News

Radio Australia for sale

by
May 11, 2017

Radio engineer Greg Baker believed that shutting down the shortwave Radio Australia broadcast was a big mistake.

For sale, one large semi-rural 229ha block. Key features include large-scale grazing potential, two irrigation channels and a shortwave antenna that can broadcast to all over the globe.

The former shortwave broadcasting station that for decades sent the Radio Australia broadcast around the world was quietly put on the market a couple of weeks ago.

The site, at 490 Verney Rd in Shepparton’s north, had a significant role in Australia’s wartime history, when it broadcast impartial news across the pacific during World War II to counter propaganda from Axis powers.

For decades the site sent the Radio Australia broadcast of the ABC via shortwave to listeners in the Pacific and across the globe, until the ABC cut funding and the service went offline earlier this year.

A spokesman for BAI Communications, which owns the site, confirmed it intended to sell the unique property.

‘‘The company has initiated a broad expression of interest process to assess potential market interest in the site,’’ the spokesman said. ‘‘The future land use is undetermined and will be subject to council approvals.’’

Commercial real estate company CBRE is handling the potential sale, and an online listing has described the property as a ‘‘significant land banking opportunity’’ in a growth area of Shepparton.

Comment was sought from CBRE on the sale, but The News was told the company could not comment at the request of BAI Communications.

The sale could throw into jeopardy any move to restart shortwave broadcasting, as it is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the country.

South Australian NXT senator Nick Xenophon visited the site earlier in the year, and later introduced a bill to the senate to restart shortwave broadcasting.

The bill was sent to a senate inquiry and was due to report by August.

Former radio engineer at the site Gary Baker has been campaigning for the resumption of shortwave, and was not happy the site was on the market.

‘‘If the ABC has to start broadcasting internationally again this could cost taxpayers millions of dollars, which would be stupid,’’ Mr Baker said.

A sign in front of the property indicates that the closing date for expressions of interest in the property is in June.

Viewpoint, page 11.

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