Rádio Nacional da Amazônia outage: updates from the Brazilian blogosphere

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The last recording I made of Rádio Nacional da Amazônia, extracted from a 60-41 meter band spectrum recording captured in September 2016.
As reported previously on this blog, Rádio Nacional da Amazônia went silent on shortwave in March due to electricity supply issues. The station hasn't been heard since (at the time of writing, a quick YouTube search for 6180 kHz or 11780 kHz does not return any matching reception videos newer than March 2017). Recently I came across two online articles from Brazil that help to clarify the ongoing situation. I have used Google Translate to reproduce parts of both below (and tidied up the translations manually in a few places to improve legibility). In short, after a widespread regional outcry, EBC (the broadcaster currently using Rádio Nacional da Amazônia's transmitter facilities) has until December to reinstate the full service to avoid losing its shortwave broadcasting license.

Ribeirinhos and indigenous people reject the deactivation of the Rádio Nacional da Amazônia:
[...] 
Rádio Nacional da Amazônia has been suffering from maintenance problems for many years, mainly with their short-wave transmitters on the frequencies of 6180 and 11780 kHz, on 49 and 25 meter bands, respectively. The full 250 kW capacity of each channel was already reduced to 180 kW a long time ago. Often, one channel would be off the air, but at least the other one was in operation. 
However, the situation has never been as serious as it is now. On March 20 of this year, more than five months ago, a lightning struck the substation that supplies electricity to Rodeador Park, 50 kilometers from the center of Brasília, where the antennas are located in the North Region of the country. So far, no practical action has been taken to repair the damage. The transmission has since been maintained only on the internet and via satellite, for those who own a satellite dish. But the people in the heart of the Amazon [listen] via old battery radios. 
The listeners, feeling abandoned, started complaining on live shows over the phone. In May, a statement of repudiation of the deactivation of the station was sent by 15 riverine and indigenous leaderships to the EBC directorate, with copies to the Social Communication Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic and to the radio team. However, EBC's direction remains mute on the subject. 
Check the list of entities whose leaders signed the letter to EBC: 
Association of Residents of Riozinho do Anfrísio Extractive Reserve
Association of Residents of the Rio Iriri Extractive Reserve
Council of the Ribeirinho de Belo Monte - Altamira
Indigenous Association Pyjahyry Xipaya
Tukaya Indigenous Association of Xypaya
Forest Seeds Association
Arara People of the Cachoeira Seca
Xikrin People of Bacajá
Kuruaya people
Parakanã of the Apyterewa Indigenous Land
Remaining Quilombola Association of Oriximiná
Association for the Development of Family Agriculture of the Upper Xingu
Joint Alternative Cooperative of Small Producers of the Alto Xingu
Forestry and Agricultural Management and Certification Institute
Kabu Institute (Kayapó Mekrangnoti People)
Protected Forest Association (Kayapó People Kayapó Indigenous Land)
EBC may lose Rádio Nacional da Amazônia's license after going off the air
Rádio Nacional da Amazônia has been completely off the air and Rádio Nacional de Brasilia (AM) does not have sufficient power to reach states beyond the Federal District during the night. 
The accident completely altered the routine of thousands of people from the Amazon, who have since contacted EBC, pleading for the return of the only station that can be tuned into where they live. 
[...] 
This does not happen by chance. 
Since its creation, Rádio Nacional da Amazônia has played a fundamental role in guaranteeing citizenship to the inhabitants of the northern region of the country, through access to information. But this feeling of belonging is lost every time an Amazonian tries to tune into the station and is faced with the inhuman silence coming from their radio device. 
Isolated communities in rural, riverside, indigenous and border areas, located in places where access to the Internet and other communication channels is difficult, are the ones that benefit most from the public information services carried by the station, which broadcasts to such communities, in addition to information, tips on how to seek solutions to basic health problems, domestic violence and how to take documents. 
It is also through the radio that the listeners communicate with relatives, pass and return messages and reunite with missing relatives and friends. It is no wonder that the station has earned the folklore nickname "Amazon's payphone." 
Historical programs like “Eu de Cá, Você de Lá”; "Frankly speaking"; "Meeting point"; "Live nature"; "Viva Maria"; "Our land"; "Brazilian Amazonia"; "National Evening"; "Mosaic"; "Em Conta" and "Amazon Reporter" simply stopped reaching their audience, cutting off a decades-long relationship with the forest peoples. 
[...] 
Not only does [the station] violate the right to information of thousands of people living in the Brazilian states that make up the Legal Amazon (Amazonas, Acre, Amapá, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Pará, Roraima and Tocantins), [they run] the risk of losing the radio license. 
This is because the sole paragraph of Article 55 of Decree 52795/1963 states that in case the interruption of the broadcasting service is more than 30 (thirty) consecutive days, "except for reasons of unforeseeable circumstances duly proven and recognized by CONTEL, permission shall be revoked, without the licensee being entitled to any indemnity. " 
[...] 
Now EBC has until December to reinstate the provision of the Shortwave service of Rádio Nacional da Amazônia, after authorization of the extension of the legal term granted by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC). MCTIC also gave a period of 120 days for the reestablishment of the Medium Wave service for the return of the normal operation of Rádio Nacional AM of Brasília.

About the author

This blog is written by a shortwave radio enthusiast based in London, UK. You can follow him on Twitter at @LondonShortwave

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