Sunday, December 02, 2012

Venezuela bucks the trend - but why?

The trend is to stop all forms of international broadcasting via medium and shortwave.

It started in the mid 1990's when several influential broadcasters started shifting production resources from shortwave radio to satellite television, followed by the Internet. Remember the close of the VOA Bethany transmitter site in Ohio?

Studies of the excellent Yahoo group on shortwave sites reveals that there has been a crop of transmitter sites that have not only closed in the past couple of years, but are in the advanced stage of being dismantled.

The first site ever used by Deutsche Welle in Juelich, Germany has gone.

The skyline at Juelich in 2007

The notice that the masts are coming down in 2011

Skyline today reveals very little of the past

So has Radio Netherlands Bonaire relay station. The antennas were blown up in mid-November.

Bonaire 1993

It seems the powerful mediumwave transmitter owned by Trans World Radio is still on the air from Bonaire. But the shortwave masts in this picture are long since gone.

Bonaire 1993 by Jonathan Marks
Bonaire 1993, a photo by Jonathan Marks on Flickr.

And on Saturday December 1st 2012, the transmission centre at Sackville, Canada went silent.

RCI Sackville Shortwave Transmitter Site in New Brunswick as seen from the Trans Canadian Highway. Tnx to Google Streetview.
Back in April, CBC News New Brunswick reported that a "Moncton artist is now working against the clock to film the Radio-Canada International shortwave towers in her latest film project. Budget cuts at CBC announced last week mean the transmitters, near Sackville, New Brunswick, will soon be shut down. Amanda Dawn Christie said she remembers coming and going from Moncton and the towers signifying that she was almost home. 

Meanwhile in Venezuela, Hugo Ch├ívez's government is apparently building a brand new shortwave broadcast transmitting centre. SW Sites contributor, Wolfgang Buschel, counts no less than 170-180 concrete mast poles of various sizes surrounding the transmitter building. The exact co-ordinates are 08°53'13.87"N 67°21'46.44"W or click here to be taken to the images on Bing maps. Perhaps he didn't get the memo. They may well build the place. But who on earth will ever listen?

Coming soon. Shortwave broadcasts from Caracas. But who is going to listen?

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