The military operations area in eastern Ukraine still faces the problem with broadcasting. One reason is that militants destroyed and seized transmitters, another one lies in are jamming the signals of Ukrainian Radio.
Yesterday “Armiya FM” started broadcasting in Mariupol and Volnovakha. “Now Mariupol is the largest city in the area and the largest city of those we cover. It means access to a new level for us,” said Oleksiy Makukhin, advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center within the framework of UCMC project “Spokesperson of peaceful life” supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The coverage radius is about 30-50 km, so “Armiya FM” can be heard not only in Mariupol and its suburbs but also the surrounding towns and at the forefront,” specified Oleksiy Makukhin.
Today the radio broadcasts in 6 cities – Mariupol, Volnovakha, Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, Kostyantynivka and Pokrovsk. Sometimes local stations retransmit it, particularly in Shchastia and Novotoshkivka. They broadcast news programs and 20 programs of their own production. Ukrainian and foreign music takes 70 percent of the content.
Starting broadcasting in new cities
It took a very short period of time to get frequencies for “Armiya FM”, compared to the standard duration of the procedure. The frequency was ordered in the Ukrainian State Centre of Radio Frequencies and agreed with the General Staff. The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council does not hold a contest, as is the case under the usual procedure, but issues permissions for temporary broadcasting until the end of the combat actions. Then these radio stations will be able to get a proper license, explained Sergiy Kostynskyi, member of the Council. According to him, over eighteen months they have provided 70 frequencies this way.
Low-power frequency radio will help reach small settlements
Serhiy Kostynskyy informed that recently a successful experiment of Ukrainian radio station broadcasting at the vehicle access checkpoint in Zaytseve has completed. Now this testing project is implemented in Mayorsk (96.5 Hz); next ones up are Stanitsya Luhanska (88.8 Hz) and Novotroyitske (90.5 Hz). Broadcasters are testing technology of low-power broadcasting (no more than 30 watts) that allows a distance within a radius of 4-5 km to be reached. Thus the station will be broadcasting in a small settlement. It is planned to extend broadcasting across the entire contact line, including “hot spots” and all military units.
Militants are trying to jam our signal
Militants are trying to jam the signal across the contact line from the temporarily occupied territory. “Our work is negated by 30-40 percent because a strong signal from Luhansk and Donetsk reaches the government-controlled territories. If this problem is solved, and I hope the security forces will do it, our work there will be more efficient. The same is true for Crimea,” added Serhiy Kostynskyy.
It is technically impossible to extend broadcasting in the temporarily occupied territory. It would require a tower to be installed on the very contact line. However, “Army FM” satellite enables the Ukrainian media to be heard today. “There are also Radio.com, TuneIn, and thus we are heard in the US and Russia,” noted Oleksiy Makukhin.
Introduction of medium frequency broadcasting
Serhiy Kostynskyy informed that now they are developing a project of medium frequency broadcasting. “I hope in the coming months, this issue will be settled. We have a very good broadcasting of Ukrainian radio at 549 kHz in Crimea. The programs of Radio Liberty (“Crimea. Realities,” ) and Hromadske radio are broadcasted there. Medium frequency broadcasting will make it possible to fully cover the occupied territories both in the east and south,” he noted.