Tag Archives: Radio Australia Shortwave Closure

Future of ABC Shortwave Service: Nigel Participates in Senate Committee Hearing

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nigel Holmes–formerly of Radio Australia–for the following update regarding Nick Xenophon’s bill to resume ABC shortwave services:

Last Friday I travelled to Canberra and fronted the Senate Committee hearing testimony on the matter of HF broadcasting & Senator Xenophon’s Bill to compel ABC to resume HF domestically & for RA. I was grilled like a breakfast kipper. It went well.

Another witness was Graeme Dobell, a legendary radio & print journalist who has travelled & worked all over the Pacific region. Graeme has written some good articles on the current subject. See here:

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/abc-gets-wrong-south-pacific-service/ and here

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/smart-stuff-shortwave-south-pacific/

Interestingly another ex-RA journalist & RA senior executive Geoff Heriot wrote a recent piece critical of ABCs degradation of RA specialist programming. See here:

The crowded Pacific: re-considering the sharp edge of broadcasting’s soft power

Thank you, Nigel. We appreciate your updates and are certainly thankful that you have been representing the interests of those who believe in ABC maintaining a presence on shortwave.

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!

RNZ: ‘Thousands’ in Solomon Islands affected by ABC shortwave cut

(Source: Radio New Zealand via London Shortwave)

The ABC ends its short-wave service to the region from 1pm Solomon Islands time and says it will focus on FM and online services.

Ruth Liloqula said people from Choiseul to Malaita and as far south east as Tikopia tuned in to the ABC because the signal was stronger than that of the country’s public broadcaster SIBC.

Ms Liloqula who works with Transparency International says the ABC has been very valuable for the country and a good way to get her message across.

“We are very very mindful of the fact that the SIBC media here is owned by the government. I mean they don’t ask the questions that they need to ask for obvious reasons. I mean we do get asked those tough questions by ABC and that gives us the opportunity to talk about the issues that affect this country.”

Ms Liloqula said after the recent earthquake people in the bush in Choiseul only knew there was no tsunami by listening to the ABC.[…]

Continue reading at Radio New Zealand’s website…

Letter from Australian Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister regarding NT shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,  Phil Brennan, who shares the following letter sent to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister, by Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition:

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

I write in relation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) decision to cease its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory from 31 January 2017.

My letter follows repeated representations from members of my Shadow Ministry, Northern Territory Caucus and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion to secure the continuation of this vital service.

As you know, shortwave radio provides vital news and information services, including local radio and emergency messages that are crucial to those living in remote areas, particularly in time of natural disaster.

The ABC’s claim that the majority of listeners will be able to access ABC services via AM/FM radio, digital radio and online streaming, or via VAST platform does not account for the reality of service availability in remote areas.

This helps to explain why listeners and users of the ABC shortwave in the Northern Territory have been unequivocal in voicing their concern at the Coalition’s failure to intervene in this matter. This includes emergency services workers and cattle growers.

I am also deeply concerned that the ABC took this decision without satisfactory consultation with affected listeners, community representatives and emergency service workers and agencies. ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has since acknowledged shortfalls in this regard.

For these reasons I ask that you work with Labor, ABC management and local stakeholders as a matter of urgency to ensure the continued provision of shortwave radio service in the NT beyond 31 January 2017.

Yours sincerely

Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

26 January 2017

cc: The Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, QC Mr Stephen Jones MP
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Mr Luke Gosling OAM, MP Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Click here to download the original PDF version of this letter.

Letter from former District Manager at Radio Australia Shepparton

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, who shares the following letter by Gary Baker, former district manager at Radio Australia, Shepparton–published in the Shepparton News. Here’s an excerpt:

Recently I heard that the HF radio transmission site at Shepparton, known as Radio Australia, is to be shut down.

[…]I understand the ABC needs to cut back on some services it provides and make use of the latest technology. This makes sense except in the case of the Shepparton facility.The Shepparton transmission site has the capability to direct radio signals into specific countries as we see fit.

This is unique to this site, as no other site can reach the countries this one can.

In my time as district manager at the Shepparton site, I recall some instances where the Shepparton site was called upon to direct radio signals to specific targets.

At one point the Fiji Government shut down the local Australian ABC transmitter.

Shepparton sent radio into that country to keep Australians informed during that time.

When there was a coup in the Solomon Islands, once again we sent signals into that country.

We also sent radio signals into Myanmar at the request of the Australian Government.

Another task that the Shepparton site fulfils is to send signals into northern Australia in times of need, for example during Cyclone Larry when the Northern Territory radio service was beamed back to the tropical north from Shepparton.

The Shepparton site is in a location that has good weather and is politically stable.

This makes it an ideal tool for widespread information broadcasting.

The ABC would argue that this HF radio service is old technology and can be replaced by the internet or satellite services.

This is true.

However, the ABC and the Federal Government do not control the internet or satellite services in other countries and therefore they are not reliable.

HF radio broadcasting from a secure location is very reliable.[…]

Read the full letter at the Shepparton News website.