Global 24’s take on the future of the shortwave radio

Many thanks to the staff of Global 24 for the following response to my post, Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future?:


Global24

To Shortwave Listeners of the World:

Shortwave radio is not dying. In fact, we think the whole story line should just go away.

We wanted to thank Thomas Witherspoon of SWLing.com for his excellent article on this very topic and the team of Global 24 wanted to share our perspective on this question.

First,

The 5,000 of you that have written to Global 24 since November 1, 2014 attest to the fact that shortwave radio is not dying.

The 1,000 of you that have joined our Listeners Club and Insiders Club since November 1, 2014 attest to the fact that shortwave radio is not dying.

The 30,000 unique visitors that visited our website, Global24Radio.com, since November 1, 2014 attest to the fact that shortwave radio is not dying.

You can expect Global 24 to be outspoken whenever and where ever we hear the words that shortwave radio is dying.

Yes, many government broadcast operations have closed up shop. They are totally incorrect in their worldview and so-called “research”. The public diplomacy and foreign policies of governments around the world are in incoherent disarray. It’s not surprising that incoherent foreign policy equates to government shortwave broadcasting being cut back. The fact that the U.S. government thinks shortwave is a medium of the past – should be enough for us all to stand up and cast a doubtful stare.

Whether we are confronting Ebola, dwindling global natural resources,welcoming the Arab spring or dealing with the reality of more and more failed states – states based on borders and beliefs largely imposed by the West – we are living in a world that is more dangerous than ever.

Important World Events Need a Western Perspective on Shortwave

Yes, we live in a world where terrorists groups like ISIS send out thousands of tweets an hour recruiting people to their violent worldview. Yes, we live in a world where ISIS produces an “Annual Report” that visually looks as good as than anything the Voice of America (VoA) produces. Yes, we live in a world where the internet reach of terrorists far eclipses the audience of the VoA. Does shortwave have a place in this world? Of course it does. One kid in Syria – or anywhere in the Middle East – listening to a shortwave radio that gets a different perspective and doesn’t go radical makes it worth it to us. Shortwave is a place where moderate worldviews can be heard easily.

Anyone with TV access or web access has so many other choices for information gathering. Why yield the field in shortwave – the one place where an audience is guaranteed? The governments of many nations, especially the United States need to “go back to the basics” and go back to shortwave radio. VoA, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio Marti and the Middle Eastern Broadcasters need to have their shortwave budgets exponentially increased immediately. It’s not just about hot button issues and unfree governments – it’s about inexpensive access to information for the world and simple “soft power”. Simply look at China Radio International or the Xinhua news agency and you will see a rapidly growing international presence – they are fighting the fights we have already largely walked away from.

The Developing World Still Need Shortwave

We live in a world where access to electricity is still limited to huge swaths of our brothers and sisters around the world. Does shortwave have a place of growing importance in this world? Of course, it does.

Shortwave radio requires no electrical mains, no internet access, no subscriptions – and of course, one radio can be shared and listened to by so many people. How can we live in a world where so many people don’t have clean water, electricity, basic medical care and access to information and think that social media, TV and the internet are the sole communication vehicles of the future? When kids in every country the world over have the water they need, the eyeglasses they need, the medical care they need, the electricity they need and the education they need, then maybe we can talk about engaging them on their smartphones and TVs exclusively and winning over their hearts and minds with 160 character “Tweets”.

Shortwave was, and is, a battle that must be won – not given up on.

The Rest of Us Still Need Shortwave

For the first time in many of our lives, we all should genuinely concerned about press freedom in the United States and in other “First World” nations – yet alone press freedom in countries driving world events like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Across our country more and more people are seeking a simpler lifestyle unburdened by expensive TV, internet and satellite connections. A lifestyle characterized by a lack of dependence – in terms of either information, resources or infrastructure. We are prepping, homesteading and preparing to live off the grid together. We are buying our guns, packing our bug out bags and drawing up emergency plans for our families. .

What We Plan to Do

Here at Global 24 – we are a modest operation but we will be bringing to the world a new view of shortwave radio. Together with our listeners, we can do what governments can not do alone: create a renaissance in shortwave listening in the form of commercial shortwave listening before manufacturers stop making radios and stores stop marketing and selling them. These are the real threats to shortwave radio.

Spread the radio love

6 thoughts on “Global 24’s take on the future of the shortwave radio

  1. John Figliozzi

    Phil et al –
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. Perhaps I should expand on what I meant in using the word “dystopian” to describe certain attitudes. A healthy skepticism is always called for–emphasis on “healthy”–and there is wisdom in not being entirely trustful that large institutions, whether they be corporate or governmental, always have yours or my best interests in mind. But it is one thing to be questioning and engaged and quite another to just be angry and withdraw, especially so if the latter is only amplified by fear approaching paranoia and then accompanied by an over reliance and trust in weaponry. This is what I meant by “dystopian” and these caustic attitudes (every bit as caustic as the conditions that may have prompted them) already get full (and too often exclusive) exposure and expression on a number of other domestic shortwave outlets.
    On the other hand, logic, reason, understanding and compassion are what we need, not despair and self-isolation. To that end, the commitment of Global 24 Radio to expand–rather than contract–the full range of ideas, arguments, philosophies, etc. heard on shortwave is most welcome. We have common cause in arguing that shortwave is not a useless, dying medium. Indeed, its treatment by the “establishment” illustrates the very kind of “groupthink” we committed shortwave listeners have always criticized. And we are truly skeptical that one motivation for its abandonment is that it is impossible to trace who is using it. Commercial, as well as governmental, interests prefer to know such things whether to more efficiently and effectively make a buck or perhaps for worse purposes. We agree that the growing security state poses real problems.
    But the answer is to be better informed and to engage in the debate, not to withdraw to the hustings, close the mind and see every such problem as a threat that involves only the most extreme reactive–and yes, potentially violent–responses.
    That is what I meant by “dystopian”. My post was just one man’s warning not to go there. You see, I’m a little skeptical of things myself. In a good way. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Ed McCorry

    Kudo’s to Global 24 Radio. I am so glad that there is something of substance to listen to during the day besides the same tired old rhetoric over and over. I have listened to Global since they came on the air and I find them to be diverse in their programming and I would think there is something for everyone.

    I guess the program content can be over analyzed but I for one am enthusiastic that some one has gone against the grain of shutting down short wave stations and started one up with this degree of 24 hour entertainment. I leave one of my receivers dialed into Global and out of habit, whenever I come in the radio room I turn it on. There is always something interesting to listen to. Just one man’s opinion.

    Reply
  3. Phil Workman

    John,

    Thanks for the comments. I would say that I whole hardheartedly support a dystopian narrative; if the acts of living with increased self reliance, owning a firearm, preparing for disaster and mistrusting the government are really undesirable traits in some utopian world? But that’s just a philosophical digression…

    I think we simply mean that a growing number of people aren’t interested in paying tons of money for cable or satellite TV hence the surge of interest in TV antennas, etc.

    I think we also mean that many Americans don’t have internet connections that are very good, yet they are very expensive . I still believe browsing the internet with a mobile phone is a frustrating, slow and annoying experience.

    I think there is a degree of disillusionment with the expense of these services, and the lack of choices, while shortwave is the most inexpensive, uncommercialized medium around. It’s logical that some people may turn to the “old ways” – even if they aren’t cutting edge.

    As for the political statement of gun buying and emergency preparedness – this is an phenomenon that is sweeping this country. I don’t think anyone could really dig up any numbers that could dispute that. Serious shortwave listeners should be thrilled that the survival/prep retail market is selling shortwave radios! Just as I hope that those that take pride in “living off the grid” will find shortwave as the ultimate, cost effective entertainment platform that is – free from the privacy concerns of the internet that so many of our fellow citizens see as a legitimate and frightening threat.

    I also believe shortwave is a medium to hear different voices and perspectives easily. When I go online to read news – I just magically find myself navigating to the same websites for news that I have been reading for ever, namely – the Christian Science Monitor (my favorite….man I miss their news broadcast on Shortwave…remember that signal they put out there….WOW…with their daily news broadcast!?), the New York Times, the world according to Matt Drudge….etc. I think my perspective narrows with the more I consume.

    While I am reading these sites I navigate to things I personally am interested in and turn my “blinders” on to everything else – I believe many researchers have found that the internet can actually narrow perspective as we consume the media we like and ignore the tangent paths. The mouse click pointer doesn’t quite foster the same exploration that the newspaper broadsheets did, great magazines or turning the radio dial. It’s a theory I am willing to believe in.

    Listening to Global 24 since launch – RFI, Democracy Now!, Peace Talks Radio have all expanded my world view in different ways. I think this ties back to many Americans lack of trust in the main stream media (whatever the main stream media really is). What corporate agendas is NBC/Comcast pursuing today and how does it effect the news? Granted on Global 24 – everyone brings a perspective and an agenda but at least the voices are different and varied. We can choose what we like and what believe.

    Finally, our editorial is about giving shortwave radio an identity. The identity and narrative of shortwave radio as a dying medium is entirely not helpful and frankly, just wrong. We want to create a new narrative about shortwave radio – define who is listening and why they are listening and recreate the medium. We are talking about telling the shortwave story – a story of both why we need government broadcasters and a future identity for shortwave radio beyond the narrow, hobbyist niche.

    We have a long way to go.

    Thanks again for the comments – I hope this clarifies our position.

    Phil

    Reply
    1. TP Reitzel

      Phil,

      Thanks for promoting the universal concept of self-reliance via shortwave radio which many people have apparently forgotten. The world needs more independence from corrupt governments which is based on God (regardless of belief), families, and self. The world in general needs to relearn the concept of self-reliance. The world and its people don’t need dependence on corrupt governments. Thanks again for reminding us via shortwave radio!

      Reply
  4. John Figliozzi

    If this is truly where they’re coming from…

    “Across our country more and more people are seeking a simpler lifestyle unburdened by expensive TV, internet and satellite connections. A lifestyle characterized by a lack of dependence – in terms of either information, resources or infrastructure. We are prepping, homesteading and preparing to live off the grid together. We are buying our guns, packing our bug out bags and drawing up emergency plans for our families. .”

    … then they will start to lose me and my (naive?) enthusiasm. There seems to be support for a wholly dystopian and unrealistic narrative. That’s not what shortwave means to me.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I have a hunch that that is simply one segment of their market. Their main raison d’etre is harnessing the power of the shortwaves as a proper international medium for news and entertainment.

      Reply

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