Monday, May 02, 2011

AWR Board Approves Plans for Expansion of Guam Shortwave Station

The Board of Directors of Adventist World Radio has approved, in concept, the expansion of AWR's shortwave broadcasting facility on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

The project will result in much better coverage of China, a critical mission area for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Guam station, which was established in 1987, currently broadcast in 30 + languages for nearly 300 hours each week to a large portion of Asia. Just over half of these hours consist of Mandarin programming for listerners in China.The station's footprint also includes India; together with China, these two countries close to half of the world's population. As well, listerners in countries such as Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia and more can all hear AWR programs in their own languages.

The stations broadcast equipment consists of six towers, four curtain antennas, and five transmitters. The largest tower is 330 feet tall, and each curtain antenna is abour the size of a two football fields. The shortwave signals that are generated can travel for thousands of miles, enabling the gospel message to freely enter non-Chrisitian areas without being subject to government control.

The current equipment cannot provide a signal of sufficient strength, at the right frequency, to adequately reach listerners in northern China, Mongolia, Siberia, and beyond. Adding a fifth antenna will enable AWR to broadcast a strong signal to these areas during prime listening hours, as well as simultaneoulsy transmit additional programs inmore languages.

"Over the years, our Mandarin broadcast have been generated incredible response from listerners in China," says AWR president Dowell Chow. "But these listeners are primarily located in the south part of the country, where our signal is much more consistent and clear. So our goal is to provide the same quality of broadcast to the millions of people in the northern areas.

"At the same time, we are continuing to develop programs in additional languages. We are excited to have recently found producers in Tibet and Bhutan. But once their programs are ready for broadcast, we will need to be ready to add them to our airtime schedule."

While AWR recently put significant resources into launching comprehensive podcasting system-in which all of it's radio programs can be also heard worldwide online - the organization recognizes that shortwave broadcasts are still a vital part of it's mission, Chow says. "In spite of the growth in Internet usage," he explains, "shortwave is still the primary method of receiving information for literally hundreds of millions of people. A full 24 percent of the world's population does not have regular access to electricity. So at AWR, we remain very aware that our listeners are extremely diverse."

AWR hopes that the installation of the new tower and antenna can be completed by the end of 2012, which is the Guam station's 25th anniversary year.
(Shelly Nolan Freesland, Communications Director via Adrian Peterson)
Photo AWR/KSDA Guam via Adrian Peterson)