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