Friday, January 07, 2005

Broadcasters Clearing Up & Doing Things; Post Tsunami

Commercial Radio Australia is spearheading a mission to restore broadcast operations in tsunami-hit countries, contributing some 50,000 AM/FM radio sets to affected areas. This initiative, which is being coordinated by the Asian Broadcasting Union, calls for the donation of radio sets and broadcasting equipment to survivors and broadcasters affected by the disaster, which has claimed almost 150,000 lives and left millions homeless.

Joan Warner, CRA’s chief executive officer, said the first batch of 5,000 radio sets would be shipped to Indonesia in a week’s time, with the rest to be despatched to affected areas over the next four to five weeks.

“We also have up to six transmitters that we can donate,” she said.

Ms Warner also said CRA would send at least 12 engineers to rebuild broadcasting facilities in disaster zones. The engineers will be sent in groups of four for a few weeks at a time. CRA is an industry body representing Australia’s commercial radio broadcasters.

France’s Eutelsat SA, an ABU affiliate member, will allow free usage of its fixed satellite services (FSS) in affected areas. A representative, Jan Grondrup-Vivanco, said this would enable Internet access and Voice over Internet Protocol telephony be set up in these places.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s MediaCorp has promised to look into the needs of Radio Television Maldives (RTVM) which lost much of its equipment when the tsunami struck.

Offers of assistance to provide battery-operated radio sets and restore broadcast operations in countries hit by the December 26 earthquake and tsunami, in response to an appeal by the ABU, are coming from as far away as North America.

The owner of a network of radio stations in Canada's Yukon Territory is pledging broadcast equipment and expertise for affected broadcasters.

A representative of Burr and Burton Academy, a secondary school in Vermont, USA, has said its staff will begin collecting AM/FM radio sets for survivors of the disaster.

Meanwhile, a radio engineer from California, USA, said he is willing to travel to affected areas at his own expense in order to help build and maintain radio stations there.
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