The Voice of Greece is no longer on shortwave

I suppose I’ve been holding out hope that the Voice of Greece would magically reappear on 9,420 kHz, but they’ve been off the air for 45 days now and we must assume this time it’s for good.

Over the past decade the Voice of Greece seems to have weathered every storm it encountered; even broadcasting for weeks without a license.

We learned in February 2022 that VOG was on the chopping block, then they were given an additional two months on the air, and according to numerous DXers here and on Twitter, the last broadcast seems to have taken place on June 15, 2022.

I certainly haven’t heard them on shortwave since then.

VOG was one of my favorite, reliable sources of music on shortwave and you’ll notice that in many of my radio photos, the dial is tuned to 9,420 kHz because they were such an easy catch here in eastern North America regardless of propagation.

If you miss hearing VOG on shortwave you can, of course, still listen to them online.

I’ve well over one hundred hours of Voice of Greece recordings in my spectrum archives, at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, and here on the SWLing Post.

In fact, I’m reminded of one of my favorite VOG listening sessions which I’ll share here from the SWLing Post archives. This post was originally published on November 15, 2013:


Voice of Greece: walking in on a party

This Voice of Greece broadcast begins with a piece by Burhan Öcal, with the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble (Photo: National Geographic)

This Voice of Greece broadcast begins with a piece by Burhan Öcal, with the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble (Photo: National Geographic)

I never know what to expect when I tune around on one of my shortwave radios.  Perhaps that’s one of the things I find captivating about the medium; there’s no playlist, no app, no content controls, other than the tuning knob.

Sometimes, I tune to a station, and it’s as though I’ve just opened a door and walked in on a party–one in full swing, with dancing and incredible live music.

That’s exactly what I felt when I tuned to the Voice of Greece last night. I walked in on a party.  And I needed no invitation; I was welcomed there.

Hear it, just as I did, starting right in the middle of this party:

Listen above, or click here to download three hours and 31 minutes of musical bliss (until they turned the transmitter off).

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23 thoughts on “The Voice of Greece is no longer on shortwave

  1. Dimitri Papadopoulos

    This was inevitable.

    They never really understood how to operate an international service on shortwave. 90% of the programming was a simulcast of their local FM station (with local traffic reports and local ads!), the other 5% was “filler” programming from producers that couldn’t care any less, or knew, they were on shortwave… and the other 5% was in a foreign language.

    Add to that the fact that they never bothered to advertise the shortwave service or otherwise promote Voice of Greece to potential target markets abroad, as a result, nobody knew the existence of it, or how to listen, despite that they had a descent signal all over the world.

    It’s really unfortunate they didn’t know what they were doing, and resulted in the closure of their international service. To be objective, they still “talk” [in the void], and now competing with hundred other (more interesting stations) through Smart Apps… That will eventually lead to the complete closure, like the many other international services — like Radio Canada International — that did the same, and failed.

    Reply
    1. Kostas

      Thank you Dimitri, that confirms my suspicion about their program not being substantial, at least the latest years. They follow the same pattern on their AM broadcasts too, with local advertisements. And why on earth, one needs advertisements on a shortwave service, which is essentially paid by taxes of people? I never really understood this. The same applies to TV channels, although they are more “careful” to the type of advertisements in these.
      However, I am still not sure why they closed down their SW service. Was it a lack of substantial program, the absence of people to operate the service, a government decision, management incapability to promote the service, somebody’s stupid proposal that an app can replace service, or all of them together?

      Reply
  2. Fotios

    It was long overdue. No matter what some listeners think about the VOG, it was one more agency for Greek politicians to enthrone their voters and close friends, indeed, for a country living on borrowed time it was a crime because, as many of the readers know, the expenses for a SW transmitter are huge and there were even larger in a country where over-population of government agencies is a trademark. Worse, something that many readers do not know, employees at the ERT, whom the VOG was part of, received a salary from three different government sources and the multitude of gardeners had a salary of 3,000 euros. That sounds like a myth but to me it is one more crime, point blank. On the other hand, the unique Greek press did not dig into these atrocities and as much as I searched, no politician and no journalist exposed the full extent of them. However, one politician said it right when he stated that the ERT was a paradise of waste!
    Was all that worth so that some listeners would tune into the VOG? As of their programs, I had to tune in at times so that I would evaluate the signal for the purpose of my contribution to radio and SW magazines and books. In doing so, I found their programs distasteful, except when they had Nana Mouskhori’s songs, many reminiscing of coffee shop conversations, with frequent blanks – the presenters took off for a puff or a few sips of coffee for a few minutes, their foreign language presenters evidently not speaking the language but they only knew the Latin alphabet and communication with the ERT being the same as communicating with any Greek government agency. They once sent me their schedule printed in a crooked way, with faded letters and a few childish and careless errors. When I called them there was no answer for two or three days until I heard on another station that they were on a labor strike… what else. When I finally I got through, I asked for the director of foreign broadcasts by her name but the switchboard operator did not know who that was. How many damn directors were there, three, four five at most? I had forgotten that being that it was ERT, the politicians had maybe enthroned too many for the operator to remember or the operator was there to answer calls from her friends – that happened to the VOG sports presenters, you know that, don’t you?. One of them directors, I found out later, bragged that “putting the key in the hole of my office door, it’s 7,000”. He visited his office one hour every month whenever he went to Athens from his residence 130 miles away. This was ERT/VOG and having listened to it for the sake of the hobby I feel guilty.
    Interestingly, Greeks pay an ERT tax which is a percent of their electrical bill, hence included in the bill, even if they have no tv and radio. I have heard that customers of the main electricity company who refused to pay that percent had their electricity cut off. Democracy in action my friends.

    Reply
    1. Kostas

      Fotios, I do not know if the information you present is valid or not, or whether it is a product of fantasy, so I cannot comment on these.
      However I can comment on some things you mention.
      1. Do you really believe that agencies in other countries, do not enthrone their own people? Ok…
      2. A product of waste, is the excuse people give when they want to shut down something. Search what happens to all Voices that close down.
      3. As for their programs, I already mentioned below in the comments that they were not as good to my preference as it was a long time ago. Was it done on purpose, I do not know.
      4. Your personal experience with them, showing disorganization is not an excuse for closing down a voice.
      5. If you felt guilty of listening to the VOG just for the shake of hobby, you should better ask our parents and especially grandparents, that forced to leave their county way before me and you were born, and had this voice, as the only voice to remind and connect them to their origins…
      6. Democracy is represented by the governments, which are elected democratically by the people. Democracy does not mean that each one that decides individually not to pay for something, not to pay. This is anarchy.
      7. Do you really believe that tax payers around the world do not pay for their voices? Heck, in UK they pay even for the darn TV license. And the best thing is, they pay different price for color and different for B&W, there is still a distinction (at least 20 years ago that I know), can you imagine that?!

      So don’t do the mistake and generalize your personal experiences and present them as a reason to close down a voice. Voices should not close down, they are the only true means of passing uncensored information to places other means can’t, or to urban areas, or to third world countries. And they present and promote a nations culture to the world, directly from their sources.

      Reply
  3. mangosman

    Kostas,
    Listen on line to a kiwiSDR which are all DRM capable, http://kiwisdr.com/public/ The closest DRM broadcast to you is 1700-1800 UTC Radio Romania International 9760 kHz Daily Language W. English Zone W.Europe Tiganesti, Romania 90 kW 307 degrees azimuth.

    All physical DRM radios must decode Emergency Warnings http://www.drm.org
    For reliable reception the receiver must be in the target area jus like using AM for minimum noise & interference. A South African trial proved that DRM decoding occurs when the same signal is received in AM.

    HF broadcasters will never survive on SWLs, but from large audiences who want to listen to the programs and not the achieving the occasional reception of a weak signal. An example is Radio New Zealand Pacific, who is now buying a new replacement 100 kW DRM/AM high frequency transmitter. They use DRM to supply studio quality rebroadcasters thousands of km away. They have been doing this since 2005.

    Reply
    1. Kostas

      Thanks for the information on the SDRs.
      See what I mean, this is not classic SWL, you depend on the internet. Depending on the internet, means being replaced by the internet, because of course internet is better, as it offers more capabilities. But it’s exactly this independent nature of shortwave from the internet, repeaters, or any other networks, that make SW a special communications way. This is a characteristic of SW unlike any other communication way. The other, being the ability to receiver by simple means. And simple does not mean DRM. Even today, with all this Chinese crap arriving to our countries, DRM receivers are in the 100$ region and that’s not cheap and definitely not simple.

      In the university, they teach us that any digitized analogue system (meaning multimedia not morse or FT8 and other text modes) needs a certain S/N and then the quality boosts up to 100%. But under this level the signal is rapidly lost. Analogue transmissions on the other hand, start loosing information from 99% and downwards, but the lower level when a signal is unrecoverable is much much lower than digital. We see that clearly with digital TV, urban areas suffer from the time TV has been gone digital. The best they can do is to install more station antennas. Yeah right… So this African test mentioned is something I do not believe, sorry. It just does not fit to the theory to me, but commercial purposes.

      I do not say that DRM is bad, it serves it’s purposes well. But replacing everything with DRM, is slowly signing SWLs it’s own death contract. The only real reason of replacing the current systems, is cost of power of the transmitters (so cost for the companies that run them) and they are trying to force the whole world to replace their receivers because of that. Same thing with TV, but there, was the bandwidth problem as an excuse, whereas on SW there is not.

      I do not think any country uses it’s SW voice for gaining money. SW voices are not there to gain money, but to promote the culture and the presence of the country to the rest of the world, or for propaganda in other cases. This is why the companies are not really interested in SW, because there is no economical profit there.

      Reply
  4. mangosman

    The broadcasters are shooting themselves in the foot!. Most HF broadcasting uses AM. It sounds terrible compared to FM and the internet. Digital Radio Mondiale gives the same sound quality but can cover huge areas without the patchy coverage of mobile Internet and FM.
    In addition the receiver can display a list of broadcasters to choose from rather than a list of 5 digit frequencies which requires the listener to know which one is for which time.
    The HF transmitter can be a long way from an emergency so it wont get damaged. The signal can only wake up the receivers in the emergency area. Maps and detailed indexed text instructions. This allows multiple simultaneous emergencies.

    Reply
    1. Kostas

      DRM is not good on HF, not in the emergency thing we are talking. DRM requires decoders and these radios are not cheap. DRM has a very high signal to noise ratio. Either you receive great quality audio, or no reception at all. Just like the digital TV rubbish. Go and tell that to people in urban areas, where SWL is mostly needed. I do not agree about the DMR and I do not like scanning the bands with my cheap receiver and all that I hear is digital rubbish. I expect to listen to voice and music programs.

      Reply
      1. Tom

        No, DRM does NOT require an abnormally high SNR to decode if the transmission is properly configured for a MSC of 16 QAM. DRM HF is also viable for emergency warnings if the broadcast is properly configured as previously mentioned. DRM radios are finally becoming available for reasonable sums, i.e. < $100. Granted, the world needs to cut its dependency on China for production.

        Reply
        1. Kostas

          Well, the world depended on China for production the last decades. By relying on China to build their equipment, so that companies can earn more and more, these companies have slowly signed their death contract. And now the EU want to be independent of China? A decision that will take them 10 years backwards? It ain’t gonna happen, not in this world. They are now enslaved to US after all, with their latest fuel treat. They have also increased the customs taxes to knock out the China. And now it is so damn hard to get things from there. EU is a dead end my friend, shooting their own knees with every decision they make.-

          Do a simple thing, search on ebay for something tech-related. Limit the search to Asia. Then limit the search to US only, Then limit the search to EU only. You will immediately see which parts of the world are the worst, just from this simple thing.

          Reply
          1. Fotios

            Being enslaved to US is the wrong thing to say. What you get from the US is high quality and real warranty, after all, it was time the US imposed import tax on items from China because the influx of Chinese products created a commercial imbalance and flooded the market with low quality items.
            But look at what the smart EU did two years ago with the rule of new import tax on items from outside the EU: the Chinese are still able to export to the EU without, or with minimal, import tax on the consumer but items from other countries outside the EU are taxed at the local sales tax, the local sales tax on the handling and shipping fees and at up to 100% the item’s price. Quite democratic and just. At least, had the products from the US been made in the EU so consumers would not be missing on them… but that move was made as a means of the EU to compete with American firms no matter what the effect on the EU consumers was.

          2. Kostas

            Oh no Fotios, I do not agree on that. By signing energy contracts with any country, you depend on that country. The same with Russia, and now in EU they are desperately trying to find other countries to depend on. No one says the US product quality is not good though (after all they take it from middle east…), but guarantee? I prefer to call it with it’s real name, enslave. US-made products were always of good quality though, when they were made INSIDE the US.
            I do not know what EU tried to do with these taxes. What I know is that to people at the end, it made goods more difficult and expensive to import. And that’s all it matters at the end…
            US has a great market, with quality items, but importing them to EU is out of question, because of all these taxes and huge postage costs. Now they made the same taxes, for bad quality items, even the cheapest, imported from China. Sorry, this is unfair to US after all, not to mention EU people…

  5. Droumaguet

    SW remains the only medium that can reach anyone anywhere. Any government who believes that “online” is enough wears a blindfold on the many places where “online” is forbidden, access is difficult, unreliable, at the mercy of your internet operator. Furthermore and above all SW is anonymous. You will not be waken up by some authority because it has been found that you were listening online to something your government does not want you to listen to.
    Current events in Ukraine, Russia are proof of this. Other places in the world are “hot” hen it comes to being anonymous on your source of information, music or anything.
    A 100kw SW transmitter is not expensive to operate nowadays with 98% efficiency.

    Reply
    1. mangosman

      Droumaguet,
      All AM broadcasts in all bands including high frequency, wastes between 67 – 100 %. This is for the carrier which for the receiver. It contains no sound. The sound is in a pair of identical sidebands. DRM has no carrier so all the power contains data. Thus less radiated power is required for the same coverage area

      The efficiency to which you refer, is the ratio between the transmitter output power compared to the electricity input. The transmitter is transmitting silence thus doesn’t include the sound containing sidebands The highest power new HF transmitters are 500 kW when transmitting just a carrier..

      Reply
  6. Mario Filippi

    Goodbye to an old shortwave friend whose music was so enjoyable. If you receive Over The Air television check for Aktina TV, a one hour show about Greece. I watch it Sunday evenings over Channel 25 from NYC.

    Reply
  7. erik

    i am a younger,newer swl listener. From 2014 , to now, Voice of Greece had music that i never hear in the US. It may have been a less supported voice, but compared to our radio, VOG was/is very interesting. For some of us, music is an ambassador, not economic reports, and dry political reporting.

    Reply
    1. Kostas

      How young are you? I mean young SWL does not mean young in age. I want to find out if there are still young people that are interested in shortwave. I do not have a clue how many young SWLs are in Greece. SWLs are more difficult to “count” because it is not required to have a HAM license, anyone can be an SWL without any other ever knowing it.

      I enjoy Iraq/Arabian/Oman/Egyptian traditional music but I do not like my country’s music with bouzouki, can you imagine that? So I agree with you, music is an ambassador for knowing a country’s culture. Before internet, the only way you could listen to such music, was through long distance radio AM/SW. When the internet came in and especially much later, when youtube came in, you could find lots of such music there. However listening through radio is an experience that has no match.
      I am too young to have lived the “golden era of SWL”, but I still believe that SW is a world on it’s own, there are so much to listen and learn, almost endless. I hope youngsters, some of them, can discover this magic world.

      Reply
  8. Joe Patti KD2QBK

    At least it’s only been 45 days for you. I STILL cruise by 5960 and 9755 in the hopes that I’ll find RCI back on!

    Reply
      1. Guy Atkins

        Radio Canada International perhaps? Another wonderful international broadcaster whose towers and transmitters are silent.

        Reply
        1. Joe Patti KD2QBK k

          Yes, Radio Canada International. Listened almost every night in the 70’s and 80’s. Miss them even now.

          Reply
  9. Kostas

    It’s a shame the stations have been closed down…
    “Listen them online”…That’s the worst excuse one can tell!

    I have been (unofficially) notified by a Greek HAM who works on high power SW stations that the (remaining) stations are there, but there is no one left to know how to operate and fix them. That’s why they are closed down.
    If this is true, can you imagine that?

    Being Greek, however it’s a shame I do not like Greek music with “bouzouki” and that is the reason I did not listen them very often, the other being that the beams were not powerful locally.
    However, their program has been gone worse and worse throughout the years. I remember when I was young, they used to have Greek language lessons, Greek theater acts and so many other things in their program. Now there is no such things in their program as far as I know. It seems like it is done almost in purpose to me.
    In the mean time CRI has all these things and much more! They have been really dominating the shortwave. The same is true for our neighbor Turkey. Yesterday, I heard “This is the voice of Turkey” in more than 50 languages, can you imagine that! They also have powerful stations if I recall correctly. I know it’s part of propaganda, but it does not matter, what it matters is that they promote their culture in the world.
    Here in Greece we do the opposite. We forget things that enhance our cultural presence to the world, until we realize their importance (do we?), but then it is too late…
    The above is my personal opinion, it is not official and I do not represent my country officially in this text.

    With every Voice of a country closing down, the true freedom of speech and the cultural presence of the country, is shutting down.
    Countries do not appreciate the importance (especially cultural) of the Voices on shortwave.
    There will be a time that they maybe will, but it will be then too late.

    The only ones left, that may or may not put a small part in the cultural promotion (at least they speak the language), are the poor old HAMs. Thankfully there are some left that still like shortwave, although the hobby seems to attract less and less people.

    Reply

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