The Artisan Radio Blog

August 8, 2023 8:00 Pacific - Sports and Politics CommentI

Politicization of sports has gone on as long as there has been sports.  It's been particularly the case with dictators, and wanna-be dictators; they believe that sports puts a veneer of respectability over their other activities.

Hitler attempted to show the superiority of his so-called master race in the Berlin Summer Olympics of 1936.  Of course, that sort of failed when American Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals, including the prestigious 100 meter dash.

Now Trump and his cohorts are attempting to do it in reverse with the American Women's Soccer Team.  They were eliminated from the World Cup, and these idiots were celebrating.  Why, you may ask?  Because many of the team members have been openly critical of the far right agenda, and supportive of the LGBTQ community.

I find it difficult to express my utter contempt for these people (Trump etc., not the Women's Soccer Team, who gave it their all, albeit in a losing cause).

Hey, the soccer team hasn't been criminally indicted 3 times (with a 4th likely coming up), and facing potential jail time.

August 3, 2023 10:27 Pacific - The Big Question CommentI

So, after the Retekess TR-508 experiments, the big question is this?  Would you use one?

In the U.S., it's hard to argue against using one, particularly on its low power mode.  There is no requirement in the U.S. for Part 15 operation to maintain sufficient test equipment to continuously test your field strength, as there is with the licensed stations.  There is no range limit in the rules.  There is only FCC certification - if a device is FCC Part 15 certified, then it has been submitted to an approved laboratory, tested, found to be Part 15 compliant, and issued a certification ID.  That ID is placed in the FCC database.  That has occurred with this transmitter.

Some have called the transmitter Chinese junk.  Some have stated that the certification is bogus.  But tests show that the transmitter is not junk - it operates as well and even better in some cases than other certified transmitters.  And the fact remains that the FCC has certified it.  If that's wrong, then the FCC is to blame, not those who attempt to follow the rules, and use a certified transmitter in an effort to comply with those rules.

Would I use it in Canada?  It's not either RSS210 or BETS certified, so no, not as it is.  If it was certified with one of those two standards, then I'd certainly consider it (in low power mode).  While the range improvement over my MS-100 is not all that significant, the extra strength closer to the antenna helps RDBS out a lot.  It sounds good, and the form factor is small, making it easier to find a place to put it over the bulky MS-100 (with it's quarter wave telescopic antenna).

And that's the bottom line.

August 3, 2023 7:51 Pacific - The Saga of the Retekess TR-508 CommentI

There's been discussion over at Part15.org about transmitter certification, and this was one of the transmitters talked about (by me).

I debated about where to post this, and decided on my blog.

When this transmitter was first advertised in Canada, by several reputable resellers (Long & McQuade being one), I took a hard look at it.  Ignoring the claimed specifications of output power, range, etc., it was supposed to be FCC Part 15 certified, as well as RSS210 certified in Canada.  It did indeed have certification numbers fixed on it, as per regulations.  So I decided to purchase one just to see what it could do, and if, indeed, it was license-free compliant.

Upon receiving it, I noted that the transmitter was set in high power mode, supposedly 500 milliwatts, not a good sign.  If it was compliant, I had assumed that it would only be so in low power mode.  So I immediately changed it to that mode.

I then took signal strength readings using my Tecsun PL-368 receiver.  The absolute readings are meaningless, but I wanted to see how the transmitter did relative to my BETS-certified Decade MS-100.  The Retekess was consistently 2-3 dbuv stronger than the Decade.  Significant, but not huge - maybe 30-40%.  That was in the near field, close to the transmitter antennas.

I then took a walk around with the same receiver to determine range.  Now, range is a highly subjective thing - I measured the distance it took for the signal to fade out completely.  And there, the results surprised a little.  In the far field, the Retekess got about 10% more range, or about 100 feet.  I should explain that I measured the range line of sight, with the transmitter high up and no concrete obstructions - just wood buildings and trees.

So not huge differences between the two transmitters.  I did note that the Retekess also passed through RDBS signals as did the Decade, and the little extra oomph of the signal strength made a big difference in displaying the information on my car console.

There are several conclusions arising out of this experiment.  The first is that it is highly doubtful that this transmitter is FCC Part 15 compliant, even in its low power mode.  It outperformed, although admittedly not by all that much, the BETS-certified Decade MS-100.  But BETS allows much higher field strength maximums than Part 15.

The second is, why did it perform so poorly with supposedly 100 milliwatts output?  A closer look at the specs for the transmitter shows that Retekess claims less than 100 milliwatts in low power mode; it must be significantly less.  And I also believe that the supplied rubber duck antenna is highly inefficient, particularly compared with the telescopic Decade antenna, which can be adjusted to 1/4 wavelength.

The third is, is this transmitter really RSS210 compliant?  A look inside the REL, or radio equipment list for Industry Canada shows that if it ever was, it is not now.  It is listed as being RSS123 certified, which makes sense, given that it has multiple power levels (I never even tried high power, which would have increased range even more).  It seems that Industry Canada got the certification right; the FCC not so much.

Overall, the transmitter sounds great, and has no harmonics (based on others' spectral analysis).

Too bad it can't be used even in Canada unless you get a RSS123 license.  A good experiment, but I continue to use the tried and true Decade MS-100.

August 1, 2023 9:07 Pacific - More Network Problems CommentI

Shortly after initially fixing the network problems, they came back, although over-the-air broadcasting was not affected.  I had to restart the router, and reseat all the cables.  Everything now seems back up and running, but we will see if it continues.

July 31, 2023 20:06 Pacific - Network Problems CommentI

Artisan Radio had some network problems today, taking us offline and off the air for a while (well, we were up this morning, then down, then up, then had a computer crash, now finally up again).  The station has been broadcasting since 6PM Pacific today.

Considering that we've been running 24/7 continuously since early June, you had to figure that this would have to happen at some point.  It's unknown exactly what happened, although I suspect that a gust of wind through an open window caused some physical chaos and loose cords.  Steps have been taken to mitigate the probability of this occurring again (at least in the same way).

Apologies to those who attempted to listen in.

July 28, 2023 07:52 Pacific - This Weekend on Artisan Radio CommentI

I've been remiss about posting to the blog for a few weeks, spending most of my time over at Part15.org.  Posting is starting to pick up over there, but it remains to be seen if it will achieve its previous glory.

We've got some interesting shows this weekend, in addition to our regular mix of Billboard Hits and Misses, Vintage Jazz, New Wave and VOA newscasts.

These shows are repeats from the week, and on both Saturdays and Sundays.

July 5, 2023 07:52 Pacific - Little Tech CommentI

Companies such as Meta and Google are often referred to as Big Tech.  But their actions in attempting to hold Canada hostage with news is strictly Little Tech.  Children having tantrums.

Canada has recently passed a law, known as Bill C-18, forcing companies that profit off of Canadian journalism (namely the two I've mentioned) to pay royalties to said companies.  They have responded by threatening to cut off Canadian news to Canadian users.  In some cases, it's already started.

These companies don't just merely provide links to Canadian news.  They basically rip off the content (breaking Canadian copyright laws), while taking the lions share of the advertising revenue (somewhere around 12-15 BILLION dollars per year).  Without this content, they would not have products such as Google News.  Since they don't seem inclined to share this revenue, the bill forces them to do so, to the tune of approximately 300 MILLION dollars per year, about 3% of their Canadian revenue.

So they're having a hissy fit.

While the bill specifically targets these two companies, as they take the lions share of the market, I would imagine that it would eventually cover all tech companies attempting to profit from other people's work.

Blocking links to content seems particularly draconian in this day and age.  But this is really the precursor to the real battle.  Australia attempted to do a similar thing a little while ago, and reached an agreement with the tech companies.  More battles are on the horizon.  These companies are attempting to draw a line in the sand and fend off what they see as a major challenge to their ripping off.

I really hope that Canada stands firm on this.  No companies, no matter how large, should be allowed to do this.  It's one thing to post a link (never mind a biased link, based on how much money someone is willing to pay for its placement); it's quite another to embed other's content in a commercial product that you make money off of.

In the meantime, there are plenty of ways for Canadians to get their news.  Read a newspaper.  Go directly to the new provider website.  Get their apps.  Listen to the radio (hey, I finally got radio mentioned!).  Even, heaven forbid, watch TV (which I refuse to do).  It might be a little more work for those who believe in the motto 'give me convenience or give me death', which these companies take full advantage of.  You might even find that you get more and better news, not slanted towards what these companies and their advertisers want you to see and hear.

Meta and Google may rue this decision.

June 28, 2023 14:55 Pacific - New Shows CommentI

We're carrying two new shows on Artisan Radio.

The Oompah Hour, also known as the Old Time Oldies Hour, features polka music from primarily the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  It is broadcast Mondays through Fridays at Noon Pacific, 3PM Eastern, with a new show each day.  It's hosted by veteran AM announcer Tim Edwards.

Blare on Air, featuring the insights of radio professional Carl Blare, will be broadcast Saturdays and Sundays at 9PM Pacific, Midnight Eastern.

We're also looking at playing The Low Power Hour, also hosted by Carl Blare, focusing on issues surrounding low power radio broadcasting.  The schedule for that is TBD.

The content just keeps coming...

June 24, 2023 12:06 Pacific - Randy Rainbow CommentI

There's a link to the latest Randy Rainbow video over at the Blare Blog (Randy Rainbow for President - which I would wholeheartedly support) but he missed a few.  This is perhaps his best ever: Donald In The John With Boxes.

And here's another: Grumpy Trumpy Felon from Jamaica in Queens!

The music is great!

June 23, 2023 12:06 Pacific - Lessons to be Learned From The Demise of the ALPB CommentI

While going through the Part15.org site as part of my new role as Admin, I discovered a post from over 5 years ago that I had been forced to unapprove as a Moderator.  It was by the former Chairman, and titled "ALPB Hijacked".  The events that led up to that post were tortuous, and the ending resulted in most people leaving the ALPB, including the then Moderators.  It's a lesson in how not to run a group, and a Forum, and it deserves to be reviewed every once in a while.

It all started well before that unapproved post, when one day, people attempting to access the ALPB Forum were met with an error message that it was in maintenance mode.  I was then a Moderator on that Forum as well, along with others, and at first, attempts at contacting the Chairman were futile.  After a few days, it was determined that the Chairman had quit summarily, put the Forum in maintenance mode and walked away.  It was stated that he did not want his name associated with some of the posts on the Forum, and no longer wanted to be involved with the ALPB.

Now, it's pretty obvious that this could have been handled in any number of ways, and possibly the worst possible way was chosen.  The Chairman was willing to give the 'keys to the kingdom' to someone else, and he wanted that someone else to be me.  I really didn't want them, as I had a number of projects on the go at the time.  But in order to 'save' the kingdom, or at least keep it running, I accepted the role of Chairman, with the proviso that the role be temporary, and that an election would be held to determine the next Chairman (per the ALPB charter).

I'll skip over the next months, as all that and more was accomplished.  Once the new Chairman was elected, I also stepped down as Moderator, as did others, new Moderators were appointed, and life went on.  In the meantime, the former Chairman had pretty much disappeared.

However, and you knew there had to be a however, at some point the former Chairman decided to come back.  He took a look at the Forum, decided he didn't like what he saw, and immediately launched ad hominem attacks on a lot of the membership and even the Moderators.  I was included in those attacks, as somehow he still believed I was a Moderator.  After multiple such posts and attacks, one of the real Moderators suspended his account.  I have to admit I would have done so as well.  Complicating the matter was the then Chairman was experiencing serious health difficulties, and was in and out of hospitals, so he could not be contacted for direction.

That was when the former Chairman came over to Part15.org, and made that post.  Such a post was completely inappropriate on the site, and contained ad hominem attacks, so it was unapproved and unpublished.  The poster was warned not to post anything like that again, or further action would be taken.  Directly against those express instructions, he repeated the post the next day, and was suspended.  In doing so, I received the support of the others behind the scenes at Part15.org.

Meanwhile, over at the ALPB Forum, the Chairman resurfaced, went directly against his Moderators (and a good deal of the membership, who agreed with what had been done), and reinstated the former Chairman.  He also publicly chastised the Moderators, and then disappeared again.  Sounds like a soap opera, right?  Well, it's not difficult to guess what happened next.  The Moderators and most of the members left the ALPB and its Forum, and the former Chairman was pretty much a lone voice railing in the dark against what he perceived were his critics.

There's more to the story, but the lesson had been told.  You can't let a single person run amok on a Forum.  As I've stated previously, it takes a lot to build up membership on a Forum, and very little to lose it.  There are always other places to go, where things won't be as tense.  People just don't need to put up with that kind of crap, particularly with what essentially is a hobby.

The new Part15.org may succeed, or it may fail.  I hope the former occurs.  But as long as I'm there, I'll try to keep it a no crap zone.

June 21, 2023 10:36 Pacific - The AM Transmitter Challenge CommentI

The AM Transmitter Challenge, conducted multiple years ago by the group over at Hobbybroadcaster, was a great idea.  Select the most popular Part 15 AM transmitters of the day, and test them under supposedly identical conditions to determine which outputs the signal of greatest field strength.  What could go wrong?

Well, it turns out, quite a lot, although they'll never admit it.  In fact, they continue to trumpet this as a significant achievement to distinguish themselves from what they call "the others" involved with Part 15 broadcasting.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of built-in bias from the start in the Challenge.  First, one of the transmitters chosen was the SSTran AMT5000.  It was receiving excellent reports from users in the field, and theoretically it should have outperformed every transmitter with its Class E final amplifier.  In fact, it was the only transmitter with that kind of amplifier, which set it apart from the others.  There are some caveats with that technology, however, which will be described in more detail below.

Now, the Hobbybroadcaster website has always had a tumultuous relationship with the manufacturer SSTran.  So much so that it's pretty evident that there was and still is personal bias both against the AMT 5000 and the owner of the company.

Secondly, the transmitter was only available as a kit.  The manufacturer declined to provide an assembled test version for the Challenge (understandable, given the treatment they were given on the Hobbybroadcaster site).   All the other transmitters were supplied by either the manufacturer or an official distributor (with the latter, incidently, also being directly involved in the gathering of the Challenge test results, which was a direct conflict of interest).  But, instead of just passing on testing the AMT 5000, an assembled version of unknown quality from a Hobbybroadcaster site member was used.  Scientifically, right there, that disqualifies the Challenge, as everything was certainly not equal.

The AMT 5000 of dubious origin should not have been included in the Challenge, but it was, so let's move on.

Now, the AMT 5000 performed quite poorly against expectations during the testing.  If you assume that the kit had been assembled properly (a big and unknown assumption), then the testers must have and did (from both the report and later postings at Hobbybroadcaster) recognized this.  So what did they do?  It was obvious something was wrong, likely the transmitter was not tuned up correctly (Class E amplifiers are highly dependent on the quality of grounding).  Instead of attempting to find a solution, the results were blindly accepted.  In discussions on the Hobbybroadcaster Forum, the tester admitted that it was likely the transmitter had not been tuned correctly (you can't see these discussions anymore, as the site hides all Forum chatter except for the initial posts of the most recent threads), but he blamed the documentation.

Others that have used the AMT 5000 with success have disputed that conclusion.  But even if the documentation left something to be desired, it should be noted that the Challenge was supposed to be testing the relative quality of the transmitters, not the documentation.  In a real, unbiased, scientific test, you would attempt to ascertain the reason for the unexpected poor performance of this transmitter, fix it if possible and then note everything.  If the documentation is crap, say it, but don't let that stop you from moving forward.  Readers can then form their own conclusions.  That's the scientific method.

There are several potential reasons for the poor performance.  One is that the tuning method described in the AMT 5000 documentation did not apply to the minimal grounding used in the Challenge - in the real world, most would have much better grounding and the instructions could have been correct in that case.  The other possibility is that its unique Class E amplifier just simply required better grounding to work at all.  Another reason not to include the transmitter results in the Challenge.

The bottom line is that the AM Transmitter Challenge was flawed.  For the reasons given, the AMT 5000 should not have been included in the testing, given its kit form and its Class E amplifier.  It should have been tested separately, if at all, with different types of grounds, and it's obvious that the tester was not sufficiently knowledgeable about Class E amplifiers to even consider this (again, given later discussions in the Hobbybroadcaster Forum).  Readers of the Challenge are left with the potentially erroneous conclusion that the AMT 5000 is outperformed by virtually all other transmitters.

It should also be noted that Hobbybroadcaster did conduct a separate 'review' (and I use that term very loosely) of the AMT 5000 at a later date.  In actual fact, it was a regurgitation of the results of the AM Transmitter Challenge, with more personal and biased comments from the author against both the product and the company.  In other words, a hatchet job.

We'll likely never know how well the AMT 5000 can perform, compared to the other transmitters.  The AMT 5000 is no longer available, and the company is not in business.  It's also obvious that special attention needs to be paid attention to the grounding of this transmitter in any testing.

What we do know is that other AMT 5000 users report exceptional performance.  The results of the AM Transmitter Challenge cannot be believed for that particular transmitter, and this cloud calls into question the other results as well.

June 20, 2023 10:00 Pacific - Tempering Expectations CommentI

Just saw a thread over at the MBCF Boards hailing the return of Part15.org.  It was nice to see, even though it's not my go to place, mainly due to some history.

And as I've posted previously, others have reacted in their typical fashion, going on the attack while praising themselves.  But hey, all publicity is good publicity.

I just have to caution that it's going to take a while to return the site to its former glory.  Part15.org was in a slow decline for a long period of time due to neglect.  It takes a lot to gather a dedicated group of users (posters and readers) together in a Forum like that; it takes a lot less to lose them (as others have found out or are finding out to their chagrin).

I commit to working hard on the site (in addition to all the other things that I do, including running this radio station and blog), keeping it up to date and moderated in a common sense fashion (along with my fellow Moderator, Mark).  But it's really up to the Part 15 broadcasting community to determine whether or not it succeeds.  We'll do our part, the rest is up to you.

June 19, 2023 13:29 Pacific - Optical Audio CommentI

While I was over at Hobbybroadcaster looking at their hilarious attempts to distinguish themselves from 'the others', I actually saw a good idea.  Credit where credit is due.

The suggestion was made about the possibilities of using fiber optic cable to feed audio to an AM transmitter, the idea being that no metal wire would be used, and therefore there was no possibility of an unintended radiating long ground wire.

While fiber optic transmission could certainly be used, it would require complicated and expensive transmitters and receivers at each end.  My thought is - why not use inexpensive toslink cable, which can run from 15 to 50 feet (depending on the quality of the cable and other factors)?  You could use relatively inexpensive rca to optical and optical to rca converters at either end to take the input audio and output to the transmitter.  If more than 50 feet (or less, if problems occur) - is required, you can always use something like this, which allows you to extend the wire run (using CAT cable) up to 500 additional feet, while still isolating the transmitter from any metal wire.

This obviously would not be as robust as the fiber optic solution, but it would be a whole lot easier (optical cables and the converters are commonplace) and much less expensive (based on the prices I saw for fiber optic equipment, at any rate).

As the post at Hobbybroadcaster stated, add solar power to an outdoor installation and you would eliminate the problem of unintended radiating long ground leads.

Food for thought.

June 19, 2023 13:16 Pacific - "Blogs Chocked(sic)-Full of Misinformation"? CommentI

From the Hobbybroadcaster mobile splash page (it doesn't show up on the desktop computer page - there Misinformed Blogs is displayed).

I didn't know that this blog was chocked.  Did you?  In fact, chocked means put up on a support, such as a boat.  I don't even own a boat.  The word these guys were looking for was chock.  I'm surprised they didn't use chalk.

Before they start singing their own praises about how great they are, they might want to learn basic English grammar, word meanings (and spelling) - their Forum posts are full of similar mistakes.

And by the time you read this post, they probably will have already read it as well and made the appropriate corrections.  Let's see if they do it right this time.

June 19, 2023 07:54 Pacific - Flattery CommentI

I mentioned in a previous post that Hobbybroadcaster was getting desperate, and created a table on their website that supposedly demonstrated the advantages of them over others (where the others were not identified).

One of the points of comparison was 'Boring Blogs'.  Blogs being plural.  The only regularly updated blogs I'm familiar with are this one, and the Blare Blog, so I imagine they were referring to both.

I have to say I'm flattered.  This blog was created to announce information about our little radio station - new things happening, programming, etc.  Sometimes I give out opinions about various issues in the Part 15 broadcasting world, and occasionally about real life.  To have Hobbybroadcaster somehow consider us a threat is a real badge of honor.  I would imagine that they're really worried about the Blare Blog, as it's been around a lot longer and has more readership.  And as for the newly revitalized Part15.org, they must be going out of their minds.

After a few hiccups, I believe that the aforementioned site is now running smoothly.  Some things always go wrong when changes are made, and these changes were certainly worth it.

June 18, 2023 17:30 Pacific - LOL! CommentI

It seems that one Part 15 Forum is feeling a bit nervous about Part15.org getting renewed attention.

I laughed out loud when I just saw the newly updated over-long (it goes on and on and on...) splash page for Hobbybroadcaster.  Now, no one can say that these guys are modest, or even accommodating (there are at least 3 sections in which they slam everyone else over supposed lack of knowledge surrounding Part 15 broadcasting).

However, they've outdone themselves this time.  At the end of the first section in which they unashamedly blow their own horn, they've added a chart, which 'compares' themselves with other, unnamed Part 15 sites.  According to Hobbybroadcaster, they have the only Forum (decidedly false), they champion new Part 15 gear (my take here is that they seem to champion gear by manufacturers that advertise on their site, they certainly didn't champion SSTran) ... oops, they changed the table just as I'm typing this.  They now admit that others have Forums, but added that these sites also have boring blogs.  Whatever that means.  Anyway, you get the picture.  Obviously the chart is a work in progress.

You have to be really desperate to come up with something like that.

I've never understood the antagonism these guys show towards others participating in Part 15 broadcasting.  They resist the sharing of information.  They've accused others of 'stealing' their ideas, when 99% of their posting activity consists of Google links to internet articles.  What is that?  Creative borrowing?  Part15.org guidelines have always been to use your own, original material.  Yes, Hobbybroadcaster has some broadcast engineers and the like amongst their membership, but so does everyone else.   And the paranoia (and misinformation) surrounding the use of Part 15 FM is just beyond description.  It's easy to say that their site reads like an ego trip for a few people, but they take it beyond that and more.

It would be nice if all the various Part 15 sites could cooperate or at least coexist without animus.  Maybe even seek advice and help from time to time.

I can hope, but I'm not counting on it in the near future.

June 18, 2023 17:00 Pacific - New Part15.org Site Up and Running CommentI

It's up and running.

It's much faster!  A better visual presentation!  New people behind the scenes! More Forums (with still more to come)!

What more could you ask for?

June 18, 2023 08:04 Pacific - Oompah Hour CommentI

The Oompah Hour (also known as the Old Time Oldies Show) is coming to Artisan Radio.

Airing at Noon Pacific Time (3PM Eastern), it features polka (and related) music, direct from vinyl.  The show is hosted by veteran radio announcer Tim Edwards and produced by KEBS out of Bovey, Minnesota.

A great time will be had by all.

June 15, 2023 11:44 Pacific - Joy & Inspiration CommentI

I attended a PRIDE concert last night, with the group Queer as Funk.  The music was great, the audience was even better, and lots of fun was had by all.

I have to say I was really impressed with the target audience.  Here's a group that is marginalized, discriminated against, hated and even had acts of violence regularly committed upon it.  Not just in the U.S. (although it's really bad there, but in Canada as well).  And yet, here they were, just happy to be treated just like everyone else, as human and equals.

Contrary to the rhetoric that is spewed out by the far right in both countries, the book banners and burners, it was mostly youth that was the driving force behind the concert, and its organization (apparently, a local Secondary School).  And youth (all ages) made up a large portion of the audience and the dancers.  Good for them.  They're the future, and I have to say, based on what I saw, it's bright.

If I can capture just a small part of the joy that I witnessed during the concert in Artisan Radio's new (secular) inspirational show, The Search For Intelligent Life On Earth, I'll consider it a success.

There's room for all kinds of love in this world.  It's hate that needs to be eradicated.

June 14, 2023 13:24 Pacific - Part15.org News CommentI

Those that have ventured over to Part15.org will have noticed that the site has been down for maintenance for the past few days, or you may just have gotten errors in attempting to access the site.

There's a reason for that, and I'm so excited that I'm going to let the cat out of the bag a bit.

Part 15.org (formerly Part15.us), the oldest and arguably the true reference site for legal, low power broadcasting is coming back.  It's moving to a new platform, with new players which will invigorate the site and make it bigger and better.

Part15.org (and Part15.us) has always been an open and friendly place for both newcomers to the field, as well as experienced broadcast veterans.  Plus, it was international in scope.  This is unlike other venues which may be literally closed, are often closed-minded, and focused simply on a single country (such as the U.S.).  Members include broadcasting professionals from in front of and behind the microphone, as well as experts in numerous other fields, such as electronics, computers and media.

That's all I'm going to say at present.  Stay tuned for more information as things progress.

June 12, 2023 07:39 Pacific - The Search For Intelligent Life on Earth CommentI

I've been asked for more details about this planned, upcoming show.

First, the name.  I've always been a fan of Monty Python, and particularly like The Galaxy Song, with the ending two lines of the lyrics:

...And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!

Initially, while searching through programming material for the Trump Special (airing this week on Surfin' The New Wave), I was filled with despair for the human race (much like in The Galaxy Song).  However, as I went on, I was impressed by many modern artists and songs (which, admittedly, I was predisposed to not liking at all, being a child of a much earlier era, musically anyway).  There's a feeling of inspiration in some of these that I didn't expect to find.  Even in the so-called 'protest' songs (unlike those of the 1960s and 1970s), there was a positive vibe, i.e., something like 'I reject your hate and fear and prejudice, but I'm going to keep on living my life with compassion, love and hope.'  They preach a simple, humdrum solution to many of the world's ills.  Just live your life the right way, rather than with more hatred and violence.

So that's what this new show will be about, musically speaking.  I certainly feel more positive about the future, knowing that the younger generation is growing up with these messages, and hopefully this show will help spread them, even if only to a select few.

Now we only have to survive the current generation!

June 11, 2023 13:27 Pacific - Artisan Radio - Week of June 12 Comment

We’ve got a great week of programming coming up.

In addition to Billboard Hits and Misses, Vintage Jazz, New Wave Music, Sherlock Holmes OTR, we have the following (at 5PM Monday thru Friday, repeated every other hour on Saturdays and Sundays):

  1. Monday – Wilson Beach Radio.  Power Pop Special. Power pop tracks from Beach Boys/Brian Wilson associates and band members; power pop covers of Beach Boys songs, and power pop influenced by The Beach Boys
  2. Tuesday – Teenage Dreams.  Toronto radio station CHUM Chart 1958 special.  All the songs that made the CHUM Charts, but didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
  3. Wednesday – Beautiful Sounds.  A mix of easy listening, middle-of-the-road, soft rock, now sounds, and beautiful instrumentals. Songs by The Carpenters, Nelson Riddle, James Taylor, Johnny Mathis, and more.
  4. Thursday – Surfin’ The New Wave.  A Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis musical spectacular.  Features songs by Milck and Choir! Choir! Choir!, Rich Aucoin, Chicano Batman, Regina Spektor and lots more.
  5. Friday – Rock Around the Rockpile.  “The UK Hits” special featuring hits by Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Squeeze, The Pretenders, and more.

June 6, 2023 10:16 Pacific - This Week on Artisan Radio Comment

In addition to our regular Billboard hits and misses, vintage jazz and new wave music, we have the following special hosted shows, airing at 5pm (Pacific Time) Monday thru Friday, repeating over the weekend on Saturdays and Sundays (at 9,11,1,3 & 5 respectively, both days).

  1. Monday - Wilson Beach.  An all-1978 show featuring music by The Beach Boys, friends and associates of the group, and covers of Beach Boys songs from that year.

  2. Tuesday - Teenage Dreams.  Teenage-oriented doowop from the 1950s & 1960s - the theme is 'hearts'.

  3. Wednesday - Beautiful Sounds.  A mix of easy listening, middle-of-the-road, soft rock, now sounds, and beautiful instrumentals. Songs by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, Neil Diamond, Art Garfunkel, Percy Faith, John Denver, and more.

  4. Surfin' The New Wave.  The theme is 1980s (and late 1970s) cover songs of 60s pop songs by new wave artists.

  5. Rock Around the Rockpile. Music from Rockpile, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, and friends, including Brinsley Schwarz, Billy Bremner, Carlene Carter, Paul Carrack, Rick Nelson, and more.

Next week we will be airing the Trump musical special (with guest star Ron DeSantis) on Surfin' The New Wave.

We're also working on a new show, titled tentatively The Search For Intelligent Life On Earth, which will feature contemporary alternative and pop music.  The schedule for that TBD.

I was also going to post this on Part15.org, but it appears to be dead.  Although sometimes the splash page comes up, you can't log in or do anything without getting a 502 Gateway error, and it's been that way for some time.  I suspect that the server behind it is down, as a post I put there a while ago (as in weeks) indicates that it's 9 hours old (!?).  I'm going to attempt to get in touch with Jon Paul (the owner) and see what he intends to do with the site.  It would be a shame to lose all that Part 15 history - it was the first (and best) Part 15 Forum, despite claims to the contrary from one other Forum in particular.

If it's just going to disappear, I'd be willing to take it over and move it to reasonable Forum software.  Wordpress just doesn't cut it, in terms of speed and ads.

June 1, 2023 22:13 Pacific - New Surfin' The New Wave Show Comment

In addition to the aforementioned Trump special, I am also working on an LGBTQ Anthem Surfin' The New Wave special.  I'm also looking into doing something similar for Teenage Dreams, which should be fascinating, given the attitudes of the time period involved.  Again, stay tuned for schedule announcements.

June 1, 2023 22:05 Pacific - Correction Comment

I made a mistake in an earlier blog post.  I mistakenly stated that the Canadian BETS FM field strength had been higher in the past, but has now been lowered to match the U.S. Part 15 field strength.

I actually meant RSS210, not BETS.  BETS field strength maximums were and currently are 100uv/m at 30 meters.  RSS210 field strength maximums used to be identical to BETS, but were lowered to match those of Part 15 FM (250uv/m at 3 meters).

It is definitely advantageous to use a BETS-certified FM transmitter in Canada, and there is only one currently available, the Decade MS-100.  The Decade CM-10 is discontinued, but was also BETS certified, and one was just available recently on e-bay (used).  It is basically a reworked CZE Chinese transmitter (with the output amplifier removed), and it is the quality of the Decade MS-100.  It works adequately, although you have to use it on lower frequencies to get the maximum field strength.

May 26, 2023 22:32 Pacific - Surfin' The New Wave Donald Trump Special  Comment

We're just putting the finishing touches on a special Donald Trump episode of Surfin' The New Wave, with special guest (musically speaking) Ron DeSantis.  We've had to leap forward 35 years to do so (Surfin' the New Wave generally deals with the 1980s) but felt it was worth it considering the current political climate in the U.S.

I was a bit leery going into this project, as I'm generally not a fan of modern (anything after 1990) music but I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.  The artists include Moby, Milck, Sloan and Tim Heidecker.  There are even some that are more in my comfort zone, such as Loudon Wainwright III, Tom Paxton and reworked songs by Neil Young and Carole King.

Stay tuned for when the show will air.

May 25, 2023 11:57 Pacific - Correcting the "Undisputed Resource" of Part 15 Broadcasting  Comment

Today, there was a post on the so-called "undisputed resource" for Part 15 broadcasting about transmitters available in Canada.  Unfortunately, it was highly inaccurate, and I thought I'd give out correct information.

First of all, one aspect of Canadian license-free intentional radiators that was totally ignored was the difference between the rules for unlicensed broadcasting (BETS) and everything else (RSS210).

If you are going to enter into a broadcasting endeavour (that's how Industry Canada puts it where your transmissions are intended for the general public), you must follow the BETS rules.  For anything else (i.e., transmissions for your own personal use only, or to cover a specific, bounded, geographic area) you use RSS210.

These two sets of rules differ greatly, depending on whether you use AM and FM.  RSS210 AM is pretty much identical to Part 15 AM in the U.S. (other than ALL transmitters must be Industry Canada certified - kits or homebrew transmitters are not allowed).  But again, you are not supposed to use RSS-210 transmitters for broadcasting.  The only currently manufactured AM transmitter available is the Chez Radio ProCaster, it is RSS210 certified, and there was a case recently where Industry Canada ordered one shut down because it was deemed to be broadcasting.  The Talking Sign transmitter, discontinued, is also RSS210 certified, and sometimes can be picked up used.

There are no BETS-certified AM transmitters in Canada, period.  The rules are also different for BETS AM - there is no 100mw into the final stage/3 meter antenna system rule.  BETS AM uses field strength, and the field strength can be a maximum of 250uv/m at 30 meters.  RSS210 transmitters which are properly installed generate field strengths greatly in excess of that (which is probably why there are no BETS-certified AM transmitters).

Where the "undisputed resource" really went off the rails is its description of FM in Canada.  The only BETS-certified transmitter in Canada is the Decade MS-100 (not even mentioned by them).  All others, and there are more than the Whole House 3 transmitter talked about, are certified under RSS210, and so cannot be used for broadcasting.  These include the Whole Houses 2 & 3, the Broadcastvision AXS-FMT (it's in a bit of grey area, as it has a certification number, but is not in the equipment database), and others whose current manufacturing status is unknown (MYE Entertainment, Cardio Theater, Waio, Canakit) but can be picked up used.  I believe the Panaxis ACC100 is also RSS210 certified, but that could be wrong - I seem to remember that the old model was.

BETS FM uses field strength, much like Part 15 FM in the U.S. and currently the limits are identical.  Another complication is that BETS limits used to be higher, and most of the transmitters were certified under those old limits (100uv/m at 30 meters), including the Decade.  Suffice it to say that using a Decade in Canada under BETS will give you much greater range than using that same Decade (legally) in the U.S.

Concluding, if you're going to transmit to anyone other than yourself in Canada, you should use a BETS-certified transmitter or risk being shut down.  Industry Canada, if they come by, wants to see that certification number.  That leaves you with the choice, at least right now, of either Decade or Decade.

May 8, 2023 16:56 Pacific - This Week on Artisan Radio  Comment

We have some interesting shows in the lineup this week in addition to our regular doses of Billboard hits and misses, jazz, etc.

Wilson Beach Radio (Monday at 5PM, Saturday & Sunday at 9AM) spotlights the year 1974, with songs by the Beach Boys and friends.

Teenage Dreams (Tuesday at 5PM, Saturday & Sunday at 11AM) features dance crazes and songs about dancing from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

101 Below (Wednesday at 5PM, Saturday & Sunday at 1PM) features music from the 1960s that bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100.  This week, proving that even highly successful artists can have misses, there are no fewer than 7 bands and singers from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not including Frank Sinatra (and they don't get any bigger than him).

Surfin' The New Wave (Thursday at 5PM, Saturday & Sunday at 3PM) features live performances of great 1980s studio hits (as well as some obscure records).

The theme of Rock Around the Rockpile (Friday at 5PM, Saturday & Sunday at 5PM) this week is Carlene Carter (the then wife of Rockpile's Nick Lowe) & the Cash Family, including collaborations with Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Johnny Cash.

May 3, 2023 13:18 Pacific - Surfin' The New Wave  Comment

This week, the theme for Surfin' the New Wave is dance music.  New Wave and dance aren't opposites.

Here is the playlist:

  1. David Bowie - Let's Dance (12 Inch Version)

  2. Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus

  3. Adam & the Ants - Goody Two Shoes (Chris Hughes Single Mix)

  4. The Cars - Tonight She Comes

  5. Iggy Pop - Real Wild Child (Extended Mix)

  6. The Eurythmics - Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves (Extended Version)

  7. Duran Duran - The Reflex (Extended Version)

  8. The B-52's - Love Shack (Extended Remix)

  9. Alphaville - Jet Set (Jellybean Mix)

Surfin' The New Wave is played Thursday at 5 P.M., repeated Saturday and Sunday at 3 P.M., all Pacific times.

Addendum: The theme for the next show is 'Live Performances', playlist to follow.

May 3, 2023 13:07 Pacific - Teenage Dreams  Comment

This week's Teenage Dreams is all about Answer Songs.  Answer Songs, popular in the Teenage DooWop period, were sequels, or follow-ons, to popular songs.  They were generally an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the original song.

Here is the playlist (in the format original song, followed by the answer song):

  1. Neil Sedaka - Oh Carol

  2. Carole King - Oh Neil

  3. Dion - Runaround Sue

  4. Linda Laurie - Stay At Home Sue

  5. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight

  6. Dodie Stevens - Yes I'm Lonesome Tonight

  7. Little Peggy March - I Will Follow Him

  8. Ricky Nelson - I Will Follow You

  9. The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack

  10. The Detergents - Leader of the Laundromat

  11. Paul Anka - Lonely Boy

  12. Annette Funicello - Lonely Girl

  13. Ben E King - Stand By Me

  14. Damita Jo - I'll Be There

  15. Johnny Cymbal - Mr. Bass Man

  16. Lou Christie - Mr. Tenor Man

  17. The Shirelles - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

  18. Bertelle Dache - Not Just Tomorrow, But Always

Teenage Dreams is played Tuesday at 5 P.M., repeated Saturday and Sunday at 11 A.M., all Pacific times.

Addendum: The theme for the next show is 'Dance Crazes & Dancing', playlist to follow.

May 3, 2023 11:57 Pacific - AI - The Biggest Fraud of the 21st Century  Comment

It seems that the topic of AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is virtually everywhere.  Increasingly outrageous claims about what it will be able to do in the future are made routinely.

What most people don't realize is that there is no such thing as Artificial Intelligence.  What is referred to as AI is really just yet another way of programmatically solving problems using a computer.  There is no real intelligence behind it, other than that of the programmer.  Heck, we don't even know what our intelligence really is, or how it really works, so how can we then impart intelligence onto a computer?

If you ask one of the so-called Chat GPT's why it came up with a certain answer, and drilled down on it with the right questions, you'd eventually end up with 'that is how it was programmed'.  These apps don't really understand what they're doing or saying, they're programmed to mimic reasonable responses.  In other words, 'baffle them with b***s***'.  There is no sentience.  They will not have 'Eureka' moments where new ideas come into play.  There's nothing behind it, other than the original programmer.

I say, use these things at your own risk.  The danger is not that they will eventually take over the world.  It's that people, who are fundamentally lazy, will take their answers as valid, without doing the necessary fact checking and thought required to solve any problem.

So, don't believe all the hype.  The computer world is famous for its hype.  I could tell you stories...

April 9, 2023 12:34 Pacific - Social Media  Comment

After a brief foray into social media, I'm back here.

I honestly don't understand how people can read the crap on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  It's good for connecting with family, but they force you to read other garbage, and believe me, most of it is garbage.

I'd rather have a blog that few read than be involved in that cesspool.

And on that note, I'll mention that we've changed a few things in our schedule here at Radio Radio.

The overnight Book Readings are gone, at least for now, replaced with alternative & New Wave '70s & 80's music.

Everything Sherlock has moved to 9PM Pacific, replaced with an extra hour of Billboard Hits.

We may do some more tweaking as time goes on, but for now, that's it.

We're working on new Surfin' The New Wave shows, the first being Canadian new wave.  And we're also working on new Teenage Dreams shows, the first theme being 'Lonely'.

We also have a new show in the works - The Vinyl Hour - in which I play 45's and comment in real time.  Should be fun.  Scary, but fun.  We're hoping to have a video feed with the show as well, accessible via the website.  That's the plan, anyway.

March 20, 2023 15:10 Pacific - Teenage Dreams #25  Comment

Currently working on Teenage Dreams #25 (Theme: The Telephone).  Tomorrow, Teenage Dreams #22 will play tomorrow at 5pm Pacific (Theme: Teenagers), repeated on Saturday & Sunday at 11am Pacific.  Teenage Dreams #23 (Theme: Breaking Up) will play the next week, followed by Teenage Dreams #24 (Theme: Colors), and then a remixed repeat from 2012, Teenage Dreams #16 (Theme: Kissing).  #25 will play after all that, towards the end of April.

Teenage Dreams #25 Playlist:
1 Rick Randell-Take My Name & Number
2 Kerry Adams-Telephone Numbers
3 Donna Lewis-Call Him Back
4 The Orlons-Don't Hang Up
5 Paul Anka-Kissin' on the Phone
6 Belmonts-Such a Long Way
7 Shelley Fabares-Ronnie Call Me When You Get a Chance
8 Dante-Ring or Write or Call
9 Brenda Holloway-Operator
10 Chuck Sedacca-Busy
11 Marvellettes-Beechwood 45789
12 Claudine Clark-Telephone Game
13 Leroy Van Dyke-If a Woman Answers
14 Johnny&the Echoettes-I Called You Up

15 Johnny Burnette-I Just Called to Say Goodbye
16 Sherry Ray-Telephone Please Ring
17 Gladys Knight&the Pips-Operator
18 Hollywood Flames-Drop Me a Line
19 Dolly Parton-Busy Signal
20 King Bees-Give Me Your Number
21 Joy Dawn-Hang It Up
22 Johnny Caruso-Telephone Talk
23 Mary Wells-Operator

It should be a great show, with a lot of obscure music, mixed in with some classic hits.

March 19, 2023 18:33 Pacific - Going Live  Comment

The testing for the new Artisan Radio has gone well, with only a few glitches that have been fixed.  So we're going live tomorrow!

To be honest, there won't be much difference between the test mode and live, other than we're repeating the hosted shows at 5pm Pacific, as well as Everything Sherlock.

We have a bit of a dilemma in promoting the station.  We're moving off Facebook and Twitter, due to a general loosening of rules on those sites.  Mastadon, here we come...

March 06, 2023 07:56 Pacific - Test Mode  Comment

Well, we're now running in test mode (since late last night).  There are a few things left to do.  Currently, the news is being manually updated several times a day and that process has to be automated to update on an hourly basis (we're using Voice of America international news, which is in the public domain).  We also have to add more sweepers, and figure out how to intro/promo Artisan Radio on a semi-regular basis.  That may have to be custom recorded.

Our new schedule can be viewed via the Artisan Radio home page.

Any feedback, suggestions and comments are welcome.

If all goes as planned, we should go 'live' Monday, March 13 (after the time change).

March 02, 2023 15:20 Pacific - SOCAN  Comment

Artisan Radio is now licensed by SOCAN.

February 22, 2023 14:38 Pacific - The New Artisan Radio Status  Comment

Things are running along smoothly.

We're in the process of getting SOCAN and Re:Sound licensing set up.  Because we're so small, they don't seem to be in that much of a hurry to get it going, but I'm confident that it will be in place shortly.  I'm not particularly impressed with the customer service of either of these organizations.

A big chunk of our new programming is Billboard Charting Hits - initially it will be all the songs that made the Hot 100 chart, as well as the Bubbling Under chart, from the period 1957 to 1966 ( approximately 8000+ songs).  It should be noted that the Bubbling Under chart only started in 1959.  We will gradually extend that period both at the back and front ends to add at least another 2-3000 songs.

Anyway, that programming is complete.  All audio normalized, silence trimmed, voice tracking added.

We're now starting on Lost Jukebox, which compromises the bulk of the remainder of music programming.  This consists of songs that didn't chart at all, for the period 1964-1973 (currently around 7000 songs, with more to gradually be added after launch).

Still up in the air are the hosted shows.  There will be some new shows (one that I'm particularly excited about is Wilson Beach Radio, which consists of everything Beach Boys related and hosted by noted Beach Boys expert, Jeff Bleiel) as well as some returning shows (such as Teenage Dreams - I already have 2 completed with another well underway).  More on those and how they'll be scheduled later.

February 12, 2023 07:49 Pacific - Changes Comment

There are big changes coming to Artisan Radio over the next few weeks and months.

We plan on obtaining a SOCAN license here in Canada so we can once again stream (and broadcast) copyrighted music.   We are also going to obtain a Re:Sound license, that will cover copyrighted musical performances.

Our content will also be changing to a mixture of music and spoken word.   A summary of some of the changes is below:

- All Hot 100 Billboard charting songs for the 1960s.  We might also do something with CHUM charts, but that's still up in the air.

- New 101 Below shows, featuring the songs that bubbled under the Billboard charts (i.e., they did not make it to #100 or above), for the 1960s.  We're hoping to get the original show host back.

- Vintage jazz, from the 1930s, 1940s & the early 1950s

- Vintage opera and classical recordings

- Short book readings (approximately 60 minutes) that are in the public domain.  We'll likely focus on mystery and detective stories, such as Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin, Max Carrados, Father Brown and others

- New Teenage Dreams shows, featuring teenage-oriented music from the late 1950s and early 1960s, hosted by yours truly

All that, and more.  Things are still in flux.

This blog will continue, but focus primarily on our content and station news.

Our Facebook page has been resurrected (well, it never really got off the ground, but we'll start copying the blog content there as well).

It's our intention to also put shows such as Teenage Dreams, the new 101 Below, etc. up on a service such as MixCloud, which will make them available to audiences world wide.  The service that we choose must take care of copyright issues outside of Canada, as that's not something that we want to tackle (it requires yet another type of copyright license), at least right now.

Of course, our over the air service will continue on FM, broadcasting under BETS-1 rules for Canada.

Look for our updated schedule, coming out shortly.

Note: This post has been edited to reflect the fact that we've decided to also get a Re:Sound license - it is relatively inexpensive for non commercial stations.

February 12, 2023 07:38 Pacific - Teenage Dreams #22 Comment

Here is the playlist from the upcoming Teenage Dreams show.

1. Eddie Stevens - Teen-Age Bachelor

2. Linda Sampson (Linda Scott) - In-Between Teen

3.  Tommy Lane - Teenager's Lament

4.  Jimmy Jordan - Teenage Tears

5. Reparata & the Delrons - Whenever a Teenager Cries

6. The Dellwoods - She's a Serious Teenager in Love

7. Lefty Frizzel - Heaven's Plan

8. Karen Lake - When I'm Not Teenage Any More

9. Dave Flanery - Teenager's Dream

10. Sam Cooke - Teenage Sonata

11. Jan Sanders - Teenagers Three

12. Dion - Lonely Teenager

13. Linda Carr & the Impossibles - Happy Teenager

14. The Bobbettes - The Teenage Talk

15. Barry Mann - Teenage Has Been

16. Chris Crosby - Teenage Dream

17. Dean Christie - Teenage Jezebel

18. Garry Mills - Top Teen Baby

19. Woody Thorne - Teenagers in Love

20. Tracey Dey - Teenage Cleopatra

21. Tom & Jerry (Simon & Garfunkel) - Two Teenagers

22. Roger Douglas - Teenagers Forever

As you can probably ascertain, the theme of the show is teenagers.

We're still gathering the necessary equipment to properly record the commentary for the show.  Look to this space for more updates as to the timing of the drop, and schedule.