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  1. #1
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    Jan 2008
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    Default BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    Below is an extract from mail sent in reference to the cessation of BBC World Service transmissions on short wave to Europe.

    Does the team think that the World Service fulfils a role in the modern world and was this action by the BBC justified?

    Dear BBC World Service,

    I am aware of the change of BBC World Service policy for European coverage - that all short wave transmissions beamed to Europe ceased early this year on the grounds that alternative reception possibilities make short wave transmission unnecessary. I wonder how much research was made on this subject and if the backroom beancounters had more to do with this decision than your audience research staff.

    I spend my summers cruising the Mediterranean in my sailing yacht and this was the first year without the World Service to listen to in my varied anchorages. In my travels I also found remote places that no longer can receive your excellent programme material - believe it or not, some people manage to survive without any affordable Internet connection and certainly do not have alternative World Service reception possibilities.

    For myself, I now resort to the equally excellent Deutsche Welle for my news - not only excellent in content but also in number of frequencies and signal strength, which the BBC never was.

    Not everyone has the fortune to have German to emulate my example, but there are other good alternatives in French and Spanish for those who may have those languages. However, for the many other nationalities whose only second language is English, there are always other countries that believe that English language programming on short wave radio can project not only their county's culture but also their government's policies and points of view. The USA, with VOA, is a major player and that emerging super power, China, is starting to fill the breech that the BBC has vacated. Clearly an indicator of the shifting nuances of global power and influence.

    Yours in sadness of an old friend lost,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    10,830

    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    Well they axed the Caribbean in March this year - we complained to them. Their view is that they have signed up many local stations who take some or all of their output. Which rather misses the point.

    Do you know if they have they signed up European stations?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    It really is a shame that this service has ended. The BBC World Service has been an important companion throughout my cruising life. I miss it. To my knowledge, only one local radio station in the Med has picked up the World Service News; Riviera Radio that covers the French Riviera on FM 106.5.

    Having said this; I must admit that I have found the World Service podcasts to be excellent. Get iTunes (free on www.apple.com) and you will have access to many of the World Service programmes. The benefit of this is that you can listen to it when you want, the reception is digital clear (no more 'this is grmmmufff....don with hrmsssspfff.... 'odays news). I usually download the 'World News' every day, even when I am at sea. It is pretty quick download so not too expensive. Then I stock up on all other programs when I reach a wifi spot. They even have 'the best of Wogan' every week. Say no more!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    [ QUOTE ]
    Do you know if they have they signed up European stations?

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Not local stations that I know of but yes, most central European cable companies take a BBC World Service feed 24/7, but, as you point out, that misses the point.

    Or perhaps it doesn't for their marketing gurus. Perhaps they figured that free short wave transmissions were inhibiting cable companies signing up for the feed. Perhaps the cable operators themselves were applying pressure after they had subscribed and were supplying the channel.

    There is a big world out there, even in Europe, that cannot access, or afford to access, cable outlets.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    [ QUOTE ]
    It really is a shame that this service has ended. The BBC World Service has been an important companion throughout my cruising life. I miss it.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Absolutely, me too. This year I could catch the early news on the African service on a few different frequencies but by 08:00 CET nothing more.

    [ QUOTE ]
    Having said this; I must admit that I have found the World Service podcasts to be excellent.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    This is indeed a boon, but as I don't seem to find myself in range of any wifi lately in the Adriatic, have to stock up while at home (like now).

    If not already done so you may care to partake of the regular Stephen Fry podcasts, free for the downloading here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    Thanks for the Stephen Fry podcast link. It is brilliant! I have now added it to the 'always download new' in my iTunes podcast service. Life just gets better.....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    393

    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    I think that this happened in february. my old boss who was english was very angry about it when he heard that it was coming long time ago and he sent messages to an english lord who has a yacht in the med about it. the lord could do nothing about it. world service had some very boring shows. one was called west way which was not like life in london as i remember it. maybe it was not such a loss. with a sat tv set you can still get it if you want. i think that they still send football on saturday pm but morning news and late night news and shows from their african stations is acceptable quality in aegean and s ionio. i hope that the lady who writes about my spelling of english believes that this is here ok.
    Kentrina

  8. #8
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    If there ever was a good clear 'troll' warning, I could not think of any that was more obvious than this one. Just ignore this nonsense.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Kenya
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    While I completely agree with you, the BBC world service has been an important part of my life for decades, I doubt your letter will cut any ice at the BBC. They have no interest at all in reaching a few wealthy yotties. In fact they have very little interest in reaching the expat community as a whole. That is simply not their remit. If they can reach more overseas listeners per pound spent by using local FM stations then they have little choice but to take that approach.

    Given that, I often wondered what the world thought of the UK when the world service went from a serious news programme to just a minute!

    Thanks for the Stephen Fry link, I have subscribed! One word of caution, one of the most infuriating things about itunes is that if you don't listen to an episode for a period of time then it stops downloading. I like to accumulate a lot of stuff which I only listen to on my ipod when traveling. I don't know an easy fix for this, except to remember to listen to a few seconds of each podcast every now and then.
    Usisafirie nyota ya mwenzio

  10. #10
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    Default Re: BBC World Service on short wave to Europe

    [ QUOTE ]
    "I doubt your letter will cut any ice at the BBC."

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Of course it won't - not a jot. But I do not accept things without a fight, even lost causes. Dylan Thomas comes to mind:
    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."


    [ QUOTE ]
    they have very little interest in reaching the expat community as a whole. That is simply not their remit.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Of course, I knew that, which is why mentioned that I cruised areas where the local inhabitants had no recourse to their service other than short wave. Also, they had no reason to assume that I was an expatriate, resident in Switzerland, cruising the Med.

    [ QUOTE ]
    I often wondered what the world thought of the UK when the world service went from a serious news programme to just a minute!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Actually, I enjoyed more the news magazines and such as "From our own Correspondent" than the news sections themselves. In fact, I became disillusioned with the quality, quantity and veracity of the news as presented by the official BBC presentation.

    No doubt that raised your eyebrows. Surely the BBC news is known the world over for honesty of reporting; the one true information source to be listened to in every dictator-ridden republic or oppressive regime, in order to know just what was really happening. I thought so too but became more and more of the realisation just how slanted and manipulated the service had become; how focused on a limited set of themes to report on.

    It came to a head a few years ago as the story of an "incident" in Basra, when a mob attacked a British contingent and locked up some soldiers in civvies in the jail there. The army had to storm the jail to recover the soldiers.

    The story raised more questions than it answered. Why had that happened? What had the soldiers done to provoke this? Was it just the current mindless violence of Iraq or was there a more tangible explanation? For the next days I made sure I was in a position to listen to every BBC news broadcast intently for a sequel - there was none; I was left hanging with suspense.

    Then late one night, lying in my bunk and idly sweeping the SW band for any interesting snippets of news, I came upon an English commentary concerning the very incident that had raised my curiosity. I couldn't identify the station, it wasn't any of the usual sources I listened to; the news reader was perfectly enunciating the words - no foreign accent here, only the hint of a non-native speaker - the signal was loud and clear and the report was well-written and appeared impartial, but the story-line was very different to the BBC one.

    A story unfolded of armed soldiers dressed in Arab clothes that had acted as agent provocateurs in order to incite violence in the local populace for some end or other; they had been detected for what they were and imprisoned in the local jail. The British army had to storm the jail and release them by force. The news item ended and the station announced itself - Radio Tehran.

    The report left me mentally reeling - was it just anti-British propaganda? But all the pieces fell into place, it was all so plausible, all so factual and logical, so well crafted as a news report. In fact it was the sort of report I would have expected as a sequel from the BBC, whose entire reporting of the incident had been left in the air and not continued.

    I later came to the conclusion that the Tehran report was correct and that the BBC had been muzzled by some form of injunction by the British government. It was then that I lost my faith.

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