Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ministry of Finance orders dismantling of Greek shortwave antennas

The degradation of Greek Radio is going on, having shortwave radio "Voice of Greece" as a victim. This includes 39 shortwave antenna masts hosted in Avlis, which the government plans to sell as scrap metal.

The shortwave service started 75 years ago and it is still transmitting in 5 frequencies that cover the globe with shows in Greek for expatriates and foreign language news. The facilities are currently controlled by redundant ERT employes and broadcast the guerilla service of the Greek National Radio ERA. Eighteen months ago, shortwave facilities in Thessaloniki were dismantled.

According to a statement by ERT employees, on Monday morning "in the shortwave broadcasting center of Avlis, a representative of a company that sells metal showed up and started taking photos of the site. After we, ERT people, asked him, we got informed that he had been mandated by the Ministry of Finance to give an offer for the dismantling of 39 masts and purchasing the metal as scrap." The name of company and the registration plate of the car are available.

The union body of ERT notes that this is an area of 1160 acres, featuring 39 metal masts, with a height between 30 and 70 meters each, that function as the shortwave aerials that transmit the "Voice of Greece", the ERA-pénte, across the world.

"Greek shortwave started operating in 1938 and later was also used sent information to the Greek soldiers fighting Fascists in Albania. The only ones who dared to turn it off were the Nazis during the occupation. Since the liberation, it never stopped to link the country with Greek seafarers and the Diaspora. The Voice of Greece broadcasts information, entertainment, culture and tradition from Greece with programs in 12 languages, all over the globe".

It is true that big broadcasters in Europe have decided to stop broadcasting via shortwave, because of cuts and because alternatives tuning possibilities are provided due to the development of technology. On the other hand, in the case of Greece. there are still generations of Greek immigrants abroad and seamen who are still affiliated with shortwave, whereas area around Greece the are still countries with low technological development. Also, it is outragious that the decision to remove an entire radio service was taken by the liquidator of the Ministry of Finance: there is no study about ceasing shortwave by any official body, although the promise was that the future of Greek broadcasting will be decided after an analysis performed by  the administrative Board of the new official broadcaster.
( DX)