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New Zealand’s public-service radio broadcaster Radio New Zealand has resumed analog shortwave services to neighboring countries in the Pacific. Earlier this year, RNZ Pacific announced its primary transmitter was nearing its end of life, and a secondary transmitter had been retired.
The New Zealand government reacted with NZ$4.4 million in capital funding for a new transmitter for the service. RNZ chief executive and editor-in-chief Paul Thompson said, “The value of the RNZ Pacific service can’t be underestimated. Our voice reaches all parts of the Pacific, at times with critical information such as cyclone warnings. During the Tonga eruption, the RNZ Pacific shortwave service was a lifeline source of information. This investment secures a productive future for our unique voice. The attraction of the shortwave service is its robustness and the signal’s ability to travel great distances and achieve good audiences.”
New Zealand’s shortwave coverage is a critical voice in the region. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation ceased its shortwave broadcasts at the end of January 2017, saying the service was no longer viable and too expensive to maintain. Radio China is the only other shortwave broadcaster in the region.
According to RNZ, the resumption of the analog service will allow listeners in remote locations with a domestic shortwave radio to hear RNZ Pacific 24 hours a day over a range of frequencies.