As Radio Australia cuts shortwave services, RNZI becomes the voice of the Pacific
Tuesday 07 March, 2017
Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) continues to serve people across the Pacific region, delivering essential day to day news and information and providing a vital lifeline in times of natural disaster, as Radio Australia closes its international shortwave transmission service to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
Emphasising the importance of RNZI’s 25-year relationship with New Zealand’s Pacific neighbours, RNZ CEO, Paul Thompson said: “Remote parts of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who may be feeling the loss of the ABC can rest assured RNZI will continue to provide independent, timely and accurate news, information and weather warnings as well as entertainment to its Pacific listeners.”
Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to switch off its shortwave services as a money saving measure has already drawn criticism and protests from a number of groups in Australia.
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie recently defended the decision at an Australian Parliament Senate Committee hearing. "Fewer than 15 people have contacted us since we made the announcement, so the number of people affected seems to be very small," she said.
RNZI has been broadcasting since 1990 to the Pacific and is regarded as the authoritative voice of the Pacific.
It can be heard across the region and has proven to be a vital lifeline during times of disaster.
In 2007 RNZI was named international Radio Station of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB).
RNZI broadcasts timely cyclone and tsunami warnings via shortwave and can continue to be heard should local broadcasters go off-air due to a cyclone or other disaster.
Around twenty Pacific radio stations relay RNZI material daily, and individual short-wave listeners and internet users across the world tune in directly to RNZI content.
The RNZI signal can sometimes be heard as far away as Japan, North America, the Middle East and Europe.
Thompson said the essential nature of Radio New Zealand’s role in the Pacific has been regularly underlined by the positive feedback to RNZI following cyclone and tsunami alerts.
“A Vanuatu villager has told our reporter Koroi Hawkins that he knew to take shelter during Cyclone Pam just because of the warnings broadcast on RNZI. At times like this we are the essential voice of the Pacific.”
RNZI’s coverage of the aftermath of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015 won RNZI reporter Koroi Hawkins a silver medal at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards in 2016.
RNZI broadcasts in digital and analogue short wave to radio stations and individual listeners across the Pacific region.
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8 March 2017 - 4:26pm
Radio New Zealand shortwave may have identified as Radio New Zealand International since 1990 but the station has been on shortwave since 1948 not 1990 as this article implies. 1990 was when their new station in Rangitikei opened.
It has been on air continually since 1948 with the exception of when a misguided Muldoon National Government scrapped the service in 1976. After a storm of national and international protest the service was reinstated a month later.
Hopefully the former lawyer and Murdoch employee in chrge of the ABC will see some reason. If only CEOs with expertise in the area they are employed in were given the job.