"You will always have a friend in Brazil who will keep roaming on your short wave frequencies, looking forward to the return of Radio Bulgaria’s broadcasts on the air" – these are lines from the letter of our listener José Vieira Saul Bello from Brazil. "I never imagined that the year may begin with such terrible news. After 35 years of contact between us, I perceive myself as a person belonging to one family with you. All of you together and each one individually have done so much for your listeners that you will remain forever in our hearts," writes Juan Carlos Buskalya from Argentina.
And these are just two quotes from two of our South American listeners, a tiny part of the nearly 1,000 letters and emails and 120 phone calls that have arrived to us during the first month of 2012 with your feedback. Besides the reactions of disappointment and sadness on the termination of Radio Bulgaria’s short-wave emission of Radio Bulgaria as of February 1, many of you as a token of sympathy have sent to us constructive suggestions for the future of the program.
For example, our listner Mike Usher from England proposes that we should follow the example of Radio Slovakia and Radio Prague that use a platform allowing their foreign language programs to be available for smartphones and other mobile and Internet devices. "This will allow listeners to listen to you, even when they are not in front of the computer. Has the management of the Bulgarian National Radio considered working with other public stations, members of the European Union for Radio and Television and whether Evranet can be used for retransmission of at least some of your programs to other parts of the world through the BBC and Deutchewelle?" Mr. Usher asks.
The longtime listener of the U.S., William Flim, proposes that Radio Bulgaria should offer to broadcast its programs via live streaming and adds: "My biggest concern is that the decision to stop short-wave broadcasts is taken without a clear understanding that , at this stage, Radio Bulgaria does not offer a serious alternative to listening via the Internet. Discontinuing short-wave broadcasts before removing the deficiencies found on your website will result in the loss of most of your listeners. I understand that shortwave transmissions are very expensive and all governments are facing very difficult decisions relating to strict economic constraints. But I hope that the decision to stop short waves may be revoked or postponed at least until your station offers a real alternative to listening to audio on the Internet, similar to the quality of your shortwave broadcasts. The wonderful work of the team of Radio Bulgaria should continue and its efforts should be appreciated by the widest possible range of listeners."
We continue today’s show with a very emotional letter sent to us by Wolfgang Hervih Elerbek from Germany: "Yesterday I heard on your program and I could not believe my ears: Radio Bulgaria leaving shortwave - that's just unbelievable! Why limit the spread and thus these good audibility of informative programs? For me and for many listeners it will be very unfortunate that, as of February 1, we will stop receiving extensive information about Bulgaria. I feel sorry for the employess at the radio who don’t seem to receive the due recognition."
"As a longtime and loyal listener of Radio Bulgaria from the United States, it was with great sadness that I learned that Radio Bulgaria will soon cease its short-wave broadcasts”, writes Alice Sdjardin from the US. “Your station was much a needed source of international news to which local media in my region pay no attention. The views presented by your announcers and hosts were invaluable with regard to addressing global problems. "Another friend of ours from the U.S. - even Eldin Stevens believes that the suspension of shortwave Radio Bulgaria will reduce visibility among the international media, and the number of their ordinary listeners.
Rene Pijar, a longtime listener from France, admitted in his letter: "We learned with much bitterness that Radio Bulgaria will stop broadcasting on short wave. We would have liked it if this was not done in such an abrupt manner but was preceded by a poll among listeners on their opinion of such a measure. Let us say that for decades we have actively participated in the life of Radio Bulgaria. We attach to this email a protest letter on behalf of all members of the Radio club du Perche, asking that it be read on the air”.
Thomas Witherspoon is a listener of our Albanian-language service, who has written an article in his blog, expressing his disappointement even devoted an article to your blog, expressing regret for the suspension of short-wave emission.
Another listner we have in the Balkans is John Babis who enjoyed our Greek-language broadcasts. He wrote an email that he has been listening since 1990: "I watched with great pleasure and interest your news bulletins, features and musical shows. It is with deep regret that I learned of the impending closure of Radio Bulgaria’s short-wave transmissions. Although many people use the Internet, I doubt that people will bring their computers with them to listen to the issues that were previously available for listening on the radio."
We have received a letter from our fellow Bulgarian Detelin Stoyanov who is captain of a merchant ship: "Hello, dear friends at Radio Bulgaria. On your show from Jan 16, 2012, I learned that you are stopping your short wave broadcasts. We welcome the news with mixed feelings, but first I want to thank you for the past more than 30 years that I've been listening to your programs. I work as the captain of a merchant ship, and please keep in mind that offshore internet access is very limited, so your programs have been the basic source, and in recent years the only current source of daily information from Bulgaria. Over the years I first started listening to you back in 1979 to 1981 during my first voyages, then whenever I had the opportunity to listen to your broadcasts, as in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, also in the Indian Ocean, South Africa, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. After you go off the air, we will continue to listen to the English programs on BBC, but they offer no information about Bulgaria. "
Saime Demir from the village of Srednya in Shumen, Northern Bulgaria, writes: "I call on cabinet ministers and MPs, asking them not to create barriers for Radio Bulgaria’s broadcasts in Turkish. We, Bulgarian Turks, were born and grew up in Bulgaria and we very much love our homeland. These are sincere words coming from my heart. I like your programs, which represent a variety of topics from healthcare, livestock breeding, tobacco growing, literature and arts”. Shaban Ozturk from our southern neighbor Turkey admits: "As you would guess, I am one of your serious listeners to the Turkish-language emissions emissions”.
A heartfelt letter was sent by Paul Frank from Baden-Baden, Germany: "When I heard in the Monday news bulleting that the end of your shortwave radiation will occur on 1 February, I was dumbfounded. I spent a restless night feeling sad. To me, this is a matter of my love of Bulgaria, its people and especially Radio Bulgaria. From the day when I sent my first letter to you until the day you announced the end of your short-wave broadcasts, a period 58 years have elapsed – it is a whole lifetime. Thanks to the educational channel of news from Sofia, I managed to gain sound knowledge of Bulgaria and to learn more about your country. And now that your country is making a steady progress, Radio Bulgaria has declared the end of its shortwave. For me, this is like the collapse of a small world!"
The concerns of our listeners from Russia and the former Soviet republics are associated with the fact that Internet access is available mainly to people in big cities. Sergey Sossin from Russia wrote: "My dear Bulgarian friends, I was very sad when I learned that Radio Bulgaria discontinues its short-wave broadcasting. I do not want to say goodbye to an old friend, but unfortunately, I am unable to listen to you over the Internet. I started tuning into your broadcasts in Russian and other languages as a young man back in 1983. Your programs have turned into a reliable information source and simply connected me with Bulgaria and the Balkan region. It is only too bad that the SW transmissions will completely stop and our direct access to our brotherly Bulgaria will disappear. Is it not possible to preserve as least one or two broadcasts in Russian and Bulgarian on short and medium waves? Because most of your listeners do not have broadband Internet access. And not to mention the ethnic Bulgarians in Moldova, Ukraine and Central Asia. They generally live in villages where there are problems with the electricity supply, not to metnion internet connection. Most of these people are unable even to send letters to you”.
His compatriot Alexander Makuhin, who has been listening to us since 1990, said: "I appreciate the Russian-speaking broadcast on short wave aimed at Russia. Radio Bulgaria’s transmissions are very meaningful and interesting. I think it's necessary and important that the Bulgarian government should keep its short-wave broadcasts”. Vladimir Pivovarov from Ukraine spares no strong words in his letter: "What your government does not realize it that it kills its own image and its history in the modern world?" Sergei Shohin from Russia believes that the termination of Radio Bulgaria’s short-wave emissions is "clearly a wrong step" and adds: "It is very useful for us to know the views of Sofia on events and domestic news from Bulgaria. Moreover, as I ham operator, I often listen to the DX Mix of Ivo Ivanov, and this is the only good program for radio amateurs in the world in Russian. Moreover, not all of us have the opportunity to listen to Radio Bulgaria on the Internet! In Russia, the Internet is available mainly in large cities. So, the termination of your shortwave broadcasts will sharply reduce the amount of your loyal listeners. We must not forget the large number of Bulgarians abroad, for which Radio Bulgaria is an opportunity to make them feel at home."
Along with your comments on Radio Bulgaria’s short-wave broadcasts, you also express your interest in our various programs and features. Very active in this respect are the users of our website in Arabic. "We continue to follow with interest the information published on your website”, was written by Radio DX-ing club in Algeria. Among the favorite shows are still those for tourism, culture and health. And Bernard Martou concludes: "Many thanks for your feeds, as always with high quality and content. Through your programs, we will continue dreaming and travelling across Bulgaria and through the Internet, we will keep following your programs in the future.”
On behalf of all our former and current staff members, all radio hosts, news presenters, authors of our DX programs, and music editors, we extend our gratitude to you, our listeners from all five continents, for your support and interest over the years. And we, here at the English section, will keep doing our best to bring to you our unique pastiche of all things Bulgarian! To get the pulse of Bulgaria and learn more about this part of Europe and the Balkans – stay with the large family of Radio Bulgaria online!
We thank all of you, our listeners, for your reactions, comments and suggestions and we thank you for your warm, heart-felt and, what is more important, your honest opinions.
Translated by Rossitsa Petcova