Monthly Archives: May 2010

New Shortwave Station in Central African Republic

Source: HCJB Global ( by Jean Muehlfelt)

Imagine living in a country where you can’t access the Internet, watch television, read newspapers or even receive mail. Except in Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), that’s what life is like for most of the country’s 4.5 million residents. Their lifeline to the rest of the world? Radio. People in C.AR., a country about the size of Texas, depend on radio broadcasts to keep informed. Almost every village has a radio, and some have more than one. The sets are affordable, costing as little as US$6, usually coming from countries such as Nigeria and Niger. The radios typically have FM, shortwave and medium-wave bands.

Until 2005 there were only six private FM stations and one governmental shortwave station in this country where villagers have a life expectancy of just 44 years. It was then that Integrated Community Development International (ICDI), a partner of HCJB Global, was granted permission to open the country’s first privately owned shortwave radio station, Radio ICDI.

In early 2006 the ministry acquired an eight-acre tract of land on the plateau above the town of Boali. A road to the transmitter site was built, and electricity was installed. Equipment was transported in large shipping containers, and eventually one of the 20-foot-long metal containers was converted into a studio and transmitter building.A year later a team from HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., spent three weeks at the broadcast site, installed the first shortwave radio station. They also put in two satellite downlinks that provided access to the Internet and made it possible to receive French-language Christian programming from Trans World Radio, another HCJB Global partner.

Last month HCJB Global engineers returned to C.A.R. to put in two additional regional shortwave radio stations in Boali, similar to the station installed in 2007. One of the new stations will help extend the broadcast hours of the existing ICDI station into the nighttime. Each station only works well during a portion of each day because of how shortwave signals travel through the atmosphere.

The new ICDI radio stations will provide more programming opportunities for broadcasting the gospel across C.A.R. in Sango (the country’s trade language), French and various tribal dialects. Additional hours will also increase the opportunity to air more community development programs on AIDS prevention, orphan care, well-water repair programs and many other relevant humanitarian topics.

Curt Bender, manager of broadcast services at HCJB Global in Elkhart, said, “I want to give the Lord recognition for sustaining our team through two difficult installations in the past three years and to praise Him for the success.”

For more information visit

VOA adding new English services

VOA Press Release:

Washington, D.C., May 17, 2010 ? Voice of America has unveiled a dynamic new lineup of interactive radio programs and Web features aimed at expanding its English-speaking audience around the world.

Three new radio programs, Daybreak Asia, Crossroads Asia, and Middle East Monitor, focus on key developments in each region, with in-depth features, more newsmaker interviews and dynamic interaction with listeners, viewers and website visitors. Another program, International Edition, provides lively, fast-paced world news coverage, and American Caf? brings you stories about life in the United States.

Listen to VOA programs and explore the new Web features at

VOA English Programs Director John Stevenson describes the new programs as, “for and about the people in the regions, providing the story behind the story, with more background and analysis, increased use of graphics on our website and more social networking with sites like Facebook.”

VOA English has an estimated global weekly radio audience of more than 11 million people. VOA newscasts and programs are available on a host of platforms, including our website, via podcasting, social networking sites, radio and television affiliate stations around the world, and now on VOA’s upgraded mobile phone site

Other languages are also available by going to and selecting from the list.

(Source: VOA)

Shortwave Radio Charity, Ears To Our World, Featured in Wall Street Journal

From the Wall Street Journal Magazine:

Source: ETOW Partner - The Empower Campaign

“This is the sound of renewable education!” says Thomas Witherspoon, 37, founder of Ears to Our World, as he picks up a small portable radio and quickly cranks its handle, producing a high-pitched, wobbly whine. Inside, a dynamo charges the radio’s battery. Witherspoon has taken his love of shortwave radio and filtered it through his experience in the corporate world, devising a strategy to help the most people for the least money. ETOW distributes wind-up radios to isolated villages across Africa and into Belize and Romania, providing listeners with vital information. His radios are also proving to be disaster-relief heroes in earthquake-devastated Haiti.

Thomas Witherspoon of Ears To Our World

Thomas Witherspoon of ETOW. Source: WSJ Mag, Randy Harris

“We give them to schools, and teachers use them to enhance the classroom experience,” Witherspoon says. “It’s not dependent on power. It’s not dependent on Internet or any other infrastructures.” Founded in 2008, ETOW has grown quickly, squeezing the most out of minimal funding by collaborating with established educational organizations, and by taking advantage of the one-to-many model inherent in broadcasting. “I’ve heard stories coming back from some of our partners that when someone’s listening to a radio, you can guarantee there’s going to be 10, 20 people listening at the same time,” Witherspoon says.

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal website and consider expanding your radio hobby by donating to ETOW!