What was World Service beeping at?
November 14, 2007 4:15 PM   Subscribe

What did I hear on BBC World Service last night?

I go to bed listening to Radio 4, which after broadcasts end simulcasts BBC World Service. I woke up in the middle of the night (about 0230 GMT) to hear what sounded like intermittent dialup modem noises coming from my radio. These were definitely being broadcast by World Service as I could tune out and in - but does anyone have any idea what they were? It wasn't the 'pips' for the top of the hour.
posted by xvs22 to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could it have been during 'Digital Planet'? On the listing it says it had a feature on playing a massively multiplayer online games via a dial-up, so it seems pretty likely...

Here's the podcast, if you want to check.
posted by dogsbody at 4:33 PM on November 14, 2007

emergency broadcast service?
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 4:53 PM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: Did it sound like this? It's a SAME header.
posted by bonobo at 5:31 PM on November 14, 2007

No idea what it was, but it woke me up too, and I recorded most of it.

It does indeed sound like the SAME header bonobo links to, but with more tones in-between the modem-sounding stuff.
posted by jack_mo at 3:31 AM on November 18, 2007

(Direct link to the MP3 file, in case anyone has trouble with the Flash player linked above.)
posted by jack_mo at 3:33 AM on November 18, 2007

I've done a bit of asking around and come up with a possible answer.

I made the assumption that you were both listening to the World Service on Radio 4 FM and checked the R4 Record On Transmission (ROT) files for that night. I can't find the tones jack_mo recorded on there anywhere between 1.45 and 3.15am. That suggests that the noises were added somewhere downstream from the studio. I asked one of our studio managers who reckons it sounds like someone doing some tests. I certainly recognise the tone at the beginning of the recording as the tone we use to test lines. He thinks that since it doesn't appear on the ROTs, then the most likely place for it to have been added at the transmitter. Is it possible you were both in the same transmitter area?

Or maybe the extraterrestrials who watch our every move were just so impressed by World Business Report from Kazakstan that they decided to finally make contact.
posted by little apollo at 3:52 PM on November 20, 2007

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