Radio Outbackistan: “the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia”–?

Cartoonist George Aldridge’s take on Radio Outbackistan. (Photo Source: ABC Rural)

(Source: ABC Rural via London Shortwave)

Could Radio Outbackistan be the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia?

In response to the ABC abolishing its HF shortwave radio service, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) president has turned to humour to propose his own broadcast alternative.

On Friday, in front of hundreds of cattle producers, Tom Stockwell addressed the association’s annual conference on the status of the beef industry, listing challenges, opportunities and grievances.

While the Bureau of Meteorology’s decision to remove the Tennant Creek weather radar and the National Broadband Network’s restrictions on download quotas for remote users were both highlighted, it was the loss of shortwave radio that Mr Stockwell took most issue with.

The NTCA has been heavily critical of the ABC for making the decision, which was made to allow for the reinvestment of funds into digital services.

Inspired by the band Roadtrippers, Mr Stockwell joked about his desire for a new broadcaster called Radio Outbackistan to fill a regional communications void.][…]

Continue reading at ABC Rural online.

Thanks for sharing London Shortwave.  That gave me a much needed chuckle!

5 thoughts on “Radio Outbackistan: “the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia”–?

  1. Jay

    I am surprised there is no direct satellite broadcasting as is done here digitally without need for large or directional antennas? Obviously this would be an alternative to use just ONE of the streams available from geo orbit. Sirius used it for years and still others deploy it.

    Reply
    1. zhongfanyang

      I don’t know how much it will cost to put the stream to the geo-satellite like Sirius. Can it be done within $1.9 million a year ( this is the number they claim will save in return ) , free to air and cyclone proof ?

      Reply
  2. RonF

    There’s direct sat broadcasting (the VAST service) here, but it’s KU band (~12GHz) so higher attenuation/lower signal level, etc. than the S band used for Sirius (~2.3GHz). In practice, a 60cm dish pointed at the relevant sat is the minimum for even semi-reliable reception (though I understand

    Apart from that, there’s a bunch of market-related reasons why something like Sirius isn’t really practical or possible, including:
    1) Small potential market size – the country is ~ the same size as the continental US, with a total population less than Texas.
    2) About 90% of that population lives in cities or towns which are big enough to have not only national broadcaster (ABC & SBS) radio, but several commercial local &/or network stations. Most of the remaining 10% live in smaller towns which also have ABC radio MW coverage.
    3) The remaining few % of the population live scattered over maybe 80% of the land area. They were the ones reliant on RA & the ABC NT SW services. They mostly have “radio” & TV via VAST – but that’s only good for fixed location reception.
    4) The media market here is ^%$#ed in ways beyond belief that’d take far to long to explain here. Suffice to say that the commercial media and the government (regardless of who is in power) are simultaneously hostile to each other and in each others’ pockets, and both are hostile to the ABC & any expansion of services by outsiders (unless they can leverage it for their benefit – c.f. Commercial Radio Australia wanting the ABC to expand their DAB+ services so they can piggyback on their infrastructure).
    5) Because of that, they will not stand for anything that might reduce their market share in the 90+% of the population they already cover – like, for example, a satellite radio system – and will do everything in their power to take down any government that dares allow it. Even VAST is heavily regulated – you are not supposed to have it unless you live in an area with no commercial or ABC reception.
    6) So we’re left with an unserved potential market that is minuscule & uneconomic to serve, an ABC that is underfunded (& politically stacked) so it can’t serve them, and a commercial media who will cry bloody murder & campaign relentlessly against _anything_ which may compete with them.

    And that’s just the tip of a very large, very deep, and very dirty iceberg…

    Reply
    1. RonF

      (Sorry, that first paragraph should’ve finished with “(though I understand a system using an electronically-steered flat-panel antenna is being investigated for mobile VAST radio reception).”)

      Reply
    2. Jason

      That’s a great analysis Ron. I am one of the 90% that live in city and agree with you on all points.

      What this situation needs is a pirate operating out of Indonesia or PNG who can broadcast either AM or DRM SW into the NT basically just rebroadcasting the online streams.

      Unfortunately the electricity costs (and the ACMA who would swiftly act to shut it down if called upon by the ABC/Government) are a big deterrent to anyone doing it here.

      Hopefully Nick X is successful with his bill.

      I’m sure the farmers don’t want to listen to China Radio International and The Overcomer Ministry all day long.

      Radio NZ whilst having good content, angles it’s antennas to cover the pacific islands, not central Australia. It also provides no local Australian content.

      The couple of ABC MW stations in the territory are woefully inadequate, under powered and on higher frequencies not conducive to daytime DX (and of course good luck receiving anything FM)

      Reply

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