Already a year ago there had been internal announcements of upcoming cuts to radio services for Africa, to be implemented at an undefined point after summer 2018. To be cut, as announced back then, are Hausa 1400-1430 and 1930-2000 as well as Somali 1400-1500 and 1800-1830 plus weekend editions 1100-1130. These announcements concerned only the production side, so it is quite possible that reductions of shortwave transmissions will go much beyond that.
Glenn raised the question about other customers: In recent years TWR, RFI and NHK already went away. What remains are three hours of AWR and one hour here, two hours there from DW, VOA and Radio Dabanga. Nothing that would be enough to keep such a comparatively large facility busy.
Frankly, I found the mention of customers “encouraging” Sentech to continue quite bemusing. What do they expect them: Raising tariffs for other services, essential to domestic customers, to cross-subsidize an uneconomic facility for first world broadcasters? Seriously?? (The other discussed points were just wishful thinking anyway. Btw, a scenario of SABC continuing from elsewhere would pretty likely not be limited to Talata Volonondry but also involve transmitters elsewhere, like in Europe.)
This reminds me of something the then boss of BBC World Service, Peter Horrocks, said years ago: We’ll cut shortwave transmissions but we’ll be back if we are needed. As if he seriously assumed that providers would keep facilities that no longer see sufficient use (something the BBC itself does not do, just remember the closure of their Seychelles transmitters in 2014). And as if he seriously expected people to keep shortwave radios at hand that no longer yield programming of interest (the “of interest” is important here; I think further explanations are unnecessary).
(Kai Ludwig via wor io group)