Schweiz: Das Aus von DVB-T, dem terrestrischen Fernsehen und die regionale Rückkehr

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ABSTRACT (ENGLISH)

Switzerland is one of the most pioneering countries in the abandonment of Hertzian waves: in 2004, it switched off the Sottens shortwave transmitter (with 500 kW) and transferred the programs to the web. In 2010 it was the turn of the medium waves (the last to be switched off, the Sottens system) and in 2019 it was the turn of digital terrestrial television (which is still received via cable). Too bad, however, that the switch-off was done ignoring the agreements made with some private operators who were authorised to retransmit the DVB-T signal. So much so that some transmitters have now been switched on again. Christian Brülhart’s article analyses the situation. But digitalisation is continuing at a fast pace: the Swiss government has brought forward the abandonment of FM to the summer of 2022: analogue channels will be replaced by DAB digital channels.

ARTICLE (Auf Deutsch)

Das terrestrische Fernsehen wurde von der SRG in der Schweiz abgedreht, Private bringen es jetzt zurück

Ab dem Herbst 2014 wurden in der Schweiz überraschend die Sendeleistungen der DVB-T Sender massiv um den Faktor 10-15 reduziert, gestaffelt nach Regionen. Manche Auguren sahen das als Vorzeichen einer kompletten DVB-T Abschaltung, die fünf Jahre später folgen sollte. Im Herbst 2015 erklärte das Bakom, dass es das UHF-Band mittel- bis längerfristig komplett dem Mobilfunk übereignen wolle. Somit war klar, dass das Aus für das terrestrische Fernsehen kommen wird, nur wann, war damals noch unklar.

Fernsehen wird in der Schweiz vor allem über Kabelnetze und über Internet, Dienste wie Swisscom-TV mit hunderten Programmen und zeitunabhängigem Fernsehen dank einem 7 Tage-Zeitfenster, in denen man Programme nach der Erstausstrahlung schauen kann, findet viele Nutzer, die auch ein gutes Festnetz-Internet haben. Das terrestrische Netz strahlte über DVB-T fünf SRG-Programme landesweit aus; im Wallis und in Graubünden gab es indes private Netze, die dutzende Programme – teils verschlüsselt – über DVB-T ausgestrahlt haben, quasi Kabelnetze über die Luft. Valaiscom stellte den Betrieb, als das 800er Band dem Fernsehen weggenommen wurde («Digitale Dividende») und dem Mobilfunk zugeschanzt wurde, den Betrieb ein. Tele Rätia in Graubünden stellte den Betrieb Ende 2018 ein, als das Bakom auch noch das 700er Band für die Mobilfunk einkassierte.

Die SRG bekam Ende August 2018 eine neue Konzession vom Bakom, diese besagt, dass die SRG das terrestrische Fernsehen bis Ende 2019 aufgeben muss. Die SRG hat sich dann entschieden, DVB-T im Sommer 2019 abzuschalten; im Dezember 2018 wurde angekündigt, dass das terrestrische Fernsehen zum 3. Juni 2019 abgeschaltet werde. Die Informationskampagne war gut, aber das Aus von DVB-T hat doch ein paar zehntausend Haushalten den TV-Empfang weggenommen. Am 3.6.19 wurden die Programme über DVB-T eingestellt, danach wurden noch Hinweisbilder über die Sender ausgestrahlt, am 7.7.19 wurden die DVB-T Sender abgeschaltet.

Sendemast auf dem Hohen Kasten
Quelle: Christian Brülhart

Bereits im Juli 2019 hörte ich davon, dass am Hohen Kasten DVB-T reaktiviert werden könnte. Kabel-TV Lampert aus dem Vorarlberg bemühte sich darum, dass terrestrische Fernsehen auf diesem Ostschweizer Gipfel reaktivieren zu können, um das Schweizer Fernsehen weiterhin in ihr Kabelnetz einspeisen zu dürfen. Sie bekamen dann wirklich die Lizenz vom Bakom, DVB-T vom Hohen Kasten auf Kanal 34 ausstrahlen zu können. Geplant war ursprünglich, das noch vor dem Jahreswechsel 19/20 zu ermöglichen. Wetterunbill, die Revision der Bahn und die Corona-Pandemie verzögerten das um ein halbes Jahr, aber am 8.7.20 wurde der Hohe Kasten reaktiviert und strahlt seitdem wieder SRF1 und SRF2 aus. Der Hohe Kasten sendet den Kanal 34 mit einer ziemlich scharfen Richtstrahlung gen Nordwesten.

In der Romandie hat der private Sender Léman bleu ähnliches initiiert, seit dem Juni 2020 senden La Dôle-Barrilette und der Salève ebenfalls auf Kanal 34 die Programme der RTS wieder terrestrisch aus, dies in DVB-T2.

Wir sind froh, dass das terrestrische Fernsehen so zumindest regional zurückkehrte, denn das ist die einzige Möglichkeit, ohne Satellitenausrüstung und ohne Provider Fernsehen empfangen zu können.

Christian Brülhart

Halo, Halo ovdje radio Zagreb – radijska tradicija stara 95 godina!

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ABSTRACT (ENGLISH)

From the first broadcast happening on Radio Zagreb back in 1926, until today, when a total of 155 radio stations operate in Croatia – radio has not lost its popularity. Radio survived the challenges of the modern age and is a very popular medium in Croatia. According to statistics more than half of Croatian citizens follow the radio waves every day!

ARTICLE (Na hrvatskom)
Izvor

15. svibnja 2021.godine navršit će se točno devedeset i pet godina otkako se glas Božene Begović premijerno začuo u hrvatskom eteru i time označio početak gotovo stogodišnje povijesti radija u Hrvatskoj.

Iako se ovaj prijenos smatra početkom hrvatske radijske povijesti, njeni su temelji postavljeni nešto ranije, 1918. godine osnutkom radiotelegrafske postaje Radio Grič.

Radio-Grič, prva radiotelegrafska postaja u Hrvatskoj. Postavljena je u studenome 1918. na zagrebačkom Gornjem gradu (sastojala se od uređaja skinutih s austrougarske krstarice Novara) te je služila Hrvatskomu narodnom vijeću za veze s najvažnijim europskim gradovima; bila je jedan od glavnih izvora informacija iz inozemstva, koje su svakodnevno objavljivane i u posebnom biltenu. U tom je smislu Radio-Grič bio preteča Radiostanice Zagreb, prve radiodifuzijske postaje u Hrvatskoj, koja je počela emitirati 1926.
Citat: Radio-Grič. Hrvatska enciklopedija, mrežno izdanje

Pet godina nakon osnutka Radio Griča, grupa entuzijasta na čelu s Dr. Ivom Sternom, osniva  Radio klub Zagreb iz čijih će se prostorija na Markovom trgu 9, 1926. godine začuti sad već legendarna.

Halo, Halo, ovdje radio Zagreb!

Nakon najavne rečenice kojoj je prethodilo izvođenje himne, slušateljima se  obratio  Dr. Ivo Stern kao prvi ravnatelj Radio Zagreba.  Program je nastavljen čitanjem službenog biltena , a prva emitirana glazba bila je ona Beethovena, Haydna, Chopina, Rameaua i Saint-Saensa.

Iste godine, nedugo nakon prvog emitiranja, Radio Zagreb je na konferenciji u Lausannei,  postao punopravni član ITU-a (International Telecommunications Union).  

Osim prijenosa uživo, većinu radijskog programa tadašnjeg vremena  sačinjavale su glazba i radio drama – nova forma, koju je u Europi popularizirao BBC. Slijedeći trendove, Radio Zagreb  već  4. prosinca 1926. objavljuje natječaj za izvorni radiodramski tekst, te kao jedna od prvih postaja u Europi javno poziva slušatelje na sudjelovanje u stvaranju originalnih rukopisa.

Prva hrvatska radiodrama, pod nazivom Vatra, autora i redatelja Ive Šrepela izvedena je 7. travnja 1927. Izvođenje je izazvalo toliko uzbuđenje kod slušatelja da su neki, prema informacijama navedenim u  dnevnom tisku, izišli na balkone misleći da je na Griču buknuo požar.

S obzirom da je glazba od samih početka zauzimala najveći dio programa,  Radio Zagrebu  1946. osniva big band Plesni orkestar Radio Zagreba(danas Jazz orkestarHrvatske radiotelevizije ), koji kontinuirano djeluje više od 60 godina, sve do danas.

Skoro dvadeset godina Radio Zagreb nastavlja djelovati kao jedini radijski medij na našim prostorima, sve do 1942. kad je osnovan Radio Dubrovnik,  ujedno i prva lokalna postaja u Hrvatskoj.

Kao i većina tadašnjih radio stanica u Europi, radio Zagreb bio je u privatnom vlasništvu sve do početka 1940. kad je nacionaliziran i za vrijeme NDH djeluje kao Hrvatski krugoval.  Po završetku Drugog svjetskog rata,  postaje nacionalna postaja koja nezavisno djeluje u sastavu JRT (Jugoslovenske radio- televizije), a nakon 1990. u sklopu Hrvatske radio televizije. 

Prema zadnjim istraživanjima, radio svakodnevno sluša 55,5 posto hrvatskih građana, a na tjednoj bazi njih 91,2 posto. I tjedna i dnevna slušanost je u zadnje četiri godine u blagom porastu. U prosjeku hrvatski slušatelj uz radio dnevno provede 78,6 minuta. Žene nešto više od muškaraca, 83,4 naspram 67,5 minuta.
Citat

Scena nezavisnih radio stanica svoju ekspanziju doživljava šezdesetih godina, a  nakon 1997. u Hrvatskoj s radom počinju i privatne nacionalne radijske postaje.  Iste godine u pogon je stavljena prva zemaljska satelitska postaja na Prisavlju, putem koje se između ostalog , počeo emitirati Prvi program Hrvatskog radija u Europi i na Bliskom istoku.

Iako glazba i dalje zauzima najveći  dio programa, informativni program, većinom prilagođen lokalnom slušateljstvu razlog je velike popularnosti radijskih postaja.  Danas u hrvatskom eteru djeluje ukupno 155 radijskih postaja, a radio je i dalje, unatoč  inovacijama jedan od najslušanijih i najutjecajnijih medija u Hrvatskoj. 

Sunčica Pjevac

USA: IBA, united we stand

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The logo of the Independent Broadcasters Association, a new association for American radio stations: 2.700 have already joined and the target number is 3.000
The logo of the Independent Broadcasters Association, a new association for American radio stations: 2.700 have already joined and the target number is 3.000
Source

IBA (Independent Broadcasters Association) is about to be set up in the United States. The aim is to increase the impact of thousands of member radio stations when communicating with record companies, selling airtime for advertisements (from the radio and social network to smart speakers like Alexa) and negotiating savings on services (from accountancy to putting programmes on air). We put three questions to Ron Stone, the promoter of the initiative.

Ron Stone, President and CEO of Adams Radio Group, is about to launch IBA that already has 2.700 member radio stations
Ron Stone, President and CEO of Adams Radio Group, is about to launch IBA that already has 2.700 member radio stations
Source

RR: IBA not only offers its members the sale of commercials that will be broadcast on 3.000 radio stations, on as many apps and Facebook pages, but also to reduce the fees for music rights by negotiating royalties as a group of broadcasters. What difficulties did you encounter when explaining your proposal? Wasn’t getting 3.000 “heads” to agree a problem? Or has the prospect of earnings (and savings) made prospective members more willing to listen? 
RS: The goal is to represent the stations that become members as an unwired network, offering this network to clients that have a national presence. In addition, we will create a digital platform for all the members to participate in that will allow for the first time, a true digital sale opportunity by radio on a national scale to compete for digital spending.

RR: Could this model also work in other countries? Associations usually do lobbying or offer services, but none of them have thought of taking such an active role.
RS: I really cannot answer this as I am not familiar with broadcasting in other countries. We will not be a lobbying group. We will leave that to the NAB, unless we find that there is a particular issue that we are being harmed by and not fairly represented.

RR: In order to sell advertising for 3.000 radio stations, are you going to create an independent advertising agency or rely on existing structures?
RS: With an unwired network, it becomes fairly easy. It is an all or none sale. Clients cannot cherry pick stations.

The objectives of the Independent Broadcasters Association

This is not only an association, but an organisation offering services. This could start a trend that may be followed in other countries in order to achieve economies of scale, which are essential after the collapse in advertising due to the Coronavirus crisis
Here is the form to request information
This is not only an association, but an organisation offering services. This could start a trend that may be followed in other countries in order to achieve economies of scale, which are essential after the collapse in advertising due to the Coronavirus crisis
Here is the form to request information
Source
Excerpt of the program of the association, from Radio IBA

The concept is to serve independent radio stations in ways we are NOT being served by existing organizations and provide independent operators with ways to drive revenue and achieve cost benefits from scale that cannot be achieved alone.

Below reflects my thoughts on what the organization would focus on right away and during the first two years.

Group employee benefits Better coverage and lower prices, and potentially add additional benefits for our employees.

Revenue generation An unwired network & digital platform supported by a national sales team to monetize for us.

Digital services group This would enable continuity across independent stations giving us the opportunity to accomplish double digit digital revenue through Web, Mobile, Alexa, & Streaming

Shared resources A system that allows sharing of that talent in non-competitive situations and reduces our dependence on national syndication that requires cash, barter and sometimes both.

Proprietary systems and services Under the umbrella of a member owned association, we can create proprietary systems that we control and eliminate some of the costly monthly per station fees for traffic, accounting, CRM, Yield Management, even automation and music scheduling.

This will of course take time, like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. But as independents, we are 7,000 stations strong, and multiply what each of us pay for any one service, it becomes crystal clear that through a membership owned organization, we would have the wherewithal to accomplish this, and the revenue growth and savings would be astronomical.

Turkey: Further delays for the TV radio tower in Istanbul

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All Photos by NAARO, Architectural Photography Studio in London

After having announced over and over again that the official opening of the telecommunications tower on Kucuk Camlica hill would take place in a few months, progress was thwarted by the arrival of Covid-19. Then on May 3rd, 2020, a fire broke out, which, fortunately, was small and quickly under control by the workers.

A video showing the area where the fire broke out can be seen on the website of Haber Global, TV and Radio tower in Istanbul, Turkey
Fire.  A video showing the area where the fire broke out can be seen on the website of Haber Global.
Source

Construction of the tower began in March 2016 and a year later the Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication, Ahmet Arslan, hoped it would be completed by the end of Ramadan (May 2017) with a cost of USD 48.5.  This was repeated the following year and again in July 2019 because they had to confront technical problems and delays caused by the wind, which when over 30km/h impedes work on the exterior.

In May 2017 the Minister of Communication, Ahmet Arslan, announcing the opening in a few months on a visit to the tower
In May 2017 the Minister of Communication, Ahmet Arslan, announcing the opening in a few months on a visit to the tower
Source
A year later (February 2018) the same minister can be seen on a visit to the tower stating that the construction would be completed by the end of the year
A year later (February 2018) the same minister can be seen on a visit to the tower stating that the construction would be completed by the end of the year
Source
On 16th June 2019 an announcement stating that they were starting tests appeared on a page of the Ministry of Communication's website
On 16th June 2019 an announcement stating that they were starting tests appeared on a page of the Ministry of Communication’s website
Source

An elegant, futuristic silhouette

The designers' architectural rendering showing what the tower will look like, view over Istanbul, Turkey
The designers’ architectural rendering showing what the tower will look like

The tower is one of ten major projects (including Istanbul airport, which is the largest in the world, and the tunnel under the Bosporus) that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had promised to give Turkey, one of the ten major world economies.  “Complicated problems have been confronted and solved” states Melike Altinisik, Turkish architect, designer and founder of the international architectural design studio of the same name that is in charge of carrying out the project. ‘Designing a TV tower of almost 369 metres high is a complex and unique process, not only from the design but also from a technical point of view’.

Starting from the height:  369 metres from the cement base to the 145.5-metre steel mast which houses the antennas.  The mast is made up of 12 pieces each weighing 1,400 tons. These were assembled inside the cement core and lifted by jacks to over 220 metres in height. Three hundred people, including technicians and engineers worked on the building site. 30,000 m3 of concrete and 3,000 tons of structural steel were used on a construction surface of 32,000 m2. 

Particular engineering techniques

close up of the Tv and radio tower in Istanbul, Turkey
The tower floors were assembled on the ground and lifted by jacks onto the reinforced concrete mast

The engineering techniques used to construct the tower are particular.  It was decided to build a circular cement core (220.5 metres high with foundations 21 metres deep) and to assemble the floors on the ground in groups of three or four. Each one is 4.5 metres high (the total weight of each module is about 1,000-1,200 tons, the equivalent weight of 1,000 cars).  The modules (eight) were then lifted to the top by jacks and attached. Following this, a 2.5-metre-thick layer of reinforced concrete was laid between one module and the next. The tower is expected to draw 4.5 million visitors annually.

A breathtaking view of the city you'll be able to see at night
A breathtaking view of the city you’ll be able to see at night

Like all telecommunication towers, apart from better reception of radio and TV signals and a lower impact on the environment (the hill is still covered with dozens of pylons) the structure is also a tourist attraction. The observation decks give you a breathtaking view of the Bosporus and both the eastern and western areas of Istanbul.  It is expected to attract about 4.5 million visitors a year. The observation decks are on the 33rd and 34th floors (at 366.5 and 371 metres above sea level. The hill is 220 metres high). The 39th and 40th floors (at the heights of 393.5 and 398 metres above sea level) will host a restaurant and a cafeteria. Libraries and exhibition halls will be located in the four basement floors. 
The radio stations will be the first to be moved in.

 The tower seen from the Bosporus, on the left you can see the present telecommunication masts which are due to be dismantled, Istanbul turkey
The tower seen from the Bosporus, on the left you can see the present telecommunication masts which are due to be dismantled

The tower will be able to host 125 transmitters, thus replacing a large number of pylons on the two hills nearby.  These will be dismantled.  In this way both the impact on the environment and electromagnetic emissions, which are harmful to health, will be reduced. The remaining broadcasters, that cannot find a place, will be integrated into the television tower on Buyuk Camlica hill, owned by TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation).

From FMList, the radio stations that broadcast from Camlica

PIRATE RADIO STATIONS: Illegal broadcasting is proliferating ‘from the Apennines to the Andes’

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Transmitting without a license is a criminal offence but the desire to start one’s own radio station drives people to break the law in every country. This time we talk about Peru and Italy

PERU: 20,000 enforcement actions to catch a thousand illegal broadcasters 

The antenna of an illegal radio station was destroyed by an enforcement team
Source

About 5,000 licensed radio stations and 1,000 illegal broadcasters operate in the Andean country. The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) is very active. In 2020 the ministry has planned 20,000 enforcement actions. They closed down 14 radio stations in the region of Lima in January 2020 and in 2019 they confiscated 1,072 pieces of transmission equipment and closed 200 stations. The fine for those who get caught is 200,000 Peruvian soles (about US$ 58,000). 

ITALY: One of Radio Maria’s antennas was illegal

Radio Maria’s list of frequencies (over 900 in Italy) also includes one in Amalfi, broadcasting on 105.5 MHz from the transmitter site in Conca dei Marini, now under seizure 
Source

A repeater transmitting on 105.5 MHz, operated by Radio Maria in the province of Salerno, was closed down on June 13th, 2020. After receiving a number of reports from local citizens, the carabinieri in Amalfi confirmed that the radio antenna, that had been installed years ago in the courtyard of a privately owned building in Via dei Naviganti in Conca dei Marini, a municipality on the Amalfi coast, did not have a license. The Regional Environmental Protection Agency (Arpac) in Campania also established (after multiple inspections) that the electromagnetic emissions exceeded the limits allowed by the law. As a result the radio station was subject to criminal seizure. The broadcaster’s lawyers opposed the shutdown but the appeal at the Court of Appeal in Salerno was rejected. 

Record number of criminal charges for a pirate in Palermo

The antenna of the illegal broadcaster: a simple dipole antenna on the roof of a house in the hills of Ciaculli in the suburbs of Palermo 
Source: Press office of the Carabinieri provincial command in Palermo

The phenomenon of illegal radio stations is limited on the peninsula because they not only face fines, but also criminal charges. On June 11th, 2020, the carabinieri assisted by officials of the Ministry of Economic Development (the body that carries out enforcement actions) deactivated a radio station that modulated on 97.4 MHz. The owner was charged on three counts: The first for violation of the electronics communication code (the transmitter was not licensed): the second for damage (it interfered with the frequency of a licensed radio station) by broadcasting from a residential building on a hill. In fact, it interfered with RMC – Radio Monte Carlo transmitting on 97.6 MHz from Via Barone Manfredi 8, in Monreale. However, what really takes the biscuit is that the whole building (where the owner had set up studios and put an antenna on the roof) was illegally connected to the city’s electricity grid. In this way, the 44-year-old man was charged with the third count of theft of electrical energy. 

In another city on Sicily, a radio station, that only broadcast music without commentary, appeared in Syracuse in April 2020. It modulated on 88.6 MHz and later moved to 93.8 MHz. We have recently been informed that it has now been shut down. 

Another closedown one week later

A photograph of the ‘studio’. On the left, with his back to the camera, an officer from the Radio Monitoring unit in the Ministry of Economic Development 
Source: Press office of the Carabinieri provincial command in Palermo

After the enforcement action in Ciaculli, investigations were continued in the province of Palermo. These led to the deactivation of another unlicensed radio station a week later, this time in Pioppo, a part of the municipality of Monreale. The transmitter operated in the same way as a licensed commercial radio by not only broadcasting music but also commercials. It caused interference with the frequencies of two national networks: RMC Radio Monte Carlo and R101.

Ecuador: Covid-19 the final nail in the coffin, silencing a voice that has been on air for 72 years

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The article in the daily newspaper El Universo with a photograph of the Ondas Azuayas headquarters, the radio station that closed on June 7th, 2020 after its last programme saying goodbye
Source

Radio Ondas Azuayas, the historical Ecuadorian radio station with headquarters in Cuenca, permanently closed down broadcasting on June 7th, 2020, after being on air for 72 years. They used to transmit on medium wave on 1110 kHz AM from Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca, the third most populated city in the country and capital of the province of Azuay. Broadcasting started on April 12th, 1948. After lengthy discussions on whether to continue transmitting, the director Fausto Cardoso, in an editorial broadcast, confirmed their decision to close after a last transmission saying goodbye. The radio station was already in a financial crisis due to continuous sanctions imposed on them by Supercom (Superintendencia de Comunicacion) with the purpose of persecution. This control and censorship body against the media was created by the ex-president, Rafael Correa. It was closed in July 2019, thus cancelling the sanctions (more information can be found in this article in the Quito daily newspaper El Comercio). However, by that time it was too late and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic brought the radio station to its knees. Details can be found here

RadioReporter invites you to ‘WRITE WITH US’

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RadioReporter’s World Radio and TV News Blog has been running since 8 months now. We hope you enjoy our topics and articles! Please know, we are always open to receive your feedback either as a comment or via e-mail: blog@radioreporter.org

Some news to share with you

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Our goal is to engage more and more with fellow radio enthusiasts and make people curious about radio itself, especially those coming from outside the industry.
Help us grow our community and join us! Write with us!

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Coronavirus: US Christian radio stations in crisis

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The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the largest Christian group of radio stations in the United States into crisis.

The Christian radio group’s business plan was to charge pastors for time on their transmissions to broadcast their sermons
Source

The Salem Media Group had a business model that protected them from the highs and lows of the advertising market. In 2019 they made US$79 million by selling pastors time on their transmissions to deliver their sermons. However, they certainly did not forgo both local and national commercials that brought in $68 million. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic caused their shares to plummet to 80 cents (they were at US$8 in 2018 and US$30 in 2004). Moody’s, an American credit rating agency, has classified investments in the company as high risk.

The report published by Cristianity Today provides more details on the financial crisis in Salem
Source

The Salem Media Group has a network of 3,100 radio stations (100 of which they own) with a guaranteed 298 million listeners per week. The board of directors have announced a dividend block, a reduction of 10% in managers’ salaries and they are now considering personnel cuts (a total of over 1,400 employees). In this article the magazine Christianity Today outlines the situation in-depth.

India: Community radio stations fight the pandemic

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The report in Asian Review opens with a photograph of the studio of Radio Namaskar, located in the state of Odisha on the east coast of India
The report in Asian Review opens with a photograph of the studio of Radio Namaskar, located in the state of Odisha on the east coast of India
Source

‘The radio saved my life. By listening to doctors being interviewed on the radio, I discovered that I had Covid-19 symptoms and managed to be treated in time and recover’. This is the opening statement in the Asian Review’s report on the role played by the Indian community radio stations, which are often the only means available for millions of people to access information in the most remote rural communities. During the pandemic the usual programmes speaking about agricultural techniques were substituted by explanations of how to put social distancing into effect and how to recognise Covid-19 symptoms. Together with the government authorities, they also helped to coordinate the distribution of food and medicines. This was an enormous job considering that there are only 276 community radio stations in the whole country. The government’s intention was to see an increase to 4000 broadcasters, which is a number equal to the commercial stations, but the main obstacle to this is the cost of equipment, which is very high for a community (starting from INR ₹ 1.9 million, which is more than US $ 25.000), as explained in detail in this article.

UAE: A radio station entertains everyone getting tested

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Coronavirus Screening Center in Abu Dhabi
Coronavirus Screening Center
Source

To date the United Arab Emirates ministry of health has opened 24 drive-through centres enabling them to carry out 115,000 coronavirus tests per week. Coinciding with the mass screening campaign launched by the DoH (Department of Health) in the United Arab Emirates, a number of radio stations broadcasting on the FM band have also been opened. A welcome message is broadcast on air as citizens arrive at the centres in their cars for a throat swab (free of charge for those at risk, otherwise it costs 370 AED, equivalent to US$ 101) to check if they are positive for Covid-19. At the first centre, opened in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, messages are transmitted on 104.6 MHz. The acronym SEHA (the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Company that manages the tests) appears in RDS.