kilo) or '1024' (210). So you'd have to work it out from the context (not that it would be difficult).

So to avoid confusion, we're going to agree with the Systeme Internationale for once and use little k for kilo, and keep the big K for digital storage in the RAMs of time. Oh, and before we go off for a 'byte' to eat, we're going to assist the development of English by using the word 'program' for computer thingummies, in accordance with the original form that was taken over to the US with the colonists, and talk of radio 'programmes' in obedience to the French variety that ousted the original form in Britain in the 19th Century. OK? (or is it Ok ...)

Harman for Teac

On September 1 the Teac Corporation announced that from that date Harman Audio would be its sole UK agent for all Teac equipment, including the Tascam Series mixers and tape machines. The announcement follows two months of speculation about who would succeed Teledyne Acoustic Research, the company's previous UK agent, as the importer and service agent for Teac gear.

Apparently, the delay in announcing a successor to TAR was caused by the acute lack of companies suitably experienced in the merchandising of such pretty specialist equipment. The Teac Corporation has always had a reputation for not just selling products; it has also been very aware of the need to provide back-up material, including explanatory booklets (Are you ready for Multitrack? probably being the best-known example) and demonstration aids, so that prospective purchasers of Teac equipment are fully clued up on how to use it properly. (There is even an album available that was produced entirely on a 3340 four-track, to show that home multitrack recording is not difficult.) So the choice of main agent for a country which even now is still only just beginning to wake up to the exciting possibilities offered by a home 4- or 8-track studio (and which is why Sound International is becoming so popular) was very important for Teac. One can reasonably assume that the fairly close ties between Teac and the Harman dealer network that already exists in parts of Europe probably made them a very logical choice.

But enough of the marketing rationale; what will it mean to current and prospective users of Teac gear? Harman tell us that they will be spending a couple of months setting up an additional service and repair department, by hiring a lot more staff and having several thousand pounds worth of spare parts flown in from Japan. In addition by the new year Harman hopes to have set up about 40 dealers that will function as 'multitrack centres' concentrating, in the main, on 4-track capabilities but eventually expanding to encompass the more complex multitrack formats.

As an aid to rationalising the pretty extensive Teac range, Harman will be dividing this up into three main categories. The hi-fi category will comprise the 'domestic' amplifiers, cassette machines, receivers etc. The multitrack category will include the 'up-market' and semi-pro 3340S and 2340S 4- and 2-track machines, A600-100 MkII and 3300SX stereo machines, GE20 equaliser, MB20 meter bridge and the Model 1 and 2 mixers. The upper-end Tascam Series category includes the new 35-2 stereo tape machine with built-in dbx noise reduction (and which will eventually replace the currently-available A-7300RX), 80-8 8-track with optional DX-8 dbx unit, Model 1, 2, 3 and 5 four-output mixers, plus the more exotic 90-16 16-track on lin tape machine and optional DX-16 dbx unit, and the new Model 15 16 or 24-input/8-output mixer with full 16-track monitoring.

But now the bad news: the prices of Teac equipment will be increasing by approximately 20%. This is because the Japanese yen has gradually been dropping from the 4-80 rate on which the old price list was calculated, to the current rate of around 3-65 yen to the pound. All in all it means that a 3340 will now set you back just under £1000, while the 80-8 will be selling for slightly less than £3000. No price has yet been set on the more expensive 90-16 and Model 15 mixer.

Full details of the new prices plus the name and address of your nearest dealer can be had from Harman Audio UK Ltd, (Contact Details). Mel Lambert

Not At Home On The Grange

Notice the piece about Simon Kirke and his Bad Company chums getting back to work at Headley Grange last month?

Well, they were going to when we talked to them, but there's many a switch 'twixt plan and action, and in the event, they didn't.

Or rather they did, but switched the venue to Ridge Farm, where they spent most of September and the first half of October. Ridge Farm, as you may know from our piece in SI 3, is a rather amazing farmhouse and soundproofed barn complex near Capel in the Dorking area of Surrey.

And while we're on the subject, plans are now going ahead for the installation of a new control room down on the farm. It will be equipped with full 24-track recording gear later in the year; we'll be reporting on the place in greater detail when they've got it all put together.

In the meantime, we apologise profusely for any confusion, bowing 'neath our green eyeshades and rendering a chorus of that golden oldie My Mistake in four-part harmony. Sorry, lads!

$ Fall Makes JBL Bargains

Harman (Audio) UK Limited, who handle JBL's fine range of speakers in the British Isles, inform us that due to the continuing strength of the £ against the $US, they've been able to reduce prices on many JBL products. The list is pretty huge, of course, so best write for details quickly while the cheaper prices are available.

Harman (Audio) UK Ltd, (Contact Details).

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A Brief History

Sound International - Copyright: Link House Publications


Sound International - Nov 1978

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

News by Mel Lambert

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