The Radio Netherlands’ relay station on the Caribbean island of Bonaire lies a few hundred metres off a narrow road. A white patch on a rock is a reminder of the dynamite that was used to make enough room to get the transmitters to the site. The last regular shortwave transmission from Bonaire was on 30 June.
“Farewell to RNW shortwave broadcast from Bonaire” published by PA3DMI on YouTube, July 4th, 2012
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) started building the station in 1968 to improve reception for Dutch people living in North, Central and South America as well as New Zealand and Australia. The relay station, with two of the world’s most powerful transmitters (300 kW) at the time, was officially inaugurated a year later.
From July 1, Bonaire will broadcast a one-hour Spanish language programme, La Matinal, to Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico and the rest of the Caribbean. Dutch-language transmissions to Surinam will also continue for the time being. From October 28, RNW will hire airtime from another broadcaster. The Bonaire relay station will then be dismantled. All that will remain is a field.
Digital audio © Chris Mackerell Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation