Friday, January 21, 2011

Radio Australia: Offshore Relays, Part 1

A couple of months ago, Radio Australia announced that they have been granted a shortwave license by the authorities in Singapore, and their programming to some countries in Asia is now on the air from a shortwave station at this new location. The silent shortwave facility operated previously by Radio Singapore International at Kranji has apparently been re-activated for this purpose.
This event spawned a spate of research on our part in an endeavor to find out what other overseas radio stations have carried the programming from Radio Australia, and the information is really quite amazing. In fact, literally hundreds of radio stations all around the world have re-broadcast the programming from Radio Australia to their own audiences at some time or another.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Radio Australia copied a lot of their programming, in both English as well as in other languages, onto large transcription discs, and these discs were sent to a multitude of stations on all continents except South America. In fact, in some years, more than 6,000 of these transcription discs were sent to radio stations in overseas countries for local and international re-broadcast.
As an example, here are a few of the many stations that re-broadcast the programming from Radio Australia in this way:-
Asia India AIR Programs of Australian interest
Philippines DZFM Royal Visit to Australia
Pacific Fiji FBS Australian Magazine
Samoa 2AP Pacific Interest
North America Canada CBC French language programming
USA MW Networks Australian Magazine
Africa Sierra Leone SLBS Programs of African interest
Nigeria NBC Programs of African interest
Europe Germany RBI Programs of German interest

In addition to the transcription discs, Radio Australia has been relayed live off air shortwave by just as many stations in just as many countries, beginning way back at the time of their inauguration on December 20 in the year 1939. In fact, the opening broadcasts of Radio Australia, or Australia Calling as it was known at the time, were relayed live by the BBC London on local radio as well as in their Overseas Service on shortwave.
Other stations that also carried this live off-air relay were, for example:-
NZBS in New Zealand
ZJV & VPD2 on mediumwave & shortwave in Fiji
Several mediumwave stations in the United States
It should also be remembered that every mediumwave radio station in Australia relayed the Radio Australia opening speech by the Prime Minister, Mr Robert Menzies.
The first mediumwave station in the United States that was granted approval to carry a regular off air relay from the programming of Radio Australia was KFRO, located at Longview in Texas. At the time, this was just a small station running 250 watts on 1370 kHz. However, soon afterwards, and quite quickly, many other mediumwave stations and networks throughout the United States were granted similar approval to rebroadcast the off air programming from Radio Australia.
On subsequent occasions, numerous stations around the world have carried a live off air relay from Radio Australia, and a few examples would be:-
Asia China XGOY China Day Programs
Hong Kong RTHK Regular news bulletins
Pacific Cook Islands ZK1 News bulletins & commentaries
Pacific Islands AFRS Stations Programming in English & Japanese
Africa & ME Palestine ZJM Jerusalem News bulletins
South Africa SABC Cricket & tennis commentaries
Americas West Indies WIBS Cricket & tennis commentaries USA Major networks News bulletins & commentaries It should also be mentioned that Australian stations established in other countries have also relayed many programs from Radio Australia on a regular basis, and we could list some of these stations as:-
Christmas Island VLU2
Cocos Island VKW
Japan Australian stations on mediumwave & shortwave
Malaysia Radio Butterworth
Vietnam Australian local stations
Pacific Islands Many Australian mobile stations with callsigns in the 9A series
Palestine Australian ABC station in the Gaza Strip, ABC Kilo 89
That’s as far as we can go on this occasion, but next week here in Wavescan, we will present additional information regarding the numerous off-shore relay stations that have carried a relay of shortwave programming from Radio Australia.
(AWR Wavescan/NWS # 99 via Adrian Peterson)