Life Goes on After Radio Svoboda
Congratulations on one
of the most balanced articles I’ve seen on this subject (“RFE/RL Ends
Radio Svoboda on AM,” Dec. 19).
As a former Biblis shortwave site employee of RFE/RL (1992–95),
I understand the importance of retaining the SW medium (it can’t ever be totally
jammed), but the medium-wave in Moscow is another matter.
20 kW AM transmitter that we used until Nov. 9 to air Radio Svoboda programs in
the Moscow area is located in the northwestern suburbs of the city.
only did it not provide nationwide coverage, but the interference that arose
from all of the cables used to power Moscow’s network of electric streetcars,
ensured that the signal could not be reliably heard in the center of Moscow
However, it was the only game in town — until
the change in Russian law that required us to give it up.
Radio Svoboda’s audio programs remain
available throughout Russia via shortwave, and are broadcast from a variety of
IBB and leased transmitters, and via the Internet.
sizable expenditure for the medium-wave TX is being rolled back into our
Russian service to expand and modernize our media efforts. Those efforts
include TV and radio. As everybody knows, it is much more expensive to produce
video than audio-only programming.
This is not just a technical equipment
and software expense, but it requires much different technical and production
skill sets. Cameras will be running on every program produced in the new Moscow
bureau (and hopefully soon in the broadcast center in Prague), and the audio
will be purposed for radio.
our video production will be purposed initially for Internet video/audio
streaming and on-demand, we are producing in a high enough quality to also
distribute our video programming via satellite DVB-S transmission when/if that
becomes available to RFE/RL.
A TV/radio program for our Radio Farda is
already in production and broadcast via the VOA Persian Television’s satellite
distribution is also becoming much more important. I was recently in Moscow in
connection with the new bureau build-out, and I can tell you that it seems
everybody has a smart phone: Young, old … everybody.
kids were watching videos on their phones. They may not all have fixed-line
Internet access, but it was clear they were accessing the Internet via their mobiles.
To make a long story short, we are
heading in the right direction, and we’re moving quickly.
Director Technology Division
Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Prague, Czech Republic
Kudos to Tech Tips
To Mark Persons (“Avoid Hall of Shame: Don’t Take Shortcuts,” Nov. 21),
just wanted to say thanks for another fabulous article. They are always a
pleasure to read, and always contain such great, hard-learned tips.
respond to the letter from Rod Ziegler of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association
(“On Speaker Wire, Save Your Dough”).
Sadly, his reaction to my October 18 essay illustrates
the on-going bitterness among too many of our citizens over passage of the
Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
His attempt to separate public from commercial
radio issues is laughable and tragic, especially in today’s world of radio
station consolidation and homogenization. Without CPB-funded rural radio,
too many people in rural places in search of a radio signal are usually subject
to the dominance of talk radio hysteria (great learning tool for kids,
On the other hand (yes, we have a left and a right
hand), rural folk with public radio signals don’t want to return to the ’50s.
Beyond the bitterness over the existence of a
public radio system, the point of my essay is about small market
public stations being eaten alive by their larger public stations, some of whom
have taken on the predatory mindset of Wall Street scavengers.
I am stating a case; that this predatory garbage
has to stop if the soul of public radio is to survive. I am all for eliminating
CPB funding to major market stations, except when a station is involved in
providing or developing programming for the entire public radio system.
It is way past the time when most large market
stations have need the federal support they receive through annual CPB
Community Service Grants — they have enough potential business underwriting and
listener support to keep going.
It is funding for rural and small market radio that I’m
defending, as an integral part of training and programming development. Delmarva
doesn’t have the market size to keep stations afloat without some CPB
assistance, especially when major market stations in Norfolk, Va., Washington
and Baltimore have barged in to this corner of the world.
The cavalier actions of WAMU(FM) and WHRO(FM) in
Delmarva only illustrates that they have run out of ways to spend their money
wisely and constructively for the entire system.