POLAND: STOP TO THE NEW MEDIA LAW

TVN is perceived by Polish citizens as a free voice, so much so that some of the demonstrators in favour of media freedom carried signs with the station's logo.
TVN is perceived by Polish citizens as a free voice, so much so that some of the demonstrators in favour of media freedom carried signs with the station’s logo.
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Polish President Andrzej Duda has vetoed the media law passed by the nationalist government, believing that it would be unpopular and undermine the confidence of foreign investors. The measure required companies to reduce their stake in radio and TV stations to 49% to ensure that no non-European companies could control the media that help shape public opinion. The loser would be U.S.-based Discovery, which was forced to relinquish control of TVN, the country’s most important network and the largest U.S. investment in Poland. Many Poles perceived the move by the ruling party (Law and Justice, on whose positions the president is aligned) as an attempt to silence TVN24, an inconvenient station with an evening news program watched by millions of people.

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TUNISIA: ZITOUNA INCORPORATED IN THE NATIONAL RADIO STATION

ZITOUNA INCORPORATED IN THE NATIONAL RADIO STATION
The Tunisian radio portal, in addition to streaming, offers a selection of news items from the national and regional radio stations and provides an archive of Tunisian music masterpieces, radio plays and rare recordings
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Religious broadcaster Zitouna FM has joined the group of Tunisian national radio stations. Founded in 2007 by Sakher El Materi, son-in-law of then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, it was confiscated after the revolution of 14 January 2011. Ten years later, the station was officially incorporated into the National Radio Authority. On the Tunisian radio portal, however, it is not yet listed among the stations that can be listened to online, which include Radio Nationale, RTCI (Radio Tunis Chaîne Internationale), Radio Jeunes, Radio Culturelle, Radio Sfax, Radio Monastir, Radio El Kef, Radio Gafsa, Radio Tataouine.

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USA: CHRISTIAN RADIO LISTENERS SCAMMED FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

CHRISTIAN RADIO LISTENERS SCAMMED FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
BBC News dedicated an extensive report to the scam perpetrated on hundreds of listeners of a Catholic radio station in Texas by a supposed financial ‘guru’
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In YouTube ads, he claimed to be a guru who had led more than a thousand clients to financial independence. But in reality, William Neil ‘Doc’ Gallagher was a fraudster, advertising his financial services from a Christian Protestant radio station in North Texas. With commercials promising returns of between 6 and 8%, he had convinced about two hundred pensioners, listeners of the Christian radio station, to entrust him with 32 million dollars, most of which he ‘burned’ in personal expenses. Financially, nothing new: Gallagher applied the classic ‘Ponzi scheme’, paying interest with money collected from new clients until the castle collapsed. The novelty lies in the fact that Gallagher exploited the notoriety and credibility of the Christian broadcasters (followed in the States by more than 20 million believers) to get rich. But in the end, justice presented him with his bill: the ‘money doctor’, now in his 80s, will have to serve three life sentences, in addition to the 25 years, he was sentenced to in 2020 by a Dallas court.

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SWITZERLAND: DAB COVERAGE FURTHER IMPROVED

DAB COVERAGE FURTHER IMPROVED
In the latest technical bulletin (December 2021), SRG SSR takes stock of the expansion of the DAB+ digital transmission network
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Despite the fact that DAB+ signals already reach 99 % of the population in Switzerland, as required by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), the public broadcaster has further expanded the digital network in Italian and French-speaking Switzerland. Between 2020 and 2021, ten new transmitters were activated and twelve others were optimized. Improvements were made in the cantons of Jura, in the northwest of the country, and Ticino, located almost entirely south of the Alps, where the network was further expanded at the beginning of 2021 with the activation of the installation in Cardada. In Switzerland, the digital signal is also broadcast in tunnels longer than 300 meters: the list of the 193 road tunnels covered by DAB+ signals can be consulted on broadcast.ch.

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USA: NO MEDIUM WAVE RADIO ON ELECTRIC CARS?

NO MEDIUM WAVE RADIO ON ELECTRIC CARS
The image illustrating the article by Pilot (which describes itself as: an organization of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technologies and cultivating new media opportunities) shows the screen of the electric Volkswagen ID.4 EV: it allows listening to FM and streaming – but not to AM
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The abandonment of thermic engines is a mandatory goal to reduce CO2 emissions. The automotive industry is getting ready and among the aspects that are being discussed, there is also radio listening. On electric cars, HF interference is generated primarily by the frequency converter, a device that controls the amount of power delivered by the electric motor by turning the voltage on and off thousands of times per second. This generates signals that fall in the medium wave broadcast band: electrical noises (such as distortion and crackling) similar to those emitted by smartphones, TVs, computers, vacuum cleaners and hair dryers. In addition, static electricity, which creates crackles, increases with the power of the motors. So much so that some manufacturers, such as BMW, Mini, Tesla and Volkswagen have eliminated the AM band on their current cars. Others, like General Motors, are studying the problem, but the solution isn’t around the corner. Xperi Corporation, a leading digital radio company, whose HD Radio standard (a patent it owns) is used both in the FM and AM band, claims that its transmission system is not afraid of interference. And it presented test results at NAB Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology, the annual conference of American broadcasters. According to Pooja Nair, an engineer at Xperi Corporation, a fully digital AM signal resists interference much better than an analogue one.

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FRANCE: VIVENDI ACCELERATES THE “TAKEOVER” OF LAGARDÈRE

Vincent Bolloré, patron of the Vivendi group, should retire in February 2022: it is assumed that accelerating the Opa on Lagardère tries to fix the company before leaving the helm to his children
Vincent Bolloré, patron of the Vivendi group, should retire in February 2022: it is assumed that accelerating the Opa on Lagardère tries to fix the company before leaving the helm to his children
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The conquest of the French media group by the Breton financier Vincent Bolloré is approaching its final stages. The Opa (the takeover bid aimed at shareholders to invite them to sell their shares to the company that would like to take control), initially scheduled for December 15, 2022, has been brought forward to February 2022. Vivendi will take control of Radio Europe 1, the RMF and Virgin Radio networks and the publishing houses Hachette and Editis. The Antitrust Authority and the CSA (Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel) have yet to pronounce on the acquisition. They could impose the sale of certain assets in the book sector, particularly in France, because with the acquisition of the two big names in publishing and book distribution in France, Vivendi would have a dominant position. This and other aspects are discussed in the Italian monthly Prima Comunicazione, specialized in the world of publishing.

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FRANCE: LAGARDÈRE CLOSES THREE LOCAL SITES OF VIRGIN RADIO AND RFM

LAGARDÈRE CLOSES THREE LOCAL SITES OF VIRGIN RADIO AND RFM
Among the Virgin Radio sites affected by the closure is Angers, the capital of Maine and Loire
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The Lagardère group has unveiled a plan to redeploy 30 journalists and 4 presenters involved in closing 26 Virgin Radio and four RFM locations. Ownership attributes the need for the cuts to the music broadcasters’ declining audience due to competition from streaming platforms. But the CFDT union disputes this, attributing the crisis to the group’s management problems, as the other major generalist radio stations have not lost listeners. On the contrary, the stations that will be closed have sent €3.6 million in dividends to the Lagardère group in 2020.

We have already discussed the crisis at the Lagardère Group here and here.

Desertification risk

Closing the network’s regional offices also reduces news coverage in certain territories, particularly rural areas, which are already under stress due to the crisis: since 2009, the number of journalists has fallen by 10%
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In the communiqué issued by the union, the workers are acknowledged for their dedication to working as presenters in the morning, especially in “isolated editorial offices“, with net salaries of less than 1,900 euros per month. And fearing the danger of information desertification in certain areas, particularly rural ones, the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) is asked to monitor the merger in progress within the group and compliance with agreements. Indeed, operators are obliged to open local offices in order to broadcast local advertising. ”Certainly, shareholders dream of radio stations without journalists or presenters, but the media will die that way.”

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COLOMBIA: THE RADIO THAT EDUCATED THE “CAMPESINOS”

Radio Sutatenza: a cultural revolution in the Colombian countryside
An image from the video presentation of the exhibition made on behalf of the Banco de la República (Central Bank of Colombia), which sponsored the event
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Radio Sutatenza: a cultural revolution in the Colombian countryside (1947 – 1994)” is an exhibition that reconstructs the history of the famous radio station, which sought to reduce the abysmal distances between the quality of rural and urban life through education in the basics and at a distance. Managed by the Acción Cultural Popular (Acpo), an educational company of Catholic extraction, it used an educational method that combined communication technologies with a model of Comprehensive Fundamental Education (Efi), seeking to generate social change. In forty years, working with public and private entities, Acpo has created a network of educational media in more than nine hundred Colombian municipalities.

An evergreen slogan

Also from the institutional video, other archive images taken from the broadcaster’s historical archive
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Education makes us freewas the slogan used to invite the peasants to participate in the radio movement and to practice independently. The success of Radio Sutatenza stemmed from the fact that teaching entered the homes of thousands of peasants, many of whom set up radio schools in their homes to welcome those approaching learning for the first time, to meet their neighbours, but also to listen to entertainment programmes. The travelling exhibition has been taken to different cities in Colombia for several years. Videos are available on YouTube and several images of the exhibition can be found on the website of Studio Machete, which designed the exhibition layout.

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CHINA: OLYMPICS TV IN 4K AND 8K

The Olympic Channel is the new high-definition CCTV16 channel launched by Chinese state TV to transmit the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022
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On 26 October 2021, one hundred days before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the first professional sports channel broadcast via satellite in 4K high and ultra-high definition began broadcasting. The Olympic Channel is the result of cooperation between China Central Radio and Television (CCTV) and the International Olympic Committee, and is the only channel authorised to use the Olympic name and logo with the five rings. CCTV16 will use the maximum transmission capacity to allow viewing: 5G + 4K and 8K + AI (upscaling with artificial intelligence) while the digital platform will be accessible from PCs, apps and the WeChat and Weibo multimedia platforms.

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CZECH REPUBLIC: MW SWITCH-OFF BY 2021

The image published on the public radio site shows a detail of the mediumwave facility in Libice
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Czech public radio ‘Český Rozhlas‘ is stepping up its information campaign for listeners receiving mediumwave programmes, ahead of the planned switch-off of transmitters by the end of 2021. Since 1 November, more announcements have been broadcast to warn users and a call centre has been set up to explain the possible listening alternatives (from FM to DAB). In the run-up to Christmas, public radio will launch an intensive advertising campaign in the print media and online magazines on 22 November to promote the purchase of digital DAB receivers to replace analogue radio. The shift away from medium-wave has been underway since the 2000s, affecting countries that have an alternative FM network or are in the process of creating one in DAB. But AM (amplitude modulation) still remains a resource for countries with large territorial coverage that can reach the entire population with a few installations.

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