No. 54 NAI DT S9092A

Extract from the report of the interdepartmental committee1 set up to examine the establishment of a short wave broadcasting station

Dublin, 12 May 1937

[matter omitted]
(1) The utility of a Short Wave Station
In the present stage of technical development of radio science the chief function of a Short Wave Broadcasting Station in the Saorstát would be to serve listeners in distant extra-territorial regions. At present the principal sphere of usefulness of Short Wave broadcasting is for news and the spoken word, as limitations of the transmitting medium render it difficult to receive music with the fidelity necessary for its complete enjoyment. Listeners within the Saorstát would not be catered for by a Short Wave Station and such a Station would, in consequence, not induce an increase in the number of wireless licences held here or lead to an augmentation of Broadcasting revenue. Therefore, in considering the question of the establishment of a Short Wave Station, it has to be recognised that, in respect of the expenditure which would necessarily be incurred, there would be no set-off in the form of additional revenue, unless sponsored programmes were permitted and we are not in a position to anticipate that such permission would be given. Even, however, if sponsored programmes were permitted they could not be relied upon for regular and permanent income.

The main object of a Station whose field of service would lie wholly in distant countries would, we assume, be to serve as a vehicle for National propaganda. It could be employed to reach people of our race abroad when it is desired to keep in touch with affairs in the motherland, or foreigners whom it is considered desirable to win to a particular point of view on political or commercial matters; also, and perhaps most important of all, it could be used for countering propaganda of an unfavourable nature which, either openly or in veiled form, is a not uncommon feature of news broadcasts of outside origin. There is scope too for the dissemination of programmes reflective of the artistic and general cultural standards of the country. For these purposes Short Wave broadcasting is the most effective instrument at the disposal of the State. There are, however, technical difficulties which we deal with in paragraphs (3) and (4) below2.

Then weighing the need for a Short Wave Broadcasting Station it is of interest to note that, apart from the wealthier countries, such small countries as Bulgaria, Czecho Slovakia, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia, etc. have already erected Short Wave Broadcasting Stations.

[matter omitted]

1 The committee was comprised of representatives of the Department of External Affairs, the Department of Finance and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.

2 Not printed.

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