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[Shortwave radio] has little regard for distance, and no regard for political borders, nor for who and how many join you to listen. This apparent information dinosaur travels at the speed of light, streams information wirelessly on affordable handheld devices[...], is virtually immune to censorship, and leaves no tracks. Censorial attempts to jam it are largely unsuccessful and can usually be bypassed. Radio is, moreover, faster than the Internet. Radio is straightforward, effective – and in the developing world, still absolutely vital. It often functions as a form of life-support for rural and impoverished communities – for example, offering life-saving information when disaster strikes, like earthquakes or tsunamis.

-Thomas Witherspoon as quoted in the Toronto Star

For this school in South Sudan, shortwave radio provides life-saving information and even entertainment. Through Ears To Our World, I'm able to send thousands of self-powered shortwave radios to schools in remote, rural and impoverished parts of the world.

Website & Author

Photo of my father's RCA 6K3.
Where it all began--photo of my father's antique RCA 6K3.

I am a long-time fan of shortwave listening. It all started when I was a child growing up in rural North Carolina. Every Sunday morning, my father would turn on his beautiful antique 1936 RCA 6K3 radio and tune to WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado. He liked to keep his watch set to the famous voice of the atomic clock. Occasionally, we would tune around a bit more and hear voices from all over the world: this hooked me. As a young lad with a strong interest in geography, history, politics, and travel, I learned that through SWLing, I could hear unfiltered voices from across the globe. This was in the late 1970s--long before the internet, long before mobile phones.

SWLing is simplicity itself. All it takes to listen to the pulse of the globe is an inexpensive portable radio. It doesn't matter how remotely you live on this planet, either--with a battery-powered shortwave radio, the world will come to you!  No internet required!

When I was 19, I enrolled in the University of Grenoble, France, for one year.  I took a small shortwave radio with me, of course. I found my little portable indispensable as it allowed me to listen to news from home on the Voice of America. It became my daily ritual to listen to this hour program and it helped lessen a bit of homesickness that would occasionally surface.

As I think back, I realize that SWLing actually spawned a whole interest in "everything international" and was the catalyst for:

I actively maintain this website, our blog, The SWling Post, and The Shortwave Radio Index to promote SWLing because it is educational, fun, relatively inexpensive, and a fulfilling hobby. I want this website to help the total beginner learn everything they need to obtain a good radio and find broadcasting content. I also promote other websites that support SWLing.

Shortwave radio can make a difference

I have been a passionate supporter of shortwave radio and international broadcasting most of my life. I am also the founder and director of radio-based charity, Ears To Our World; you can read about this organization at their website.*

I have been interviewed on Radio Canada International, the BBC World Service, PRI’s The World Technology Podcast, PCJ Media, the Voice of America, and many other broadcasters.

I have also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Popular Communications Magazine, WRTH (World Radio and TV Handbook), The Toronto Star and the Monitoring Times.

Contact me!

I would love to hear from you. Click here for my Contact Page on our blog.