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World Radio TV Handbook 2012
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World Radio TV Handbook 2012

Published on : 22 December 2011 - 3:20pm | By Andy Sennitt (Photo:clipart.com)
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The 2012 edition of the World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) was published in early December 2011. The appearance and format have not changed much over recent years, but the content certainly has.

Although the WRTH has been known for decades as the “DXers' Bible”, there are several signs in this edition that the publisher will not make the mistake some other publishers made of pretending that shortwave is still the only platform for international broadcasting.

In particular, the venerable George Jacobs, who has reached his 50th year writing the annual high frequency (HF) propagation predictions, says

“With my experience gained during 50 years of reporting, I do not question, and I strongly agree, that the future for international broadcasting is the continued dramatic rise of the satellite and internet platforms. I believe, however, that HF broadcasting will continue to have an important role to play far into the future, albeit as a complement to these newer platforms.”

Mr Jacobs knows what he is talking about, as he has been in the international broadcasting business for 65 years, including a period as Chief Engineer at the Voice of America. So perhaps we at RNW are not as stupid as some non-experts have claimed we are in recent years!

Internet
The WRTH editorial includes the following:

“In view of the rise of the internet as an outlet for international broadcasters, we have decided to include details of languages available on the Internet in the international section.”

This a welcome change, as it ensures that stations such as Radio Sweden can still be included, rather than ignored as if it doesn’t exist. Having said that, I was surprised that Swissinfo, formerly Swiss Radio International and one of the first international broadcasters to switch off shortwave – also a key partner of RNW - has not been included, even though it is part of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.

The WRTH still devotes most of its 672 pages to traditional over-the-air broadcasting, and there is still a shortwave receiver review section. Of course, the bulk of the book is devoted to listing thousands of radio and TV stations worldwide.

TV section
I note that the amount of space devoted to TV has stayed at around 40 pages for many years, and this distorts the relative importance of different stations and networks. China, for example, is compressed into just over a third of a page, about the same as Denmark.

But of more concern, I could not find any reference to some of the big international satellite TV networks such as China’s CCTV News and Iran’s Press TV. These networks are international broadcasters, but seem to have fallen into a hole between international radio and domestic TV. Anyone buying the WRTH who doesn’t know they exist will be none the wiser.

I would suggest that, for international broadcasting, the editors give serious thought to including these international TV networks in the same section as radio and internet. This would give a better idea of the relative importance of the different platforms. I would argue that, in many cases, the satellite TV services that are not listed reach many more people than some of the radio services from the same country. They certainly cost a bigger proportion of the budget!

A must-have publication
Small quibbles aside, the WRTH is a must-have publication for all who work in international broadcasting, and those who like to hear or see broadcasts from outside their own country. Some may wonder if a printed book is still needed in an age when so much information can be found on the internet. But anyone who has tried listening to a weak radio signal with the computer switched on close to the receiver will know how much noise a computer can produce. So having access to printed information is still very useful.

The WRTH does have computerised information too – I reviewed the WRTH Bargraph Frequency Guide earlier in 2011, and new editions will be produced in January 2012 and later in the year for the summer schedules. There are also regular updates drawing attention to significant changes to the listings. More information on the WRTH website.

Publisher: Nicholas Hardyman
No. of pages: 672
Publisher's address: WRTH Publications Limited, PO Box 290, Oxford, OX2 7FT, United Kingdom
Order Fax: +44 (0)1865 514405
Web (secure online ordering): www.wrth.com
E-mail:
Cover price: £24.95 including airmail postage worldwide.
ISBN: 978-0-9555481-4-7
Distributed in the USA by Innovative Logistics, 575 Prospect St, Lakewood, NJ 08701. Web: www.innlog.net.
Distributed in Germany by Gert Wohlfarth GmbH, Stresemannstrasse 20-22, D-47051 Duisburg. E-mail: . ISBN: 978-3-87463-504-2.

(hs)

 

  • World Radio TV Handbook 2012<br>&copy; Photo: RNW - http://www.rnw.nl/english

Discussion

Anonymous 17 July 2012 - 5:56pm

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joe rihan 8 June 2012 - 10:14am / 50,Sadat st. Ras-Beirut.Beirut Lebanon

I am an old user of the WRTH & classifed in your records certainly.I Used to buy the WRTH from amazon...now I am going back to you again...Does it includes Morse codes,RTTY advises,Drones wavelenght etc...? You already know me nothing to add but How much does it cost posted reaching Beirut ASAP ?Pls. RESPOND TO joerihan@gmail.com & pls respect all privacy requirements.
THKS j.r...is it gone?

Mark31 2 April 2012 - 1:30pm / Germany

I suppose they did not include Swissinfo because these days the former Swiss Radio International website offers very little audio/video content, certainly not as much as the daily podcasts from Radio Sweden. At some point one needs to draw a line and define what still counts as "broadcasting" and IMO Swissinfo is closer to a newspaper website.

mogiremachuki 23 December 2011 - 2:24pm / kenya

this book always provides a great read to enthusiast like me..planning to have a copy as its my custom

Martyn Williams 22 December 2011 - 8:52pm / USA

Andy,

Do you have any idea of the readership of WRTH? If it's people using it as a guide to listening to international broadcasts then the inclusion of some of the TV stations would make sense.

But if the audience is DXers then I wonder if there would be interest? Typically, satellite transmissions are either there or not. There isn't much technique involved in receiving them, unless you count alignment and dish tweaks but those improvements bring in all broadcasts, not just the international stations.

Back in the 90s the WRTH listed satellite broadcasts but I guess they were dropped for space reasons.

It seems the biggest competitor to the book are the numerous online schedule sites and lists like EiBi and Aoki.

I wish the WRTH could offer an online database with updated schedules year round. Right now I get the book in late December and by April the international section is already out of date.

It's still a must-have book though.

Martyn

user avatar
Andy Sennitt 23 December 2011 - 2:51pm / Netherlands

Martyn,

I haven't worked for the WRTH since 1997, so I don't have access to current sales information. I think I saw somewhere that the print run is about 30,000. But I believe that was before Passport to World Band Radio ceased publication.

When I worked on the book, we were averaging about 50,000 copies a year. In our best year (the first Gulf War) we did two reprints and sold a a total of 68,000 copies. But of course that was before the Internet.

DXers are not the only audience for WRTH. In fact, many DXers don't buy the WRTH every year. A few don't buy it at all. The book sells well in the professional field, and this tends to be a more settled part of the market.

For updated schedules, I recommend getting the WRTH Bargraph Frequency Guide CD, but there are other sources that are updated continuously, such as the HFCC site which now makes all changes available to the public in real time. This accounts for about 80 percent of the international broadcasting hours on shortwave.

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