December 28, 2004

Sporadic E

What an odd christmas present I received from our atmosphere! I was wondering into work and about 1km from arriving, I hit the scan button on my car radio upward from National Radio (101.4FM Auckland). Weirdly, it landed on 101.75.

I was hearing 2WS from Sydney apparently.

Ian, A DX'er from Australia informs me that this is common around new years. Down in Otago recently, an [nzradio] lurker also piped up with news of "it lasting about an hour and it wiped out all the local FM stations and I could receive Nova96.9 and triple J and also The Edge from sydney with full RDS read out as well".

Another lurker: "Indeed, I had that happen once while living down on the Coast. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, my stereo started picking up Northland stations. In the space of about five minutes, I was able to tune into KCC FM, Radio Pacific, and one other Northland FM station. Then they faded away and I never picked them up ever again. It was weird, but very cool."

Crazy stuff... So, how did this happen?

Technical gobbledegook:
{Sporadic-E is a type of ionospheric E-layer reflection caused by small patches of unusually dense ionization in our upper atmosphere. These sporadic E-layer "clouds" appear unpredictably. Sporadic-E events may last for just a few minutes to several hours; a given event usually affects only small areas of the country at any one time. Sporadic-E is observed on 144 MHz less than a tenth as often as on 50MHz. Signals are often remarkably strong, allowing 50 and 144MHz stations running 10 watts, and often much less than that, to make contacts 1500 km and longer with relative ease.} source.

In english:
It means distant radio signals are able to be amplified to other parts of the world for a short period of time when our atmosphere creates these bizarre conditions known as "sporadic E lift".

This type of radio stuff is very much of a different world to the talk Im used to. If this has sparked your ions, then check out the NZ DXers page.

I managed to listen to 2WS for about 2 minutes - and my entire listening experience was bathed in ads.

December 24, 2004

Rejected Radio Formats

Talking Clock FM
"We provide up to the minute information on the time. Call us and request the local time in any part of the world, and go in the monthly draw to win a watch - defeating the purpose of listening"

Silent FM

"Here at Silent FM, we play for you recordings of the quietest places on the planet, 24/7. From the middle of the Sahara, to a rockface in Canada, every recording is of the highest quality and we guarantee you'll enjoy silent fm especially in rush hour"

Alzheimers AM
"Alzheimers AM brings you a fresh listening experience, although some laundry powders are better on my clothes. Checking traffic now.. Mainly fine today with an expected top temperature, I had my temperature taken yesterday"

Sub FM
"At Sub FM, we only play music under 80Hz. Turn up ya Sub and enjoy all your favourites on Sub FM"

Reception FM
"Reception FM is the worlds best radio station, guaranteed to make your day by playing only YOUR favourite music - remember, we change frequency every 500ms. Check out our website to find out what frequency we will be on for half a second in your area"

Backwards FM
"Every album cut, ever made - all played backwards. Our announcers speak backwards, the ads are backwards and the music is backwards, 7/24"

Loud Quiet FM
"Our DJ's don't just double-fade when they talk, they do it all the time! Catch all your favourite music LOUD then quiet then LOUD then quiet, then LOUD then quiet then LOUD then quiet then LOUD then..."

Joke Radio

"All jokes are funny - at some level, and here at Joke Radio, we tell the joke but ignore the punchline, then laugh for 10 seconds. Why did the chicken cross the road? HAHAHAHHA!!"

Alphabet FM
"Forgotten your ABC's?. Alphabet FM can help. We bring you the worlds best celebrities reciting the alphabet all day, everyday. Current promotion: If you hear our celebrity miss out a letter anytime between 6am and 6pm weekdays, call us and win $26 cash instantly!"

suggestions accepted...

December 17, 2004

The revolution

Over the last month:
42% of readers to my humble blog use Firefox.
71% of these users are in NZ.

Love it.

December 15, 2004

Ooops Up

This is a cut n patse from an email I got yesterday. I dont usually like using the Cut n Paster but...

We had a female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?"

Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard.

Christmas grates again

I consider myself to be a happy person, optimistic and generally above board. Now, when I heard that TV3 weather guy say 'the silly season' last night, I think thats just fitting.

This time of year really is silly. Frankspace encapsulates the common robotic movement that happens every year, and it pains me to witness the continual move away from the point of having christmas and the holidays - friends, family and fun!

More and more, every year, advertising agencies come up with new, but not better ways of targeting us and trying to extract hard earned (not saved) cash from our pockets. Yes, its an industry and thats what it needs to do to survive, but scraping against the fabric of our society in the process really grates. Some bigger businesses are beginning to complain about the non-trading rule that applies at Christmas and Easter coz its a day they can't trade! Do I need to take Jesus' name in vain here? Will that help?

I interviewed Stuart Sontier from the NZ Buy Nothing Day group mid-November and ended up airing the interview 8 times over the week leading up to the day (which was Nov 26th). Note that the interview was 22 minutes in length and it was aired on a music radio station (and not an indy). These noble people are trying to remind us what we all know and remember, but in the madness that most cannot escape at this time of year, we tend to push it far far down and forget it.

The idea of Buy Nothing Day is to escape the ongoing consumerism that we are bombarded with and for ONE day, buy nothing. If everyone did this, yes there would be a blip in our economy, but there would also be a blip in the reduction of waste, a blip in offshore bank balances, and a giant message that the world would hear - that is - if the media outlets would report it. They do not, as they have politically charged parent companies to answer to, yet people like Stuart (and now myself) soldier on, seemingly in vain.

If you manage/d to buy nothing, then I'm betting you pretty much have a stress free Christmas and will ACTUALLY enjoy this time of year. Merry Christmas.

December 13, 2004

Canwest makes changes.

Its a bittersweet week for the people at Canwest Mediaworks this week.

Great news for TV3
John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld move off reading autocue to get their own show in response to the dramatic changes made by TV1 for a position in the coveted free to air 7pm slot. Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts will take over presenting 3 News. Prime are putting together their 'play' with Paul Holmes with time to spare which is an unusual short ceasefire advantage for these three players. We will certainly see what TV1, TV3 and Prime are made of and I look forward to finally purchasing a DVD recorder and maximising its application next year.

Changes for More FM nights.
Andrew Leiataua has held the iconic nightshow for 10 years in Auckland (most successfully as "The Vault" IMHO) and has moved over to a new challenge within More FM, which is a blessing for his kids - as Dad will now be home in time for bed!

The other news, is that Dominic Bowden (NZ Idol) is hosting the all new nightshow with his producer and panel-op A.J (ex-nights in Manawatu), which will be networked from Auckland to all of the other More FM stations soon. This is a major move by More FM who until now have rejected the idea of networking. It is also timely, as....

THE GOD AWFUL SHOCKING SAD and DISAPPOINTING news that every localworks station will lose its heritage name and rebrand as More FM starting this week.

It is hard to think about this as a positive thing, although its clear why Canwest did it. Thinking backwards, all of these names are part of each area's heritage and will now forever be lost because Canwest decided its just easier to use one name. Even TRN had empthay toward heritage names when they networked Classic Hits up and down our yonder.

Example: 4XO was one of planet earth's first commercial FM radio stations. This is widely known and had an incredible history in Dunedin. It was recently struck off as a brand and More FM moved onto the 97.4 frequency.

Here's a complete list of station names that will soon suddenly vanish leaving nothing but memories:

KCC FM - Northland

Coastline 93.4 FM - Tauranga

Lakes 96 FM - Rotorua

KIS FM - Taupo

Energy FM - Taranaki

Hot 93 - Hawkes Bay

92.8 Star FM - Wanganui

92.2 XS - Manawatu

HITZ 89.3 - Wairarapa

95 FM - Levin

Fifeshire 93FM - Nelson

Radio Central - Alexandra

89.2 Foveaux FM - Invercargill

2XX - Kapiti

Resort 99FM - Queenstown

Big River Radio - Balclutha (no logo found sorry)

I may get into a sticky situation by posting every one of these logos up here, but they will stay until I get asked by Canwest to take them off (which may prove to drive in the nail)

December 10, 2004

Jo Schmo, yo.

While a lot of late night TV toe viewers settle in for the "Joe Schmo Show", there are bigger fish on the boil. More on that in a mo'.. 'yo.

"Living The Dream" was NZ's take of the Spike TV show "The Joe Schmo Show" and after seeing ep1 of the first series last Wednesday, it is certainly better than our effort. You can see the formula of this franchise at work - with the obligatory gay guy, rich bitch and smarmy host. Some of the stunts are exactly the same and the format works well.

Season 2 has not one, but two puppets in the same situation - a guy and girl. Its already wrapped up in the states and the producers have moved on with the whole concept, into a new show called Invasion Iowa [blog]. This puppy dupes the whole town of Riverside, Iowa. (pop 928)
The townspeople think William Shatner (shit, now 73!) is coming to shoot a science fiction movie called 'Invasion Iowa.' What they don’t know is that the movie is fake, and they’re about to take a front row seat to a ridiculous parody of Hollywood.

Keep your eyes open for Julie Christie and crew scouting you to help on a new sci-fi movie.

Incidentally of minor interest, Iowa was compensated recently by the premium that Hamilton's Xenacom have set up their HQ there. Lucky buggers.

December 5, 2004

Worthy bathwater

The 'ever inventive' snazzycat put me onto this in an effort to get some neat pictures (by much better photographers than I) for a website I am putting together. I picked up some new lithiums, snapped some pix and tried my first upload to Picturestation. I submitted four pictures, only one of which got accepted. So here are the thumbs of my rejected submissions:

surely the nuggets get you salivating?

Incidentally, the accepted pic was the hot tap running water into our old bath. It was in the moment, had no thought pattern prior to the photo and I guess that's what they were looking for.

Over a cuppa

This is my appeal to the makers of Toffee Pops, to produce a coffee flavoured version. Some would say that this biscuit is the perfect compliment to a nice cuppa, and I reckon if you could get both from the one biscuit, then life would be ever closer to being perfect.
A proper cup of coffee in a proper coffee cup with a coffee toffee pop, please.

December 3, 2004

Dwayne Francks faces the music

Entertainer Dwayne Francks has appeared in Wellington District Court today on sex charges. He faces two charges of indecent assault and one charge of inducing a seven-year-old child to perform a sexual act. The comedian, who appeared on the game show, 'Face the Music', will next appear in Christchurch District Court in February. IRN 3/11/04

What a shocker... and I loved that show too!

Face The Music - boot up your media player
Here's one for Dwayne: [CLUE][ANSWER]