“Free Speech, Dutch Values”: Another Shortwave Broadcaster bites the Dust

RNW QSL, 1985

Radio Netherlands QSL, 1985, showing the Flevoland shortwave broadcasting site's location

Radio Netherlands (RNW)  is likely to close down its shortwave broadcasting sites on Bonaire and Madagascar. Shortwave broadcasts from Flevoland, south of the Lake Yssel, were apparently  terminated a few years ago.

If thriftiness is a particularly Dutch virtue, one may indeed refer to the budget reduction, probably from 46 million down to 36 million Euros, with a brand-new  motto, as director general Jan Hoek‘s statement would suggest:

RNW will serve as the journalistic calling card of the Netherlands. The new focus ‘Free speech, Dutch values’, comes ahead of a cabinet decision about budget cuts to public broadcasting.

According to Hoek,

We reach the greater part of our audience via local media organisations which re-broadcast RNW content. In this way, RNW reaches tens of millions of people in their own language, meeting their information needs. External research has confirmed that new technological developments have not made RNW redundant, but rather offer new opportunities to make a difference.

Also part of the RNW package which still needs to be approved by the Dutch cabinet, Dutch-language broadcasts will be slashed altogether.

The anticipatory obedience shown by Hoek, as well as – not too long ago – Deutsche Welle‘s director Erik Bettermann as they face substantial budget cuts might be an indicator as to why their broadcasting stations don’t matter that much any more, anyway. The industry seems to be lacking passion.

When Tom Meyer (Tom Meijer), host and producer of the “Happy Station”, the world’s longest-running show on shortwave, learned in the early 1990s that the show would have come to an end in the foreseeable future, he handed in his notice. The management seemed to believe “that shortwave has had it”, he said in a guest contribution to the programs final episode, in 1995.

Sixteen years later, Meyer was right.


» Deutsche Welle targets “Opinion Leaders”, May 20, 2011
» “Stuff of the Past”, April 2, 2011
» RNW Chinese website

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