VOA reaches North Korea via new South Korean medium wave rebroadcast.

Posted: 28 Mar 2009   Print   Send a link
"Voice of America has boosted its radio broadcasts into North Korea this year by transmitting from Seoul with support from a South Korean president who has taken a hard-line stance against the reclusive communist regime. President Lee Myung-bak's administration is allowing the U.S. government-funded broadcaster to use transmission equipment in South Korea to send its dispatches into the North for the first time since the 1970s. That makes the signal much clearer than VOA's long-running shortwave broadcasts from far-flung stations in the Philippines, Thailand and the South Pacific island of Saipan. Moreover, it's an AM signal, so listening in doesn't require a shortwave radio. ... Since Jan. 1, VOA has been using the antenna facilities of the Far East Broadcasting Company-Korea, a Christian evangelical radio station, for half of its three-hour nighttime broadcast into the North. The antenna is only 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the border. ... Some radio experts say VOA's arrangement with the Christian station violates a South Korean ban on broadcasters relaying foreign signals. But Kim Jung-tae, an official with the Korea Communications Commission, justifies his agency's decision to allow the VOA broadcast on the grounds that local networks are allowed to fill up to 20 percent of their airtime with foreign programming." AP, 28 March 2009. The relay, on 1188 kHz, 100 kW, has already been on the air for a few months.