Home | Back to Wavescan Index

"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.

Wavescan, September 8, 2013

Radio Broadcasting on the Island of Cyprus-2: The Local Radio Scene

Radio broadcasting came to Cyprus very late compared to so many other countries on all sides of the Mediterranean. The radio scene in Cyprus began after the tumultuous events of World War 2 were ended, and while other political struggles were taking over in some of the Mediterranean areas. The first radio broadcasting station to arrive in Cyprus was transferred from another country; and this is what happened.

Radio broadcasting for the benefit of British armed forces personnel began in the year 1932 when several low power transmitters were constructed by Royal Navy technicians in the Mediterranean. Radio receivers were tuned to the BBC on shortwave for the reception of the first Christmas broadcast by His Majesty King George 5, and the low power transmitters rebroadcast the live programming to other ships and land based locations in the Central Mediterranean.

Eight years later, that is during the year 1944, there were three BFBS British Forces Broadcasting Stations in Palestine; mediumwave JCPA and shortwave JCKW in Jerusalem, and JCLA in coastal Haifa. During the increasing hostilities in the Middle East three years later, plans were laid to move the three stations from Palestine, establish BFBS Mediterranean headquarters on Malta, and transmit network programming from Malta on shortwave to distant regional relay stations, including the transferred facility on Cyprus.

The first consignment of personnel and equipment, taken from the Haifa station, voyaged from Palestine on the ship "Empire Lifeguard" and they arrived at Famagusta, the east coast seaport on Cyprus, on May 3, 1948.

Doreen Taylor in her whimsical, yet authoritative volume, A Microphone & A Frequency, tells us that the first BFBS station in Cyprus was installed at what was then a disused Royal Air Force airfield at Lakatamia in central Cyprus. A German DX magazine informs us that the transferred radio facility was housed in a converted barn.

The first broadcast from this relocated radio station took place on June 3, 1948. Research in early editions of the World Radio Handbook does confirm the fact that BFBS at Lakatamia was indeed the first radio broadcasting station on the island of Cyprus. At this stage, BFBS Cyprus was on the air from two transmitters, 1420 kHz with 1 kW mediumwave and 7220 kHz with 100 watts shortwave.

Over the years, BFBS Cyprus has been on the air from several different locations, utilizing several different transmitters on mediumwave, FM, and shortwave. These days, this station is still on the air, from three different locations with two program channels, though all on FM.

Four years after the BFBS station was inaugurated in Cyprus, the local government established a radio broadcasting organization under the name, Cyprus Broadcasting Service, with the intent of erecting local radio stations for complete coverage of the entire island. The new radio station at Nicosia with 10 kW on 692 kHz was officially opened at 5:00 pm on Sunday, October 4, 1953.

On shortwave, CBC, the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, has taken out program relays via two different shortwave stations located on their island. Somewhere around the year 1969, CBC programming was noted via the BBC shortwave station located at Zygi on their south coast.

A 15 minute program in the Greek language was aired each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening over three BBC shortwave transmitters and beamed to England for the benefit of Cypriots abroad. When the BBC shortwave station was closed earlier this year, the program was still on the air, though at thirty minutes duration.

However, in 1970 & 1971, CBC Cyprus took out a regular daily service on shortwave via Cyprus Radio in Nicosia; two hours daily and seven hours on Sunday. The programming was a relay from the regular mediumwave service intended for Cypriots abroad, particularly in England. One transmitter only, listed at 30 kW with callsign 5BA, carried this relay service on 11745, 15260 or 17875 kHz.

In the northern part of the island of Cyprus, Radio Bayrak is listed and they commenced their radio broadcasting service somewhere around the year 1970. In 1971 they are listed with six mediumwave stations, and in 1976 they are listed with a service on shortwave also, 7 kW on 6150 kHz.

These days they are shown with a multitude of stations on FM, and just one on mediumwave, 1098 kHz with two transmitters at 50 kW each. On shortwave, their lone 25 kW transmitter is located at Yeni Iskele. The antenna system was recently upgraded and the newly improved signal was expected to be on air at the beginning of March last year.

On the next occasion when we look at the radio scene on the island of Cyprus, we plan to focus on the other international radio broadcasting stations located on this eastern Mediterranean island.