Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weekend Logs: 5/31-6/2/14

Weekend Logs: 5/31-6/2/14

Old-Time Radio unid: 6771.4, 5/31, 1145+ Tuned into EZL music. Peaking up to S9+10. Seems to have drifted up a few hundred Hz in the past few days. Muzak cover of the day at 1153: "Somewhere over the Rainbow." 2139: Still EZL music, still a good signal. 2145: Station off mid-song.

unid: 6876.1, 5/31, 1148 Carrier only here. Might just be a utility, but it might be worth mentioning

unid: 6865.7, 5/31, 1148 Carrier only here. Might just be a utility, but it might be worth mentioning

X-FM: 6940, 6/1, 0230+ DJ Redhat with a long talk mentioning high-powered pirates (I think he said that one station would raise the hair on the back of your neck when you drove by the transmitter of the station when it was on the air) and that XFM is an alternative rock station. Asking for music requests and reception reports. Lots of noise on the band tonight. Lots of of shoutouts to listeners who reported on the message boards & also to those who e-mailed. Think he mentioned he's had some transmitter problems. Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing" The Cars "Take What You Want"

Liquid Radio: 6925.2, 6/1, 0230+ Carrier and not much audio here in loads of QSB. ID per HFU

YHWH: 6890, 6/1, 0340+ Tuned in on my way down to check on the OTR unid. Carrier, but just a bit of audio present. Listened for a min or two. Checked HFU afterward & saw that it was YHWH. Am tuned back in at 0348 and am just hearing bits of audio. The 21-MHz signals have been much, much better here

Old-Time Radio unid: 6771.4, 6/1, 0340+ OTR: I think this show is A Day in the Life of Dennis Day. Dennis thinks he's dead because city hall's records show that he is. 1156+ More Muzak. FSN news with Rebecca Foster at 1200: murder in India, new head of VA affairs, Ukraine's unpaid gas bills to Russia, Boston Marathon bombing obstruction-of-justice case. Muzak cover of the day: "Music Box Dancer."

Friday, May 30, 2014

Auds'n'Ends: Muzak, 5/30/14

Auds'n'Ends: 5/30/14

I need to get out and mow before the grass reaches knee deep, but I wanted to check in the blog and expound upon a deep and meaningful topic. Muzak. For the past week, I've listened to more Muzak than I have in decades.

I wouldn't have guessed it years ago, but we've been experiencing a pirate in North America on 6771.2 kHz playing music from the old "beautiful music" format, with a variety of old-time radio shows and news on the hour from the Internet.

I think it's interesting that even young adults today don't know what Muzak is. And it's something that's hard to explain. I talked about this phenomenon with a few people lately and no one can really place a finger on it. Sure, Muzak was music made to sell products, but you could say the same about the Black-Eyed Peas. The "beautiful music" format has been replaced by "smooth jazz," which has much of the same soulless sterility, but seems to be sort of "hip" by comparison.

"Muzak" came to be the name used generically by most everyone (much like "Kleenex" is often used to describe a paper tissue by many in North America) to describe "elevator music" or "dentist office" music. But Muzak was a company that dated back to the 1930s. One of its earlier projects was to create music to work to. Using the theories of stimulus progression, it would create 15-minute blocks of calm music that would gradually increase in tempo and energy, with the intention of making employees work faster.

In the 1960s through 1980s, Muzak was best known for creating playlists of lite music for supermarkets, elevators, etc. Its goal was to make people buy things . . . and people didn't appreciate Muzak's goal. The perception that the company was attempting to turn intelligent, independent people into passive consumers, like drugged cattle grazing in a fenced-in field struck people the wrong way.

But Muzak and Muzak-like music was impossible to avoid, between several "beautiful music" stations on the radio dial in most any radio market and Muzak itself playing in so many stores. The backlash against Muzak eventually knocked it off the music systems from most commercial public venues and the "beautiful music" radio format is dead. Because I'm just a radio hobbyist and not from
the radio or retail industry, I don't know exactly when this happened. But I think it was in the late '80s through the early '90s.

Today, I don't know if the stuff that I heard most everywhere was actually Muzak or just similar compositions from its competitors. I've searched YouTube a little for Muzak, but very little is actually there. I've found a number of playlists there called "Muzak," but actually contain songs by groups like Cannibal Corpse, obviously for shock value. And instead of my local meat market playing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," they regularly play a variety of new wave songs (some fairly obscure) from the early '80s.

All of this brings me back to the pirate on 6771.2 kHz. This station has been on the air for days with this old easy-listening music, old-time radio shows, and news feeds. Last weekend, it seemed that most all of the programming was OTR, but this week has been primarily EZL music. As I type this, I've been listening for the past hour and it's been 100% EZL music, aside from the news at the top of the hour. It's strange listening to hours of music that I heard for years. Yesterday, I heard an EZL cover of "Close to You" and this morning it was "The Rose."

Weirder yet is the fact that this music used to epitomize soullessness in audio form. Yet, here it is, the backbone of a rebel radio station . . . a slow, calm, relaxed rebel radio station.


Update: I went to the local meat market tonight (I missed WMID and XLR8 because of this) and heard "Ah Leah" by Donnie Iris. Is this really the music that's optimized to sell steaks and roasts to the consumer of the 21st century?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Loggings: 5/29-30/14

Loggings: 5/29-30/14

Old-Time Radio Unid: 6771.2, 5/29, 1430+ Heard again last night around 0400 (after not hearing anything around 0200) UTC. Signal is maybe fair or fair-good with occasional data QRM. EZL music and news again at the top of the hour. The music is mostly what you'd hear on EZL stations from the late '70s and early '80s. Even heard a Muzak version of "Close to You" a few minutes ago.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Old-Time Radio Unid: 5/28/14

Old-Time Radio Unid: 5/28/14

This station has turned into quite the mystery. To the best of my knowledge, it's been on the air for possibly four consecutive days now, approximately 100 or so straight hours. On  HFU, Dick Weed & Chris Smolinski were speculating about its operations and whether it might possibly be military broadcasts of some sort. Chris Lobdell mentioned a pirate on 6250 kHz years ago. The station was on for about a week or two, many hours per day. I believe he was a ham from North Carolina who was using a low-powered transmitter (I think around 5 watts) to relay a local FM station from his house to his ham shack. It does make you wonder if some old ham isn't relaying  programs to his cabin or something. Regardless, I love mystery radio stations like this!

Old-Time Radio Unid: 6771.2, 5/28, 2045+ Nice signal with old EZL music + Louis Armstrong "Hello, Dolly." 2200 is the news from Feature Story News: Edward Snowden, voting for European Commissions President, etc.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Weekend Logs 2014

Memorial Weekend Logs 2014

I've been behind with work and just starting to catch up, but I had a chance to check the radio (and will hopefully continue to do so throughout the weekend)

Old-Time Radio Unid: 6772, 5/24-25, 2310+ Fair signal with OTR shows. On HFU, Ed Insinger mentioned that he was hearing "Unshackled," but I evidently tuned in later because this show was comedy with a laugh track (or live audience laughter). At 0115, a comedy about a man trying to buy flowers, then an ad for a "stomach sweetener" and, I think, laxative. An orchestra playing "Accentuate the Positive." Sig up to S9+10, but noise is still pretty rough. Ah, heard the advertisers at the end of the show clearly: Sal Hepatica & Vitalis. Into new show with louder, clearer audio: Red Skelton. After the 6920 unid went off, I tuned back to 6772 and caught the end of what sounded like a WWII mystery with a professor. After a long pause, a number of big band songs (kinda EZL big band).

MAC: 6950, 5/24, 2311+ Excellent sig with Jimmy Stewart show & '40s music. Heard one of the singing M-A-C jingles

Unid: 6924.4, 5/25, 0014+ Just a carrier here. I'm assuming it's a pirate, but I don't know who

Renegade Radio: 6935U, 5/25, 0218+ A bit weaker than normal here and some Ute noise. Requesting reports & e-mails to add & HFU. Talking about listening to audio from the Winterfest & he plans to pull some of that up. Also, he hasn't heard back from WEAK Radio, so he said hi to him & said that he hopes he's OK

Unid: 6920U, 5/25, 0333-0343* Decided to check back on the radio & I found a big signal on 6920. The signal is strong and wide. I've opened it up to the 6-kHz bandwidth and it sounds great . . .so good that it reminds me of Wolverine's transmitter. Whatever station this is did a nice job buying, building, or modifying their transmitter. All instrumental ethereal music. Off at about 0343.

Pipeline Radio: 6925, 5/25-265, 2346+ Surfin' theme station. Lotsa Beach Boys & other surf music. Excellent S9+10 signal!

Old-Time Radio Unid: 6771.6, 5/25-26, 2345+ Went into the radio room and the R8 was still tuned to essentially the same frequency Big signal again, but noise is down a bit, making this much easier to listen to. EZL music here, just like last night after 0400. Still strong with EZL music, now light jazz and crooner music at 0142. Tuned back in at 0452 & this one is back to OTR. A dramatic presentation on this time

Voice of Honor: 6930U, 5/26, 0025+ Memorial Day theme station. Military music and IDs. Excellent signal with S9+20 peaks. Reports to voiceofhonor /at/ gmail dot com. "Don't Tread on Me" flag SSTV image at the end of the show

Voice of Honor

The Crystal Ship: 6876, 5/26, 0140+ Excellent S9+10 signal with '80s new wavish pop music

oops, forgot to mention this one on here. I've been hearing this since about 0000 or so:

Metro Radio International: 6974.2, 5/26, 0144+ carrier only, but op verified that it was him on HFU.

Wolverine Radio: 6950U, 5/26, 0145+ Huge signal peaking over S9+20 with The Shirelles "Mama Said"

Wolverine Radio

KCPR: 6925U, 5/26, 0424+ Very weak and tinny-sounding music on frequency. ID per logs from West Coast DXers on HFU. Adjusted the frequency a few Hz & it sounds a bit less tinny now. It still has a really far away sound. My 1st time to hear this one. Looking forward to hopefully logging one or more clear IDs. Heard presumably a CW ID for KCPR at 0433 . . . "presumably" because I don't copy code without a key in front of me (and even then, it's very slow). I think the music here is basically all country. Copied an SSTV image at the end of the show


Old-Time Radio Unid: 6771.6, 5/26, 1230+ Checked this morning & back again at 1425 and the station is still on the air with older easy-listening music. Presumably, this has been on since yesterday around 2000 UTC (possibly earlier).

Pirate Radio Boston: 6924.6, 5/26, 1425-1439* ID per HFU. Just heard clear IDs + e-mail address and Belfast, NY maildrop. Signal is weak here, but still nice to hear Charlie again.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Logs: 5/3-5/5/14

OK, this weekend has been more about digging, mowing, and building for me than tuning the dials, but I'll pop in any logs that catch.

WMIB: 6925, 5/4, 0017* Caught only the last 40 seconds of the show. Tuned in during "Train Kept a Rollin'." Afterward, heard what sounded like "WMIB, all music by B, WMIB, WMIB." Nice signal. I saw on HFU that this was reported as both WMIB and WMID. I definitely thought it sounded like "WMIB" for those last three IDs, but you never know if it might've been "WMID"