European Perspectives - January 2004

Hallo from Florence, this is the first in a new series of “European Perspectives” - by Luigi Cobisi at Italradio (read: Eeh-tahl-rah-dee-o) Newsdesk. Medium and short wave seem to be not so important in Europe these days. At the end of 2003 three international broadcasters turned off their broadcasts. In Malta the Voice of the Mediterranean went on air for the last time December 31. The shortwave radio station was broadcasting in seven languages via relay in Italy and Russia. It was set up 20 years ago by Libya and Malta, as a joint-venture where both government contributed with about 1 million US Dollars yearly. Press reports state the Libyan government failed to pay its share of the funding, running up arrears of nearly 3 million US Dollars. Malta is now without any international broadcaster. Italradio protested to the Prensidency of Maltese Republic but received no reactions. On December 31st also IBB Transmitter in Holzkirchen (Germany) was discontinued as changing target audience led to its closing after 50 year of successful service. The transmitter was hosted in a former military airport and used for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcasts to former Soviet Union and Central Asia. IBB has other facilities in Germany continuing their service. Broadcasts from IBB stations to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia also closed at the year’s end, under a directive from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Radio Free Europe’s supervisors. Ireland, Denmark and Norway left also on December 31st, 2003 the shortwave scene. According to a press release from RTÉ, Dublin, this is the "first step in the re-alignment of its distribution platforms, both at home and abroad." RTE will increase its transmissions over the World Radio Network (WRN) and will provide, free of charge, a Worldspace satellite receiver to some of its isolated listeners in Africa. RTÉ began shortwave transmissions in 1995 and has been buying airtime from outside Ireland. In Denmark, Radio Denmark stated "an era in radio's history is over." The foreign service, Radio Denmark, has been broadcasting in Danish via Norway's shortwave transmitters. Denmark closed its own shortwave site in Herstedvester already in 1990. Programs will continue to be available abroad on mediumwave, internet, telephone, CD recordings and telephone. Neighboring Norway's public broadcaster Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) also aired their last shortwave transmission on December 31 after broadcasting to the world for 55 years. According to NRK it was a realistic decision as programmes are now offered via mediumwave, satellite, internet and telephone. Also on Mediumwave reductions are planned by Czech Radio in Prague as from from February 1st, 2004. Transmitters on 558, 864, 981, 1071, 1233 and 1287 kHz cease operation on January 31st, 2004. That brings to new opportunity to dx European medium waves and if you need a guide just click on the European Medium Wave Guide web site, a very accurate list to download as a PDF file under And if you wish to be informed on what’s going on the Italian international broadcasting scene please check our web site You can also find a “portale” (read: portah-laeh) that’s to say a web portal with current news, in English too. That’s all from Florence, back to Quito with 73’s in 2004.

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