Tag Archives: Radio Australia

How to voice support for the restoration of ABC Shortwave

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who’ve shared a post from Change.org outlining how to voice support for the restoration of ABC’s shortwave service.

No doubt, emails and letters from those living in Australia will have the most impact.

Click here to read the details on Change.org. Committee Secretariat contact information can be found below.

(Source: Australian Government)

The Bill would require the ABC to restore its shortwave transmission services, following the announcement by the ABC in December 2016 that it would end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Restoring Shortwave Radio) Bill 2017

On 16 February 2017, the Senate referred the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Restoring Shortwave Radio) Bill 2017 to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 10 May 2017.

The bill seeks to restore shortwave transmission services to the Northern Territory and international audiences.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary

Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3526
Fax: +61 2 6277 5818
ec.sen@aph.gov.au

Michelle Guthrie: ABC cut shortwave to operate within “funding envelop”

(Source: The Guardian via Phil Brennan)

The ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told Senate estimates she believes it is not her job to lobby government for more funding for the broadcaster but to work within the budget she is given.

Under questioning at a fiery Senate estimates committee, Guthrie revealed she saw her role as a manager rather than an advocate for more funding, a marked difference from her predecessor Mark Scott who was a consistent lobbyist for additional funding and critic of government cuts.

“On my second day in the job I was handed down the triennial funding in the May budget and as far as I’m concerned we operate within that three-year funding envelope,” Guthrie said.

Asked repeatedly if she believed it was her role to seek more funding to fulfil the ABC’s charter she said no because her focus was on providing content and operating efficiently.

[…]“I think what you’re asking is reasonably hypothetical. We are operating within the government’s funding envelope and making decisions on audience behaviour and technological advancement.”

She also refused to concede that anyone other than the 15 people who called the ABC to complain, or the 51 who gave submissions to a Senate committee, had been affected by the decision to scrap the shortwave radio service.

She appeared before a Senate estimates committee on Tuesday, answering questions about the decision to end the broadcasting of local radio through shortwave channels in the Northern Territory and Pacific region. The decision was been widely criticised, including by all major parties.

Guthrie was unable to provide evidence of prior consultation on the decision and claimed the ABC was not the official emergency broadcaster.

Asked by Greens senator Scott Ludlam about the “extraordinary cuts” to Radio National features, religion and music, Guthrie dismissed his premise, saying: “I wouldn’t characterise taking three music programs away from RN as an extraordinary decision.”[…]

Read the full article at The Guardian online…

ABC Shortwave Service: Timeframe for Xenophon’s bill to travel through readings

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares the following comment regarding the timeline for Nick Xenophon’s bill to reinstate ABC shortwave services:

Don’t hold your breath on it coming back soon, if indeed it does. Here is the link to the bill:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=s1055

The proposed amendment to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 states:

(1) The Corporation must maintain 3 domestic shortwave radio transmission services for the Northern Territory which:

(a) cover the same areas of the Northern Territory as the Corporation’s shortwave radio transmission services covered on 30 January 2017; and
(b) broadcast the proximate local radio service.

(2) The Corporation must maintain an international shortwave radio transmission service for Papua New Guinea and parts of the Pacific which:

(a) uses at least 3 transmitters; and
(b) broadcasts the Corporation’s international service; and
(c) broadcasts programs in languages appropriate for the countries to which they are broadcast.

The bill has had second reading in the Senate and has now been referred to committee (Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee). Their report is due on 10 May 2017!

If it successfully passes the committee stage, it then has third reading in the Senate after which it goes to the House of Representatives and so on.

A long process.

Many thanks, Richard. I suppose the upshot of this is it will give Australians plenty of time to persistently urge their representatives to support the bill.

For it to gain traction, Australian listeners must speak out now!

Xenophon introduces bill which would force ABC to bring back shortwave broadcasts

(Source: Shepparton News)

The shortwave broadcast station which beamed Radio Australia to the Pacific from Shepparton could be coming back online.

Senator Nick Xenophon (Source: Twitter)

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon earlier this week introduced a bill to parliament, which if passed would force the ABC to bring back shortwave broadcasts.

[…]Senator Xenophon criticised the decision, which was made by ABC management and not the Federal Government, labelling it shortsighted.

‘‘The response to the shortwave cut-off demonstrates the woeful inadequacy of the ABC’s consultation process,’’ Senator Xenophon said.

‘‘Not only have we heard from many rural Australians concerned about the decision, our near neighbours such as Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have also voiced serious concerns.’’

[…]‘‘The cost-cutting decision will save $1.9million a year — a tiny fraction of the ABC’s $1billion-plus annual budget,’’ he said.[…]

Read the full story at the Shepparton News.

Guest Post: Radio Australia, and a sea story

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Harper (AE5X), who is kindly allowing me to re-post the following article originally published on his excellent blog:


Radio Australia, and a sea story

by John (AE5X)

From London Shortwave: “It’s official: Radio Australia are no longer on shortwave…”

Four submariners on a surface ship (1989-1990)

Nine of my 10 years in the Navy were spent in the Submarine Service – the other year was spent aboard a research ship operating between Perth, Australia and Singapore. Our mission was to make detailed contour charts of the sea floor in that area using precision fathometers and new-at-the-time GPS.

The detailed charts allow US submarines to get navigational fixes by correlating their soundings with the data we had collected without having to come to periscope depth for a satellite fix, thus the need for a small contingent of submariners on a surface ship. Gathering this data required the ship to stay at sea 28 days at a time, going back and forth in straight lines across the eastern Indian Ocean. At the end of those 28 days we would pull in to either Fremantle or Singapore for a week, then out again.

We enjoyed the sunlight, fresh air and the presence of civilian women onboard (oh, the stories I could tell if this weren’t a family-friendly blog!) but what we missed – and missed greatly – was news from the world. Big things were happening at a fast pace in those days as the Iron Curtain began to crumble and we knew nothing of it for long, event-filled month-long chunks.

There is a huge psychological disconnect that comes with being isolated from the world for a month at a time. We starved for news and any kind of connection to the outside world so, during a port call to Singapore, I bought a Philips D2999 shortwave receiver. It was small enough for shipboard life, ran on AC or batteries and even had a BFO for occasionally listening to hams.

After having it for a few days and mentioning to the other crewmembers various things that were happening around the world, their interest grew and I eventually moved the radio from my stateroom to a common breakroom so that anyone could listen whenever they wanted. For a while we even had a printout of news events – a one-page daily newspaper – that we posted in various locations throughout the ship. Many of us were glued to the radio during the week of events in December 1989 that culminated in the Christmas Day execution of Romanian President Nicolae Ceau?escu.

Some of that news came from the VOA, some from the BBC and even from Radio Moscow. All had good signals into the Indian Ocean area at times. But regardless of time of day or ionospheric conditions, Radio Australia was always there, like a beacon – reliable, dependable and with great fidelity due to no selective fading. It was our primarily source of news.

Frequencies of many stations and the best times to hear them were posted near the radio but everyone knew our two main frequencies for Radio Australia without having to look it up. We listened to Radio Australia so much that the announcers eventually lost their accents.

The beauty and utility of shortwave was introduced to people who otherwise would have had no interest in it. Thanks mainly to Radio Australia, we not only knew what was going on in the world, more importantly, we felt more a part of it and less isolated than we had been before.

The end of Radio Australia and so many other shortwave stations marks the end of an exciting era. What an amazing thing it was, in a pre-internet world, to be able to get information on the high seas, thousands of miles from land.

Farewell, Radio Australia and thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.


And thank you, John, for sharing your memories with us!

Post Readers: I encourage you to bookmark John’s brilliant ham radio blog!

Do you have any memorable Radio Australia moments?  Please comment!