Radio Australia to end shortwave broadcast service on January 31, 2017


Like many SWLing Post readers, I’m a huge fan of Radio Australia’s service on 9,580 kHz. For ages, listening to their news headlines over shortwave has been a part of my morning routine. I’ve been listening to Radio Australia since I was 8 years old.

I’m going to miss this friend on the shortwaves.

(Source: Australian Broadcast Corporation Press Release)

ABC Exits Shortwave Radio Transmission

The ABC will end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

The move is in line with the national broadcaster’s commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences.

The majority of ABC audiences in the Northern Territory currently access ABC services via AM and FM and all ABC radio and digital radio services are available on the VAST satellite service.

ABC International’s shortwave services currently broadcast to PNG and the Pacific. Savings realised through decommissioning this service will be reinvested in a more robust FM transmitter network and an expanded content offering for the region that will include English and in-language audio content.

Michael Mason, ABC’s Director of Radio said, “While shortwave technology has served audiences well for many decades, it is now nearly a century old and serves a very limited audience. The ABC is seeking efficiencies and will instead service this audience through modern technology”.

The ABC, working alongside SBS, is planning to extend its digital radio services in Darwin and Hobart, and to make permanent its current digital radio trial in Canberra. Extending DAB+ into the nation’s eight capital cities will ensure ABC digital radio services can reach an additional 700,000 people, increasing the overall reach of ABC digital radio to 60% of the Australian population.

ABC Radio is also investigating transmission improvements to address reception gaps in the existing five DAB+ markets. It aims to ensure a resilient DAB+ service in every capital city, with enhanced bitrates and infill where necessary.

“Extending our DAB+ offer will allow audiences in every capital city in Australia equal access to our digital radio offering, as well as representing an ongoing broadcast cost saving owing to lower transmission costs,” added Michael Mason.

ABC International’s Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the reinvestment from closing international shortwave services would maximise the ABC’s broadcast capabilities in the region.

“In considering how best to serve our Pacific regional audiences into the future we will move away from the legacy of shortwave radio distribution,” Ms Marshall said. “An ever-growing number of people in the region now have access to mobile phones with FM receivers and the ABC will redirect funds towards an extended content offering and a robust FM distribution network to better serve audiences into the future.”

Once international shortwave ceases transmission, international listeners can continue to access ABC International services via:

Audiences can access further information via the reception advice line 1300 139 994 or via ABC Local Radio (Darwin & Alice Springs).

For more information
Louise Alley
P: +61 2 8333 2621
[email protected]
(ABC Radio queries)

Nick Leys
p: +61 3 9626 1417
[email protected]
(ABC International queries)

Domestic and International

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51 thoughts on “Radio Australia to end shortwave broadcast service on January 31, 2017

  1. John Wesley

    I just bought a Shortwave Radio, just to listen to Radio Australia.
    The whole fun was picking up stations using a Transceiver.

    This is a sad day!

    Thanks a lot!!

  2. Eric J. Smith

    I consider myself a content listener to Radio Australia but nonetheless the announcement of the termination of the shortwave service still comes as a disappointment. As a listener in the U.S., the service on 9580 KHz (as well as a few other frequencies) has been a regular part of my morning routine for decades. I sort of took it for granted that it would be there after Radio Canada, Voice of Russia, the BBC and other mainstays of the SW spectrum began to terminate the services in the early part of the last decade.

    That said, I certainly get the financial rationale decision. The glory days of shortwave ended with the advent of the internet. The internet is cheaper and listeners such as myself are not considered the “target audience.” It’s still sad, though.

    I’ll get used to listening on the internet but I’ll look sadly at my highly prized IC-R75 as it becomes increasingly unused.

  3. Paul Mitchell

    I only learned about the closure of RA on this weeks Wireless Institute of Australia’s Amateur Radio broadcast. I have tried listening to RA though cannot receive it in my location in south east Australia. I suppose I fit into the old school basket of a 50 something reliving his childhood by the SW radio. I suppose it is like playing LP’s and not CD’s. I enjoy both.

    I enjoy listening to RNZN and CRI. If RNZN were to go off air. I would find that very troubling. I am saddened by the loss of RA and wished I had found out earlier. Would one more signature make a difference? I think Australia has a duty to be a voice in the Pacific.

    At home we have a very poor internet speed at our semi-rural location. With the advent on NBN coming late next year. I do hope that I can (afford it) stream RA via an internet radio. At the moment it is an impossibility with three adult children at home playing online. I suppose that is a nice problem to have.

    I enjoy SW radio because of their varied programs. From light entertainment skits to science program broadcasts. Plus many other topics. I enjoy RNZN’s music selection. I can feel like I am on a subtropical island sipping my favourite drink. Basking in the sunshine and gazing on azure blue waters.

    Good bye RA.

  4. ted

    I listen to ABC because it is on shortwave. If it ceases to be on shortwave, then I will cease to listen. It’t a hobby thing. I can get worldview anywhere on the internet. There’s just something special about hearing a station on shortwave that makes it more riveting and exotic. ABC on the internet is just another internet stream.

    1. Keith Perron

      So your not interested in content. If your really interested in content then delivery method is not important. Something special about hearing it on shortwave? You are aware we are living in 2016 not 1926.

      DXERS are freaks like Star Trek fans.

      1. Dean

        Haha! Again you’re saying this Keith as a guy who

        1. tried to bring The Happy Station Show back on shortwave in what? 2009?
        2. built a shortwave transmitter site in Taiwan in 2013
        3. still to this day pay to broadcast archived RNW shows you’ve produced on shortwave

        I think you may be the one living in 1926. Don’t blame DXers on your business ideas that simply didn’t work. Take responsibility for your own actions otherwise we see you as being somewhat hypocritical!

        By the way, please review this…

      2. Luke Perry

        Keith, it is obvious you have a axe to grind with people on this forum for whatever reason. Frankly, it seems odd that you would waste your time here if we are such freaks as you called us. Yes, some or most of us enjoy listening to far away radio stations. You got a problem with that?

        You come across as somewhat bitter and are taking it out on us who just want to be left alone to enjoy our hobby. I don’t get 50 year old men who follow Star Wars nor do I get the appeal of NASCAR and country music, but I don’t spend my free time on their forums trying to belittle them.

        I will leave it at that since these forums are civil. Evidently you are not content with that?

  5. Phil Brennan

    Just an update folks. Local senators and members of Parliament have hit the media today in support of the service in the NT. Friends of the ABC have taken up the cause nationally and will pursue with management. Here’s hoping we can keep the service.

  6. Colin

    I put a post on my site a month ago about buying some time on WRMI and having a monthly SW show that I would pay out of pocket.

    My site gets 100’s of unique reads a day.

    1 response.

    That pretty much sums it up.

    Party’s over.

    1. Richard Langley

      I don’t think you cast your net far enough in looking for support for your planned show. I for one don’t recall a request asking for messages of support and that the number of messages received will determine whether the project will go ahead or not. Luckily, it looks like the planned return of Media Network will be going ahead and Jonathan Marks has already released a prequel. Remains to be seen if it will be just a podcast or will also take to the airwaves.

  7. Bill Lee, Canberra – ‘Waltzing Mathilda’, suatu lagu rakyat yang khas Australia, membuka siaran radio gelombang pendek (shortwave, SW). Dengan suara khas, penyiar almarhum Azir Bakar membacakan berita dalam bahasa Indonesia.

    Bagi generasi 1970 hingga 1980-an Indonesia yang ingin mengetahui kabar dunia, salah satunya datang dari Radio Australia, ABC. Di masa itu, siaran tersebut sangat digemari.

    Radio Australia tersebut berada dalam payung lembaga Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

    Teknologi radio SW pada saat itu merupakan cara efektif menjangkau para pendengar jarak jauh karena sifat perambatan gelombang radio yang secara alamiah memungkinkan perambatan gelombang jarak jauh. Termasuk di Tanah Air.

    Dikutip dari siaran pers ABC pada Selasa (6/12/2016), lembaga penyiaran milik pemerintah Australia tersebut akan mengakhiri siaran gelombang pendek untuk para pendengar di Northern Territory dan mancanegara, terhitung sejak 31 Januari 2017.

    Keputusan itu sejalan dengan komitmen penyiar nasional tersebut untuk mengurangi teknologi usang sembari mengembangkan sajian konten digital semisal radio digital DAB+, layanan daring dan bergerak, dan juga layanan FM untuk para pendengar internasional.

    Layanan SW oleh ABC International sekarang ini memancar ke Papua Nugini dan kawasan Pasifik. Penghematan dari penghentian layanan ini akan dipakai untuk memperkuat jejaring pemancar FM dengan tambahan sajian isi siaran yang mencakup bahasa Inggris dan konten suara berbahasa setempat.

  8. Troy

    Sad news indeed.

    Yeah, okay – nearly all saw this coming. But I always had hopes that Radio Australia might continue to “fight in their foxhole” to hold the Pacific Basin and prevent China Radio International to essentially be the last major Pacific Broadcaster (sorry RNZ, I cannot reliably catch your signal from my East Coast location). Gee, now I regret sending that email during the “outage”. Maybe I contributed one of those nails to the soon-to-be boarded-up windows.

    I just bought a new shortwave radio … actually two (still waiting on the 2nd). I guess if my 11-12 SW radios were stock, I missed the selling point and the market is crashing.

    I’ll try to listen on 9580 in the mornings as much as possible, but listening that last day might be too hard to say a final good-bye.

  9. Phil Brennan

    Coming from the NT this is very sad news. This year while traveling I have tuned into my local ABC from around the world. A point I made to the former Communications Minister and now prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is that Australia should think carefully before abandoning the Pacific to CRI which only offers highly censored content.

  10. Mike T

    I have to agree with many of the comments here that the demise of ABC/RA International shortwave broadcasting was only a matter of time, particularly after the August “test the waters ” outage. However,it’s all well and good for the ABC to tell their international listeners to simply “tune in” using the new technology of internet streaming, what they fail to tell you is that many of the ABC programs are geo blocked because of content licensing. This is particularly the case of sports programs that are being played in Australia. So that is the end of me listening to the Wallabies play rugby on ABC shortwave. The same thing happened during the Rio Olympics when I attempted to listen to the ABC on my iPhone and was geo blocked as they didn’t have international licensing for the Olympic coverage. The same thing happened with the BBC and their internet streaming site. I’m sorry to say but shortwave broadcasting is coming to an end. But don’t tell me that internet streaming will fill the technology void for international listeners.

    1. Chris Sobieniak

      However,it’s all well and good for the ABC to tell their international listeners to simply “tune in” using the new technology of internet streaming, what they fail to tell you is that many of the ABC programs are geo blocked because of content licensing.

      That can be a pain on all accounts and I’m sure they can’t do anything about it either. The SW broadcasts certainly had that “cut out the middleman” approach.

  11. Cap

    This is very sad but an unfortunate result of progress of the internet and broadcasters delivering their content via other mediums such as Satellite/FM. I don’t know one person who listens to shortwave now who is not a hobbyist (even global business people I know rely on wifi now and don’t book into hotels that don’t have internet access) the days of businessmen dragging a Sony SW1 around with them are long gone. People want to turn on radios/tv etc. and hear/watch without interruption. To make an analogy, slow internet bandwidth connections that buffering, it won’t be long before the viewer/listener will turn off and listening to shortwave is not much different, while the signal is there it is fine but with signal fading or interference, the listener will turn off.
    The recent announcement by the BBC to increase some shortwave output is welcome but English broadcasts are few and far between, for the same reasons as ABC et al.
    Dare I say that we may end up losing some shortwave bands to internet over shortwave services in the future? the very thing that has killed SW broadcasts or are we going to see an increase of free radio/pirate broadcasts to fill the gap of the international broadcasters?
    Keith Perron was spot on with his prediction, but I must say I was a surprised at his post a few months back, saying that, I was even more surprised that any international broadcaster would look down their nose at their listeners, even if they are DXers, they are still listeners. This is mainly budget related but may have also been as a result of ABC seeing larger listening audience through their other broadcast mediums and can now afford to give the two fingers up to DXers/Shortwave Listeners. The shortwave listeners are no longer required to give ABC an indication of their signal to any target area and would have been nice to have acknowledged the shortwave listeners in the press release that have dutifully written in with their reports over the years. The gap in the market will be filled by the likes of CRI.
    I also echo London Shortwave’s comments about those less privileged in societies around the world who rely on broadcasts such as those from ABC via shortwave. What a lot of broadcasters forget about is that countries can block access to their internet broadcasts.

    1. Keith Perron

      I don’t think its looking down their noses at listeners. But SW today is a very hard if not impossible sell. Every year development in new technology moves faster and faster.

      Countries like Cambodia, Burma and others which 5 years ago were awful when it came to the internet have made dramatic leaps. To the point where most have the most modern systems.

      Television went from being mechanical to LED sets in less than 100 years. Cinema went from using film to 4K. Using video tape went to recording digitally. Audio tape went to recording digitally. But as for radio developments in the last 100 years have been very few when you compare it to other content distribution means.

      in 2002 I bought an Ericsson satellite phone, which I used depending on where I was in Southeast Asia. Used it as a phone and a model for laptop. Have not used it since 2009 when things started to change.

      When I started in radio in the 80s I would have to carry a Uher Report 4000 open reel tape recorder. Today I use my phone and iPad for everything. A TV series I doing for Taiwan and China is shot all on GoPro cameras using 4K.

      The only thing that could have saved shortwave was DRM. But it was too slow to get off the ground, because of the lack of receivers. That in all the years of the endless testing other technologies took over. This is very sad because when DRM is engineered correctly it sounds fantastic. But the poor quality radios that have appeared on the market were just awful. It would be like if I take a VW bug engine and put it in my Mercedes.

      In the last few hours I have seen Dxers saying when Radio Netherlands ended shortwave I stopped listening. I laugh when I hear this as the Radio Netherlands mandate was changed and their new mission is to provide training to journalists from certain regions. They no longer produce programs. So I wonder what they would listen to if they did go to the website. Just like with RCI. Radio Canada International no produce a weekly 30 minute program. Which is distributed to partner stations. Also scripts are provided to these stations were the content is produced locally.

      Our newsroom produce daily 3 times a 15 minute program called Focus Asia Pacific for the Pacific. It airs 3 times a day on FM on Caroline Islands, Gilbert Islands Marshall Islands and Nauru. Then in the Western Pacific nations of PNG, Fiji and Vanuatu. Until 2013 we use to send it by satellite, but now it’s by a special IP where the local stations can take line. The 30 minute international edition is distributed on satellite through the World Radio Network. In Cambodia on September 1st, 2014 we launched PCJ Radio Cambodia with two FM transmitters. One in Sangkae, Battambang province and the other in Si Sophon, Banteay Meanchey province. The schedules carry our general programming, but then at certain hours local staff produce local PCJ content. Most of the programs are in English, but we have hours of Khmer, Surin and French.

      Very often too many people will say thing like: With shortwave you can reach millions of listeners. Reaching and who is listening are two different things. If you compare the sale of shortwave radios from the early 90s to now. It’s almost at zero. The two main companies now are Tecsun (Degan and Red Sun) are owned by the same SOE (State Owned Enterprise) as Tecsun. And being a state owned Chinese company even if they didn’t sell anything it would make no difference. Sangean the other use to have nearly 90% of their profits and sales from shortwave radios. In 2015 it was less than 4% and dropping.

      1. Cap

        Still, a thank you to the SW listeners would have been nice in the press release.
        The final broadcast will say that though (won’t it?) and will probably be a bit more stern than the RCI sign off.

  12. DanH

    I listen to shortwave broadcasts for programming content and to enjoy the medium of SW radio. To say that one aspect is more important to me than the other would be a fallacy. As a shortwave broadcast listener and sometimes DXer I enjoy using my shortwave radios. The better the content I hear on SW the longer I listen to an available station. I will also seek out stations primarily for DX gratification: the buzz of hearing seldom encountered and distant stations and maybe catching a new QSL card by mail or email. I heard Radio Sana’a out of Yemen for the first time yesterday morning. Most of the time I enjoy listening to good SW programming on stations that come in reasonably well in my area. The Radio Australia Pacific service is hardly what I would call DX fare here on the US West Coast. Last summer I could hear RA strong on several frequencies for up to eighteen hours a day. I’ll miss that.

    After RA leaves the shortwaves I will be listening to their programming less often. Online Australian newspapers are not hard to find. I don’t own a WIFI radio but I can receive radio and TV streaming by simply using bookmarks on my multimedia desktop or smartphone. I may tune in RA streaming once in a while or if there is interesting news breaking out of the continent. I find MP3 quality streaming audio to be somewhat fatiguing over time, even with a good audio system. Strangely, a static-ridden SW station doesn’t bother me and I enjoy hearing signals fade during their long multi-hop journeys. I was conditioned to enjoy SW at an early age.

    I am not happy to learn that RA will leave SW. But, you can be sure that I’ll be looking for other stations to enjoy on my SW radios, especially during the breakfast hour. BBC relays from SE Asia are likely candidates for me. I have been listening to more Radio New Zealand International than RA this winter, anyway. Their earthquake coverage was great stuff.

    1. DanH

      I can’t provide a certain ID for that dial scale. It looks a lot like the dial scales used on Philco tabletop radios of the 1940’s to me.

  13. London Shortwave

    If the station management are to be believed, estimating listenership on shortwave is apparently a really easy thing to do. And while we are on that subject, I can’t think of anyone else who was supposed to measure things scientifically out in the field being wrong recently. Oh wait…

    I can see a lot of complacency in this decision: depriving people in the less advantaged territories of the ability to receive global broadcasts at no cost results in a less equal world. A good friend of mine from India who went on to become a highly successful academic in the USA attributed his career path to regularly listening to the BBC World Service and Voice of America on shortwave while growing up in a poor neighbourhood. True, India is now much better connected than it was back then, but in how many other regions will shutting down shortwave radio result in lost opportunities for the people there to connect with the rest of the world? We wouldn’t dream of cutting Internet access in poor neighbourhoods in our own countries; shutting down all libraries in less privileged parts of our cities would result in an outcry. It’s sad to see that many governments around the world no longer feel that they have this responsibility beyond their borders.

    1. Chris Sobieniak

      See, you have a point here I feel we all need to remind ourselves. The Haves and Have-Nots continue to widen in ways like this.

  14. Bill Lee

    I will miss The Science Show, (though that is Radio National programming.
    When I was in China in May-July 1989 (TianAnMen Massacre), Radio Australia shortwave was essential in hearing news about China, from China, to China.
    They had the best rolodex of experts and even used the consulates as news sources.
    Compared to the BBC, VoA, Radio Australia was accurate to us on the ground all around China.
    Yes, BBC’s Simon Long was telling fibs divergent from our experience.

    We will miss R. Australia and 9580 booming in across the Pacific. Slim Dusty and Countrytime and The Science show, and All in the Mind.

      1. Chris Sobieniak

        I would think in an emergency where the local power grid was destroyed, a battery operated SW radio would be your only hope.

  15. ShortwaveGuy

    Sigh. . .I know that it is the trend, but at some point, I hope some of these broadcasters re-think these decisions. Thomas, Keith, et. al. . . .what do you think the chances are of private enterprise picking up where governments are leaving off?

    Surely, there are some people who see the benefit of a broadcast medium that still reaches millions of listeners. . .and I’m not just talking about religious organizations when I say “people”.

    Also, is there a list anywhere of broadcasters that we can email and thank them for their service? Perhaps it won’t stop the closures, but at least slow it down. . .

    1. Keith Perron

      That’s not going to happen. Do you remember Global 24 Radio. No way you can can get advertisers.

      Just because you can reach an audience does not mean they are listening. Technology and listening habits have changed.

      If your in government or a in management at a large public network like the ABC. You can not justify a budget to keep something going when you have DXERS who are writing in. Mention the term “radio hobbyist” to anyone at the ABC, BBC, DW, RFI or any large and medium size international broadcaster and see what they say.

      You have those who are now saying they won’t listen to Radio Australia online. Well that shows clearly they are not interested in content. If your really interested in content the distribution platform is not important.

      I haven’t listened to Radio Australia on shortwave for almost 4 years, where I can hear them on 3 frequencies. I listen though my wifi radio, because there are programs I enjoy. Pacific Beat produced by Radio Australia and ABC RN programs PM, The World Today, Correspondents Report and a number of others

      1. ShortwaveGuy

        I get what you are saying. . .I truly do. I am not naive. I recognize that older technology is of little interest to younger listeners. . .This is especially true when they are in management and are bean counters. That said, I don’t know that merely because we are “radio hobbyists” is a reason to dismiss us out of hand.

        As has been shown for years with Nielsen and Arbitron, just because you are a listener, doesn’t automatically mean you will respond to surveys or requests to write in. I watch my local news nightly, but I have never written or called them to let them know I do. Should they stop broadcasting because people don’t call in or write? I think not. That’s not a good business model. Neither is shutting down ABC shortwave service, merely because not enough people wrote in. In my younger years, I made my career in radio broadcasting and I can assure you that not everyone who listens has the willingness to voice their approval or disapproval of what you put on the air. . .they just like to listen.

        There is a misconception by modern media companies that internet is the end-all, be-all. They think that surely we all must have access to the internet around the clock. I’m not even talking about less developed nations where this is clearly not true. I’m talking about those like myself who work full-time jobs or live in places where internet access is forbidden, impractical or expensive. A large majority of the United States and most countries live in rural areas where internet access is either not possible or is prohibitively expensive. What about this large audience?

        As for the statement “If you are really interested in content, the distribution platform is not important”. . .this is a bit more nuanced issue. For example: I would not have any reason to listen to ABC were it not for discovering it on shortwave. Because I did discover it that way, some of their programming now interests me. Will I listen via other venues? Maybe. . .maybe not. See my previous point about internet access vs. cost of the same. Very few mobile providers allow for unlimited internet anymore. If I want to listen to “content” on the go, then I have to be extra-judicious about what I listen to, when and how often, knowing full well that there are other members of my family that also like to use mobile data. This is a non-issue for shortwave listening, and other radio as well. I can grab my Tecsun PL-310ET and listen to my heart’s content. As I write this, I am listening to Roundtable on CRI. . . .no data necessary!

        And then there is the issue of availability of content in this modern age where nearly everything has become monetized. Like this show? Great! Feel free to listen to the first hour at no cost. Want more? Pay up! And people will pay. . .but not the majority. That’s why in the face of the mad dash to stream on the internet, local radio and television stations are still thriving, albeit under fewer owners. There are millions who listen to satellite radio, Spotify and Pandora. . . .multiple millions more, however, who do not.

        And finally, there is the issue of the public face of nations. . . .”The Voice Of (Insert Your Country Here). So much of a country’s culture has been showcased via shortwave broadcasting. I know what I know about countries such as Ecuador, Cuba, Russia, China, Australia, etc. merely because I heard it on shortwave. . .not AM or FM, not satellite or online. . . .shortwave.

        In this post-Snowden era, we know that governments watch and listen to what we are watching and listening. The majority of us that would come to a blog like this listen to broadcasts from other countries because it is part of the experience of shortwave listening. . .the thrill of catching a signal from halfway around the world and learning something about the people from that location as a result. Internet can be blocked and monitored. Shortwave is difficult and expensive to jam and nobody knows what you are listening to.

        My whole point is that there is still a large and viable audience out there for shortwave, even in first world nations. There are millions who don’t care about MP3 players, podcasts and Spotify. . .and they far outnumber those who do. At some point, like vinyl records before it, I believe shortwave will “find it’s voice” again. . .While it will never be what it once was, there will be countries and people with deep pockets that recognize its value and will put quality content for others to enjoy.

        As for me, I will enjoy ABC until it goes away. And then, I will scan the bands again and listen to what I can listen to, be it a nation, a utility, a pirate or a private broadcaster. Like me, shortwave is older and a bit less efficient than it used to be. . .but no less important and it still has something to offer.

        1. Tom Reitzel

          The issue of privacy is an extremely important one. I can’t describe the peace of knowing that some entity isn’t spying on my every move and recording it in a database for “future” use as I tune a simplex radio. Radio including shortwave is simply changing as governments target their victims on common venues such as spynets and spyphones. One day people will realize the importance of losing their privacy. Hopefully, it won’t be too late for THOSE witless masses.

          1. Jason

            It is not that hard to configure a smartphone to avoid any spying, even if you can’t afford a VPN.

            Change your DNS servers (away from your ISP), use a free VPN or shared proxy service (and of course the biggest in the world is TOR).

            Use a privacy focused browser.

            Buy a smartphone that is compatible with custom ROM distributors, and once a custom ROM Is installed won’t “phone home” to google.

            Really, I don’t care who knows that at 12:42pm today I was listening to the ABC. If I was in a country where that is blocked I have tools available for bypassing that. This information is easy to find online.

            In terms of domestic listening, I travel within South Australia and have never been able to hear ABC NT during the daytime. At night it is easy to get, but so are several dozen ABC relay stations on AM.

            I can hear 891 ABC Adelaide from Indonesia easily when i’m on holidays in Bali, even without a outboard loop. Same with ABC in North West WA.

            Ditto the comment about the leaps and bounds made in internet availability. Indonesia and Thailand used to be terrible, now the 4G is great.

          2. Chris Sobieniak

            The real problem in all this is the limited availability of information being place on paid platforms or other venues that require additional fees along the way. An even if VPN/DNS was an option, the average listen isn’t that tech-savvy or it without breaking their system. That’ been my concern in all this, since telco corporations LOVE to keep bandwidth caps on tight.

        2. Phil Jones

          Dont forget the internet can also be switched off. And has been. Shortwave is private, no-one knows you’re listening and that is as you say not what governments want and that is why governments still use it. Short wave really is the cheapest way of reaching a huge chunk of the worlds population as well. Millennials have no ability to understand anything that is not on twit book, face pad or intergram. A recent test discovered only four in ten could replace a light bulb. How can we expect these people to have any respect for things like short wave or even use a shortwave radio.

        3. RF Wolf

          What a beautiful tribute to RA and to shortwave in general. As a radio frequency engineer, I, too, lament the gradual loss of all the shortwave stations I listened to in my younger days. It seems that there is little consideration of situations where shortwave is the only form of communication that remains reliably operational, such as the hurricanes recently in Puerto Rico that destroyed all the internet and cellular infrastructure. Ham radio is the only way messages are being relayed, and shortwave radio is one of the only ways to get information there. Yet shortwave is written off as “obsolete”!!!

  16. Rob Wagner

    Thanks for putting up this media release, Thomas. You beat me to it.

    Importantly, I don’t think many our our shortwave listening readership is going to suddenly switch to the Internet to hear RA. So they will instantly wipe out a small but loyal audience come January 31.

    As an Aussie, I’m disappointed about this. But it has been coming for quite a while now. I have some “inside” information on that outage last August, which unfortunately I can’t divulge here. However, one could say that it was a great way to “test the waters” if you needed to know just how many listeners responded to the outage.

    RA commenced its operations in the 1930s. One of the very earliest shortwave broadcasters. 9580 kHz has been virtually “owned” by RA for many years now. They have said that A$1.9 million in savings from the closures will be redeployed elsewhere in the Corporation. $1.9 mil is not a lot of money in today’s terms for running both an international service and an outback SW service.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Thank you, Rob. Radio Australia has done such an admirable job sharing information with the world over the many, many decades of their shortwave service. I, for one, am incredibly grateful.

    2. Keith Perron

      RNW did a something almost the same before they dropped North America. They had been running a message on shortwave only asking listeners if they listen to the service to write in. Only some 300 letters and emails came in. In the months the message was on air.

      ABC International management I spoke to this morning said why should they keep a station on air for DXERS and hobbyists outside the target.

      1. Chris Sobieniak

        ABC International management I spoke to this morning said why should they keep a station on air for DXERS and hobbyists outside the target.

        I suppose the real problem comes down to nerdy/niche interests that are around simply because some people still like the novel idea of seeing what they could pick up out there in the world.

        1. Phil Jones

          “nerdy/niche interests that are around simply because some people still like the novel idea of seeing what they could pick up out there in the world”.
          When a “person” says something like that what they are really saying is: I dont understand anything and cant understand anything and sod anyone else who can. We are witnessing the death of something that meant a great deal to people and took skill to get the best out of it. Yes these days it is now becoming obsolete but it wasnt that long ago that shortwave was the only way of knowing what was going on in the world. So a little respect perhaps? Do you know what that means?

    3. Phil Jones

      I have information on that “outage” too. Disgusting wasnt it?
      Thanks for a nice intelligent sensitive posting. I will miss Waltzing Matilda. They closed the Caernarfon transmitter when I was working for BBC Monitoring back in 1996-7. Even then the SW feed was secondary and (get this millennials) the internet feed was primary. On a Pentium 120.

  17. Keith Perron

    A few minutes ago I finished doing an interview with someone from ABC International for this weeks MNP.
    Well I’m not surprised and I called it a few months ago. ABC Management said “Why should we keep a station on the air for a lot of DXERS who are outside Radio Australia’s target area? We don’t need these hobbyists writing in telling us our signal is off the air.”.

    Did I not say this is exactly what would happen?

    1. Thomas Post author

      I don’t think any of us who work in and report on the radio broadcast industry are truly surprised by the announcement from ABC.

      Shortwave broadcasting is incredibly expensive and has a dwindling audience in most parts of the world. I’m amazed RA stayed on the air as long as they did and didn’t turn out the lights along with RNW, RCI and countless other broadcasters.

      Still–Radio Australia has been a part of my life since I was a kid, so I’m going to miss them nonetheless. I won’t miss RA’s content, because I can always listen to ABC affiliates over the ‘net.

      I’ll just miss one of my all-time favorite voices over my all-time favorite medium.

      I’m so incredibly grateful for the decades of service Radio Australia has given the world.


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