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Radio News in April 2004

Coalition begins low-power shortwave broadcasts at sea

Rewards for Justice Radio DXing.info has received confirmation that the U.S.-led coalition indeed began shortwave broadcasts in mid-April, as previously announced by the U.S. Navy Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO). "I have spoken with coalition officials, and the broadcasts did indeed commence on 15 April," says Liaison Officer Ken Gazzaway of MARLO in Bahrain.
     The purpose of the broadcasts is to urge listeners to report terrorist activity conducted at sea. Transmissions originate from vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman and North Arabian Sea. Low transmitter power - currently only 250 watts - explains why DXers have not been able to monitor the transmissions. "We have received confirmation from listeners in the Mediterranean area that they have received the transmissions, but because of the propagation of the transmissions skip zones are inevitable," Gazzaway explains. Negotiations are underway to transfer the transmissions to Merlin Communications out of the United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom, but no final agreement has been reached. This would greatly increase transmitter power and improve reception quality.
      The morning broadcast is at 0300-0800 UTC on 6125 kHz, and the evening broadcast at 1400-1900 UTC on 15500 kHz. About 90 % of the broadcasts are regional music. There are periodic announcements in Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Pashtu, Urdu, and English that explain how listeners can contact the coalition if they have any information to report on suspected terrorist activity. The announcements also detail the Rewards for Justice program. Under the program, the U.S. offers rewards for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of terrorism against the U.S.
      The mission of the Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) is to facilitate the exchange of information between the U.S. Navy and the commercial shipping community in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. MARLO operates as a conduit for information focused on safety of shipping and is committed to assisting the commercial shipping community. A MARLO announcement about shortwave broadcasts was first spotted by Jeff Weston on BDXC-UK.
      Naval transmitters were used for coalition broadcasts already during the Iraq war, when DXing.info was the first to publish details of this operation in the article US steps up propaganda war.
      The station has subsequently been heard identifying as Information Radio in various languages, suggesting that programming is a continuation of the Information Radio broadcasts during the Iraq war. Logs of the station can be found in the DXing.info Community.
(DXing.info, April 29, 2004, updated on May 12)


Radio Slovakia International ending all shortwave broadcasts

Radio Slovakia International logoAfter over a decade of independence and a foreign radio service of its own, Slovakia has decided that shortwave belongs to history. All shortwave broadcasts will end as of July 1, 2004 - two months later than originally announced. In an email to DXing.info, Editor Pete Miller of the English service of Radio Slovakia International says however that "we will continue to provide programming on the internet and through World Radio Network via satellite." The decision to cut shortwave is financial. "The cost of using the transmitter at Rimavska Sobota is apparently too high," Miller explains.
     Austrian DXer Christoph Ratzer has launched a web campaign to ask the station to reconsider the closure of shortwave transmissions. Ratzer says that by April 18, about 400 shortwave listeners had emailed a campaign message to Radio Slovakia International through his website.
(DXing.info, April 16, 2004, last updated on April 26)


Radio Familiar Cristiana heard on 4933 kHz shortwave

A station identifying as Radio Familiar Cristiana has been heard on 4933 kHz, first on April 1, 2004. Logged by Björn Malm in Ecuador, and pinpointed by Henrik Klemetz as broadcasting from "Vereda La Puerta", presumably in Colombia, the station is airing Christian programming, but no more details of the station are currently known.
(DXing.info, April 16, 2004)

French Loisirs AM struggling under Norwegian interference

Loisirs AM logoThird in a new wave of Parisian mediumwave stations, Loisirs AM began regular broadcasting on March 31. The station is however unlucky to be operating on 1314 kHz along with a very strong Norwegian transmitter, which overpowers the French newcomer even in parts of its small target area. Cyril Grouin in France reports to DXing.info that Loisirs AM is probably using only 1 kW of power at the moment, although the station is authorized to use 5 kW from the TDF center in Villebon-sur-Yvette (Southwest of Paris), the same location that is used by FIP 585 kHz, RFI 738 kHz, la City Radio 864 kHz, and Superloustic 999 kHz. From the early evening, Norway (with a power of 1200 kW) is stronger on 1314 kHz, and Loisirs AM can be received without interference only via the Internet. Programming consists of contemporary hit music with brief news headlines. Reception reports can be sent to: Air Productions, Bâtiment 113, 50, avenue du Président Wilson, F-93210 La Plaine Saint Denis, France. Telephone: +33 (0)1 49 17 84 00, Fax: +33 (0)1 49 17 84 01.
(DXing.info, April 13, 2004, updated on April 14)

Switzerland phasing out shortwave and satellite

Swissinfo logoAfter broadcasting to the world for over 60 years, Swiss Radio International (SRI) ended its English-language shortwave programming on April 12. The remaining international shortwave services and a satellite channel will be closed down by the end of October 2004.
     The Swiss Shortwave Service – as SRI was known when the first programs were transmitted in 1935 – was first aimed at Swiss living elsewhere in Europe. Broadcasts in English began in 1941. According to Swissinfo itself - detailing the history of the shortwave service on its website - during the Second World War and throughout the Cold War the station managed to develop a name for itself as a neutral voice of news and current affairs.
     During the 1990s SRI began the process of transforming itself from a shortwave broadcaster to a multimedia internet outlet. Today swissinfo - which is part of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) - maintains a website in nine languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese and Chinese.
(DXing.info, April 12, 2004)


News edited by Mika Mäkeläinen. If you have first hand news about radio broadcasting or DXing, please email us. News items originate from DXing.info site or own sources unless another source is mentioned. Extracts from news items may be quoted if the website http://www.DXing.info is mentioned as source. See terms of use for details.


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