Tag Archives: Radio Australia

ABC Friends: “Plea For Urgent Ministerial Action” to retain NT service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Brennan, who shares the following press release from ABC Friends.

ABC Friends represents the community’s interest in independent national public broadcasting:

MEDIA RELEASE
5/1/2017

NEW THREAT TO LIVES IN OUTBACK
PLEA FOR URGENT MINISTERIAL ACTION

An urgent call for ministerial action to protect short wave services in Northern and Central Australia has been made by ABC Friends National.

“It is the responsibility of both the Minister for Communications Senator Fifield and the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to respond to this very real need with urgency,’” said ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds today.

ABC Friends National sent a letter in December to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, urging him to intervene so as to guarantee the ABC had sufficient funding to maintain the short wave service – which is so essential in rural and remote areas.

“Furthermore a number of Pacific Island states also rely on this service especially in the current cyclone season,” Margaret Reynolds said, “Pacific leaders have expressed concern about a loss of this service.”

”It is unacceptable to simply blame the ABC when government funding has been reduced so severely in recent years.”

“The ABC cannot provide adequate communication services for all Australians in isolated regions as well as support our Pacific neighbours if it is constantly facing funding cutbacks.”

“The Australian Government must accept that, ultimately, short wave services can provide early warning and be an important preventative disaster measure,” she said.

Further Information:

Margaret Reynolds
National President ABC Friends

ABC will stand by decision to axe NT shortwave service

(Source: ABC News via Trevor R)

The ABC has defended the axing of its Northern Territory’s long-distance radio service, despite calls from federal representatives to reverse the decision.

This month the broadcaster announced its HF shortwave radio transmitters at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Roe Creek (Alice Springs) would be switched off on January 31, ceasing ABC Radio coverage across the long distance radio transmission platform.

The decision has attracted criticism from cattle station owners, Indigenous ranger groups and fishermen, who argue it was done without community consultation and would deprive people in remote areas of vital emergency warnings.

On Monday Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Lingiari MP Warren Snowdon met with ABC management in a bid to have the decision reversed.

“The result of that meeting is that they still stand by that decision. We did find the meeting quite disappointing really,” Senator McCarthy told 105.7 ABC Darwin on Monday.

“There really hasn’t been any decency in terms of respect and consideration for the usage of shortwave, which has been a vital service and is a vital service across the Northern Territory.

Cutting NT shortwave service saves $1.2m

On Tuesday ABC spokesman Ian Mannix told 105.7 ABC Darwin the decision to axe shortwave services “will only affect a very, very small amount of people”.

However, he conceded a formal survey had not been done about how many people would be impacted.[…]

It costs $1.2 million to run the shortwave service, which Mr Mannix said would now be reinvested in the ABC’s expansion of its digital radio services in Darwin and Hobart.

ABC unlikely to reinvest in expanded AM service

Listeners to 105.7 ABC Darwin said Mr Mannix underestimated the remote realities of the Territory, a place six times the size of Britain with a population of 240,000.

“There’s about 150 boats in the cyclone season across the Top End of Australia. Every one of those is listening to shortwave,” a North East Arnhem-based fisherman said.

“The local radio is much more comprehensive than what BOM does.”

Mark Crocombe from the Thamarrurr Rangers in Wadeye has previously said his group’s VAST service did not work during cloudy weather, especially during monsoons and cyclones.

He said he had previously found out about cyclone warnings through the ABC shortwave radio, without which he would have had no notice.

On Tuesday Mr Crocombe added that apart from his ongoing emergency weather concerns, the decision would also further isolate people working remotely out bush.

“We’ve used shortwave to listen to the Olympic Games, the AFL grand final, rugby union World Cup. We’ve listened to it all on shortwave.”[…]

Click here to read full article at ABC News.

This is a reasonably in-depth article and I would encourage you to read it in its entirety at the ABC News website.

PINA calls for ABC to review closure of shortwave service

(Source: Pasifik via SWLing Post contributor Trevor R)

[The] Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) is concerned with the decision of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to shut down its Shortwave Radio Services to the Pacific by the end of January next year.

PINA joins the growing voices opposed to the ABC’s plan to close this ‘valuable and vital source of information’ to people and communities in the Pacific that have relied on Radio Australia for almost eight decades.

More so now with most Pacific Island Countries in the middle of their cyclone season, said PINA President Moses Stevens, who laments the impact of the service will have on the peoples in the Pacific who rely on the service after it is closed in January.

“PINA is concerned because it would mean the end of an era in regional broadcasting and a service that Pacific people have been reliant on for news, information and entertainment for over many years to date,” he said.

“Given the geographical landscape of the Pacific region, radio is still the most effective and efficient means of communication and source for information.

“The fact that most islands in the region are under resourced with regards to sustaining their broadcast stations, most of our people rely on Radio Australia and Radio New Zealand to acquire news and information, including cyclone warnings.”

Mr Stevens said for almost 80 years, Radio Australia’s Shortwave Service has been the lifeline for many rural communities in the Pacific who rely on it for vital emergency service information.

Continue reading the full article on the Pasifik news site….

Labor MPs want to protect ABC Northern Territory shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ian P, who comments with this link to an article in News.com.au:

Shortwave radio cuts risk NT lives: Labor

Two federal Labor MPs have demanded the national broadcaster reverse a decision to switch off its radio shortwave service in the Northern Territory, which they say could be life threatening.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon have expressed “deep disappointment” about the ABC’s plan to cut the transmitters from the end of January.

They insist it is a crucial platform which allows listeners in indigenous communities, pastoral stations and other remote areas to access radio during emergencies.

“In times of natural disaster – such as flood, cyclones or fire – it can quite literally mean the difference between life and death,” they said in a joint statement on Monday.

“ABC management must stop treating Territorians in remote areas like second-class citizens.”

The ABC will still broadcast via FM and AM frequencies, the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service and online.

“To claim VAST satellite and mobile phone technology will fill the gap created is simply not true because these services are not mobile. As we were told today, they are only now trialling mobile antennas,” Ms McCarthy and Mr Snowdon said.

Continue reading at News.com.au…

ABC News: End of shortwave radio service ‘could be life threatening’

(Source: ABC News via Richard Cuff)

An Indigenous ranger group in the Northern Territory says the ABC’s decision to end its shortwave radio service could be life threatening.

The ABC announced this week its three HF shortwave radio transmitters at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Roe Creek (Alice Springs), would be switched off on January 31, 2017.

ABC Radio will continue to broadcast on FM and AM bands, via the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service, streaming online and via the mobile phone application.

Mark Crocombe from the Thamarrurr Rangers, in the remote community of Wadeye, said the rangers spent days and sometimes weeks at a time away in the bush and out on sea patrols.

He said the group relied on the ABC’s shortwave radio for weather reports and emergency information.

“Otherwise you have to call back to the base on the HF radio to ask people [there], but then you can’t listen to the report yourself, you are relying on someone else’s second-hand report,” Mr Crocombe said.

Mr Crocombe said on previous bush trips he had received warnings of cyclones via the ABC’s shortwave service, without which he would not have had any notice.

“Sure, it is expensive to keep the shortwave radio service going, but during cyclones, for the bush camps and people on boats, that is their only way of getting the weather reports,” he said.

“It could be life threatening, if you are out and you don’t know a cyclone is coming.”

Mr Crocombe said the VAST service did not work during cloudy weather, especially during monsoons and cyclones.

[…]

[Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association] President Tom Stockwell, who lives on Sunday Creek Station with no access to AM or FM radio or mobile phone coverage, said the ABC’s decision to focus on digital transmission ignored people in the bush.

“It affects a big area of Australia and it affects those people that are remote from other forms of communication that rely on radio network,” he said.

“The ABC argument that it’s a 100-year-old technology doesn’t stack up. Electricity is 100-years-old — is the ABC going to get rid of electricity as well?” […]

Click here to continue reading an the ABC News website.