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Encyclopedia > NEXUS International Broadcasting Association

NEXUS-IBA (NEXUS International Broadcasting Association) was officially founded in 1988 in Milan, Italy, as a non profit association of broadcasters and program produces.

As the Latin word "nexus", NEXUS-IBA is a link or point of connection betwen content producers, and the Associations' technical facilities used to bring such content to the public. NEXUS also stands for more than just physical connection using a variety of technologies. It also stress the need of communication and free flow of information around the world, that the association's charter aims to provide utilizing the latest technologies for the promotion of international broadcasting and Internet services at the lowest possible cost. The NEXUS association's environment has also acted as an effective incubator to develop innovative technologies in the field of automation, Internet and Content Delivery Networks. NEXUS-IBA was among the contributors of a new technology employed in DEMOS (Delphi Mediation Online System). DEMOS (http://www.wornex.com/content/view/16/83/lang,EN/) is the result of a European IST project, and a web-based platform enabling fruitful and constructive debate between citizens and politicians with the intention of facilitating and encouraging "online-democracy". A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a term coined in the late 1990s to describe a system of computers networked together across the Internet that cooperate transparently to deliver content (especially large media content) to end users. ...

NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association is officially chartered as a strictly non-profit organization in accordance with Italian law. Its team consists almost entirely of volunteers - often spanning all over the world. All financial resources are channelled directly into maintaining and developing the technical infrastractures shared by its members.


How NEXUS-IBA was born

Pioneering FM English broadcasting to the greater Milan

In 1979, a local FM station went on the air in Italy's commercial centre, Milan, to serve the large English speaking community living in the town. Most of programs on FM came from ... Shortwave broadcasters around the world.

In a short time, IRRS-Globe Radio Milan attracted a large audience in this cosmopolitan city, and it was also featured in the in-room cable radio services of Milan's leading hotels. During the last years, until its closure due to lack of financial support in 2000, "IRRS-Globe Radio Milan"'s main programming consisted of relays of BBC World Service. For more than eight years in operation, programming from the BBC, United Nations and UNESCO Radio, Radio Sweden International, Swiss Radio International, Radio Earth, World Music Radio, the Voice of America, WRNO-New Orleans, Radio China, Family Radio and a number of other small organizations and individual program-producers has been heard on 87.5 MHz and then on 88.8 MHz in stereo FM in Milano via IRRS-Globe Radio Milan. From the beginning IRRS-Globe Radio Milan strove to be the English-speaking station in Milan, offering a wide range of information and entertainment to cover the complete needs of the English speaking community.

A lot of programs heard on FM were a good selection of the best ones available from the leading Shortwave services in the world, and our aim has been exactly to bring this material to a local audience on FM, who never heard this kind of programs on the SW dial, or more simply do not even know how to tune into the shortwaves.

Back in 1979 there were no direct broadcasting satellites, and East and West were still divided by the Berlin Wall. IRRS Globe Radio Milan, pioneered for the first time ever what later was largely exploited using satellites to create relay stations around the globe.

Porting the FM relay idea to Shortwave: how IRRS-Shortwave was born

Back in 1988, after years of successful operation on FM, the Italian Radio Relay Service management became more interested in the shortwave medium itself, asking the question: "If the idea worked in Milan, why not all over Europe"? At closer examination it became clear that there were also many small program-making individuals and groups that were eager to reach a European audience with their message thorough a reliable broadcaster. These people knew, on one hand, that Shortwave is a proven means of reaching such a mass audience, but the rates charged by the big guys representing the traditional SW relay facilities in Europe were so high that ordinary people simply could not afford them, and, on the other hand, small pirate stations and local AM and FM stations could only cover a very limited area of the European Continent. And so the IRRS-Shortwave idea was born.

The IRRS-Shortwave philosophy

The IRRS philosophy was simple: offer program-makers an effective and reliable shortwave relay facility in Europe at prices they can afford. But how could this be done? The answer was "creative engineering". Transmitter powers measured in the hundreds of kilowatts may sound impressive, but they are also very expensive and equally unnecessary to cover Europe. It was decided that a transmitter of 10kW would do the job quite well. But carrier power is not everything. More important are good frequency planning as well as the quality and effectiveness of the antenna and modulation. In the summer of 1988, an exhaustive search was made to find a location that would be best for shortwave. Finally, a place was found in the Po Valley where ground conductivity was excellent, assuring a low take off angle for the signal. To assure reliable operation, a 10 kW Siemens commercial communication transmitter was purchased, and it was decided to use an omni-directional L-dipole antenna configuration. There was long discussion about the best kind of modulation, resulting in the bold decision to experiment with reduced carrier single sideband or "A3A", based on the belief that European listeners would be equipped to receive this advanced form of modulation and thus enjoy the benefits of SSB. On the other hand, this type of modulation can also be received on ordinary AM receivers. But above all, the 10 kW of A3A modulation (-3dB reduced carrier, Single Side Band) would have the same effect as 30 kW of conventional AM.

The technical side

Initially, a multi-band antenna system for 75, 41 and 31 meters was installed and in November 1988 test transmissions began on 3.945 MHz, just minutes after the antenna was completed. Unfortunately, an unknown utility station objected to IRRS' use of 3.945 and jammed our operations, but not before dozens of reception reports came in. After those initial tests, the frequency of 7.160 MHz/41 mb was chosen for early mornings, with a band change to 9.860 coming at 11.00 CET. And so, IRRS-Shortwave came into being.

The programming

In those early days, IRRS-Shortwave needed to establish itself as a reliable, regular service. So in addition to programming provided by United Nations and UNESCO Radio, IRRS-Shortwave maintained its Sunday broadcasts schedule by playing music and radio plays as well as recordings of old radio programs. The big breakthrough came early in 1990 when IRRS-Shortwave was able to sign a number of contracts for the relay of a wide range of religious broadcasts. At the same time, United Nations Radio decided to expand its programs by including the Russian language and providing IRRS-Shortwave with up-to-the minute news in connection with the Gulf crisis through the telephone line, just a few hours before going to air, thus making IRRS the best source of UN information in Europe.

Presently, IRRS-Shortwave’s weekend broadcast schedule extends from 09:00 and 14:00 CET (Central European Time) on 13,840 kHz. Several hours of regular programming have also begun on Saturdays, and there has been a series of daily transmissions at various times starting at 21:00 CET on 5,775 kHz, with 20 and 100 kW of transmitter power.

.. and so NEXUS-IBA was born

1990 has also brought with it the most significant development in private broadcasting in Italy since the beginning in 1975. IRRS-Shortwave always registered its operations on FM and Shortwave with the Italian Authorities. In October 1990, however, in order to continue its local and international transmissions in compliance with the Italian Republic's law no. 223 of August 6, 1990 which first set the rules for radio and TV broadcasting in Italy and establish the guidelines for licensing stations, "NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association" was founded with the aim of taking full control of all IRRS FM and Shortwave operations. The new law strictly regards as a criminal offence the establishment of any new radio and TV station after August 9, 1990, leaving IRRS the biggest and most powerful private SW operation in this country (as it actually has been for some time).

Five years later, in 1995, a new law was passed which sets new rules and regulations for privately owned Shortwave stations operating from Italy. NEXUS-IBA has been very clear in saying that this was a clear attempt by the Italian Ministry of Communications (PTT) to close down and prevent all type of Shortwave broadcasting from Italy. The Shortwave broadcasting Act, in fact, sets strict rules on the type of programming that we can carry, i.e .all programmes must be produced by the licensee, prohibits all forms of sponsorship and advertising, bans any broadcast directly beamed to Italy, and sets a yearly license fee of aprox. 15,000 US dollars.

NEXUS is a non-profit association whose membership is open to all small and big broadcasters as well as IRRS-Shortwave listeners. According to NEXUS-IBA's charter, the Association’s aim is to provide a cultural, ethnic, and religious radio service on a local, national and international basis. Furthermore, the association offers its media and assistance to members in order for them to air cultural, scientific, political and religious material, locally in Milano, in Italy as well as internationally through all media controlled by the association, granting by all means pluralism and access to these media especially to ethnic, cultural, political and religious minorities, with no distinction of race, sex, language, political credo or religion. According to its charter, NEXUS will also promote and sustain financially the production and transmission of certain educational, cultural, political and religious programs using available funds and through the media controlled by the association; NEXUS will promote as well production and transmission of programs in Italian beamed to Italians living abroad, also in cooperation with other national and international organizations.

The grim financial side, and the force of NEXUS-IBA: its members and volunteers

NEXUS is not currently sponsored either financially or by other means by any governmental or non-governmental organization. All users of its Shortwave facilities as well as any other media that will in the future come under control of the association must share the expenses of running such facilities. Annual membership fees which varies from 100 to 300 US dollars per each member, as well as hourly rates for the usage of IRRS transmitters and Internet facilities are used to cover the running costs of the association and its media, as well as to promote new programs. With these funds, in fact, the NEXUS-IBA's Executive Board may also decide to finance in part or all the production and transmission of particularly valuable programs produced by its members or by the Association itself in accordance with the aims of the association clearly defined in NEXUS's charter (http://www.nexus.org/charter.htm).

In essence, the force of NEXUS-IRRS is a small but dedicated staff of people who put in many hours of their free time, and at no cost, to provide a reliable service both to its listeners and members-program producers. From the beginning, programs have been transmitted directly from sites directly managed by NEXUS-IBA.

NEXUS-IBA on Internet

We have now entered the era of Internet broadcasting, and many stations are closing down on Shortwave and opening new paths in satellite and Internet steaming instead. In 1994, NEXUS-IBA, established itself on the Internet, and became the first radio station in Europe to use RealAudio. Today NEXUS-IBA is also a global, international Internet Service Provider (ISP) with own servers located in Europe and the USA. NEXUS-IBA offers Web hosting, including streaming, as well consulting, to members and non members of the Association as another way of self-supporting its non profit operations. Today, all funds coming from Internet services, donations, and members contributions help supporting NEXUS-IBA continued operations on Shortwave.

NEXUS-IBA uses transmitter powers from 10 kW up to 1,000 kW on Shortwave, and is fighting to keep the Shortwave flag up high in the sky. With less interference on the bands, directional antennas and more power, IRRS-Shortwave travels farer away then ever before, offering a mix of interesting content that often cannot be heard from other radio stations.

Unlike most stations on Shortwave, IRRS-Shortwave is the voice of no Government, no religious organization, or political movement. NEXUS-IBA hosts anyone with a message with a free-access, non denominational and non discriminatory policy.

International Public Access Radio (IPAR)

NEXUS-IBA is now a non-profit association and by no means may IRRS activities be regarded either commercial or profit making. In this true spirit of service to listeners and broadcasters community, and along the lines of the NEXUS-IBA's charter, the Executive Board supports when possible "free speech", and with regards to NEXUS available funds those programs of a "hobby nature" which have been heard in the past over IRRS and are produced in great number around the world.

Further references :

http://www.nexus.org http://www.nexus.org/IPAR (International Public Access Radio) http://www.undpi.org http://www.egradio.org

Contact : info@nexus.org

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