ABC Rural interviews Garry Cratt about decision to end shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who shares the following announcement from a Tecsun Radios Australia email newsletter:

Tecsun Radios Australia owner Garry Cratt was interviewed by ABC Rural this week about the ABC’s decision to end their shortwave radio transmission after almost 80 years.

Click here to listen via YouTube.

The ABC have decided that as shortwave technology is now nearly a century old, it is outdated and serves a very limited audience. They are planning on moving towards a digital focused service instead.

Garry discussed this in his interview with ABC Rural:
“A lot of the places that do receive Radio Australia, there is no power for a start, so they’re relying on batteries and solar panels. The people that are listening, that will be affected, are those people who are maybe still back in the last century, but that’s not their fault.”

Tecsun Radios Australia recently sent a shipment of 500 radios to the Solomon Islands to be given out to remote villages. Shortwave radio is often the only way to communicate in rural villages like these, this is especially important during times of natural disaster such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and as recently as cyclones Yasi (2011), and Pam (2015).

The ABC are planning on building a stronger FM transmitter network to use instead of the shortwave transmission – but what will happen to the people who are out of range of FM radio?

There are many people without this equipment living in places like the Pacific Islands, where Radio Australia is one the few news and entertainment resources. Due to the sparse population and wide geographic dispersion it is extremely difficult to correctly measure the effect that turning off the shortwave transmission will have.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia, we are asking you to help us let the ABC know that shortwave radio is a much valued service. You can do this by tweeting a photo of your shortwave radio tuned into Radio Australia, making sure you tag @ABCAustralia and @TecsunRadios and using the hashtag #saveshortwave

Additionally, we are calling on the Australian Government to restore funding to the ABC, (previously provided via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) to support the ABC’s international television and radio broadcasts. We acknowledge that the ABC has continued to provide international radio and television broadcasts by internally funding these programs, and now we ask the Australian Government to support our rural and Pacific Islands communities by giving the ABC the appropriate funding they require.

We are talking about $1.9 million in funding after all, which we think the Prime Minister could find if he checked under the Chesterfield seat cushions in his office…

To read the full article and listen to Garry’s radio interview, click here:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-18/abc-shortwave-cuts-tourists-operator-pacific-island/8191374

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9 thoughts on “ABC Rural interviews Garry Cratt about decision to end shortwave service

  1. John L

    People seem to forget that shortwave has signal penetration into areas that are impossible for mobile and satellite technology. It’s far from an outdated technology and such misconceptions appear to stem from ignorance and narrow mindedness.

    Heck, the internal combustion engine is over 100 years old as well – is that outdated too ?

    It seems that a lot people mistake new technology with progress and efficiency. That is not always the case. Often, simplicity and reliability is better. That is something you don’t get with new technology which is often bug ridden and prone to failure from poor quality control.

    Reply
  2. Kire

    I can’t wait for the day when internet providers restrict content to each country in order to protect nat’l interests, copywrite, etc. It could happen, and when/if it does, I will be sure not to complain, because I certainly dont want to hurt the cause.
    Many people in the bush and remoter areas have no computer savvy, are older, etc. They may be the ones who need to raise a stink, but it takes time for their voices to get to the halls of power. And by then its often to late.

    Reply
    1. Keith Perron

      Kire in the Pacific the majority connect online use mobile phones. In the last 6 years and more in the last 2 years. Mobile phone networks expanded at a dramatic rate.

      If these people were listening the ABC would have known they are listening. But the only noise came from DXERS outside the target.

      Reply
      1. Dr_Dirt

        Sorry but while mobile network penetration is increasing in the Pacific islands it is nowhere close to where it should be. Perhaps in five or ten more years? If you lived in some of the places where I’ve worked, you’d find your mobile phone does you little good as coverage is not comprehensive and many communities are still quite isolated. On some islands and some towns, internet is good…but so many communities have very slow service or no service at all. I always take a shortwave radio with me for news and I’m sad RA will no longer be an outlet.

        Had dinner with a family near Buala last month. When I arrived the shortwave set was on. Can’t remember but they were either listening to RA or RNZ. They had a receiver I had never seen before, a Redsun (?) if memory serves.

        Sorry but SW is still relevant in the islands. It is easy to assume it is not when our experience in rural areas is limited.

        I have been following this fine website for about a year off and on. It seems Keith that you have a personal problem with “DXERS.” If so, why do you keep producing programs and broadcasting on shortwave? And why do you keep visiting this site? It’s befuddling.

        I find it hilarious that you think the relatively small number of DXERS in the world have the power to bring down some of our biggest legacy international broadcasters. I think you’ll find that money and agendas within the broadcasting governance and politicians within the countries have more to do with these closures than DXERS.

        No offense, but you, sir, can’t see the forest for the trees!

        Go take a cup of tea and relax a bit.

        Reply
  3. Pat Blakely

    I said this in the Facebook and I’ll say it here. The HOBBYIST like this blog NEED TO STOP encouraging other hobbyist to contact ABC. The ABC even acknowledged this as a reason not to continue the broadcast. The same thing happened with Radio Bulgaria, they only got flooded with emails from hobbyist after they announced they were going off the air so they ignored them.

    They need to hear DIRECTLY from people that their transmissions target, that means Australians and people living in Oceania. People from the USA or Europe only make it worse for their voices to be heard.

    Please stop wasting ABC resources on hobbyist campaigns. They already know if you can email them, you can listen. Let the locals have their voices heard instead.

    And if you want the remaining international broadcasters to continue, the time to contact those are NOW, not when they announce a shut down.

    Now in saying that, I do want ABC broadcast to continue on shortwave. But for the right reasons, not to DX.

    Reply
    1. Keith Perron

      Pat this is something many have been saying for years, Including myself. What broadcasters have to do is like what Radio Netherlands did when they dropped SW to North America. For about 3 months the only information about leaving SW to North America was done on shortwave and only on the frequencies for North America. They knew that if they had made it public the DXERS would have written in force.

      When RNW finally announced they were leaving SW most of them were shocked. Which came to the conclusion that they didn’t listen. They were upset saying RNW should have announced it before they switched off. Well RNW did announce it.

      Reply
  4. Keith Perron

    It should be noted that Tecsun Radios Australia has no connection with Tecsun. Tecsun Radios Australia is only a shop that sells Tecsun radios.

    This morning the Shao Yi Guo atTecsun told me he was very curious about the 500 radios shipped to Solomon Islands and the thousands this guy claims to have sold.

    Reply
    1. RonF

      While I don’t doubt what you say (and yes, “Tecsun Australia” seems to just be a shop selling Tecsun radios, with no real connection to Tecsun at all), it does seem a bit unfair to be casting aspersions on Garry. He’s been something of a SW/ham/sat industry fixture in Australia for 40 years or more – first at Dick Smith (back when Dick was still in charge), and since then at AV-Comm. He’s not exactly a newcomer – though he probably is talking up his latest shopfront.

      I’ve never knowingly dealt with Garry himself, but the odd time over the years I’ve dealt with AV-Comm they’ve always been quite professional – which, let me tell you, is something of a rarity in that part of the industry here!

      Disclaimer: I’ve just ordered a PL660 – but on eBay from HK, not from his shop. I’m not so stupid as to pay 50% Australia Tax…

      Reply
    2. Mark Fahey

      I agree it is intriguing to hear about all those shortwave receivers going to the Solomon Islands. It seems to be the case, I heard a radio report today which had the station manager of the SIBC (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation) also mentioning this shipment of receivers. The report mentioned that they (the SIBC – or perhaps another part of the government?) had studied available receivers, made a selection of a particular brand and model and acquired them. It almost sounded like the broadcaster (or government) themselves were providing them to remote locations in the Solomon Islands. The radios are to be used for receiving the recently refurbished / improved SIBC shortwave frequency. Perhaps there was a public tender or something? Anyway – its unusual to see shortwave being rolled out so comprehensively these days.

      Reply

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