Special issue about the HFCC B11 Conference in Dallas hosted by NASB and Continental Electronics, with sponsorship from the IBB and Trans World Radio
Please note that most of the material in this issue of the NASB Newsletter has already been published on the NASB Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nasbshortwave). We invite you to check NASB's Facebook page regularly for up-to-date information about the NASB, our member organizations and shortwave radio in general.
Notes from the First Day of HFCC-Dallas
by Jeff White, NASB President
At the Opening Plenary on Monday morning, September 12, I had the pleasure of welcoming everyone on behalf of the NASB, Continental Electronics, the IBB and Trans World Radio to the first-ever HFCC/ASBU Conference in the United States and the Great State of Texas. Adil Mina welcomed everyone on behalf of the main sponsor Continental Electronics, and spoke briefly about his feeling that shortwave is still alive and well. “Some stations are cutting back and reducing,” he said, “but others are renewing their facilities.” And he would know, as one of the main producers of high-powered shortwave transmitters worldwide.
During his opening remarks, HFCC Chairman Oldrich Cip talked about the need to expand the HFCC's scope beyond exclusively shortwave. Vice Chairman Horst Scholz asked for and received a mandate from HFCC/ASBU members to create a financial audit committee and a committee to guide the organization through the process of changes in the articles of incorporation to expand HFCC activities to include other delivery platforms for international radio and audio content. AWR President Dowell Chow told about an excursion that his organization was offering to all HFCC attendees that afternoon and evening to Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas – about 90 minutes away from the hotel in Dallas.
Bassil Zoubi of the Arab States Broadcasting Union talked about the growing importance of radio broadcasting in Middle Eastern countries in the aftermath of democratic revolutions. He said that where there was just one political party before the recent revolution in Tunisia, now there are over 100, and there are 60-some applications for new radio stations. He predicted this trend would continue in the other countries of the region that are experiencing similar revolutions that include increased freedom of expression. Finally, Sergio Salvatori of Vatican Radio gave a brief explanation of technical parameters of the conference.
Following the opening reception, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau sponsored the opening coffee break, with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, brownies and a Texan/Mexican treat called sopapillas – light pastries with sugar on top.
Conference attendees had a private buffet lunch on Monday (and every day of the meeting) at the Sheraton Dallas North Hotel where the conference was held, today including such items as beef tips with mushroom sauce and rice. During lunch I had a nice chat with Duncan Loney, a former Rockwell/Collins engineer and a lifelong shortwave enthusiast who is now a member of Adventist World Radio's board of directors. He lives locally in Dallas, and stopped by to take part in some of the Monday activities.
After the afternoon frequency coordination period, two buses left the hotel at 3:30 pm for Southwestern Adventist University. This had been one of the hottest summers in Texas history, and I noticed one of the bank signs flashing the temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Apparently, the heat took a toll on one of the buses, as half-way to Keene it overheated and we had to transfer everyone to the other bus.
When we arrived at Southwestern Adventist University, our first stop was the campus low-power FM station “The Way” 88.3 MHz, which specializes in contemporary Christian music. The station has its own building on campus with very nice state-of-the-art facilities which the group was able to tour.
Our campus tour guide was Christine Lemmon, who used to work at AWR headquarters in Baltimore, but went back to Texas where her family is and now works at the university in Keene. She explained that SWAU has around 800 students. The city of Keene has a population of about 7000, some 3000 of whom are members of the local Adventist church. Christine narrated a short bus tour of the university campus, which ended at the cafeteria where there is a full vegetarian buffet. (Most Seventh-Day Adventists are vegetarian.) A delicious buffet meal was offered to the broadcasters, including white bean soup, sandwiches, vegetarian hamburgers, large baked potatoes and many toppings, a salad bar, drinks and desserts.
During the dinner at the cafeteria, AWR President Dowell Chow gave a talk about the Adventist Church's facilities around the world (radio, hospitals and more) and an overview of how AWR reaches a worldwide audience through shortwave and many other media depending on the particular target area. AWR is very active in Internet, podcasts, local AM and FM broadcasts as well as shortwave. The network includes hundreds of local radio stations throughout the globe.
Driving back to Dallas from Keene, we saw highway signs flashing the message “Extreme Wildfire Danger” due to the extreme heat, but fortunately there were no fires on our route.
Opening Remarks - B11 Conference
by Oldrich Cip, HFCC Chairman
I would like to thank very much on behalf of all of us both to Mr Adil Mina of Continental Electronics and to our Conference Co-odinatior Jeff White of National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters for welcoming us to Dallas. Continental Electronics is our main sponsor and host and Jeff and his wife Thais - in addition to a lot of other conference preparations - were instrumental in getting entry visas to the United State to many participants. This was sometimes quite difficult and time-consuming.
Let me assure you first of all that this is the regular shortwave co-ordination conference for the B11 season. We have not given up shortwave. Frequency co-ordination, the promotion of shortwave. and providing free access to accurate frequency and schedule information to listeners will continue to be our core activity. We feel strongly that a degradation of our services would only speed up large scale migration to other delivery platforms.
At the same time the HFCC Steering Board have decided to ask members for a mandate to adjust and enlarge the remit of the association.
There are some compelling reasons for doing this: TV and radio organisations for home listeners and their unions are busy discussing the future of distribution of the media content and the use of new - mainly digital - technologies. We would like to become a forum for such debate in international broadcasting. We believe that the debate should help develop a stable and effective system of content delivery and the synergy and co-operation between the old and new technologies.
A recent survey in Europe has indicated that the use of wireless distribution of radio in domestic broadcasting might be even more resilient than in TV broadcasting. Unfortunately this does not seem to be taking place in international radio. In fact an increasing number of broadcasters have either drastically reduced or completely switched off shortwave transmissions this year.
This is yet another reason why we have to broaden the scope of our activities and prevent the outflow of members. Quite logically the name HFCC - or High Frequency Co-ordination Conference would become too restrictive and consequently the name-change will be on the agenda of the Plenary Meeting on Thursday.
Time will be needed for dealing with the new agenda items during conferences. We are confident that we will save time on solving frequency collisions as a result of shortwave reductions, and also by purging the HFCC data of all inaccuracies.
Our recent decision on providing listeners an unlimited access to HFCC databases and at the same time offering broadcasters and FMOs space for the upload of programme and frequency schedules should help identify and remove the so-called wooden or reserve frequencies. Naturally frequency requirements of all organisations in the HFCC global database remain to be continuously updated and are freely available on the website but we are very concerned that only few organisations have uploaded their programme and frequency schedules.
As I have already noted potential synergies between wireless and other delivery platforms will be on the agenda of future conferences. We will try to create a special programme for up to one day in the conference week on hybrid solutions, consisting of broadcast technologies complemented by internet based distribution, internet receivers and similar subjects,What is even more important - and we are going to rely on our membership in that respect - is that people responsible for content distribution are invited to that section of our conferences.
The subjects relating to the enlargement of our activities will be on the conference agenda on Thursday. We expect visits of leading personalities of some U.S. stations, and hopefully this will also be an occasion to touch on the issues of changes in distribution of international broadcasting.
Remarks to HFCC B11 Conference in Dallas
by Lauren Libby, President, Trans World Radio
Good morning…it is a privilege and an honor to address such a distinguished group of international ‘content delivery folks’ such as yourselves! I could have said broadcasters, but when you think closely about it, we are really in the content delivery business.
I come from a background in domestic media in the United States. I started in commercial broadcasting at age 13 when I started doing weekend janitorial work at a small medium wave station in the state of Kansas. I have been a licensed Amateur Radio operator since I was 11 years old. By the time I was 15 I was doing engineering and air work for a group of radio stations in the mid-western part of the U.S. So I feel a real affinity for our meeting together.
May I address three trends I see emerging on a Global scale? I’ll address these from several perspectives. In the last 3 years I have visited 30 countries and observed media platforms. I speak as the leader of a global organization that speaks to 160 countries in over 200 languages. And as a concerned world citizen, who is interested in seeing content delivered in effective ways.
1. The fractionalizing of Media.
Content is delivered on so many platforms these days…everyone is fighting to have their voice heard on their platform. Video vs. Audio platforms. Local vs. Regional Platforms. National vs. International platforms. Digital vs. traditional platforms. Social media vs. traditional long-form media. Generational shifts in the way the next generation vs. the current generation consume content. The list is expanding every day.
Because of this fractionalizing of media, everyone is shouting louder to get the attention of consumers to consume their content.
In the U.S. the PPM meter tries to watch almost instantaneously people’s response to various platforms. The platform or outlet that shouts the loudest or is the “coolest” gets the most ratings. This is driven because of the commercial nature of broadcast platforms in the U.S. But other countries are struggling with these dynamics regardless of the mode of funding employed.
The same is true on a global scale. Digital vs. Traditional Broadcast platforms are vying for audiences. Medium Wave vs. FM vs. Shortwave…the list just gets bigger every day.
We live in a world where change and competition for the media consumer is getting fiercer monthly.
For those of us who are involved in Global Broadcast platforms this affects budgets, perceptions and morale of our staffs.
In short…it seems Media is nearing schizophrenia!
How in the world do we cope, much less strategically plan for the future? When it seems like the ‘long-term future’ is somewhere around three months in the digital world.
If I may make an observation on the Global Broadcast community…we have not helped ourselves by taking a business as usual approach. It is NOT business as usual!
I have watched over the last 5 years the DRM discussions. Windows of opportunity have been missed and missed again! The inability to provide inexpensive receivers has taken the industry to the brink of extinction. This is not smart, and certainly is not going to keep this viable platform alive. Wake up and smell the coffee…it’s time to not do things “business as usual!”
Short-wave platforms will remain viable with new awareness campaigns and cross promotion from the digital platform being employed. Quality content and quality delivery can help keep this multi-national content delivery platform viable and appreciated. There will always be a mystical feeling about short wave and a globalness that captures the imagination of the listener.
2. There is a trend toward localization rather than globalization of
This is interesting with the drive toward Globalization of economies and cultures. Governments, technologies and the marketplace are driving to “localization.”
Local FM stations deliver clear, high fidelity, non-fade signals vs. the fading, lower quality audio of medium wave and short wave. Thus the listening public in high-density population areas migrates to FM or high-powered medium wave stations for local programming. If DRM can deliver on its promise of a quality signal over a large section of geography it will have a future, but it will require creating “buzz” and excitement about a new delivery vehicle.
Governments tend to favor localization because of public perception management. Short wave and high power medium wave outlets can help fill in information vacuums due to unique situations.
As a global community, the ability to move content over geographical borders is necessary to preserve human dignity and, in some cases, physical well being.
In our particular organization’s application, we believe that our content is global in nature and is beneficial to more than just one country with universal applications for all of mankind.
3. The economics of media are changing!
The millennial generation has been raised on Napster, a somewhat “free” internet and an expectation that content should be provided at low or no charge. This is having a huge impact on the monetization of digital platforms.
Most digital platforms make money on the information they collect on those who use those platforms, an interesting commentary on how to create cash flows from the personal privacy of individuals.
To stay relevant we must “price point” receivers so that people will be willing to pay for them. They have to be simple, inexpensive and accessible! For the developing world this is probably at or under $20.
In the case of DRM receivers, we need to begin to think smaller margins over mass markets, rather than recouping development costs through large margins from “early adapters.” As a friend of mine in the chip industry recently told me, “We have to think in the millions of low cost units rather than high margins on thousands of units.” I returned from India in July and I would have to say that this seems to bear out in reality.
We must also emphasize to potential users the ability to create impressions on listeners over large geographical areas on a low ‘per-person’ cost.
Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail” seems to set the rules for moving into media distribution over the next foreseeable future.
We at this conference are facing a number of challenges! Everything is changing. While we crave stability and a return to the comfort of the past. Unfortunately, that will not be the case. Short wave has a future…if we are willing to once again make it an attractive platform that is easily accessible to the general public that are cross-promoted from other media platforms.
Broadcast platforms are still the most cost effective way to reach large numbers of people at a relatively low ‘per individual’ cost. Even the most prolific “Twitter” or “Facebook” users may have 1 million followers, a million listeners on a broadcast platform is a small listenership. Every digital content provider dreams of having something that “goes viral.” When in reality, only one piece of content in a million ever attains viral status and a broad exposure.
Broadcast platforms, every day, touch the masses without the “fickleness” of the digital platform and consumer.
We do have a future, but it is time we begin to envision, articulate and program to reach a whole new broadcast audience with new delivery methods, new exciting content and being agile to capture a moving audience.
Thank you for your attentiveness and the privilege to address you today.
Remarks to HFCC B11 Conference in Dallas
by Charles Caudill, President/CEO, World Christian Broadcasting
Thank you very much.
It is a great pleasure and an honor to greet each of you on behalf of World Christian Broadcasting and our international station KNLS, Anchor Point, Alaska. Soon – shortly after the beginning of 2012 we will be able to greet you on behalf of Madagascar World Voice, our new station on the island of Madagascar. I also bring you greetings from Kevin Chambers, our Director of Engineering and Andy Baker, our Vice President of Development. They are here today.
That new station and the some $11,000,000 US dollars we are spending on expansion is the reason I have been asked to speak to you today. On numerous occasions, I and others of our management team have been asked “why are you expanding your use of shortwave when most everyone else is cutting back by reducing the number of languages they broadcast, thereby reducing the number of people they employ and thus reducing their budgets by numbers like 14 million and even 40 million US dollars each year.”
That is a great question and one that we have given much consideration. We are a non-profit corporation. One hundred percent of our income is derived from donations. Obviously, we must act wisely and be excellent stewards of the funds we receive or those funds will stop coming. Believe me our donors are well aware of the changes that are occurring in the shortwave community, so we have found it necessary to communicate those decisions clearly and truthfully.
Here is at least a part of our thinking process as we have made our decision to expand our shortwave capabilities and our determination that the future of shortwave broadcasting is bright!
The Mission Statement for World Christian Broadcasting states that WCB exists so that people in places best served by broadcast media become aware of the Good News of Jesus Christ and want to hear more. Quite frankly, we can think of no way to better accomplish that than through shortwave broadcasts. Since July 23, 1983, for more than 28 years, we have used that tried and true method to reach our listeners with that message of hope. It appears we have more listeners today than ever before. We feel our content, our message, is key to retaining those listeners. We use a magazine format. We talk about the news, current events, sports, health, medicine and spiritual things. We draw the line, however, in trying to tell our listeners what to do. They must make their own decisions as to what they should do or what risks they should take. It is they, after all, who must live with the consequences of their actions.
During those 28 years we have learned that building relationships with our listeners is not an easy thing. Finding listeners is hard. Keeping them is hard. Our efforts are all about listener engagement – the making of personal, finely cultivated relationships that are as satisfying for our listeners as they for us. Gone are the days when broadcasters could just shine the spotlight on themselves and expect the listener to accept whatever may be said. That lazy, ineffectual approach of talking to listeners is so over that we need a new word for just how over it is.
Our goal is to make friends with each individual listener. Relationships with listeners are very much like those with friends and family members. Neglect, arrogance, abuse, and other negatives are damaging. Respect, nurturing and communication are beneficial. It pays to be honest, to be genuine, to be vulnerable and to be the best we can possibly be. As with all relationships, it takes time, it’s a little scary, but it is definitely worth the extra effort to let our listeners know we honestly care about them, their family and their future. We at World Christian Broadcasting try to never forget that there may be another broadcaster out there with a similar mission whose programming staff also has a deep dedication to engagement. And we know they’ll be more than happy to give our listeners what they need and deserve.
The message is key. Even one soul is worth the effort.
Another reason we have opted for shortwave for our future is that our budget is limited. In order to make that budget go as far as possible, there is no question that we can reach more people on a regular basis with shortwave than with any other method. With an annual budget of something over $3,000,000 we will be able to broadcast 50 to 60 hours daily from our two broadcast facilities. Those 50 to 60 hours will be produced by six different services – English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Latin American and African.
Obviously, we cannot do everything on that limited budget, but we can literally talk to millions of people using shortwave. We don’t have the luxury of being able to cut 40 million or even 14 million from our budget as some international broadcasters can. Our idea is that God has given us the ionosphere. Our job is to make use of it.
There are millions of analog receivers in the world – some say 600 million, some say 1.5 billion, some say as many as three billion. Regardless of the number, those receivers will not be turned off tomorrow. Those receivers will have listeners for years and years. Look around, even though technology advances with great rapidity, there are still newspapers. I receive mine every morning. There are still AM radios and FM receivers and they are still making more. And you can still buy books. They are still being published. Even though Amazon is making a fortune selling electronic digital reading devices, they still sell books. My point is – no medium disappears over-night. Our belief is that shortwave will be here for a long, long time.
Sure, we use other media and will continue to use the internet and social media. After all, we do own the words, so as long as we can afford it we will continue to send our messages out in any way possible – but, our future is shortwave.
Our job is to “take the Gospel into all the world.” Unfortunately, relatively few people in some parts of the world have access to the internet. Let me give you an example. Only 1% of the people of Madagascar have access to internet. Kevin Chambers and his wife Nancy live there most of the year. They are not only familiar with the lack of internet accessibility, they are also aware that most of that access is not reliable enough to listen to a broadcast. Interestingly, most of those people who do use the internet in Madagascar use an internet café.
Another example would be the much larger population of China. A recent report stated that two-thirds of the people of China do not have internet access and it is a fact many of those who do – go to internet cafes for communication. It is our belief that folks using an internet café will not spend their money to listen to a religious message.
Sure, there is a very large group of people in China who can afford the computers necessary to be involved with the internet. There are literally millions. But the fact remains that there are many more millions who cannot make that purchase. Just as there are millions in the US or any country who can’t afford that kind of purchase. The best way to reach those folks is with shortwave broadcasts. We simply don’t want to miss the potential audience of some 870,000,000 Chinese listeners who don’t have access to internet.
A similar problem occurs when we would like to send out messages via satellite. Millions and millions do not have satellite receivers. Someone recently made a presentation to our Russian Service. They wanted our Russian programs and they wanted us to pay to broadcast them via satellite. Just a little research revealed we would have very few listeners because of the price of the phones and other receivers that are available in Russia. Interestingly, there are still many broadcasters using shortwave to reach the Russian people. I went on the internet last week and found that for the B-10 season there are 6,500 hours each week being sent throughout Russia in the Russian language. 40% of that total is being sent out by the Voice of Russia and Radio Mayak. The Russian broadcasters know that if you want to reach the more remote areas of Russia you must use shortwave.
Even though many technology changes have occurred in Russia since Perestroika, most of those changes have occurred in the large metropolitan centers, especially Moscow and St. Petersburg. Of course, we want to reach those areas, but we also want to reach Siberia – shortwave is the only way. There is little or no internet or cell phone capability in Siberia.
What about the use of smart phones? Many have applications that can receive satellite broadcasts. During 2009 2.2 million cell phones were sold in Russia. In 2010 that increased to 4.3 million. Nearly all of those are in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Estimating that there may be as many as 10 to 12 million cell phones in Russia, it would not be feasible for us to spend the money to buy time on a satellite. By the way, the average smart phone in Russia in 2010 cost $500 US dollars. For 2011 they have decreased in price to $400 US dollars. Not many of us would want to spend that kind of money.
There is no indication that the Russian government will be willing to spend the money necessary to build an infrastructure of fibre optics that will allow the east and far eastern parts of Russia to catch up with St. Petersburg and Moscow. Shortwave will remain the primary means of communicating with the remote areas of Russia – by the Russians and by World Christian Broadcasting.
Very clearly, there is another aspect of communicating with our listeners that we must consider. In some countries there are gatekeepers – governments that do not want their citizens to hear certain messages. It is much less difficult and less expensive to block internet messages than shortwave messages. In fact, there are no cheap ways to jam shortwave. There will always be a fear in some countries as to who is watching and listening to any kind of communication, but fortunately, shortwave listening is very private.
The last thing I want to mention as being the reason we will continue to use shortwave is DRM. We have bought into the DRM philosophy and technology. Our transmitters are digital ready. If there were sufficient numbers of receivers out there, we would begin our broadcasts from Madagascar in digital rather than analogue. We believe that when it becomes possible for inexpensive DRM receivers to be available worldwide, shortwave broadcasts will increase in number, just as the quality of the reception improves. We believe there will be commercial opportunities available that are not apparent with our analog broadcasts. We certainly feel we will be able to sell time to program producers, who want to get a quality sounding message around the world. We are anxious for that day to come.
I am sure I have not given you any new ideas. I am just as sure that those of you who are decreasing the number of hours you send out via shortwave, have considered the same things we considered and I have mentioned. We simply have come to different conclusions. Nevertheless, we are quite confident in our decisions and let me leave you with this – our special thanks to those who are decreasing your shortwave hours – you have just left a larger audience for World Christian Broadcasting.
Thank you very much.
DRM Presentation at HFCC B11 Conference
Dallas, Texas – September 13, 2011
Adil Mina of Continental Electronics began the presentation by stating that although there has been a decline in shortwave broadcasting at some stations, others are improving, modernizing and updating their equipment with DRM capability.
“There have been a lot of promises,” Mina acknowledged, “but next year receivers will be available.” He said that today there are less than 5000 DRM receivers in the world, including kits.
Mina said that “there is no other form of international broadcasting that you can control besides HF.” A lot of stations have upgraded their transmitters to use DRM, he said, citing as examples Australia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. “A few weeks ago, Radio Exterior de Espańa upgraded a 100-kilowatt transmitter at its Costa Rica relay site to DRM capability. There is a mandate from the government of India to go to DRM. Russia has made a political decision that they are going to DRM. We have been ready and waiting for DRM for many years. Now our promises are coming close to reality. A DRM receiver task force was created with Ludo Maes as chairman a year and a half ago, and the first fruits were seen three days ago at the IBC in Amsterdam.”
Ludo Maes had just flown from the IBC in Amsterdam to the HFCC in Dallas to take part in this presentation. “Everyone has been asking, 'where are the receivers?'”said Maes. He explained that several DRM portable receivers are currently on the market. The price of the Morphy Richards receiver is now down to 70 euros (just under $100). There are at least three professional DRM receivers on the market. Himalaya has two models of DRM car receivers on the drawing board. Maes showed a list of several places places where DRM receivers can be purchased at brick-and-mortar stores and via the Internet.
Maes said that a very significant new receiver from the Chinese company Chengdu NewStar Electronics was shown at the IBC. He said the DRM 111 receiver will be available by May of 2012 for under $100. A brochure handed out in Dallas says the receiver has DRM coverage of longwave (153-279 kHz), mediumwave (522-1720 kHz) and and shortwave (2.3-27 MHz). It will have SD card and USB interfaces. NewStar is also working on a DRM car receiver.
Meanwhile, a Korean-based company called MSway has a youthful-looking, bright, multi-colored receiver (model MDR-S100) that will also sell for under $100. It should be on the market by March of 2013, according to Maes. Another Korean company, Electronics Technology Institute, has received a government grant to develop DRM receivers. “Work is ongoing,” said Maes. “There will be many more receivers coming out on the market soon.”
India is one of the first countries to adopt DRM for both national and international broadcasting. “One of the biggest domestic radio manufacturers in India is planning a DRM receiver in the $20 to $25 range,” said Maes, “which is very important for the Indian market. We've been talking to people from Tata Motors, and they will have DRM-capable receivers in their cars.”
He said that Frontier Silicon has developed a new DRM chip and is now a member of the DRM Consortium. Frontier Silicon has produced the chips used in 80% of the DRM receivers on the market.
“The future of digital radio is single chipset radios,” stated Maes. “This reduces the cost of receivers dramatically.” Frontier Silicon is working on a new low-cost DRM receiver called the Jupiter 7.
Adil Mina of Continental said that DRM is a classic chicken-and-egg situation, with broadcasters waiting on receiver manufacturers, and manufacturers waiting on stations to implement DRM broadcasts. He urged international broadcasters to contact all of the companies that are developing DRM receivers to let them know that they appreciate the investment they are making, and that many people look forward to buying those receivers.
George Ross of NASB member Trans World Radio-Guam (KTWR) explained that his station began a project to upgrade to DRM early this year. “As of this week,” reported Ross, “DRM tests are taking place on 15260 kHz from 2100-0030 UTC.” Those tests were expected to continue through the rest of the A11 season.
Ludo Maes also summarized a presentation that Rashel Staviskaya of the Voice of Russia gave to the DRM Steering Board in Amsterdam a few days earlier. She said that the Russian authorities have decided to use DRM for both national and international broadcasting. They want to cover 100% of the Russian territory with DRM for their domestic programming. DRM is being embraced by the Voice of Russia, Russian Radio, telecommunication companies and receiver manufacturers in the country. The Russian development plan for 2009-2015 calls for 30 digital HF transmitters for domestic shortwave broadcasting and 82 DRM shortwave and mediumwave transmitters for international broadcasting of the Voice of Russia. Each Voice of Russia DRM channel carries two languages. An experiment has been conducted with the cooperation of Belarus which involves sending a DRM signal from Moscow to Minsk and back. Staviskaya said that Belarus is also interested in deploying DRM.
Some final thoughts on the HFCC Conference in Dallas
by Jeff White
The B11 Seasonal High Frequency Coordination Conference (HFCC) took place in Dallas, Texas September 12-16, 2011, organized by Continental Electronics and the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters. In my mind, there were four significant points that came out of the conference.
First was the fact that this was the first-ever HFCC Conference to take place in the United States since the organization starting meeting in 1990. The HFCC – now in combination with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) – meets twice each year in different countries around the world. But it had never met in the U.S. In 2004, the NASB attempted to organize the A05 HFCC Conference in Miami, but the Arab countries were afraid that they would not be able to get visas to attend, so the meeting was moved to Mexico City.
But the world of 2004 and the world of today are very different. This year the Arab countries and Iran actually supported the idea of having the HFCC in the U.S., and delegates attended from Algeria, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. Now that the precedent has been set, hopefully some of the future meetings of the HFCC can take place in the U.S. again. Major thanks need to be expressed to the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau and to Trans World Radio for their sponsorship of the meeting, along with that of Continental and the NASB.
The second significant fact about the Dallas conference was that the attendance was fairly similar to that of other recent HFCC meetings. Many people thought that due to recent reductions in shortwave transmissions by some of the major international broadcasters would lead to a much-reduced attendance at the HFCC in Dallas. But some 100 delegates from 32 countries and 40 frequency management organizations around the world took part. And it was obvious from the “collision lists” produced at the conference that even though a lot of stations have cut back on their shortwave frequencies recently, the HF bands are still quite crowded and it can still be difficult to find a clear frequency amidst the congestion of the shortwave bands.
The third important news item from Dallas was the decision by HFCC members to expand the scope of their organization. While Chairman Oldrich Cip made it clear that this will still be primarily a shortwave frequency coordination conference, members voted to amend the articles of incorporation to expand the scope of the HFCC to include so-called “alternative delivery platforms” for international radio – things like the Internet, satellite, podcasts, local AM and FM radio relays, etc. Chairman Cip suggested that future meetings might devote one day of the week-long conference to these alternative delivery methods. In part, this move is intended to counter the outflow of HFCC members who have ended or might end their HF broadcasts for budgetary or other reasons.
Finally, DRM – Digital Radio Mondiale – stood out as a highlight of this most recent HFCC/ASBU Conference. While some people had already written off DRM as a “savior” of shortwave due to the lack of mass-market low-priced DRM receivers, DRM Consortium Vice Chairman Ludo Maes showed up at the HFCC in Dallas a few days after helping to introduce some new low-cost (under $100) DRM receivers at the IBC in Amsterdam. Maes showed three of these new receivers at a special DRM presentation at the HFCC in Dallas, and he told delegates that more of these types of receivers are coming in the near future. He told the HFCC that the governments of Russia and India have decided to undertake major expansions of their domestic and international transmitter networks, all using the DRM system.
Adil Mina of Continental Electronics, the only manufacturer of high-powered shortwave transmitters in the U.S., said that while many stations have reduced their shortwave transmissions, others are investing in new, modernized DRM-capable units. He said that all new orders for HF broadcast transmitters are requiring DRM capability.
So things are not as bleak as some would suggest in the shortwave industry. And if new low-cost digital receivers appear on the market in the near future, DRM could still spur a renaissance of shortwave radio. Some cynics will say “we've heard all this before,” but Adil Mina proclaimed that “now our promises are coming close to reality.”
Jeff White is president of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters and was chairman of the HFCC/ASBU B11 Conference Committee.
NASB and TDF to Host HFCC B12 Conference in Paris
We are pleased to announce that the NASB and our associate member Telediffusion de France will be organizing the HFCC B12 Conference in Paris, France. The tentative dates are August 27-31, 2012. More information will be published soon on the NASB Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nasbshortwave) and also on the HFCC webpage (www. hfcc.org).
Initial Details announced for NASB-DRM USA 2012 Annual Meeting
The 2012 Meeting will take place May 10 and 11, 2012 at the headquarters of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036 USA.
for the meeting is free of charge, and it is open to anyone with an interest in
shortwave broadcasting or listening. To register, send your name and e-mail
address to Jeff White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference Hotel – Although the meetings will be held at Radio Free Asia, the NASB has arranged a special hotel rate of $99.00 per night (plus tax) at the Country Inn & Suites in Camp Springs, Maryland – just outside of Washington, near Andrews Air Force Base. Those who are flying to Reagan National Airport in Washington can take the DC Metro system direct from the airport to the Branch Avenue Metro station, where a free hotel shuttle will pick you up and take you to the hotel. The hotel also offers a free hot breakfast and free high-speed Internet access. The hotel address is: 4950 Mercedes Blvd., Camp Springs, MD 20746. Telephone +1-240-492-1070. Fax +1-240-492-1089. The hotel's reservations line, which is toll-free in the US and Canada, is +1-800-596-2375. To get the special NASB conference rate, call the hotel and ask for the NASB rate when you make your reservation. You must guarantee your reservation with a credit card. Reservations can be canceled until two days before arrival with no penalty. Most meeting participants will arrive on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 (since the meeting will begin at 9 am on May 10) and will depart on May 11 after the meeting ends in the afternoon, depending on flight arrangements. Or you can e-mail Ms. Ranak Patel, Director of Marketing at the hotel. Her e-mail is: email@example.com. If you have any problem making a reservation at the NASB rate, please contact Jeff White at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you make the reservation or make it for you. Transportation from the hotel to Radio Free Asia will be possible by a combination of the free hotel shuttle and a low-cost Metro ticket to a station near Radio Free Asia.
If you have any questions about the 2012 NASB-DRM USA Annual Meetings, or would like to sponsor an event at the meetings, contact Jeff White at email@example.com
2012 NASB – DRM USA Annual Meeting
at Radio Free Asia headquarters – Washington, DC
May 10-11, 2012
Thursday, May 10
9:00 am – Opening remarks by NASB, DRM USA and RFA officials
9:15 am – Technical overview of Radio Free Asia by David Baden, RFA Chief Technical Officer
9:45 am – Tour of Radio Free Asia
10:30 am – Coffee Break
11:00 am – Radio Free Asia Audience Research, by Betsy Henderson, Director of Research for RFA
12:00-1:00 pm – Lunch break
1:00 pm – DRM USA Seminars
5:00 pm – End of DRM USA meeting
Friday, May 11
9:00-9:15 am – Official opening of meeting
9:15-9:45 am – VOA Reporter's Journal – by Dan Robinson, Chief White House Correspondent for the Voice of America (subject to preemption due to breaking news or presidential travel)
9:45-10:15 am – Media on the Move: Smartphone apps that help broadcasters and Engineers - by AJ Jantischek, Director of Program and Operation Support, RFA
10:15-10:45 am – Coffee Break
10:45-11:15 am – NASB Spanish Shortwave Listener Survey Results – presented by Dr. Jerry Plummer of NASB member station WWCR
11:15 am-12:00 pm – Shortwave for Good – Explanation of an initiative for shortwave radio to
support educational efforts worldwide, with representatives from “Ears to Our World.”
12:00-1:00 pm – Lunch break
1:00-2:00 pm – Presentation TBA
2:00-4:00 pm – NASB Annual Business Meeting
4:00 pm – End of NASB meeting. (The newly-elected NASB Board members will have a brief meeting from approximately 4:00-4:30 pm.)
Administrative Changes at the NASB
As mentioned in our last Newsletter, our longtime Secretary-Treasurer Dan Elyea of WYFR will soon be retiring. He has decided to retire on December 31, 2011, although he has graciously offered to continue assisting with a smooth transition into 2012.
As of January 1, 2012, Jeff White will resign as President of NASB and he will become the new Secretary-Treasurer. (He will continue to serve his current term on the Board of Directors until May 2012.) Glen Tapley of WEWN will become the new NASB President on January 1, and Brady Murray of WWCR will be the new Vice President. Thais White of WRMI will continue to serve as Assistant Secretary-Treasurer.
The transition of the Secretary-Treasurer position has already begun. Most of the NASB files have been transferred from Okeechobee to Miami and a new bank account has been opened in Miami. The new administrative address for the NASB as of January 1 will be:
c/o Radio Miami International
175 Fontainebleau Blvd., Suite 1N4
Miami, Florida 33172 USA
Finally, let us wish all of you Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season from everyone at the NASB.
Adventist World Radio
Assemblies of Yahweh
EWTN Shortwave Radio (WEWN)
Family Stations Inc.
Far East Broadcasting Co.
Fundamental Broadcasting Network
La Voz de Restauracion Broadcasting, Inc.
Radio Miami International
Trans World Radio
World Christian Broadcasting
World Wide Christian Radio
Babcock (formerly VT Communications)
Continental Electronics Corporation
George Jacobs & Associates
Hatfield and Dawson Consulting Engineers
TCI International, Inc.
Telediffusion de France (TDF)
Association of Shortwave Broadcasters