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Shortwave Broadcasting 'Of Marginal and Continuously Declining Impact,':

from The ARRL Letter on August 14, 2014
View comments about this article!

Shortwave Broadcasting 'Of Marginal and Continuously Declining Impact,' Committee Concludes:

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting foresees a dim outlook for the medium. The Committee this month released its assessment of the current and projected use of shortwave radio as a platform for programming by US international media.

"United States international media must optimize delivery by audience/market," one main finding concluded. "While there is still a critical need for shortwave in key countries, it is a medium of marginal and continuously declining impact in most markets." The report said that even in countries where shortwave radio will enjoys significant usage levels, "audiences will migrate to other platforms as they become more accessible."

Among other things, the Committee reviewed audience-based research, including analysis of user experiences and user choices, as well as opportunities and limits of the medium. It also examined "the characteristics and listening experience of shortwave users in the BBG's target markets, the use of shortwave radio by the BBG's networks, the networks' relative success in reaching their target audiences through shortwave, and the costs of operating the BBG's shortwave transmitting facilities."

The panel recommended that the Broadcasting Board of Governors take "an aggressive approach to reduce or eliminate shortwave broadcasts where there is either minimal audience reach or the audience is not a target audience based on the BBG's support of US foreign policy."

The report said that its evidence suggested that declining use of shortwave radio is primarily due to the availability of high-quality content on "preferred platforms" such as AM and FM radio, podcasts, and mobile streaming, which are more widely used for audio consumption.

The committee found that shortwave use does not increase during times of crisis. "Audiences continue to use their existing platforms (TV, FM, and the Internet) or seek out anti-censorship tools, including online firewall circumvention, private chat software, flash drives, and DVDs to access content," the report said.

The report also said that shortwave radio was "a relatively expensive platform to operate and maintain" and that digital shortwave radio (ie, Digital Radio Mondiale or DRM) "is unlikely to become an established mass media distribution methodology in enough of the BBG's current or future markets to justify the costs."

The committee said it largely supports the reductions in shortwave radio broadcasts previously approved by the Board. Those include recent cutbacks in a number of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia broadcasts. But, the committee added that given the current situation in Ukraine and nearby states with significant Russian-speaking populations, it recommended that the BBG revise its fiscal year 2014 operating plan to ensure that "shortwave broadcasts in Russian to Russia and the Caucasus be continued at current levels, subject to re-evaluation during FY16 budget formulation processes."

A fact sheet also is available. -- Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio Club News via G0SFJ


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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Shortwave Broadcasting 'Of Marginal and Continuously Declini  
by KC2QYM on August 15, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
This is great news for HAM radio operators as long as other countries see the same diminishing returns from their external broadcasting services. Why? I pray for the day when shortwave broadcasters disappear from 7200-7300 Khz and perhaps, an opportunity for international Amateur Radio societies to push frequency allocations beyond the current band edges into the vacated space. That would be a no brainer as most radios today have a a few hundred Khz open on each side of the existing bands. If it's crowded for us and the shortwave stations go down we could have a a great expansion opportunity. The ARRL should stop wasting 'precious' spectrum defence funds on multi Ghz allocations that only a handful of HAM actually use and the few measly Khz below the broadcast band they recently gloated about securing. Put that money to good use to expand the HF bands beyond their currently limited space. My Hallicrafters SX-110 has become practically useless since there are so few English language SW station out there..and you know what?..I don't care if there's a possibility to expand amateur radio spectrum.
RE: Shortwave Broadcasting 'Of Marginal and Continuously Dec  
by SM0AOM on August 16, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
I would not hold my breath for world-wide expanded amateur HF bands.

There is a quite wide-spread opinion among especially European Administrations that radio amateurs have all the spectrum they can use,
and that expansions hardly can be justified.

This has surfaced during the preparations for the next WRC where the proposed 5 MHz band has encountered severe opposition from primarily the Russian Federation Administration.

Amateur radio is considered a "nuisance" by many Administrations, and the aging population together with declining standards makes it difficult to gain support for expanded privileges.

RE: Shortwave Broadcasting 'Of Marginal and Continuously Dec  
by K4RAF on August 19, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It never ceases to amaze me just how greedy some hams are. The loss of SWBC is NOT "great" for any reason you assert. It certainly won't result in expanded ham bands. How many nets are dead wood, feel good but accomplish nothing exercises? Too many so celebrate what you have & stop the tantrum of "More, more, more..." It's juvenile at best..!

From the FCC's perspective, hams are a lose-lose clientele. We pay a measly $15/10 year licenses, yet require the most services while doing the most complaining. A nuisance indeed...

SWL'ing was a gateway for many who have become licensed. It was for me & has helped form many friends of mine through the years. To celebrate the loss of SWBC is to seal ham radio's demise & mornic.

Before you dismiss my comments, I say this with 41 years as an SWL, 32 years as a ham...

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