by Bob Padula
spent three weeks in South East Asia, as part of
an around-the-world trip which took me to Europe
and Canada. This account of Myanmar broadcasting
may be of interest, based on my "on-the-ground"
monitoring from the area!
Myanmar is the new name for the
country of Burma and the capital's new name
is Yangon (formerly Rangoon). However,
these names have not yet been universally accepted.
The name was changed because it was believed that
the English version of the official name implied
"Bama" (Burmese nationals), only one of
the country's many ethnic groups.
should be noted that Myamnar/Burma was separated
from India is 1937; in 1942 following British withdrawal
it was invaded by the Japanese; in 1945, Britain
reoccupied the country; in 1948 it was granted independence
from Britain, outside of the Commonwealth. In 1988,
the armed forces established a military council
and a cabinet, the latter consisting almost entirely
of the armed forces.
Myanmar is situated in south-eastern
Asia on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal and
the Andaman Sea, between the Malay Peninsula and
the Tibetan Plateau. It covers an area os some 680,000
sq.km, comprising 14 administrative divisions. It
is bordered by India, China, Laos, and Thailand.
The time zone is UTC +6.5 hours,
one hour ahead of neighbouring India which is on
UTC +5.5 hours, and 30 minutes behind Thailand,
Laos, and Cambodia which are on UTC +7 hours.
The official language is Burmese,
but some 100 indigenous languages are spoken in
the country, most of which, together with Burmese,
belong to the Sino-Tibetan family. English is the
second language and is taught in kindergartens.
HF broadcasting from Myanmar
is confined to the single Government-controlled
station, located at Yangon, the capital, and to
the Defence Forces Broadcasting Unit, operated by
Myanmar Radio and TV:
Two HF transmitters are in use,
50 kW each, with the primary service area being
Myanmar, operating to this schedule:
(On Sats, Suns, and holidays, 9730 is used from
*0800-1600* 5985 (sign-off time varies each day,
and may be anywhere between 1500 and 1600)
Minority Language Network:
*0930-1600* 4725 (sign-off time
varies between 1500 and 1600)
The Main Program is essentially
in Burmese, with English 0200-0245 on 7185, 0700-0800
on 9730, and 1400-1630 on 5985. The English features
are presented by professional announcers trained
in the United Kingdom, with annunciation being distinctively
A recently introduced daily feature
in French is noted 1000-1010 on 4725, consisting
of news about the India-China region, emphasising
political events in Vietnam.
All four HF channels are well-heard
across Indo-China, and technical transmission quality
is very good.
For at least 40 years, there
has been no major increase in HF transmitter capacity.
However, there have been some minor frequency adjustments,
with 4725 replacing the former 4795 and 5040, 7185
replacing 7125 and 7120, and 9730 replacing 9725
and 6035. The first 50 kW HF installations date
back to the 1950's, a period marked by continuing
internal upheaval, insurrection, and political instability.
Defence Forces Broadcasting Unit:
This uses the single frequency
of 6570 and was noted for evening transmissions
in the period 1300-1400. It may operate at other
times, but was not heard.
This is confined to the single
channel of 576 kHz, with 200 kW, from Yangon, and
is in parallel with 5985 7185 and 9730. This is
an unusual frequency choice, as the channel is shared
with another high-powered Indo-China station, also
with 200 kW, at Vientienne, Laos, and All India
Radio, Allapuizha, similarly with 200 kW.
There is only one known outlet,
on 100.4, at Yangon, with 0.5 kW, carrying the same
programming as on 576 kHz MW
Note: Myanmar is not currently
represented in the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union,
and consequently does not attend the meetings of
Radio broadcasting in Myanmar
is very modest by world standards, and resources
in delivery of the single network are matched to
the relatively small demand.
Published on September