Remembering Bob Thomann, the original Swiss Merry-Go-Round SW radio program producer
Our hearts are saddened by the loss of our old friend, Bob Thomann (HB9GX), who passed away on Saturday evening, August 3, 2019, at the age of 90.
Bob Thomann was the founder of the Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round radio program, started on SBC/Swiss Radio International in the ’50s. Bob Thomann and Bob Zanotti (an American radio journalist from the New York area) later produced the program together in 1970 when Zanotti joined SRI from Canada. They co-presented what became a mailbag and DX technical program, which ended up known as “The Two Bobs” until the show was cut off by SRI management in June 1994.
Bob Thoman (the other one of the Two Bobs) standing at the side of a vintage transmitter at Schwarzenburg
Although Bob Thomann never visited our station, in the late 80s’ he was Bob Zanotti’s technical expert and one of our silent and very “helpful hands” at IRRS-Shortwave and NEXUS-IBA. That was at the time (1988) when we set up our first Shortwave station and antennas in the outskirts of Milan, Italy. NEXUS-IBA’s first two Siemens transmitters were previously used by Radio Bern (Bernradio) aeronautical station located in Schwarzenburg, and very well known by the two Bobs.
Bob Thomann was a good friend of ours and a strong supporter of Shortwave broadcasting. We have lost a great supporter of International broadcasting, a wonderful person, and a dear friend. Rest in peace, Bob. We will miss you.
Bob Thomann (HB9GX), Swiss Merry-Go-Round shortwave radio program producer, dies at age of 90 was last modified: August 9th, 2019 by NEXUS-IBA Editor
NEXUS-IBA selects Milano Ventures Ltd as global service partner
Global Media Content Delivery and International Broadcasting
Milano Ventures merges the competences and shares the values of NEXUS-IBA in offering strategic consultancy and opportunities to International Broadcasters, either secular and Christian, to reach any country in the world via (World)International Shortwave Radio, IP Streaming and Satellite.
NEXUS-IBA and Milano Ventures use the most advanced public & private cloud technologies, including CDN for fast & reliable streaming and broadcasting & media services for International organisations.
Be like the BBC (*), VOA, CNN, Radio France Internationale, The Deutsche Welle (*), Al Jazeera or your favourite international broadcaster and cover the world with a single broadcast, at less than the cost of one market on FM or terrestrial TV at home.
(*) The BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle are among the many world international broadcasters hosted on our station in Milan, Italy. As a NEXUS-IBA member, they broadcasted live headline news and information to the English speaking community in Milan.
Africa and Asia satellite coverage
NEXUS-IBA and Milano Ventures help you reaching any world corner, using one of the most powerful stations in the world, with more than 40 Million Watts (up to 43 MW ERP) on Shortwave radio, or via satellite radio & TV and Internet streaming.
How to Replace Satellite Radio Networks with IP
You can now save money using IP streaming to convey your audio or video stream from your production studio to our stations. You can save money, broadcast live and use your live stream connected to our CDN to make your content available to listeners in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Africa.
NEXUS-IBA and Milano Ventures use WorldDirector CDN technology to transport digital audio or video signals and deliver content to millions of users worldwide.
Secular and Christian media
Milano Ventures and NEXUS-IBA do not discriminate against race, sex, language, or political or religious beliefs. We promote pluralism of information, human rights, free speech, political and religious pluralism, diversity, with particular attention to minorities, and above all ethnic, cultural, political, and religious minorities. We promote first hand information, apply no censorship to content providers, and make all efforts using the best available technologies to overcome those who blocks access to free flow of information on radio and TV using jamming or slowing down or denying cross-border Internet traffic.
On IPAR (International Public Access Radio) we promote news and feature programs in English and any other language that deals with sensitive issues such as freedom of speech. We can also target regions where freedom of speech is at stake, where governments block the Internet and censor communication and media.
Over EGR (European Gospel Radio) we promote Christian and religious programs aimed at worldwide evangelism, hosting any preacher, Minister, Church, missionary, confessional, non-denominational religious organisation or anyone who has something to say or to preach to the world.
Over our mainstream streaming channels or via client’s dedicated streaming audio (radio) and streaming video (TV) channels we offer a 24/7 presence accessible anywhere in the world. We use our WorldDirector CDN cloud-based services, not necessarily controlled by any of the major cloud providers or Governments, running on an independent Content Delivery Network (CDN) with Point of Access servers spread across the entire world. Working with an independenthybrid cloud vendor like Milano Ventures also allows greater independence over the control of corporations controlling Internet access and public clouds.
We think that our offer is a unique opportunity to any broadcaster or program producer to reach any country in the world, without barriers, using Shortwave radio, Satellite, TV, AM or Medium Wave radio and Internet streaming, in any possible combination.
The power of International media: Know your audience
International broadcasting is a lot like advertising: everybody agrees that it works, but it is difficult to quantify. The world’s largest broadcasting organisations have been deeply involved in audience research costing vast sums of money.
Even the largest International broadcasters on cannot accurately estimate the size of their audience to any program they air, to the same or even a comparable level of accuracy than any FM or TV station can do for any particular market.
How many listeners do we reach daily?
Since 1979, NEXUS-IBA founders have been working with worldwide Radio & TV Ministries, the BBC, the United Nations, UNESCO, and other major International broadcasters and media, and with those involved in Audience and International Media Research.
Global media content delivery via NEXUS-IBA
Only the largest organisations like the BBC or the Voice of America can afford the cost of conducting some audience research on Shortwave. Some empirical data exists on the number of Shortwave receivers in each country, that lead to a potential audience of more than ten million in Europe and about the same in North Africa and the Middle East. These are regions that we can cover with a Grade-A signal using a 50 to 150 kW service on Shortwave. Other regions in Asia/Pacific or the Americas can be best covered using up to 300 kW. Most of the time we know that people are listening, because we monitor our signal quality continuously in several countries, and because listeners write to our members, our program producers and us.
International Audience Research
Graham Mytton, former Head of Audience Research of the BBC, stated:
People will go through the trouble of listening to shortwave, even when reception is difficult, if it provides something that they otherwise cannot get.
According to our experience – if your program has an impact, and is not available on local TV or FM & AM radio – then people will tune into your program to listen to it. Someone calls it word-of-mouth propagation, and for this reason and our long-standing experience we are well known among Shortwave listeners worldwide for our high-quality radio relay services, at non-profit cost.
Marketing and how to promote your program
Most of our broadcasters and program producers do fantastic work to advertise their broadcasts among their churches or community members overseas. Once they know that we provide an excellent signal in the target area, then they tune and may call other people to listen to, in a snow-balling effect. This is something you have to consider doing when you start airing, i.e., using your existing contacts to spread the news about time, frequency and area that we cover. We can provide help to people tuning in, and we usually forward letters or email addressed at the station that mentions your program, but we cannot often go as far as keeping you connected with the audience of your program. You should consider this as part of your mission as a Shortwave Broadcaster!
Global Media Outreach: How can you reach the whole world
For all the talk of satellite radio and TV, Shortwave radio remains the most cost-effective electronic mass medium that can span enormous distances instantly and penetrate every home in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific. Also, Shortwave radio is portable and is a companion wherever one goes. It is indeed the world’s most mobile electronic mass medium. Modern Shortwave receivers are ultra-compact, inexpensive, and very easy to use.
On Satellite, we can distribute your radio and TV signal via satellites around the world. Wherever the Internet is available, beyond the digital divide, we also complement our services with simultaneous audio (radio) streaming.
Build your own station
Milano Ventures and NEXUS will create your audio channels or your streaming radio station from scratch, including a visual player to be hosted on your website. Your streaming radio station can be based on your content, music, news, live events. We can also help to locate and integrating news, information and additional material to create a loyal audience. Typical applications include in-store radio, Church or Christian radio, group or interest-based radio, news radio services, music, political, foreign or vernacular language service.
Marketing, SEO and lead generation
Milano Ventures and NEXUS also help your organisation to create a modern communication strategy, i.e., creating real opportunities to make an impact with innovative services, such as marketing automation, fundraising,lead generation, on-demand marketing, online presence, and social media management. NEXUS-IBA and Milano Ventures help secular and Christian organisations to increase fund-raising opportunities and to fund their mission and outreaching Ministries.
Continuous innovation and research in new technologies
With the help of Milano Ventures, the NEXUS association strengthens its position as Innovator and Technology Mediator or facilitator. We enable NEXUS-IBA’s members worldwide, as well as end-users, to make full use of innovation and the recent developments of technology in media, including broadcasting, social media and the Internet.
People volunteering for NEXUS-IBA are professionals, teachers, university professors and researchers, journalists, students and engineers, most of them 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, and for more than 20 years has been actively working in promoting the work and activities of both UN and UNESCO. Researchers at NEXUS-IBA created the first load-balanced cloud and Content Delivery Network (CDN) called WorldDirector, later used by Milano Ventures and their clients in Europe and the USA.
Innovation in the Cloud
Most of Internet and cloud-related services and applications are delivered to end users, fast and reliably over the WorldDirector platform, including streaming audio and video services on behalf of our stations and members.
About the NEXUS term
The NEXUS term was chosen because this Latin word says it all: a link or point of connection, using international media, radio, TV and cloud services to link content providers with their audiences. But NEXUS also stands for more than just a physical connection using a variety of technologies. It also means World communication and promoting freedom of speech around the world. When an individual or an organisation becomes part of NEXUS-IBA, they are part of a dynamic, highly professional and creative team devoted to utilising the latest technologies to deliver their content at the lowest possible cost.
Milano Ventures (Dublin, Ireland) is proud to be selected NEXUS-IBA’s partner to service their membership and commercial clients, service and and maintain their cloud and broadcasting infrastructure across all continents.
From Dublin, Ireland, Milano Ventures Ltd. offers content media delivery services worldwide both to NEXUS-IBA’s members and commercial clients. Services offered by Milano Ventures include: international broadcasting, disaster recovery, professional e-mail, software and application development, domain registration, web marketing & SEO, high reliability WorldDirector cloud hosting and related consulting services.
NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association (NEXUS-IBA, Milan, Italy) is a non-profit association founded in 1990. NEXUS-IBA provides its membership all necessary means for the effective dissemination of content on radio, TV, the Internet and any media in general. NEXUS-IBA reaches every country in the world. Radio and TV broadcasters, as well as small program producers from all-over the world make use of NEXUS-IBA’s Internet media streaming & distribution, radio, TV and satellite broadcasting services to reach audiences worldwide.
In 1987, a small group of idealistic and highly dedicated people with broadcasting experience of their own had the idea of starting a Shortwave radio station to act as a link between independent cultural program makers and the European Audience. The Shortwave medium had been recognised for years as the most effective means of reaching the largest number of Europeans by radio and for the high quality of its audience. “The Italian Radio Relay Service” (also known as “IRRS” or “I-double-R-S“) went on-the-air in November 1988 and was an immediate success.
The founders of NEXUS-IBA used their funds to finance the necessary equipment and initially used the facility in their spare time on Saturdays and Sundays to broadcast their programming consisting of music, discussion programs, topical presentations, vintage radio shows, and plays. IRRS-Shortwave quickly became a unique part of the European shortwave scene and attracted a lot of publicity and interest. The experiment was so successful that enquiries poured in from other program producers who were also anxious to use Shortwave, but could not afford the high rates for airtime charged by the established commercial relay stations.
Soon afterwards, IRRS-Shortwave began airing the current affairs and cultural programs of leading international, intergovernmental agencies (I.e. United Nations, UNESCO and other UN agencies) and special program services produced by other broadcasters. Thousands of listeners praised their content as being of quality and nature not available elsewhere. The much older NEXUS’ FM station (1979-1999) was created as the relay of the BBC World Service in Milan and a major source of multilingual programs in Italy’s most important industrial and commercial centre.
And so, the NEXUS/IRRS idea grew. Founded in 1990, with its seat in Milan, NEXUS-INternational Broadcasting Association (NEXUS-IBA) is a non-profit association founded under Italian Law. Proof of NEXUS-IBA’ established position in international broadcasting is the fact that it earned a coveted separate listing in the prestigious “World Radio and TV Handbook” and “Passport to Worldband Radio“, the leading “Who’s Who’s” in international broadcasting. In the religious broadcasting field, some internationally known and respected radio ministries have also become NEXUS members. NEXUS-IBA created special Christian radio segments on its programming, branded as “European Gospel Radio” or EGR, becoming one of the leading outlets of multilingual spiritual programming in Europe. NEXUS-IBA is, however, strictly non-denominational and open to anyone with a message to tell the world.
According to the Italian Broadcasting Act of 1990, the Association is designated as a “non-profit community broadcaster operating in the public interest”. NEXUS-IBA makes broadcast time and consulting available to members of the Association. Membership fees are very modest and entitle members to the lowest airtime rates billed directly by preferred commercial service providers. The small volunteer NEXUS-IBA administrative staff is highly dedicated and receives no remuneration beyond legitimate expenses. All members contributions above rents, electrical, and maintenance costs go back into the Association to guarantee the lowest possible airtime rates.
NEXUS-IBA is based in Italy but is truly international in its scope and philosophy. Current programming is in English, French, Spanish, German and in the Oromo language to East Africa. Programs may be in any language and deal with any subject. The NEXUS-IBA Executive Council exercises no censorship or control and intervenes only in cases where there might be a clear conflict with or violation of Italian or European Law.
IRRS-SHORTWAVE: THE TECHNICAL SIDE
Until 2001, NEXUS-IBA operated on Shortwave from Milan, Italy, with two SIEMENS transmitters of extremely high quality and reliability. Although capable of standard AM (double side-band) transmission, NEXUS-IBA chose to operate with the much more effective and efficient “A3A” modulation, i.e. Single Side-Band, reduced carrier mode, as recommended by the International Telecommunication Union. In this way, our signal has the same communication power as a conventional AM transmitter of 30 kW, while remaining completely compatible with non-SSB receivers. Careful frequency management and the use of digital audio processing techniques assured a signal strength and subsequent high station profile all over Western Europe, the Mediterranean area and over the iron curtain into Eastern Europe.
Today NEXUS-IBA operates with high power Shortwave transmitters located in Europe, with transmitter powers of 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 kW. Using high gain curtain HF antennas, we can reach every corner of the world with a maximum ERP (Effective Radiated Power) of approx. 87 million Watts.
From concept to transmission, NEXUS-IBA is on a solid basis and would be happy to welcome your organisation as one of our affiliate broadcasters.
WHO NEEDS NEXUS-IBA?
Anyone who wants to talk to Europeans by radio in the most cost-effective manner.
Do you remember the pictures that went around the world during the Gulf War, showing people glued to their shortwave radios to get the latest news from the outside world? During that crisis, sales of Shortwave receivers skyrocketed leaving dealers with empty shelves. Shortwave once again demonstrated its importance and effectiveness. For all the talk of satellite radio and TV, Shortwave radio remains the most cost-effective electronic mass medium that can span enormous distances instantly and penetrate every home in Europe. Also, Shortwave radio is portable and is a companion wherever one goes. It is truly the world’s most mobile electronic mass medium. Modern Shortwave receivers are ultra-compact and very easy to use.
NEXUS-IBA offers direct access to millions of listeners in the world, across the digital divide, in areas where often there is no access to the Internet, no electricity, and no local radio or TV station.
Do you remember when a telephone call between the U.S. and Europe cost $5.00 a minute? Today that same call costs a fraction of that amount. Thanks to cost-saving modern technology and, above all, automation, the miracle of international broadcasting has also become affordable for everyone. As specified in its legal charter, NEXUS-IBA makes this non-profit service available on Shortwave, AM radio (Medium Waves) and with free radio streaming over the Internet.
The non-profit NEXUS system has cut overhead to the bone, but not at the cost of quality service. The small, dedicated NEXUS staff is non-salaried. This fact, along with computerisation coupled with state-of-the-art transmission equipment ensure NEXUS members reliable, top-quality, worldwide coverage.
WHO WILL I REACH?
satellite to Europe
Technically-speaking, your message will reach every household and individual with a shortwave radio. Dedicated broadcasts, using high gain antennas that can be beamed to any country, can provide almost local quality reception in any region in Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe or in the Americas. And there are millions of more travellers who carry shortwave with them to keep in touch with the world and for companionship along the way.
Perhaps more important is the qualityof the shortwave audience. Shortwave listeners are well known for their above average education, open-mindedness, and interest in international, intellectual, and cultural affairs. Besides that, you will be in excellent company on NEXUS-IBA and European Gospel Radio, which have already been used for years as relays by international broadcasters and official international agencies of the highest standing.
NEXUS-IBA OFFERS MORE THAN JUST AIRTIME
Our non-profit organisation has expertise in Shortwave International broadcasting going back more than 40 years. We offer “total counselling” free of charge. We want to help you make your broadcasting mission a success.
Whatever your programming, NEXUS-IBA will help you reach the right audience at the right time. If desired, this free counselling includes editorial as well as technical assistance, custom tailored to your individual needs. We offer extremely flexible scheduling, ranging from regular daily and weekly service to sporadic, ad hoc broadcasting of individual programs to any world target. We are prepared for short-notice service, and for program material fed by satellite, FTP uploads, live streaming or even old-style telephone feeds.
NO ONE IS TOO BIG NOR TOO SMALL TO BE PART OF NEXUS-IBA
Smaller programmers will appreciate the value for money of the NEXUS system made possible by its non-profit basis. Larger program institutions should be aware that, even if they operate their facilities on Shortwave, NEXUS-IBA reaches a very loyal and high-quality fragment of the Shortwave market that may not make a habit of listening to other stations.
Our listeners have repeatedly expressed appreciation for the unique variety and quality of NEXUS-IBA programs, reflecting the wide range of NEXUS-IBA members. Perhaps you have “minority” program material that is not suited to your regular operations, or for which no time is available on your regular outlets. The chances are that this material will find a grateful audience via NEXUS-IBA.
Furthermore, NEXUS-IBA has no political and no religious affiliation. It has a very liberal editorial policy and does not edit or censor material unless in crass violation of official legal guidelines. With NEXUS-IBA you get your message on-the-air the way you want it heard. You are not at the mercy of a production middleman.
We could go on. But we think it would be more productive to talk with you directly about your particular needs. Whether you are involved in cultural, political, tourist, current affairs, or religious programming, NEXUS-IBA was created to serve your needs.
Please contact us for detailed information at no cost or obligation. You are just a ‘phone call or email away from your direct link to the World Shortwave market. And don’t forget our live streaming radio services, serving the international community from our streaming servers in Europe, Asia and the USA.
With its seat in Milano, Italy, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association is a strictly non-profit association founded under Italian Law that operates IRRS-Shortwave, European Gospel Radio and IRRS-Medium Wave to Europe. NEXUS-IBA makes available broadcast time, with no commercial advertising on the air and, currently, with no corporate underwriting and no government sponsorship.