Tag Archives: BBC World Service Seychelles Relay

BBC Relay Station handed back to Seychelles

BBC Seychelles Relay Station (Photo: Vijay.sc)

BBC Seychelles Relay Station (Photo: Vijay.sc)

(Source: Seychelles News Agency via Andy Sennitt)

Tuesday November 18 marked the closure of an iconic chapter of Seychelles’ history, signalling the end of an era when information was much more difficult to come by. With much of Africa joining the internet and mobile phone revolution, the times of trying to glean information about happenings in the rest of the world on a crackly AM radio station have now passed by.

Over 25 years after its establishment, the site of the BBC’s former Indian Ocean Relay Station (IORS), located at Grand Anse, on the western side of the largest inhabited island in the archipelago, was handed back to the government of Seychelles by the country’s British High Commissioner, Lindsay Skoll.

The station transmitted BBC World Service programmes since 1988 via shortwave to listeners across East Africa in a range of languages, including the BBC’s English-language output for Africa as well as programmes in Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Somali and French.

In November 2013, the BBC announced its intention to cease all its shortwave transmission services from Seychelles due to a gradual and irreversible fall in demand for shortwave radio services, and on March 29 this year, the BBC IORS retransmission services from Seychelles were officially switched off. BBC World Service broadcasts in East Africa are still available via the internet and also via various other localised frequencies.
The handing over of the site to the Ministry of Land Use and Housing (MLUH) also included the station’s buildings and equipment, all of which are still in working order. The site is spread over a 32,000 square metre property, occupied under a lease dating back to March 27, 1985.

[…]The station is equipped with 33KV high-voltage equipment and transformers which will now go into the possession of the Public Utilities Corporation, while the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) will take over three of the BBC’s four steel communications towers and the annex building.

The SCAA will use the towers to strengthen its air communication and surveillance capabilities and the annex building will be used to house a new high-frequency aviation communications radio system to help control air traffic coming in from the west of the island.

The fourth steel tower will be allocated to the local telecommunications company Cable and Wireless for mobile based telecommunications.

Read the full article on the Seychelles News Agency’s website.

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Jonathan Marks remembers the opening of the BBC Seychelles relay site

Jonathan Marks

Jonathan Marks

In response to the announcement of the closure of the BBC Seychelles relay, Jonathan Marks writes:

“You might like to revisit this old Media Network when we spoke about the opening of the Seychelles site.


Jonathan, I’m glad you shared this recording as it’s also chock-full of radio nostalgia: covering offshore radio ships, numbers stations, BBC Radio 1’s move to FM, AFRTS closure (via US VOA relays), and even an interview with Alan Weiner.

Readers, if you enjoy listening to these archived broadcasts as much as I do, then I encourage you to check out Jonathan’s Media Network Vintage Vault.

Many thanks, Jonathan!

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BBC announces closure of Seychelles relay station

BBC Seychelles Relay Station (Photo: Vijay.sc)

BBC Seychelles Relay Station (Photo: Vijay.sc)

(Source: BBC Media Centre via Rob Wagner)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced today that the Indian Ocean Relay Station (IORS) transmitter site at Grand Anse, Mahé, will cease all shortwave transmissions on 29 March 2014.

The site was established in 1988 and has been in continuous service since then, relaying BBC broadcasts to audiences in East Africa primarily in English and Somali.

The closure will not affect the availability of BBC World Service programmes in Seychelles, which are relayed from satellite broadcasts on to local FM frequencies 106.2, 105.6 and 105.2MHz. In areas of East Africa still dependent upon shortwave broadcasts, the signal will be supplied by other relay stations. The announcement follows an earlier decision to stop all shortwave broadcasts from the BBC World Service site in Cyprus for similar commercial, technological and audience reach reasons. These ended in March of this year.

The announcement will unfortunately result in 11 staff being put at risk of redundancy. The staff over the last 25 years have operated and maintained this shortwave broadcast facility with passion, expertise and professionalism. The technical ability and commitment of the team at the IORS has been applauded by the BBC World Service.

The decision to close the site has been taken due to changing commercial and technological circumstances. As countries develop and their media markets open, listening and viewing habits have changed. New technology has changed the way audiences listen to BBC programmes and reduced the importance of shortwave broadcasts in much of the area currently served by the IORS, making the IORS commercially unviable.

The BBC is supporting the development of new delivery platforms such as internet and mobile streaming as well as FM radio and TV broadcasts. Shortwave broadcasts continue to regions and markets where listening remains strong and BBC services can be delivered efficiently to large geographic areas.

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