Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AWR Board Approves Plans for Expansion of Guam Shortwave Station

The Board of Directors of Adventist World Radio has approved, in concept, the expansion of AWR's shortwave broadcasting facility on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. This project will result in much better coverage of China, a critical mission area for the Seventh‐day Adventist Church.

The Guam station, which was established in 1987, currently broadcasts programs in 30+ languages for nearly 300 hours each week to a large portion of Asia. Just over half of these hours consist of Mandarin programming for listeners in China. The station's shortwave footprint also includes India; together with China, these two countries contain close to half of the world's population. As well, listeners in countries such as Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia and more can all hear AWR programs in their own languages.
The station's broadcast equipment consists of six towers, four curtain antennas, and five transmitters. The largest tower is 330 feet tall, and each curtain antenna is about the size of two football fields. The shortwave signals that are generated can travel for thousands of miles, enabling the gospel message to freely enter non‐ Christian areas without being subject to government control.
The current equipment cannot provide a signal of sufficient strength, at the right frequency, to adequately reach listeners in northern China, Mongolia, Siberia, and beyond. Adding a fifth antenna will enable AWR to
broadcast a strong signal to these areas during prime listening hours, as well as simultaneously transmit additional programs in more languages.

"Over the years, our Mandarin broadcasts have generated incredible response from listeners in China," says AWR president Dowell Chow. "But these listeners are primarily located in the south part of the country, where our signal is much more consistent and clear. So our goal is to provide the same quality of broadcasts to the millions of people in the northern areas.
"At the same time, we are continuing to develop programs in additional languages. We are excited to have recently found producers in Tibet and Bhutan. But once their programs are ready for broadcast, we will need to be ready to add them to our airtime schedule."
While AWR recently put significant resources into launching a comprehensive podcasting system – in which all of its radio programs can also be heard worldwide online – the organization recognizes that shortwave broadcasts are still a vital part of its mission, Chow says. "In spite of the growth in Internet usage," he explains, "shortwave is still the primary method of receiving information for literally hundreds of millions of people. A full 24 percent of the world's population does not have regular access to electricity. So at AWR, we remain very aware that our listeners are extremely diverse."
AWR hopes that the installation of the new tower and antenna can be completed by the end of 2012, which is the Guam station's 25th anniversary year.
Adventist World Radio is the mission radio arm of the Seventh‐day Adventist Church. Programs are broadcast throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East through shortwave and AM/FM radio. All of AWR's multi‐ language programming is also available worldwide as podcasts and on‐demand at awr.org
By Shelley Nolan Freesland
AWR Communication Director
(AWR Press Release)


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