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24 September 2014
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BBC's Indian Ocean relay station marks 20th anniversary

The BBC's Indian Ocean relay station is commemorating 20 years of transmissions from Grand Anse, Mahé, in the Seychelles.


Launched in October 1988, and currently run on behalf of BBC World Service by VT Communications, the station is transmitting BBC World Service programmes on shortwave to an estimated audience of up to nine million listeners across East Africa.


The BBC Indian Ocean relay station in the Seychelles broadcasts BBC World Service in a range of languages including the BBC's English-language output for Africa as well as programmes in Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Somali and French.


It brings the BBC's radio output to audiences in countries such as Burundi, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.


Nigel Fry, Head, Transmission and Distribution, BBC World Service, says: "The BBC Indian Ocean relay station constitutes the backbone of the BBC's shortwave broadcasts to East Africa.


"In many areas of the countries it covers, the shortwave broadcasts relayed by the station are the only way in which audiences can get BBC news and information."


To commemorate the anniversary, VT Communications will be holding a series of events in the Seychelles.


These include an Open Day exhibition on Monday 6 October, which will highlight the history, operations and the safety aspects of the station.


Notes to Editors


For more information, visit


To find out more about the BBC's English language offer and subscribe to a free e-newsletter, visit


Listeners in the Seychelles can listen to BBC World Service on 105.2, 105.6 and 106.2 FM.


BBC in the Seychelles: noteworthy dates


1985 – BBC World Service signs an agreement with the Seychelles Government allowing it to broadcast from the Seychelles.


1986 – Building work begins on the station. A plaque was unveiled on 9 June 1986 by the BBC's Austen Kark (MD, External Broadcasting) and Bryce McCrirrick (Director of Engineering) to mark the commencement of building work.


1988 – Test transmissions began in September 1988. Opening ceremony of the station on 7 October 1988 was attended by John Tusa, MD, BBC World Service and Bill Dennay, Director of Engineering, BBC World Service.


1995 – BBC World Service starts FM transmissions in Seychelles on 106.2 MHz in Victoria (eastern part of the island).


1997 – BBC World Service contracts out the operation of its transmissions sites. Merlin Communications is formed.


1998 – Initiation of localisation process. Cable and Wireless Engineering Operations contract comes to an end in 1999.


2000 – Merlin Communications is bought by VT group. Renamed VT Merlin Communications, later VT Communications.


2004 – BBC World Service starts transmissions on 105.2 MHz in Anse Soleil (western part of the island), in June, and on 105.6 MHz in Pointe aux Sel (southern part of the island), in July. Localisation process started in 1998 comes to successful conclusion, with the appointment of the first Seychellois manager, completing the objective of 100% local staff.


BBC World Service Publicity








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Category: World Service
Date: 02.10.2008
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