A West Dorset view on the Rampisham Radio Transmitting Station closure

Photographer: Nigel Mykura. (Creative Commons)

(Source: Real West Dorset)

RAMPISHAM’S radio transmission station may close before Christmas with the loss of more than 20 jobs, even though it’s currently broadcasting into Libya.

The proposed shutdown of the Dorset site follows the BBC’s decision earlier this year to cut back on World Service shortwave broadcasting and stop it altogether by 2014, even though nearly half of the World Service’s audience (184 million in 2010-11) listens via shortwave.

The BBC says it’s phasing out shortwave because the Foreign Office cut the World Service grant by 16% (£46 million).

The author, Jonathan Hudston points out:

Britain has three major sites broadcasting internationally on shortwave. The others are Woofferton in Shropshire and Skelton in Cumbria. Rampisham broadcasts more hours than they do, is more reliable, and has a wider reach across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. (It’s a little-known fact that the National Grid runs right through the Rampisham site, supplying 60,00 volts. I think it has only ever lost power twice in 70 years. Once was during the Great Storm of 1987, which shows it takes something pretty extreme).

He goes on to ask:

Is it really in the UK’s national interests to dismantle Rampisham and sell its equipment for scrap?

The modern preference is said to be for internet-based services, but Jo Glanville, in a good piece about the World Service in the current edition of the London Review of Books, makes the point that shortwave radio can reach many millions of people in ways that internet-based services cannot.

He has a very good point. As we’ve mentioned numerous times before, shortwave radio crosses borders better than any other medium. It’s hard to block and untraceable.

(Read the Full Article Here)

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6 Responses to A West Dorset view on the Rampisham Radio Transmitting Station closure

  1. Graham Mytton says:

    The story about the closure of the BBC short wave station at Rampisham is correct. But there are two serioius errors of fact in the body of the story. It states “The proposed shutdown of the Dorset site follows the BBC’s decision earlier this year to cut back on World Service shortwave broadcasting and stop it altogether by 2014, even though nearly half of the World Service’s audience (184 million in 2010-11) listens via shortwave.” This is wrong in two respects. Firstly the BBC is not cutting all shortwave by 2014. It acknowledges that shortywave remains vital for many listeners, although I do worry that some of the new managers are rather ignorant about this fact. Secondly, well over half the global audience until the recent cuts relied on shortwave. We don’t yet know how far this proportion has fallen.

  2. Could anyone please advise on the current status of the Rampisham transmitter site (as of mid April 2012)? Are they dismantling it? Have any of the transmission masts, antenna curtains, or buildings gone as yet? My late brother worked there during the 1960s and I would dearly like to take some photos of the site for the family archive… before they dismantle it preferably! It’s a fairly long drive for me – is there anyone fairly local who coluld tell me? To email me please visit:
    http://www.astrocruise.com and scroll down to the Send Email link. Many thanks!

  3. stephen davenport says:

    the place is still the same at the moment but there are plans to make it a solar farm .i pass the station every day will be sad to see it go .

    • Thomas says:

      Hi, Stephen,

      You couldn’t convince them to let you tour the facility and take some photos, could you? :)

      -Thomas

      • stephen davenport says:

        don’t know but could ask one of the the men that worked there as he now works for us. i will ask him tomorrow 9/11/2012 if thats ok with you .
        steve

  4. Gabriel says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about equate. Regards

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