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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 10:59 GMT
Falklands BBC radio show to end
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Buenos Aires

Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands have a population of about 2,300 people
The BBC has announced that its programme Calling the Falklands is to be cut after 62 years.

The twice-weekly round-up of news and personal messages to the remote South Atlantic islands has kept the population in touch with an often distant outside world since 1944.

The demise of the programme will be the end of an era for many older islanders who lived through the Argentinean invasion of the Falklands in 1982.

During the conflict to recapture the islands, the programme was broadcast twice a day, giving the occupied population access to news about the political and military situation.

But the BBC has decided to end transmissions and the final 15-minute programme will be broadcast on 31 March.

Strong ties

The director of BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman, said a new agreement between the BBC and the Falklands would help development of media on the islands.

"This new agreement builds on the strong historical ties between the BBC and the Falkland Islands' broadcasting sector," he said.

"We believe this agreement will better serve Islanders in the multi-media age and will help speed the Falkland Islands Radio Service's growing maturity as a vital home-grown element in the wide ranging Falklands' media sector."

Under the agreement, the BBC will continue to supply BBC World Service programming, free of charge, for rebroadcast by the Falkland Islands Radio Service (FIRS).

A fund will be set up to support training and development of FIRS staff and strengthen the Islands' media sector.

The chief executive of the Falkland Islands government, Chris Simkins, said while the programme played an important role in the Islands, times had changed.

"Calling the Falklands has become something of an institution and will always have a special place in the memories of islanders since it has reported on all significant events in the modern history of the Islands," he said.

"But the time has come to move on."

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