Tag Archives: The Guardian

Norway: First country to end national broadcasts on FM

When listening to marginal FM signals, the AR1780 can be set to mono mode instead of default stereo mode.

(Source: The Guardian)

Digital switchover means that only the country’s local radio stations continue to use FM frequencies

Norway has completed its transition to digital radio, becoming the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its FM network.

The country’s most northern regions and the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic switched to digital audio broadcasting (DAB) as scheduled on Wednesday, said Digitalradio Norge (DRN), an umbrella group for Norway’s public and commercial radio.

The transition, which began on 11 January, allows for better sound quality and more channels and functions at an eighth of the cost of FM radio, according to authorities.

The move has, however, been met with some criticism linked to technical incidents and claims that there is not enough DAB coverage across the country.

Radio users have also complained about the cost of having to buy new receivers or adapters, usually priced at between €100 and €200 (£88 and £176).

Only 49% of motorists are able to listen to DAB in their cars, according to DRN figures.[…]

Continue reading the full article at The Guardian.

The Guardian: Study shows ABC cuts to shortwave & rural broadcasts “jeopardising safety of remote communities”

(Source: The Guardian via Ian P)

Reduction of local news and station closures disastrous for people living outside Australia’s cities, researchers say

Cuts to the ABC in regional and rural Australia and the corporation’s increasing reliance on digital technologies is jeopardising the safety of remote communities and their access to emergency warnings, Deakin University research has found.

The ABC’s increasingly “digital-first” approach to emergency information and the reduction in ABC reporters’ local knowledge is causing great distress among rural populations who rely on broadcast signals because they don’t have the bandwidth or coverage for digital, researchers say.

A reduction of local news and information, centralised newsrooms in metropolitan areas, the closure of several ABC stations and the scaling back of broadcast programming has been disastrous for people outside the cities, according to a new study, Communication life line? ABC emergency broadcasting in rural/regional Australia.

But the ABC has played down the study’s significance, saying it is based on parliamentary submissions and is not an “accurate or up-to-date” summary of the corporation’s role in rural and regional Australia; and that the ABC is not funded as an emergency service.

Based on public submissions to a parliamentary inquiry, the researchers Julie Freeman, Kristy Hess and Lisa Waller found “burgeoning discontent about the corporation’s ability to fulfil its role as a designated emergency broadcaster and provide communication life lines to rural and regional communities”.[…]

Continue reading at The Guardian.

Radio Erena: “a symbolic lifeline” to Eritrea

(Source: The Guardian)

[Radio Erena founder, Biniam Simon, writes:] “You have to understand: Eritrea is completely closed. No information is available there at all, about the outside world or what is going on internally. So if you’re an Eritrean journalist, and you make it to a place where so much information is available, the first thing you think is: why not tell people all this? It was the obvious thing to do.”

[…]The station broadcasts a two-hour programme in Arabic and Tigrinya seven days a week, repeating it several times a day, giving listeners inside Eritrea multiple opportunities to listen (they may do so, in the privacy of their own homes with the shutters closed and the sound turned down, only when electricity is available – which it often isn’t). As well as news about what the regime may be up to, it provides a detailed picture of what is happening to the refugees who are travelling to Europe – when a boat carrying 360 Eritreans capsized off Lampedusa in 2013, a correspondent was immediately dispatched to Italy – as well as features about diaspora success stories, footballers and athletes among them.

It runs smoothly. There is always a lot to tell. Making sure it can be picked up in Eritrea, however, remains a constant struggle. In 2012, the government managed to block it – seemingly unbothered by the fact that in doing so, it also blocked its own television channel (both broadcast on one satellite frequency). It has also successfully jammed it on shortwave, and on at least one occasion has hacked into the Radio Erena website, destroying it completely. “It’s a nonstop challenge,” he says. “We’re constantly fighting them, and it’s getting harder and harder because they are now employing new experts from China and Indonesia.”

But if this is exhausting, it’s also hugely encouraging: “It means that what we’re doing is working. We know this because the government wants us to stop.”[…]

Readers: this is only an excerpt from this excellent article in The Guardian. Click here to read the full article.

While Ofcom threatens RT, Voice of Russia launches as “Sputnik”

Sputnik

(November 11, 2014 Screen capture from Sputnik news agency and radio)

As some attentive SWLing Post readers have noted, the Voice of Russia has found a new identitySputnik News Agency and Radio–with a new website/news portal to match. Here’s the message the (former) Voice of Russia posted on their website today:

“Dear readers, we are excited to announce that the Voice of Russia is changing its name and moving over to a new website. We will now be known as Sputnik news agency and radio. You can find all the latest stories from our London bureau here: http://uk.sputniknews.com. Please update your bookmarks and stay with us!”

Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting that Russia Today has been found guilty of breaching UK broadcasting regulations in their coverage of the Ukraine crisis:

Russia Today, or RT, was summoned to a meeting with Ofcom after it was found guilty of breaching the code governing UK broadcasters in a ruling published on Monday.

The regulator flagged up four separate reports, all broadcast in March this year, all dealing with the situation in Ukraine.

Ofcom said it recognised that RT, which is funded by the Russian government and launched a UK version last month, would “want to present the news from a Russian perspective”.

But it said all news must be presented with “due impartiality … in particular, when reporting on matters of major political controversy”.

[Read the full article at The Guardian online…]

Guardian: BBC World Service asking for voluntary redundancies

(Photo source: NY Times)

(Source: The Guardian)

Corporation’s global arm to close 73 editorial posts, but hopes to avoid compulsory layoffs as part of £42m budget cuts

The BBC World Service has urged all its network news journalists to consider voluntary redundancy as it aims to avoid compulsory layoffs as part of £42m budget cuts.

The BBC’s global arm is closing 73 editorial posts following its cut in funding by the government in 2010.

Post closures include 16 in network news, which includes domestic journalists based around the UK, 14 in World Service news, and two in newsgathering for world and business.

Stephen Mitchell, the BBC’s deputy director of news, urged staff to consider voluntary redundancy in an email on Thursday morning.

He said: “We are committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies where possible, and have previously been very successful in achieving this. We hope to continue our good record, and therefore are asking all network news staff once again whether they wish to be considered for voluntary redundancy.”

[…]Compulsory redundancies at the World Service led to two walkouts by staff last year.

[…]The National Union of Journalists has criticised the World Service cuts. General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said the job losses “fly in the face” of the corporation’s commitment to quality programming, and urged director general George Entwistle to push for a renegotiation of the licence fee settlement.

“The World Service is a source of information for people across the world, described by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan as ‘perhaps Britain’s greatest gift to the world’,” Stanistreet added.

[…]”These cuts will severely impair the BBC’s scope and services at a time when they are needed more than ever. The BBC needs to stop and rethink its approach to the World Service before it does irreparable damage.”

Read the full article at The Guardian website.