Thursday, February 21, 2008
Bye bye, BBC World Service
So now BBC World Service has shut down its shortwave service to Europe and north Africa. The end of an era. I wonder when they'll cut off the remaining 100 million shortwave listeners in the rest of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
The story in the Guardian quoted Simon Spanswick, the chief executive of the Association for International Broadcasting, as saying, "Everybody now has to use different ways to engage listeners. Nobody in the developed world listens on noisy, crackly shortwave anymore."
Oh yeah? I do.
BBC World Service transmissions to North America ended some time ago. Now apparently Europe has been deemed a "highly developed marketplace" in which listeners can access the BBC in "a variety of ways, including FM, satellite and online," the Guardian story said.
In addition to this old Nordmende (that needs a tube replaced), I have a small collection of portable shortwave radios. It's not always convenient to fire up the ol' laptop and dial up the CBC or BBC. I've used my little shortwaves to try to pull in a broadcast from Radio Canada International when I've been away from home, or to find the BBC World Service when I've wanted to hear an English-language newscast. It just isn't the same, at the end of a hard day of sightseeing or travelling, to curl up with a laptop under the covers and listen to the radio. I don't always travel with a laptop anyway.
Radio should be listened to on the radio, dammit.