Country Music on the Frequencies of Radio Herford.

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Country Music from outer space

Not really a programme, but a full radio station is UpCountry, the Country music offering of the satellite system Worldspace. Here you get 24 hours a day of mostly current American country music.

To receive this station you need a special radio for the Worldspace satellite system. The approximately saucer-size antenna is part of the receiver package and fully sufficient for reception in Germany. Even reception through the window pane works without problems. However, this system is completely incompatible with that used for satellite television and therefore antennas and receivers for the Astra- or Eutelsat systems can not be used.


unfortunately in the meantime a subscription is needed for this station. For US$ 9.95 a month one not only gets a Country music station, but also a number of music programmes mirroring the American radio formats (eg. pop, rock, oldies, r&b, classical), but without commercials and speech programmes like the BBC World Service, the American National Public Radio or the financial news station Bloomberg Radio from New York, the TV sound of CNN and Fox News, plus programmes specifically targeting African or Asian listeners.

In Germany about 40 radio programmes can be heard without problems, most of which are encrypted.

UpCountry's programmes closely mirror that of commercial, US-American Country music radio stations. So, there is a lot of music from the Charts, some recurrents (back to the nineties) and even fewer oldies (back to about the seventies). For the fans of older Country music or Bluegrass there are speciality programs in the evenings and during the weekend. There are only scant announcements except in some speciality programmes. And there are no commercials or hourly newscasts.

Due to the compact size of the Worldspace radios can be set up everywhere as long as there is a »clear view« of the satellite; in Germany that is in a roughly southerly direction and an elevation of 30 degrees. Reception in moving vehicles is possible in principle, as long as the satellite is »visible« to the antenna. But due to the low elevation in our area this is not true in proximity to houses or trees. Since the signal disappears completely in such cases, and it has to be reacquired by the receiver's electronics, reception is interrupted by relatively long breaks. So, mobile reception is not very enjoyable. But the Worldspace operators plan to expand this system to cover Europe and then reception in moving vehicles will definitely be possible.

Everyone has to decide for himself whether this offering justifies the cost for a receiver plus subscription. For US 9.95 one gets much more music than on CDs of the same purchase price. And one does not even have to put on the CDs oneself!


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