Pacific Media Watch

15 January 2017

TAHITI: With switch from AM to FM, some Polynesians left in the dark

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Radio Polynésie Premiere switchover to an all FM service at the beginning of December has left some Polynesians without a service. Image: The Switching Post

PAPE'ETE (The Switching Post/Radio NZ International): Some inhabitants of French-controlled Polynesia are unhappy at the switch over from medium wave (AM) to VHF FM broadcasting.

Radio New Zealand International reports Radio Polynésie Premiere switched to an all FM service at the beginning of December, leaving pockets of inhabitants in valleys and on remote atolls without any local radio service.

The broadcaster added five FM transmitters to its network of 48 to improve its reach but in an area the size of Europe, the signal fails to reach all communities.

Concern has been expressed that vital weather warnings are no longer heard.

The mayor of Makatea in the Tuamotus, Julien Mai, said there was a risk to public safety because people had always been advised to have an emergency kit that included a radio when severe weather struck.

The French Polynesian territorial government has now asked the public radio broadcaster to reconsider its decision to end transmissions on its AM frequency, reports RNZI.

The AM closure alarmed many, in particular those worried about the lack of weather forecasts during the cyclone season.

In a statement, the government said it has already written to the head of France Televisions Delphine Ernotte about the problem.

As part of its mission to provide a public service, France Televisions has been reminded of French Polynesia's geographical challenges and asked to maintain this indispensable channel for isolated listeners.

Tune in to French Polynesia

Tahitian radio station websites

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