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Looking Ahead

By James Latham, Station Manager

As Radio For Peace International concludes its tenth year of broadcasting on shortwave, its a good time to peer into the crystal ball and see what lies ahead.

Shortwave

While new broadcast technologies have come on line in recent years, shortwave broadcasting survives with some important changes. One major change being the reduction in transmitters used by large government stations caused by budget cuts affecting their various language departments. This will have an effect on the smaller, medium sized stations like RFPI by reducing the overcrowding most notably on the lower frequency bands 31, 41, and 49 meters, etc.

Another improvement is sun spots. They're increasing as we enter into the high side of the 11 year sun spot cycle. Increased sun spots will help the reception on the higher frequency bands-22, 19, 16, 13, meters-during the day. A drawing off effect will also occur as some transmitters currently used on the lower bands will be tuned up for the higher bands, again reducing the crowding.

Some investigation into audio improvements for AM a well as shortwave stations are underway. We might see digital audio transmissions within the next 10 years bringing FM like audio quality from a new generation of shortwave receivers. Or dipping back into older technology, audio being received on one frequency and slow scan television showing graphs,charts, or photos of the programs content. For those of you who've never had the opportunity to see slow scan TV, it is best described as a running slide show. Some have suggested that the slow scan video part be sent via the internet.

Mentioning the internet brings us to the subject of netcasting. There are numerous stations simulcasting on the internet, some live (in real time) known as real audio. Others are files placed on the net. Many listeners have asked the question, "When will RFPI's programs be available on the internet?" Our answer, "Soon!" Currently we lack a computer that is fast enough to do the job. RFPI should, within the next 6 months, start receiving computer/internet delivered audio files, meaning radio programs. One of the first that is already in the works is Pacifica daily news.

Parallel programming and an increase in transmitters are areas where we could see some growth as well. Several transmitters with various power levels have been designed, built, and tested at RFPI. Having done the tedious design work it would be easy now to duplicate any transmitter from 10,000 to 50,000 watts. RFPI has had discussions with other like-minded organizations about our constructing and putting into service shortwave transmitters for them.

Parallel Programming

Up to this point all programming broadcast over RFPI transmitters has been the same. That is to say, what goes out on our FM transmitter is the same as on 15.050, and the same as 7.385. However, in the next months we will be splitting the FM and the shortwave programming up in order to better serve the local community. More programs produced from Costa Rica in Spanish will be appearing on the FM. As we increase the number of shortwave transmitters we have an opportunity to offer more options in programming on shortwave.

New programming

With increases in funding, RFPI will be able to expand its call-in show the Global Community Forum. Within the next few years look to GCF to be able to not only have a caller on the air, but at the same time have a guest on another line. Look to the GCF to have not only a half hour program once a week, but several hour long shows a week.

These are just some of the ideas for the future. What suggestions do have? How can we better serve you? Let us know. Write to info@rfpi.org

1999
Radio For Peace International
The RFPI web site is hosted by Freespeech
Web Design by Taifun Media Services
Content by RFPI and Charlie Wilkinson
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