Is this a Papuan Pandora's box being opened?
PNG rugby league: looked good; going nowhere

Rural radio threatened by transmitter closures


Philip_Apr09 “SURELY THAT can't be true; it defies belief,” exclaimed the normally unflappable Phil Charley OAM [right], pioneering PNG commercial broadcaster.

He was responding to a statement by the managing director of the PNG National Broadcasting Corporation, Joseph Ealedona, who has announced the NBC will soon do away with its shortwave and medium wave transmitters, replacing them with FM services.

CD ROM “I was very surprised to see this report and hope it is not correct,” said broadcasting expert, Assoc Prof Martin Hadlow [left] of the University of Queensland.

“To switch off the shortwave radio stations seems extraordinary in a country like PNG.

Vanuatu and Solomon Islands use shortwave to reach the most remote dwellers. Even the ABC in the Northern Territory uses shortwave to broadcast to distant communities.

“I find it hard to believe that FM can do that in PNG. Can you imagine FM in the Highlands? It is a line-of-sight transmission medium and I am not sure how it would reach into valleys and over hills.”

Speaking at the launch of Central Province FM station Kibi Gadona (Voice of the Conch Shell), Mr Ealedona, said the acquisition by all provinces of FM services paved the way for the NBC to broadcast nationally through the first direct satellite service, donated by the Australian Government.

Mr Ealedona said this meant the NBC could soon decommission its medium and short wave transmitters.

And professional broadcasters are appalled.

“I’m not sure whether this means people have to buy a satellite receiver, satellite radio is not, of course, an FM radio signal, or whether the satellite will deliver signals to a downlink point for terrestrial transmission on FM radio frequencies,” said Prof Hadlow.

“And how long will the donation of satellite time by the Australian Government continue?”


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Phil Fitzpatrick

PNG newspapers, as reported last year, are running stories that they think will appeal to their readers, that is the people who pay for them. These are predominantly urban middle class people.

As a consequence, rural matters have been sidelined or done away with altogether.

Selling newspapers is the bottom line; not providing a public service. I suspect the same sort of thinking is being applied to radio.

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