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New RNZI Radio Heritage Documentary – Surviving Tsunamis

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RNZI Airs New Radio Heritage Documentary
‘Surviving Tsunamis’
Radio in the Pacific Ring of Fire
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Join us from Monday October 19 2009 when we air our new radio heritage documentary about surviving tsunamis in the South Pacific on the next Radio New Zealand International [RNZI] Mailbox program.

You can listen directly via shortwave or audio on demand [for the following month] with full details of broadcast frequencies and times in your area and audio download at www.rnzi.com.

The recent tsunamis in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga brought forward brave dedication to duty from several radio stations, and the program includes an interview with the morning DJ at KKHJ-FM in Pago Pago who was trapped in the studios as the waves smashed into the ground floor of her building.

However, as the program explains, it’s by pure luck that the radio station studios in Pago Pago and Apia weren’t swept out to sea, their buildings being totally exposed to the Pacific.

Across the Pacific, other radio station studios and facilities are at sea level and wouldn’t stand a chance if the wrong tsunami hit in the wrong place.

Both Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands also had major earthquakes and tsunami warnings within hours. Radio everywhere is an extremely fragile lifeline.

The program also looks at the problem of most local Pacific radio stations broadcasting in local languages. Yet local economies increasingly depend on tourists. When emergency strikes, tourists are told to listen to the local radio for instructions. 

In Samoa, the only two English speaking stations were no longer broadcasting live, and hundreds of tourists had no idea what was happening, as the only live broadcast they could hear was completely in Samoan.

Just how fragile the broadcasting infrastructure is and how vulnerable local residents and tourists alike can be in an earthquake, tsunami or cyclone in the Pacific Ring of Fire is discussed.

Join David Ricquish of the Radio Heritage Foundation as we celebrate the bravery of Pacific broadcasters and warn of the dangers facing the islands in future natural disasters.

A full list of AM radio stations broadcasting in the Pacific is available free in the Pacific Asian Log AM Radio Guide at www.radioheritage.net, where you’ll also learn more about broadcasting in these beautiful but vulnerable islands in features from our Island Radio Pacific Style series.

RNZI’s Mailbox program from Monday October 19 2009, via shortwave and audio on demand with full times and schedules online at www.rnzi.com.