Dutch Radio 1 via British transmitter
Dutch domestic news/information network Radio 1 has commenced temporary broadcasts from the former BBC mediumwave transmitter at Orfordness in Suffolk on 648 kHz.
Following fires at two main Dutch transmitting stations on 15 July, FM reception of Radio 1 in some parts of the Netherlands is poor. The mast at Hoogersmilde in the north of the country collapsed, and substitute transmissions from an emergency facility in Assen cannot cover the whole area. At Lopik, which serves the densely populated central belt, transmissions are at very low power while technical investigations continue into the cause of the fire there. Transmissions from other sites of the same construction have also been reduced in power.
Radio 1 had temporarily been using another mediumwave frequency, 747 kHz, displacing Radio 5 which serves older listeners. RNW's Programme Distribution Department suggested using 648 kHz for Radio 1, which puts a very strong signal into the Netherlands. This has allowed Radio 5 to return to its usual frequency.
Following a request from RNW, the BBC and the UK regulator Ofcom were quick to agree to this arrangement, which Cees de Bruin, Director of Distribution for Netherlands Public Broadcasting, described as an emergency situation. It's not yet clear for how long Radio 1 will use 648 kHz, but it's expected to be needed for at least several weeks.
Meanwhile, it has been decided to construct a new mast at the crippled station at Hoogersmilde. The concrete base of the tower is largely undamaged, and the location is said to be ideal for covering a wide area. But it will take several months to put the station back into service.
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