Vatican Radio’s suicide based on bad econ and bad info

CQ CQ CQ – Ham Radio Thursday: Vatican Radio’s suicide based on bad econ and bad info

Posted on 4 March 2017 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

From Sandro Magister on the sad sad sad blinkered decision to shut down Vatican Radio’s shortwave operations [Fr. Z’s comments in brackets].

There was a big stir over the post from Settimo Cielo on February 20 about the precarious situation of Vatican Radio now that it has ended up in the hands [clutches?] of Monsignor Dario Viganò, prefect of the newly created secretariat for communication.

In particular, the cutting of shortwave broadcasts and the announcement that the transmission station at Santa Maria di Galeria will be closed have plunged into dismay the supporters of this radio broadcasting system that was the glory of Vatican Radio, because of its unique ability to arrive as a free and true voice even in the most geographically and politically inhospitable places of the world.

It was useless for competent voices to inform Monsignor Viganò that closing the center at Santa Maria di Galeria makes no strategic sense.

This closure would come, in fact, precisely when some of the most powerful radio networks of the world are not reducing but increasing their shortwave broadcasts.

This is the case of the BBC in England and of Japan’s NHK.

One year ago the British government allocated 85 million pounds for the BBC to reach millions more listeners by shortwave, in addition to the current 56 million, especially in Russia, North Korea, the Middle East, and Africa.

As for NHK, it has already asked Vatican Radio for permission to use its facilities at Santa Maria di Galeria to enhance its shortwave broadcasts to Africa, since it is already at top capacity at its broadcast center in Madagascar, which it has relied upon until now. [So, it’s about the income. This comes as the Vatican is letting out its property to open up McDonald’s in the sight of the cupola.]

The center in Santa Maria di Galeria is universally recognized for its excellence and would be a sure-fire source of revenue if, in addition to continuing its own broadcasts, Vatican Radio were to rent out its facilities to other broadcasters. [Typically, they seem to see its use as a kind of zero-sum situation.]


And then there is another misconception that Monsignor Viganò employs when in order to justify the shutdown of shortwave he appeals to the environmental encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si’.” [The document which vilified air conditioning.]

He said in an interview with the magazine “Prima Comunicazione”:

“I think of the emissions of carbon dioxide that shortwave produces. [?!?] We cannot proclaim ourselves outside of the magisterium of the Holy Father.”

In reality, this consideration of his does not have the slightest scientific foundation, as was promptly explained to Viganò not by one but by several experts. [Why be bothered with facts when you can … ehem… score points!]

On the specialized portal Italradio, for example, the prefect of the secretariat for communication could have found the explanation that analog radio broadcasts release much less CO2 into the atmosphere than the digital technologies with which he would like to replace shortwave. [Because everyone out there in the bush in Africa has handy internet and smart phones.]

And there are those who have calculated that a shortwave transmitter with its antenna plus a receiving radio consume, in total, no more than 6 kW of electricity, equal to two domestic consumers. Twenty times less than a streamed broadcast, with all the technological apparatus that this involves.

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