November 6 is marked in Azerbaijan as a professional holiday of workers of radio and television. On this day, exactly 90 years ago, broadcasting of radio programs began in Azerbaijan, when, for the first time, the phrase “Baku speaks!” could be heard from the loudspeakers installed in the streets and squares of the city. Not only could the residents of Baku listen to the radio, but also the inhabitants of the surrounding residential areas. So this event became a great innovation in the political and cultural life of the Azerbaijani people.
It is noteworthy that now 90 years after this historic event, another innovation has been introduced in Azerbaijan – on November 1, Baku, Sumgait and Absheron peninsula switched to digital TV and radio. The transition to digital broadcasting and the suspension of analog broadcasting in the rest of the country, with the exception of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, will take place on December 1 this year. Transition to the open package digital television in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic took place on December 10, 2014.
The use of new broadcasting technologies necessitated the replacement of analog standards with digital ones. The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies is taking appropriate measures for the implementation of digital television broadcasting in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
According to the decree № 274 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic dated 13 September 2006, the introduction of the European DVB-T digital TV standard was considered expedient and the “Program on Implementation and Development of digital broadcasting DVB-T in the Republic of Azerbaijan” was approved by the decree № 26 of the Cabinet of Ministers dated February 10, 2011.
Of course, the most important decision on the transition to the new broadcasting system was the “State Program on the implementation of the National Strategy for Information Society Development in Azerbaijan for 2016-2020 years” approved by the decree of President Ilham Aliyev dated September 20, 2016.
Note that the main advantages of the transition to digital broadcasting is to improve the quality of television programs, create favorable conditions for more effective use of frequency resources of strategical importance and receive numerous TV programs via terrestrial broadcast.
The new TV tower in Baku began, for the first time, test broadcasting in the new format in connection with the transition to digital broadcasting. The DVB-T MPEG4 standard was adopted for digital TV. Thus, all cities and district centers of the country, as well as the surrounding residential areas, are provided with an open digital TV package.
Undoubtedly, comprehensive measures have been constantly implemented in Azerbaijan to introduce new broadcasting standards. Let’s turn to history.
The construction of the Baku Television Center was launched in 1953. After 3 years, a 180-meter tower assembled from steel blocks was built in Baku. The first TV program was broadcasted on 14 February 1956. In 1973, color TV broadcasting was made available in the country. In 1981, the construction of a new TV Tower began in the country to increase the number of channels. In 1996, the TV Tower was put into operation. In 2008, fundamental reconstruction work was launched in the TV Tower complex.
As a result of the activities carried out, the complex was equipped with state-of-the-art radio equipment. The TV Tower, which weighs 40,000 ton with a total height of 310 meters, is situated at an altitude of 136 meters above sea level. The concrete part of the complex is 200 meters, while the metal part is 110 meters. The TV Tower has four floodlights decorated with the national ornament and facing different directions.
Currently, radio programs in the country are broadcasted on medium (AM radio 526,5-1606,5 kHz) and ultra-short (FM radio 88Mhz-108 Mhz) waves, and television programs - in the standard PAL, D/K and in III, IV and V TV ranges. The digital television network is based on the DVB-T standard.
The Radio Azerbaijan and radio programs for foreign broadcast in different languages
are transmitted via the medium waves. Reception of programs at these wavelengths, depending on technical specifications, is provided not only in the country, but also abroad.
Besides being transmitted via terrestrial broadcasting, nation-wide radio and television programs are transmitted via satellites (e.g. Azerspace) as well.