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Hello There archives

Hello There

The Hello There the listeners’ mailbag program, was just about the only production of NEXUS-IBA and regularly broadcasted IRRS-Shortwave (“I-double-R-S Shortwave, the Italian Radio Relay Service”. Alfredo Cotroneo, one of the founders of NEXUS-IBA,  hosted the program from 1989 until the late 1990s. He read and answered questions sent in by snail mail from all over the world.

During the early years of operation, the most exciting letters on the Hello There program were coming from Eastern Europe, i.e.  from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and of course from the former Soviet Union (USSR). Shortwave was – at that time – the only way to receive news and information from the West, and IRRS-Shortwave was quite loud and clear all over Europe, and, most importantly, being a small, independent, non-governmental station, had never been jammed by Eastern European governments.

Letters to IRRS and the Hello There program were often smuggled across the East-West Berlin border by couriers and had an address in West Berlin for any reply to be sent to. Sometimes letters came directly from behind the iron curtain to our famous PO Box 10980 mail address in Milan (this address is no more active since 2015), and occasionally they were opened, and paragraphs were obliterated using sturdy coloured ink by censors.

The Hello There program ran initially for 30 minutes but was reduced to 15 minutes during the last few years until it was suspended. It included occasional phone interviews on technology, the early use of the Internet, international broadcasting, DXing and pirate radio.

Besides being broadcast on Shortwave from Milan, Italy, some the excerpts presented here were also part of the first RealAudio tests at Internet Radio NEXUS dating back to 1995. They have been converted to MP3 format are kept online for historical reasons only, and may have no actuality value. Due to recent cuts in our budget, we are unable to bring you these items on a regular basis as much as we would like to do. Please consider becoming a NEXUS-IBA sponsor.

On March 28, 1998,  the glorious HF broadcasting station at Schwarzenburg, just a few kilometres out of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, was shut down forever. At NEXUS-IBA we have special memories linked to the technicians and the station itself, as both of our first 10 kW Siemens transmitters that were previously used by Berna Radio’s aeronautical service come from the Schwarzenburg broadcasting station. Still, on old tube radio receivers around Europe, you may find the word Schwarzenburg on the illuminated scale, but now the Schwarzenburg station has been wholly dismantled and won’t be on the air anymore. Founded in 1934, Switzerland’s shortwave voice was heard from this glorious station around the world even during world war II as one of the few sources of reliable and objective information.

The Swiss PTT operated the HF transmitting station at Schwarzenburg until the end of 1997 when Swisscom took over as a private company. The station itself was used for telephony transmissions around the world, for aeronautical and maritime services, and also by SRI, Swiss Radio International, that for a few more years continued transmitting on shortwave from other locations in Europe and around the world.

You can hear the whole story from the two Bobs (Bob Thomann and Bob Zanotti), who, sadly, and for the last time, reported from the transmitter room in Schwarzenburg.

 

Farewell to Schwarzenburg, March 28, 1998, by the two Bobs [20:21]

by Bob Thomann and Bob Zanotti (Swiss Radio International)

A tribute to the two Bobs : Bob Thomann and Bob Zanotti and their last "Swiss Merry goes round" [14:36]

Special on Waco & sects (part1) (from Hello There) [31:01]

Special on Waco & sects (part2) (from Hello There) [25:48]

VideoCrypt Hacking on European satellite TV (from Hello There) [13:39]

Pirate Radio in Canada: Pirate Rambo [08:37]

Interview with Bill Pfeiffer - Moderator of rec.radio.broadcasting - on micro-radio (from Hello There) [13:26]

Interview with Universal Life's Primordial Christians (from Hello There) [13:51]

Internet Radio NEXUS Listeners’ comments

From our mailbag: Internet Radio NEXUS (IRN) Listeners' comments

Here are some of our early Internet radio listeners’ comments, dating back in 1995, when we were the first to start such streaming service in Europe and the USA:

Date: Fri, 02 Jun 95 20:40:20 -0700 Subject: (no subject) Hey folks just wanted to drop a quick note telling you I enjoyed your web-page. cool stuff, and a bit easier that getting you on shortwave here in New York 😉 do you QSL for web contacts?? 😉 ( just joking 😉 Tnx again!


Date: Sat, 03 Jun 95 11:34:06 -0700 Subject: Realaudio in The Netherlands Hello, Thanks for being on realaudio, i had never heard of your radio-station and just a few minutes ago, saturday 03/06/95 11.15 am Dutch Time, i located you on the short wave 7.125. The quality at the moment is bad, but i could follow the discussions. What i very much like is the information about UN on realaudio. Good luck and regards, Hans.


Date: Sun, 04 Jun 95 04:08:45 0600 Subject: (no subject) Keep up the great work with the Real Time Audio. I will be stopping by often to check out your progress. This has to be the start of something very BIG. Thanks for being on the forefront of this new technology. Rees Roberts Racine, Wisconsin USA


Date: Wed, 07 Jun 95 22:26:52 -0700 Subject: internet radio I want to congratulate you for a very nice page with interesting programs. It’s very nice for Americans to be able to hear broadcasts in languages other than English. Reception in San Francisco, California, is excellent tonight, 7 June, 1995. I hope you stay on-line and increase your services and available European programs. ————————————————————– ruth …a tout a l’heure….


Date: Thu, 08 Jun 95 21:08:30 -700 Subject: Internet Audio Receiving your programs loud and clear over the Internet in San Jose, California. Hope you keep it up! Mick


Date: Sat, 10 Jun 1995 16:07:46 -0700 Subject: RA Audio News Reports Dear Sirs, I wish to express my compliments on the fine work your group has done with this Web site. As a student of Foreign Relations, I found the stored audio news reports very informative and useful in my attempt to manitain awareness of world current events. The almost constant availablity of this information through the Internet allows me to access the information needed to assist my academic activities. I hope that this Web site can continue to be maintained beyond its test period and I am looking forward to continued access to all posted information. Thank you Sean Fannin University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio – USA


Date: Thu, 08 Jun 95 21:08:30 -700 Subject: Internet Audio Receiving your programs loud and clear over the Internet in San Jose, California. Hope you keep it up! Mick


Date: Sun, 11 Jun 95 08:42:04 -0700 Subject: (no subject) Your programs in the Internet are the only way to receive such great programs here in California. Please continue your work in the Net. I liked the segments of “Hello There”. Good job!! — Eduardo Villaseca


Date: Mon, 12 Jun 95 17:50:13 -0700 Subject: I have listened Hi! My name is Per and I live in Stockholm Sweden. I’ve just been listening to some of your programs, here on the WWW. It works quite fine with the Real Audio. I’m a DXer and radio-fan, so please put more radio related programmes on the Web. Thanks. 73 de Per


Date: 13 Jun 1995 12:30:40 -0700 Subject: (no subject) Congratulations on your audio site. I’ve just been listening here in Cork (Ireland) and reception is excellent. The quality is basically equivalent to reasonable MW, better than typical SW, with only the occastional break or jump in the datastream.I can’t tell you much about the technical side of the connection here – my pc, which has its own IP address, is connected via a university VAX mainframe. Piaras Mac Einri Department of Geography University College Cork Ireland


Date: Thu, 15 Jun 1995 00:47:10 +0200 Subject: internet radio Great idea and it’s even working! Please do go ahead! Greetings from Munich Rudolf Kuffner Bavarian Radio Broadcast, ARD


Date: Tue, 20 Jun 95 12:15:49 -0700 Subject: (no subject) I just wanted to write and say that I really enjoy your service. The Spanish language material is especially appreciated. Thanks Patrick Findlay


Date: Tue, 20 Jun 95 13:25:22 -700 Subject: thanks for providing the radio service Just wanted to thanks you for providing the real audio radio broadcasts. I really like being able to have access to non-American broadcasts/news. It is much more convenient to listen to real audio than to use a shortwave. Thanks.


Date: 22 Jun 1995 17:33:14 -0700 Subject: (no subject) Dear Sir/Madam, Further to my message last week from Cork (Ireland). Reception continues to be excellent – the quality would not be acceptable for anything except voice at present, but it is entirely adequate for this purpose. Curiously, I note that the quality is conistently better than the only other current European site, a UK newspaper, which is virtually inaudible as the sound continually “breaks up” and is not really comprehensible. I have no idea why reception from Italy should be so much better, when the packet-switching networks involved presumably work to comparable standards. I hope that you can continue to find a way to maintain your service, although I note that it is currently scheduled to stop in mid-July. It could provide a powerful means of countering much of the ill-informed and biased propaganda against the UN which has become so prevalent nowadays, especially in the United States of America. Having spent three years in a diplomatic posting in Lebanon and having seen at first hand the efforts of much-maligned UN forces on the ground, compared to the distorted media coverage which they often received, it is time for a more effective answering voice. Regards Piaras Mac Einri


Date: Fri, 23 Jun 95 16:53:12 -0100 Subject: Keep IRN in the net! Dear IRN, I¹m a listener from Hamburg, Germany, and I like your program best, looking around, what my be intersting and litening to your programm (I choose myself), when I can¹t stand the ²old³ radiostation in my hometown anymore ­ which happens quite often. I love “Radio on demand” as you do present it, and I hope, you¹ll survive the 15th of July best regards mic:­)


Date: Mon, 26 Jun 95 05:12:59 0000 Subject: (no subject) I AM TESTING REALAUDIO AND FINDING YOUR PROGRAMS ON THE NET WAS MARVELLOUS ! GREAT ! PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP ! – PIERPAOLO SARDELLI –


Date: Mon, 26 Jun 95 01:31:33 -0700 Subject: Internet Radio Nexus’s future As a long time shortwave listener and fairly new Internet surfer I really can appreciate the melding of the 2 mediums. Not long after I began exploring the web I realized just how similar it was to shortwave listening and felt it to be an extention of my interests in world culture outside my own back yard. I would encourage you to keep the site going as long as you are finacially able. I love RealAudio the possiblities it provides makes sites like yours very exciting ! I’ll be visiting this site often !


Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 14:02:29 EDT Subject: Listening in Boston! Just a quick line to say that I don’t have a shortwave receiver, That means that your audio files — in any form — .au, .wav. .ram, etc — are of the greatest interest to me, I’ve already listened to several of your programmes and been very impressed with them all. Please keep up the good work, and if you can, PLEASE * do NOT * stop your Internet broadcasts in mid-July! 🙂 Thanks again! F Tikhon


Date: Wed, 28 Jun 95 20:29:00 -700 Subject: Feedback Very good initiative. When this idea develops and spread, it will bee a good effort to bring us together on the globe. We can keep in contact with our place of birth and language even if we move to other areas on the globe. Interested people can check in and ithers point if view. God Luck. /Christer


Date: Sun, 02 Jul 95 07:05:33 -0700 Subject: comments re your web site I thought I would put my oar in here and let the powers that be it would be a shame to let your wonderful service die! I believe that the concept of real time audio over the net is one of enormous possibilities. It is going to be tough for any firm that is pioneering this form of media, but the pay-offs would be tremendous. Just think of the power of reaching 10’s of MILLIONS of listeners. Regards, VBH


Date: Wed, 28 Jun 95 23:13:04 -0700 Subject: Keep it alive Anna, I like the idea of REAL news here in the US. Its so hard to get a clean feed from the world news organizations with commercial and political fingers in all the pies. I’m not too keen on sending Money over the Internet, though. Can you give me a *real* address? Emil


Date: Thu, 29 Jun 95 22:40:27 0000 Subject: (no subject) Ho sentito, funziona tutto molto bene. Mi piacerebbe avere piu’ file in italiano da scoltare. Sara’ possibile in futuro avere un gateway in tempo reale delle trasmissioni che vanno sulla radio? Saluti, Carlo Maupoil


Date: Wed, 05 Jul 95 19:51:48 -0100 Subject: Please do stay… Hello, it’s terrible actually that you’re going to close down, but what can I do about it? I don’t have the cash to support you. I can only say that your experiment has indeed succeeded and that the work should definitely be continued. I love the extra news about ex-Yugoslavia because I’m involved in what’s going on because of my profession as a radiographer. So I really do hope that you are going to stay and keep doing what you have been doing until now. The implementation of ‘RealAudio’ is fabulous and of invaluable importance to the development and the future of the Internet and also to the way information will be provided and looked up. By the way, you’re the only European source of interesting RealAudio material and sincerely don’t want to listen to the American crap and ‘bull shit’ talk shows or whatever america-centric barbarity! Greetings from Amsterdam, Ronald


Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995 12:04:24 -0400 Subject: feedback you are great! please, continue! I’m working with the Austrian Shortwave Radio & I really think that it is a big work that you are doing. Oswald Klotz


Date: Thu, 06 Jul 95 12:52:19 -0600 Subject: Stay on the “air”, Please! I found out about your site a little over a week ago. Since then I’ve been back at least 5 other times. You are one of the few sites that actually has something interesting to offer in RealAudio sound clips. I don’t have a shortwave receiver, so this connection is the only one I have to your station. Plus, as the technology develops for live broadcast of audio over the internet, maybe you could be on the forefront of that, too. I hope you can stay with us longer. Thanks.


Date: Thu, 06 Jul 95 14:36:06 -0700 Subject: internet radio Keep up the good job you are doing!!! great information and a great idea. I really like the site, and will tell my friends


Date: Fri, 07 Jul 95 11:34:12 -0700 Subject: feedback on internet radio This service is wonderful! Although I am not in the position to support you financially, I think your service deserves support of this kind from your government or local university. It is a wonderful service. Yours truly, James Choi. Sydney Australia.


Date: Mon, 03 Jul 95 02:01:40 -700 Subject: Unesco Radio This is excellent solution for radio broadcasting. No high power transmitters, no QRM and better (in the future) audio quality! Also the right way for Unesco-information!


Date: Sun, 16 Jul 95 08:02:28 -0700 Subject: (no subject) Just wonderful will be my comment. I really enjoyed listening to the reports from UN Radio about the situation in former Yugoslavia. I really don’t what to say to improve your site. Just keep up the good jog. Will be visit your site regularly. Please send me your latest schedule so I can try to listen to you on shortwave though it might be very difficult. Thanks and all the best P. Heng from Penang, Malaysia


Date: Sun, 16 Jul 95 21:02:54 -700 Subject: Internet Radio NEXUS Yours is an extremely interesting site to visit for good coverage of major international events, stories etc. Well done and keep it up. Steve Erasmus Johannesburg South Africa


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 95 14:32:47 -0700 Subject: (no subject) You site really reminds me of shortwave radio. I enjoyed the relay of United Nations Radio. Please lift the suspension of the “The World in Review.” Keep up the good work. Ed van der Meer


Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 10:01:25 -0400 Hi I am Luis Osorio from Chicago.I think that having radio news from you is great. This is my first experience with you and I just want to let you now that I was here. After having more contact with you, I will be writting my comments. Keep the good work. Question: Why have you stopped to updated the news on July 7?


Date: Fri, 28 Jul 95 22:16:55 -0700 Subject: UNESCO Radio via IRRS Shortwave It is really great to see that your organisation is using the net as a communication media. In future times I believe that you will play a crucial role in harnessing the power of universal education & knowledge thru this medium. Keep at it, Real audio is a great way to complete the package, Brian


Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95 21:33:51 0000 Subject: Great! This is really great, now the technique works it is time to get it organised so you can bring up to date news, music or whatever at every moment a day, that would be really outrageous! Chapeau as well to the people who made realaudio possible!


Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 23:07:25 +0200 Subject: realaudio sound quality I enjoyed listening to some of the sound clips featuring ‘Realaudio’. Yours is the best and clearest sounding implementation of this science I’ve heard to date. Interesting and informative subject matter too!


Date: Tue, 01 Aug 95 22:03:39 -0700 Subject: Your RealAudio clips Hello, I am really enjoying your RealAudio clips. I was wondering if you had anymore Italian, or Spanish excerpts or are planning to add a few more. Congratulations on a great job, and keep up the good work. Rafael

IRRS-Globe Radio Milan: 1979-1998

English Broadcasts on FM in Milano, Italy (1979-1989)

FM radio in Milan

Like most of the other radio listeners in Europe, the Italians listen almost exclusively to hi-fi (stereo) programs aired on the FM band, rather than Medium Wave (AM) or Shortwave. There are distinct advantages to receiving FM vs Mediumwave or Shortwave regarding audio fidelity. Mediumwave broadcasts at the time were manly available throughRAI’s, the national state-controlled radio network.

However, Mediumwave (also called AM radio in the USA) had a sort of revival in the late ’70s and ’80s due to a heavy mutual interference of the thousands of FM signals on the Italian peninsula. Together with Radio Data System (RDS) on FM, Mediumwave/AM was the only option to remain tuned to the same station when distances above 10-15 miles are travelled by car. Mediumwave, although lacking in fidelity, provides much wider coverage than FM due to the lack of co-channel interference, and it was often used for example to tune into the news service offered by RAI.

It must be noted that Italy has been pioneering private FM broadcasting since as early as 1975, when, in addition to the already established three national state-owned RAI channels (also on AM/Medium Wave) some small and aggressive FM stations went on air. Today thousands of FM stations and a few private national networks operate legally in the country. But back in the ’70s and ’80s reception conditions were quite critical, especially in large towns, because there were many, too many stations, often on top of each other.

At the time, driving around the greater Milano nearly one-hundred different stations could be found on the dial. Very often stations operated on the same channel from locations just a few miles apart; more often the separation was just 50 kHz (or less). This situation has been sometimes depicted as a “frequency jungle” by several foreign observers who compared this very competitive market to the cleaner situation in other countries. Clearly, for most stations coverage was a problem especially in large urban areas. But the case would have been solved later in the 1990s with a frequency allocation plan, stricter rules, and the elimination of a large number of stations that followed. After years since a law first attempted to regulate private broadcasting (1990), no frequency allocation plan has been approved yet.

The Legal Situation

Although legally established, all private FM and TV stations in Italy still lacked frequency and power coordination from the Italian Post and telecommunication (PTT) Ministry. The first Broadcasting Act which was approved in August 1990, after many aborted attempts to rule the Italian frequency spectrum, set a term of two years (expiring in August 1992) for the PTT Ministry to publish frequency allocation plans for both TV and radio stations in the country. The Ministry finally assigned formal licenses to only some of the existing operations. Several years later, however, we were still in the same situation as of 1990, as far as frequency occupancy and interference, especially in larger towns. The only form of “coordination” and elimination of interferences was put in place by larger networks who started buying off frequencies from the smaller broadcasters. In this way, they attempted to clear their frequencies and killing de-facto smaller stations which were the spirit of the so-called free radio scene that broke the Italian State monopoly in the ’70s. Today, only a few of the smaller stations survive, especially in rural areas, and recent proposals to rule once again the market by the Italian Government seem to favour the largest broadcasters vs the smallest, but often more important, local stations. When the switch to DAB is completed in a few years, it is foreseeable that any still existing smaller station in rural areas would completely disappear.

As for radio, the 1990 Broadcasting Act identified two types of license: commercial and non-commercial or community radio (very similar to the US concept of public radio). Both licenses were granted on a local or national coverage basis.  All applications for a license had to be filled by October 20, 1990. After that date, the law stated that no new station could be built, nor other application accepted and, more importantly, no technical parameter of every station (e.g. antenna, frequency, transmitter power, etc.) could  (officially) be changed. Only in April 1998, a provision was added by decree to slightly modify the technical characteristics of a transmitter, if, for example, another transmitter belonging to the same station was shut down in the same area.

In the 1990s, in the Milano city area alone, commercial radio stations were outnumbering non-commercial/community operations by more than a factor one to thirty. NEXUS-IBA got a formal license to operate IRRS-Globe Radio Milano on FM 88.85 MHz as a local community broadcaster in 1995, and an authorisation to operate an international Shortwave station from Milano, Italy, was also granted.

Our History

Milano is a very cosmopolitan city in Northern Italy. Its weekly specialised exhibitions at the local Fair attract many foreign visitors every year. Here live quite a large number of English speaking foreign residents (20,000+) as well as many Italians who speak this language fluently. All that together with the interest of several international broadcasting organisations, consular representatives in Milan, newspapers, listeners and friends helped us to create and maintain IRRS-Globe Radio Milan since 1979. IRRS-Globe Radio Milan was a unique adventure in broadcasting and the first English speaking station in Italy.

Back in 1979, the fact that most of the Italian radio listeners in large towns did not listen at all to international Shortwave, or Long Wave broadcasts, gave us the idea of starting a local English speaking FM station in Milano. No satellite radio or TV was yet available, and newspaper and magazines were almost all international media available in town at the time. Our FM English-speaking station started with very simple equipment, a lot of enthusiasm, and with just only a few Watts all the Milano city area was covered.

In 1979-1989 IRRS-Globe Radio Milan existed to provide NEXUS-IBA members and broadcasters a facility in what the National Geographic magazine defined as “Both a factory and a showcase for Italian products, a hub for the comings and goings of trade in Italy and much of western Europe, but also a city of fine food and subtle elegance and cultural wealth“. In the early beginnings when IRRS-Globe Radio Milan experienced little or no interference from other stations, there were listeners who tuned into our broadcasts from as far as 30-50 km away. At the beninng of the 1990’s, even with professional equipment and higher power, the heavy competition from commercial stations had undoubtedly reduced the station’s coverage to just about one third of the entire city area. This was a situation very common to other small stations in Milano, which did not improve when licenses were assigned in 1990.

Since its beginning, IRRS-Globe Radio Milan has been airing the best selection of English programming available on Shortwave. Over the years, programs from the BBC World Service, BBC English by Radio, Deutsche Welle, Radio Nederland, Radio Sweden, Swiss Radio International, HCJB, VOA, Radio Beijing, Family Radio, Radio Earth, UNESCO and United Nations Radio, as well as many other individuals and broadcasting organizations has been aired. They targeted our English-speaking listeners in Milano, often preceding what was later now being offered as VOA Europe or BBC World Service via satellite in many other European towns.

NEXUS-IBA is neither governmentally, nor privately funded. Although provisions exist in the NEXUS’ charter to accept financial donations from other bodies and institutions, all current operations are entirely financed by our members’ broadcasters. Moreover, no advertising is currently on air on any NEXUS-IBA station. All NEXUS-IBA personnel are professionals who have a full-time job elsewhere, and devote most of their spare time coordinating NEXUS-IBA activities as volunteers. The heavy use of state-of-the-art computer automation, digital broadcasting, and, only recently, the availability of satellite feeds, together with our hard work, has made it all possible until now.

1979-1998: Twenty years of FM broadcasting from Milano to the world

IRRS-Globe Radio Milan was shut down on Sept. 15, 1998. The decision came after NEXUS-IBA’s Executive Committee decided to focus the Association’s activities on the Internet, International broadcasting, Shortwave and education.

Needless to say that our efforts could not be accomplished, nor continue, without your interest and support.

To support our activities, please visit our support page.

tinymce

Twenty years of broadcasting from Milano to the world!

This is how NEXUS-IBA was born

Pioneering FM English broadcasting to the greater Milan :
Most of our programs on FM came from Shortwave broadcasters around the world

In 1979, a local FM station went on air in Italy’s commercial centre, Milan, to serve the large English speaking community living in the town. In a short time, “IRRS-Globe Radio Milan” attracted a large audience in this cosmopolitan city, and it was also featured in the in-room cable radio services of Milan’s leading hotels. Up to the present date, “IRRS-Globe Radio Milan”‘s main programming consists of relays of BBC World Service. For more than eight years in operation, programming from the BBC, United Nations and UNESCO Radio, Radio Sweden International, Swiss Radio International, Radio Earth, World Music Radio, the Voice of America, WRNO-New Orleans, Radio China, Family Radio and a number of other small organizations and individual program-producers has been heard on 88.8 MHz in stereo FM in Milano via IRRS-Globe Radio Milan. From the beginning IRRS-Globe Radio Milan strove to be the English-speaking station in Milan, offering a wide range of information and entertainment to cover the complete needs of the English speaking community.

A lot of programs heard on FM are a good selection of the best ones available from the leading Shortwave services in the world. Our aim has been exactly to bring this material to a local audience on FM, who never heard this kind of programs on the SW dial, or more simply do not even know how to tune into the shortwaves.

Porting the FM relay idea to Shortwave
This is how IRRS-Shortwave was born

Back in 1988, after years of successful operation on FM, the “Italian Radio Relay Service” management became more interested in the shortwave medium itself, asking the question: “if the idea worked in Milan, why not all over Europe”? At closer examination, it became clear that there were also many small program-making individuals and groups that were eager to reach a European audience with their message through a reliable broadcaster. These people knew, on the one hand, that shortwave is a proven means of reaching such a mass audience. However, rates charged by the big guys representing the traditional SW relay facilities in Europe were so high that ordinary people just could not afford them, and, on the other hand, small pirate stations and local AM and FM stations could only cover a very limited area of the European Continent. So the IRRS-Shortwave idea was born!

The IRRS-Shortwave philosophy

The IRRS philosophy was simple: offer program-makers an effective and reliable shortwave relay facility in Europe at prices they can afford. But how could this be done? The answer was “creative engineering”. Transmitter powers measured in the hundreds of kilowatts may sound impressive, but they are also costly and equally unnecessary to cover Europe. It was decided that a transmitter of 10kW would do the job quite well. But carrier power is not everything. More important are good frequency planning as well as the quality and effectiveness of the antenna and modulation. In the summer of 1988, an exhaustive search was made to find a location that would be best for shortwave. Finally, a place was found in the Po Valley where ground conductivity was excellent, assuring a low take-off angle for the signal. To assure reliable operation, a 10 kW Siemens commercial communication transmitter was purchased, and it was decided to use an omnidirectional L-dipole antenna configuration. There was a long discussion about the best kind of modulation, resulting in the bold decision to experiment with reduced carrier single sideband or “A3A”, based on the belief that European listeners would be equipped to receive this advanced form of modulation and thus enjoy the benefits of SSB. On the other hand, this type of modulation can also be received on conventional AM receivers. But above all, the 10 kW of A3A modulation would have the same effect as 30 kW of conventional AM.

The technical side

Initially, a multi-band antenna system for 75, 41 and 31 meters was installed and in November 1988 test transmissions began on 3.945 MHz, just minutes after the antenna was completed. Unfortunately, an unknown utility station objected to IRRS’ use of 3.945 and jammed our operations, but not before dozens of reception reports came in. After those initial tests, the frequency of 7.160 MHz on the 41-metre band was chosen for early mornings, with a band change to 9.860 coming at 11.00 CET. And so, IRRS-Shortwave came into being.

The programming

In those early days, IRRS-Shortwave needed to establish itself as a reliable, regular service. So in addition to programming provided by United Nations and UNESCO Radio, IRRS-Shortwave maintained its Sunday broadcasts schedule by playing music and radio plays as well as recordings of old radio programs. The big breakthrough came early in 1990 when IRRS-Shortwave was able to sign some contracts for the relay of a wide range of religious broadcasts. At the same time, United Nations Radio decided to expand its programs by including the Russian language and providing IRRS-Shortwave with up-to-the-minute news in connection with the Gulf crisis through the telephone line, just a few hours before going to air, thus making IRRS the best source of UN information in Europe.

Presently, IRRS-Shortwave’s weekend broadcast schedule is almost fully booked between 07:00 and 15:30 CET. Several hours of regular programming have also begun on Saturdays, and there has been a series of weekday transmissions at various times, including 07:00 to 08:30, and 18:00 to 22:00 CET, all on 3,985 and 7,120 kHz. During the next summer period, we shall also resume using 3,955 from 22:00-24:00 CET, mainly on weekends.

… and so NEXUS-IBA was born

1990 has also brought with it the most significant development in private broadcasting in Italy since the beginning of 1975. IRRS-Shortwave always registered its operations on FM and Shortwave with the Italian Authorities. In October 1990, however, to continue its local and international transmissions in compliance with the Italian Republic’s law no. 223 of August 6, 1990, which first set the rules for radio and TV broadcasting in Italy and establish the guidelines for licensing stations, “NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association” was founded with the aim of taking full control of all IRRS FM and Shortwave operations. The new law strictly regards as a criminal offence the establishment of any new radio and TV station after August 9, 1990, leaving IRRS the biggest and most powerful private SW operation in this country (as it has been for some time).

Five years later, in 1995, a new law was passed which sets new rules and regulations for privately owned Shortwave stations operating from Italy. NEXUS-IBA has been very clear in saying that this was an attempt by the Italian Ministry of Communications (PTT) to close down and prevent all type of Shortwave broadcasting from Italy. The Shortwave broadcasting Act, in fact, sets strict rules on the kind of programming that we can carry, i.e .all programmes must be produced by the licensee, prohibits all forms of sponsorship and advertising, bans any broadcast directly beamed to Italy, and sets a yearly license fee of approx. 15,000 US dollars.

NEXUS is a non-profit association whose membership is open to all small and big broadcasters as well as IRRS-Shortwave listeners who would like to support our activities with their help and financial support. According to NEXUS-IBA’s charter, the Association aims to provide a cultural, ethnic, and religious radio service on a local, national and international basis. Furthermore, the association offers its media and assistance to members for them to air cultural, scientific, political and religious material, locally in Milano, in Italy as well as internationally through all media controlled by the association. Since the beginning, we wanted to grant by all means pluralism and access to these media especially to ethnic, cultural, political and religious minorities, with no distinction of race, sex, language, political credo or religion. According to its charter, NEXUS also intends to promote and sustain the production and transmission of educational, cultural, political and religious programs using available funds and through the media controlled by the association. NEXUS will also promote as well production and transmission of programs in Italian beamed to Italians living abroad, in cooperation with other national and international organisations.

The grim financial side, and the force of NEXUS-IBA:
Our members and volunteers

NEXUS is not currently sponsored either financially or by other means by any governmental or non-governmental organisation. All users of IRRS-FM and Shortwave outlets as well as any other media that will in the future come under the control of the association have to share the expenses of running such facilities. Annual membership fees which vary from 100 to 300 US dollars, as well as hourly rates for the usage of IRRS transmitters, are used to cover the running costs of the association and its media, as well as to promote new programs. With these funds, in fact, NEXUS Executive Board may also decide to finance in part or all the production and transmission of particularly valuable programs produced by its members or by the Association itself in accordance with the aims of the association, defined in NEXUS’s charter.

The force of NEXUS-IRRS is a small but dedicated staff of people who put in many hours of their free time, and at no cost, to provide a reliable service both to its listeners and members-program producers. Running IRRS-Shortwave in the past and NEXUS at present is complicated and very time-consuming. There was constant correspondence; taped material had to be fetched from the post office to IRRS-FM and Shortwave broadcasting studios. QSL cards have to be written, and all other correspondence and listeners inquiries answered. All listeners’ letters have to be Xeroxed in more than twenty copies and sent to all IRRS broadcasters (they may also respond themselves after a few weeks with a personal message or a QSL card of their own), and operations personnel have to be organised and rostered. From the beginning, programs are transmitted directly from IRRS transmitter sites (FM & SW). We were one of the first stations in 1990 all operations became wholly digital and automated, being fed via ISDN from the Association headquarters in the centre of Milan (all this was long before the Internet, satellite and ADSL).

Along the way of this unique venture in local and international broadcasting with NEXUS-IRRS, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Shortwave listeners who have supported IRRS-Shortwave from its beginning, and ask them to continue their support by regularly tuning to our broadcasts, and by continuing to report and above all comment on programs and reception; and possibly even writing us with supportive comments that we could pass along to all competent authorities who are allowing us to continue our work from this country.

NEXUS-IBA on Internet

We have now entered the era of Internet broadcasting, and many stations are closing down on Shortwave and opening new paths in satellite and RealAudio delivery instead. In 1994, NEXUS-IBA established itself on the Internet and became the first radio station in Europe to use RealAudio. Today NEXUS-IBA is also a global, international Internet Service Provider (ISP) with own servers located in Europe and the USA. NEXUS-IBA offers Web hosting, including RealAudio, as well consulting, to members and non-members of the Association. All funds coming from Internet services help to support our operations on Shortwave and FM.

A final reminder …

Finally, we would also remind once again that NEXUS is now a non-profit association and by no means can (by law!) IRRS activities be regarded either commercial or profit-making. In this true spirit of service to our listeners and broadcasters community, and along the lines of NEXUS charter, the Executive Board would like to support when possible with regards to NEXUS available funds those programs of a “hobby nature” which has been heard in the past over IRRS and are produced in great number around the world. Please contact NEXUS for further information, by e-mail at info@nexus.org or https://www.nexus.org.


For more information please contact:
NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association
Phone: +39-02-266 6971
email: info@nexus.org

How does NEXUS-IBA work?

How does NEXUS-IBA relay service work?

If you’ve heard us on the air during the last 30+ years, you know our motto:

You provide the content, and we provide all technical means to bring your own content and your own program to your audience worldwide.

So it’s your content, and it’s your audience (not ours), and we proudly take care of everything to make your mission and broadcast a success. Indeed we also carry all programs unabridged, without modification, as-is. This is why we are a different radio or TV station: in fact, our original name was Italian Radio Relay Service (now also known as Irish Radio Relay Service), and since 1979 we are the first ever organization providing a service of this kind. We are, in fact, a relay station!

We provide you with free counselling to help you get on the air now and fast, and fully manage our technical infrastructure, so you do not have to be proficient in broadcast licencing, transmitter operation, maintenance, time, frequency and antenna selection, frequency management, etc.

Over so many years we helped many small and large organizations come on the air starting with very simple equipment, i.e. a home tape recorder or a home computer with a microphone, knowing that we do the rest to bring your program to your audience anywhere in the world.

We’ll gladly help your mission, your organization or yourself alone to be on the air quickly and to your desired target. Email, call or get in touch, and we’ll be glad to help.

 

 

 

NEXUS-IBA DEMOS project

NEXUS-IBA awarded large contract under the European Union's 5th Framework Program (DEMOS)

NEXUS-IBA awarded large contract under the European Union’s 5th Framework Program (Information Society Technologies, Key Action I.4.2, ‚On-line Support to Democratic Processes‘).

Milano, Italy, Sept. 1, 2000 —:  NEXUS-IBA has been awarded a large contract for the development of DEMOS (Delphi Mediation Online System), a web-based platform whose primary objective is to enable fruitful and constructive debate between citizens and politicians with the intention of facilitating and encouraging “online-democracy”. DEMOS is an international Research & Development project funded by the European Commission (IST-1999-20530). Partners in the DEMOS project come from a broad range of institutions and companies, all sharing a mutual interest in counteracting against the apparent disenchantment with politics, which has become a challenge for democracy.

NEXUS-IBA’s interest in DEMOS is also related to its use in large opinion polls and qualitative analysis in general, and we will be testing other possible uses in the following areas: consumer surveys, focus groups, media analysis, consulting, advertising research, market research for products and brands, customer satisfaction research, media research, and public opinion including political and corporate image surveys.

DEMOS may in several cases reduce significantly the cost of running any medium-large scale survey on a rather large group of population. The DEMOS software and methodology itself, in fact, will be able to reach very high-quality results due to the continuous refinement of results.

For more information also visit the DEMOS project web site at: http://www.demos-project.org/

With its seat in Milano, Italy, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association is a non-profit association founded in 1988. Our aims are to provide all necessary means at our disposal for the dissemination of content on radio and the Internet. 

Today the association is re-focusing as a technology mediator or facilitator, to enable end-users to make full use of the recent developments of technology, media and the Internet. To fulfill its aims NEXUS-IBA also offers several services as an International Internet Service Provider, and is involved in  training programs aimed to teachers and parents on the role of emerging technologies. People working for NEXUS-IBA are professionals, teachers, professors, journalists, students and engineers devoting their spare time and resources as a public service to the global community. 

On June 15, 1995, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association was officially approved for association with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations. 

NEXUS-IBA created and maintains a Content Delivery Network (CDN) in Europe and the USA created with an internally developed technology called “WorldDirector”, where several Internet related services and applications are delivered to end users, including streaming audio and video. 

In 2001 NEXUS-IBA created a commercial spin-off (WORNEX International S.r.l., http://www.wornex.com) that is currently marketing the WorldDirector technology and services worldwide.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association,
phone: +39-02-2666971
email: info@nexus.org