Radio Exterior de España to end shortwave broadcasts on October 15, 2014

RadioExteriorDeEspanaSWLing Post reader, David, writes:

“I just wanted to let you know that REE has published a communication in its webpage, regarding the end of their SW broadcasts. The definitive cutoff will happen on October 15, 2014 at 0000 LT here in Spain, which is 2200 UTC.
REE will continue, though, and will be accessible through the Internet and also via satellite. Here in Spain they will also be available locally via the TDT/DVB-T system for regular TV broadcast (multiplexes, into which digital TV signals are combined, are also used to carry digital audio data for “radio” stations that therefore can broadcast using this system as well).

Here’s the link to the original REE article (in Spanish):

And the [machine] English translation by Google:

Many thanks, David, for the update!

David reports that he will attempt to record the last days of REE broadcasts. I will also make recordings and we will post all of them on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.  Indeed, I would ask anyone who can capture the last broadcast to please do so and share your recordings with us.

UPDATE: Note that REE announced a return of their shortwave service in December 2014. Click here to read the update. Shortly thereafter, REE posted their new broadcast schedule–click here to view.  

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11 thoughts on “Radio Exterior de España to end shortwave broadcasts on October 15, 2014

  1. Michael D.

    So far they’re still on shortwave, which is excellent news. I received Radio Exterior de España English broadcast in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 23:30 UTC on frequency 9620 KHz (31M). The broadcast ended at 00:00 UTC. Used my Grundig G3 with telescopic antenna. Overall good reception with some occasional fading and noise. Prior to the English program they were broadcasting in Arabic. I sent them a reception report via email. Hopefully they’ll respond. Here’s their current schedule (in Spanish)

    Info about English broadcasts.

    All the best!

  2. Rich Hansen

    I was an avid SWL i the 1970’s and 1980’s. I have a lot of fond memories. The stations seemed to have better signals in those days. Perhaps they had better antennas or used more power.

    I must say this. AM SW broadcasting, as a medium, is narrow-band and unsatisfactory compared to what technology can offer today. Who REALLY wants to listen to a 5 kc/s wide AM signal full of fading and static?

    Perhaps digital broadcasting could have saved more SW broadcast stations. I don’t know, but with the Internet the same program content is available without receivers and antennas.

    I would guess MOST people have Internet access. It has become like having a telephone was like in 1990. After all, you posted your information on the Internet and this is where I easily found it and replied to it… without QRM, QRN, expensive radio equipment and 10 acres full of antennas.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hi, Rich,

      You’re correct that in North America, Europe, Australia, NZ and many countries in Asia, Internet penetration is 80-90% or better and for most, listening to stations like REE over their smartphone is more convenient than using a radio and antenna.

      But although Internet penetration is increasing even in the developing world, since the birth of the Internet, poverty and Internet usage inversely correlate. In evidence, percentages of the global population with Internet access are indicated on this Google map which can be compared with this WorldBank interactive poverty map.

      Shortwave radio still provides a vital information link in these countries where, even if one has a smart phone, they can’t afford the electricity to power it. I advocate for the continuation of shortwave service until Internet penetration is closer to 80%-90% globally.

      REE wasn’t exactly a broadcaster like the BBC World Service, but they did represent one more news source people could hear on the shortwaves. I always liked listening to them. I’m very much surprised REE stayed on the air this long as they’ve been under threat of closure for years.

      Regarding the sound of the shortwaves? For many, it is distracting. Me? It’s my favorite part! 🙂 I love the sonic texture: the fading, static and audio nuances I hear as a signal is reflected off of the ionosphere. I liken it to the pops and crackles of an old vinyl record. It’s a constant reminder that the signal I’m hearing comes from a distant station–crossing borders at the speed of light.

      Thanks for your comment, Rich!


  3. Roger Waters

    There is no evidence to back up the claim that no one listens to REE in North America. This is mere conjecture by individuals who think that new technology always supplants old technology. But new is not always better. Many of the people who listen to shortwave will not seek information on the internet even if it is available. I find getting information off the internet a cold and sterile process. Give me the intimacy of radio and the wonder of pulling in radio signals. Shortwave in North America is alive and well as can be witnessed by the Univeral-Radio and Durham Radio websites and shortwave sales on ebay. Radio Romania and Radio China International show no signs of letting up on their North American shortwave broadcasts. REE is making a big mistake in underestimating the size of their audience and the impact they are making.

  4. Andrés

    I can’t believe it!! Another station that shut off…..I am a young guy and I dont like what’s happening with the SW…Corporations thinks that all the world people have access to internet…they will loss audience…no doubt!! I am sure that Shortwave will survive, thanks to people who want it alive!! Analogue or Digital…I don’t know…but HF spectrum will be filled with radio stations….

    1. Keith Perron

      REE dones not have a purpose anymore. You can find more information and better information about Spain online. In the few regions where SW still has a role to play. These people are not listening. Stations in Europe for two long either didn’t redirect their programming. they continued to target the Americas and Europe. They should have targeted Africa, Southeast Asia and East Asia and they would have survived much better than they have. But at the same time it’s not just swinging around beams, but creating content that is relevant to the target. This is why FRI, BBCWS, VOA, RA continue to have large audiences in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. I would bet at this very moment REE is getting letter from listeners about dropping SW. But you need to look at these listeners. Are QSL chasers and DXERS really listeners? In the eyes of broadcasters no. SWLs are listeners. When RNW dropped SW to North America they got many people writing in. But the vast majority were people who had not listened in years. Many of these stations are stuck in the past and doing business as usual. But things changed. They were very slow to change with the times. And now it’s just to late. The best thing they could do it just pull the plug and stop wasting million of public funds on services no one is listening to.

  5. Bob Palmer ISWL G20159

    Sad days ahead!, Each time you get news another big SW station is closing its AM transmitters down, Then in time all the fantastic towers curtain aerials come crashing down, Lucky for me im old and started SWL in 1962, then most coms were AM . Boats Planes Number stations Ham radio etc, Its got that bad now,Ive got a ham licence call sigh M3DPQ you can see all my SWL gear on Thanks for all your up dates, Headphones back on,dar de dar…—…—…—…—…— SAVE R SW.


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