Thursday, February 07, 2008

Is There a New Radio Station in Town?

I am a great fan of Reshet Gimmel (Radio Three), one of the Voice of Israel’s principal radio stations. Ten years ago, it switched its format to all Hebrew music, all the time. Though this may date me, I admit to preferring the older style of Hebrew songs, the “beautiful Land of Israel” songs as they are known here. Reshet Gimmel plays them from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. on weekday mornings and at many other times during the week, particularly Friday afternoons.

My clock-radio alarm is set to Reshet Gimmel, and until recently I woke up to the 6:00 a.m. news followed by my favorite Hebrew music. But several days ago, I started hearing something strange that didn’t sound like Reshet Gimmel at all. When I listened more closely, I realized that it was a place-holder for an incipient station. Reshet Gimmel is located at 97.8 FM in this part of Israel, and this brief, repeating broadcast, a bizarre pastiche of historical and contemporary sound clips, ominous-sounding bass music, frequency identification and exhortations to “Get ready,” was coming from 97.7 and bleeding into Reshet Gimmel’s frequency—at least when I had the antenna pointed in a certain direction.

I have no idea what this could be, where it comes from, who is behind it or whether it is even legal. I found it fascinating at first, until the repeat broadcasts of “Get ready!” got old.

I’ll keep listening periodically, though. I always did like unusual radio, and this weird ad has piqued my curiosity.

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