Tag Archives: Why Shortwave

PRI: How a shortwave radio network is helping to counter Boko Haram

GSM Bohnso School, Cameroon (Photo courtesy of ETOW partner, EduCare Africa)

(Source: PRI)

It’s easy to overlook the power of radio, when being hit by a firehose of apps, websites, video and social media. But when you’re out in the sticks, especially if there’s crisis or unrest, radio saves lives.

“In crisis situations, information is very, very important. Sometimes more than food, you need information,” says Faruk Dalhatu, managing director of Dandal Kura Radio International in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a former Boko Haram stronghold. “Because, if you’re on the run, you need to know which direction is safe, before you even think of close family members that have been separated from you.”

What’s more, you don’t need to know how to read to listen to radio. You don’t even need to own a radio; you can just listen to someone else’s. And if you’ve got a cellphone — and many people even in remote parts of Africa do — you can call in and have a voice.

Click here to listen via PRI.

ABC News: Portrait of a devoted shortwave radio listener

(Source: ABC News)

Saying goodbye to Radio Australia on the shortwave after 37 years

Kevin De Reus has lived in the same 24-kilometre-radius his whole life.

Born and raised in Iowa in the US, Kevin now calls his grandfather’s farm — just 12 kilometres from where he grew up in central Des Moines — home.

He is married, has five children and has worked at the same company for 20 years.

And while he admits he has not travelled much in his 52 years, it hasn’t stopped Kevin from listening to the news from Australia since 1980 — with the help of a shortwave radio.

Listening from the other side of the world

Even half a world away, he says the broadcast was one of the clearest of the stations he listened to.

“Radio Australia always held a special place in my heart just because it was in the South Pacific and I didn’t know much about that area — and the signal was always good from that part of the world,” he says.
“Most recently, over the last two to three years as I was listening in the morning hours here on 9.580, the signal was so good. It really was about the only English broadcaster at that time of the day that had news and information.

“Most mornings I would get up and turn on the shortwave radio at 7:00am (local time) and listen to the news from Australia and then I would drive to work.

“So many of the stations just aren’t on the air anymore. BBC doesn’t broadcast to North America anymore. I can’t even hardly hear the Voice of America in English anymore to tell you the truth. So Australia had the strongest signal.

“That’s why it was hard for me to hear [Radio Australia] was going to go off the air.”[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article on ABC News.

I believe Kevin De Reus did a fine job explaining the appeal of being a shortwave radio listener.

Though I gather a lot of international news these days with a WiFi radio (especially since Radio Australia left the shortwaves), I still prefer listening to shortwave.

It’s just how I’m wired.

Radio Slovakia International asks, “Why is shortwave radio still alive?”

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who shared a link to this article via Radio Slovakia International:

Why is shortwave radio still alive?

If you use the internet to listen to streaming audio and podcasts, you could be forgiven for assuming there’s no need for shortwave radio any more. It seems many broadcasters appear to agree, with stations dropping their shortwave services year after year.

But not so fast. Shortwave’s not dead, say its proponents. Rather, it’s in a state of transformation. Not only does it still provide a vital service for the many millions of individuals worldwide who don’t have access to the internet, but this medium also has a certain ‘magic’ which, we discovered, is very hard for its fans to explain.

In this entertaining, full-length feature, Gavin Shoebridge asked shortwave listeners from across the globe to explain why they still use the service, why they don’t ‘go digital’, and where they think shortwave will be in the coming years.

Click here to download the MP3 audio.

Click here to read and listen via Radio Slovakia International.

Celebrate World Radio Day 2017

Today is UNESCO World Radio Day:

“a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium.”

In honor of World Radio Day, at Ears To Our World, we sent 60 HumanaLights and 40 self-powered AM/FM/SW radios to be distributed in Haiti through our partners, the Haitian Health Foundation.

We’ve been working steadily in Haiti since 2009, shortly before the 2010 earthquake. You may know that Haiti has most recently been dealing with the effects of Hurricane Matthew which struck on October 4, 2016. Shortly after urgent food and medical supplies started making their way to the island, we began sending radios and other supplies.

The importance of radio access in disaster situations cannot be overstated, and the results getting receivers into the hands of those in need are both immediate and enduring. According to the Knight Foundation, a non-profit organization that advances journalism in the digital age, radio was “the undisputed lifeline for the Haitian public after the [2010] earthquake.” In their report, “Media, Information System and Communities: Lessons from HAITI,” the Foundation asserted, “Of all the available humanitarian information tools, radio was the most effective means to share information with the community and to distribute information to affected populations.”

This remains true today as Haiti rebuilds after Hurricane Matthew.

If you would like to help those who ETOW serves, please consider a donation of any amount. This is unquestionably a meaningful way to give the gift of radio, as well as education on World Radio Day!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Romania International

Like a lot of shortwave radio listeners, since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed tuning my radio to parts of the world where events are unfolding.  There’s something tangible–something that is transportive–when you listen to a news coming directly from the source, on air and originating from halfway across the planet.

I believe, listening to government broadcasters, you get a much better picture of what is actually happening. For example, sometimes the broadcaster devotes the whole news hour to an important event, or (perhaps even more telling!) doesn’t mention anything at all! The Voice of Turkey comes to mind as a recent example.

Yesterday evening, I tuned to Radio Romania International–one of my favorite little international broadcasters.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that there have been six consecutive days of massive protests to stop a Romanian law that would have eased corruption penalties. This is the sort of thing a lot of broadcasters– being the mouthpiece for their current administration or ruling party–would either ignore or bury in their news report.

I was happy to hear that RRI at least featured the protest as their very first news item.

This recording was made on 5,960 kHz starting at 0100 UTC on February 06, 2017. Receiver used was a WinRadio Excalibur with a large horizontal delta loop antenna here in North Carolina. The following recording includes a few minutes of the RRI interval signal. Enjoy:

Click here to download as an MP3.