Feb 7, 2011
We started this week's edition by looking at how Western countries are trying to get signals into Serbia now that the authorities have silenced independent radio stations in their country. On Thursday and Friday of the previous week press briefings at NATO headquarters created quite a bit of confusion in the media. It was first suggested that NATO was planning to destroy Serbian radio and television. In fact, NATO air-raids early on in the campaign had already severely damaged or destroyed domestic TV and radio transmitting masts. But the position was clarified in a briefing on Friday April 9th when NATO spokesman Jamie Shay said that whatever NATO feelings about Serb television, TV transmitters are not a main target. However, Serbian military communications facilities are often co-located with TV transmitters, as in many East European countries, so bombing may well have had a secondary effect.
On Thursday the 8th April 1999 NATO started its own radio and TV transmissions to Serbia and Kosovo from a fleet of specially modified Lockheed EC130E aircraft. The 193rd is normally based at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA where 1100 people have been trained in the mission of psychological warfare. This part of the US Air National Guard reportedly had an annual budget of $35 million dollars, and these flying broadcast platforms have been deployed in previous conflicts in Grenada, Haiti, The Gulf, Somalia and most recently in Bosnia. The programme also looks at what's next for UN Radio. People forget that in 1984, UN Radio was producing a total of 2,000 hours of programmes a year in 25 languages. Some 750 hours were transmitted on short-wave, including a number of SSB feeder frequencies aimed at stations willing to take and rebroadcast items in their own programmes. One of the more unusual outlets among these was a transmission from UN Radio in Geneva, Switzerland, on Fridays only in Russian on a frequency of 14500 kHz USB intended for Radio Moscow.