Has WTWW left shortwave?

I recently learned from a few reports on Twitter that WTWW left shortwave for good on November 9, 2022 and will now only broadcast over the internet. I missed this announcement on the air and WTWW’s website doesn’t seem to reflect this information yet.

The WTWW wikipedia page has already been updated, however, with WTWW’s services noted in the past tense and the following addition was made this week:

On November 9, 2022, WTWW announced it would discontinue all shortwave operations, with intent to continue streaming the programming as long as it was feasible. Ted Randall cited a massive increase in transmitter usage fees (the majority of that being from electricity cost) that the station could not realistically pay. The station signed off for the last time that night, with its final programming including a farewell message from Randall encouraging listeners to continue listening to the Web stream, a string of listener requests from WTWW’s automated system, and the final song being a rendition of “America the Beautiful” by one of Randall’s favorite recording artists, Ronnie Milsap.

Can anyone confirm if WTWW has indeed stopped all shortwave transmitting? Please comment.

 

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58 thoughts on “Has WTWW left shortwave?

  1. Chuck E

    I’ve always thought that shortwave broadcasting is an untapped national resource. A pair of stations could cover most all of North America with mostly reliable signals. Sure, there is some fading, but isn’t that part of the magic? Ohhh, the memories of The Big 89, WLS and the long, slow fades bringing the music into my transistor radio! We’re really missing out on continued memories if we let shortwave broadcasting die off.

    Chuck

    Reply
  2. Tim Brockett

    Chuck wrote:
    “I believe that there are more shortwave listeners in the US than one might think at first. Some of the shortwave radio reviews I watch on YouTube get quite a few viewers.”
    That is a really interesting observation. Other writers have talked about the abundance of inexpensive shortwave radios on the market. I suspect there is more ancillary evidence that shortwave is far from dead. If all of the evidence can be gathered together, it could start to make selling advertising on shortwave radio easier. WTWW needed $15,000.00 per month in revenue. That is not a huge sum of money. If a 60-second commercial sold for $100.00 you would need to sell just 150 commercials a month to make $15,000.00. If you were broadcasting for 8 hours a day you would need to dedicate just 30 seconds per hour of broadcast time to paid commercials. Traditionally radio commercials are for products and success is measured by the advertiser in terms of sales. But what can we do if we step outside that limited model? How about if you charge $50.00 for a 15 to 30-second love message followed by a special request song for the lover’s girlfriend? That could impress a girl. Saying I love you in front of a worldwide audience for just $50.00! Or wishing someone a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary, etc? Perhaps a special Christmas message to an individual or group or to everyone listening? $50.00 is a small price to pay to speak to a worldwide audience. People could also advertise their personal blogs, Social media, or websites. There is a massive business in personal branding and shortwave could play into that.
    Religious broadcasters understand the power of shortwave radio. It is a flourishing medium for them. If we can understand their success then we can build shortwave into a commercial success story.

    Reply
  3. Chuck E

    I believe that there are more shortwave listeners in the US than one might think at first. Some of the shortwave radio reviews I watch on YouTube get quite a few viewers. It’d be nice if we could get more of them to chip in.

    Chuck

    Reply
  4. Steve Sybesma

    I wish there was an angel investor out there who believes in shortwave to rescue the WTWW site before the antennas fall into disrepair.
    The ARRL should put a question to its membership if it would be willing to help (via Patreon or another vehicle) to re-start the transmitters.
    I just think there’s enough SWLs and hams who would happily kick in a couple bucks a month to pay the electric bill.
    It’s not a huge effort per person but would have to be coordinated to develop an ongoing fund with at least a few months cash in the bank.
    Are there 10,000 of us out there?

    Reply
    1. Dave Mason

      I know Ted and Holly are impressed with the comments here. Having an “angel” to rescue 5085 is one thought. Another is to support the advertisers you hear on what’s now “WRMI Legends” and donate a few bucks to help keep this feature on the air. If you’ve listened for any length of time you’ll know that the DJs on “WRMI Legends” aren’t paid. We’re on because we love our voices drifting out of the nighttime air on 100,000 watts of short-wave, and playing the music you hear. The days of the 50,000 watt AM stations (WABC, WLS, CKLW, CHUM!, WKBW) are long gone, but the experience lives on. We know it’s a limited audience but the signals can reach worldwide and offer a bit of hope and companionship to the people who listen. Back in the day, Wolfman Jack was playin’ the hits on XERF and XERB out of Mexico, aimed at a US audience. He supplemented his nighttime rock ‘n roll by selling airtime to religious broadcasters in the daytime.

      From Wikipedia: “Wolfman and his associates were able to make the station turn a large profit by selling 15–30-minute blocks of time to radio proselytizers. The preachers were able to pay for the time by asking their listeners to send them donations. Because they had such a large following and made so much money, the radio evangelists were willing to pay sizable fees for airtime.

      In addition to the paid brokered programming, Wolfman began broadcasting his own pre-recorded shows on three different high-powered Mexican stations at different times of the day: XERB, XERF, and XEG in Monterrey, Nuevo León, powered at 100,000 watts. Wolfman courted advertisers who enjoyed his brand of rock and roll music and his howling personality.

      According to his biography, by 1971, Wolfman was making a profit of almost $50,000 a month. The Mexican company executives that leased XERB noticed this and got greedy. They wanted to throw him out and make all the money themselves. The owners bribed Mexican officials into politically squeezing Wolfman off the air. The Mexican government acquiesced by passing a law prohibiting Pentecostal and Evangelical religious programming on Mexican airwaves. Since XERB made most of its profits from airtime sold to the prayer-cloth preachers, Wolfman could no longer make payments to the owners each month. “That was it,” Wolfman remembered. “In one stroke they cleaned out 80 percent of all the money we were expecting to make.” He and Kosofsky had to return control of the station to the Mexican owners.

      Some years later, the Mexican government repealed that law and allowed radio preachers back on the air. But, without Wolfman Jack howling over the airwaves, XERB never duplicated the fame he had brought it. The XERB call sign was recycled in 1986 for a radio station in Cozumel, in the state of Quintana Roo with no relation to the old XERB.”

      Wolfman made enough money to hire a staff of sales people, rent studio space in Los Angeles and foot the bill for his stations. Ted and Holly don’t have a huge sales staff to “court advertisers”. So, as long as “WRMI Legends” is on the air (and online), your support is greatly appreciated. Either support the station directly or support the advertisers.

      We love what we do-and if you enjoy it, you’ve made that our weekly salary.

      Reply
    2. Donald Atkinson

      I’m new to shortwave, and only know about this because of a app on my phone. Does anyone know someone who works on older shortwave radios, I have a older Sony.

      Reply
  5. Steve Sybesma

    The danger in losing shortwave completely is that all long distance communication (news) must go through the internet, which there has been increasing efforts to control and censor.
    I liked the internet decades ago when it got started, but it is far too easy for tyrants to control and is not the ‘wild west’ of freedom it used to be.
    You almost wonder what part of the motivation to make electricity more expensive was about.
    It certainly had a bad effect on shortwave.
    We’re running out of listenable stations here.

    Reply
    1. Steve Sybesma

      I realize shortwave has been in decline for years. What I’m saying is that WTWW held down the fort and survived until the disaster of the past couple years finally forced it down. It’s failure serves the interests of those who want to censor free speech.
      I hope things don’t go too far before the transmitters can be revived.
      It will take a community effort, perhaps through a Patreon or similar site.
      How many 1,000s of us are there who can help pay the $15k to $20k per month electric bill?
      That’s what I heard it cost.

      Reply
  6. Bob WB2VUF

    True. Somebody must be listening to shortwave or there wouldn’t be so many different Chinese-made SW portables on the market. I Europe and North America I’m sure that SWLing is a niche hobby, but how about in Africa, South and Central America, Asia and Oceania?

    Reply
  7. Dave Hockaday

    No argument that internet has more reach, but shortwave goes places where folks don’t have internet (like my place at the lake), and lots of folks have shortwave radios. Shortwave radio mfgs have stated that interest is on the rise as shown by a surge in sales and distributors often being out of stock and waiting on more. Apples and Oranges

    Reply
  8. Dave Hockaday

    The 5085 programming is now coming online at WRMI, daily. They’re testing several frequencies to determine where they’ll call “home” . 5950, 9395, and 9455 with various headings are among those. They’re posting info daily on the OLD WTWW fam page and WRMIlegends.com page.

    Reply
    1. Hank

      I hope they move the QSO Radio Show and Ria’s Shack Ham Radio segments also on Saturday evenings.

      These are great programs!

      Reply
  9. Bob

    The 5085 signal was always marginal at my NJ QTH; lots of selective fading. I do listen to the internet feed on my Sangean internet “kitchen radio”.

    I hate to see HF facilities go dark. I see HF, in any service, broadcast, military, amateur, as a national resource. HF does need lots of electricity and real estate. I expect with the current inflation, a lot of struggling MW AM stations will go dark, too.

    I hope someone will put WTTW back on the air. Like I wrote above, HF and MW, too, is a national resource. Once the towers and transmitter building are bulldozed and turned into condos or a shopping mall, it’s gone forever!

    Reply
  10. Harry

    After ceasing shortwave broadcasting from it’s own high-power shortwave transmitter near Lebanon TN, WTWW’s programming is back on shortwave, courtesy of WRMI, Radio Miami International. According to the latest schedule, “WRMI Legends” can be hard on Transmitter #5, 9455 kHz, from 2300 to 0100 UTC, on Transmitter #8, 5950 kHz from 2300 to 0000 UTC, and on Transmitter #6, 9395 kHz from 2200-2300 UTC. Check the DX60 net link below:

    https://dx-60.net/index.cfm?key=view_news&TransKey=EF085A0E-B3CE-4DDF-B534-FE0608F72387&Small=1&CategoryID=B2189995-AB6D-4C71-B5DF-995E287805A1

    Reply
  11. Dave Hockaday

    Dude, you have fallen and bumped your head somewhere if you believe that main stream media noise. I go to the grocery store, gas stations, watch my investments, and pay bills regularly. The current administration is completely to blame for the mess we’re in, right now.

    Reply
  12. Clay Nicolsen

    Thanks, Tim, for speaking exactly what I had on my mind. I’m fed up with politics, and those who cannot make any comment on contemporary life without spewing political garbage.

    Clay NF7X

    Reply
    1. Dave Mason

      From what WE know (“we” being the on-air staff of the former WTWW), Ted and Holly have worked out a deal with WRMI to launch “WRMI Legends” – with the same fun group of djs from WTWW. I’ll be on Tuesday nights beginning at 8pm. Those of us on the air, while we’ve been in the business for multiple decades aren’t really “the legends”. The MUSIC was created by Rock ‘n Roll legends. Imaging and voiceover artist Jeff Laurence used his fertile (and fun lovin’) mind to create initial announcements that are now running online at http://www.wrmilegends.com – the new website. The link now takes you to the old website, and the request link works (we DO play requests). Fun lovin’ voiceover artist Jeff Laurence has created some fun lovin’ announcements announcing the change (you need to hear the DJ Hillbilly Song)- and we think you’ll be amazed at the quality. Better than FM with a good sound card.

      Reply
  13. Hank Blackwood

    Here is an email from Holly I received last week when asking about it:

    WTWW 5085 is online only now.
    The owners have turned off power to all transmitters and stopped us broadcasting.
    We are planning to blow up the internet with continued fun!!

    Thanks for listening,

    Holly Randall – KG4WXV
    Public Relations Director and Producer For:
    The Ted Randall Show & The QSO Radio Show
    [email protected]
    (615)813-0173 – studio

    Hank

    Reply
  14. Tim Brockett

    I accidentally tuned in to WTWW on their last day. I was shocked and saddened to hear that they were leaving shortwave completely. They explained how the cost of electricity had skyrocketed in the last two years. All energy has, not just gasoline. They simply could not raise enough money to pay the ever-increasing electric bill.
    Political decisions made since 2020 have throttled back most energy companies. The shutting down of WTWW is a real-world effect of the war on energy. Many people will lose their jobs and many listeners will have one less station to freely listen to. WTWW spread the good word to all and boosted the morale of listeners in Ukraine. They did an amazing job and will be missed greatly. I am so sad to see them go off the air on shortwave.

    Reply
  15. Chuck E

    I’m very sad to hear that WTWW is gone from shortwave. I had been sending them donations. I’ll miss them greatly, as I do so many other stations. As for DRM broadcasting, that hasn’t caught my interest even after all these years of knowing about it. Alas, I wish energy were cheaper.

    -Chuck

    Reply
  16. Hank

    I sent an email to the station earlier this week asking what’s up. Here is the reply from Holly:

    WTWW 5085 is online only now.
    The owners have turned off power to all transmitters and stopped us broadcasting.
    We are planning to blow up the internet with continued fun!!

    Thanks for listening,

    Holly Randall – KG4WXV
    Public Relations Director and Producer For:
    The Ted Randall Show & The QSO Radio Show
    [email protected]
    (615)813-0173 – studio

    Reply
  17. mangosman

    If high frequency broadcasters for each transmitter, were to buy a content server and a DRM modulator, and some fine adjustments to the antenna system the electricity consumption is reduced by 60 %. It also means less cooling is required, and in some areas and seasons are considerable.

    Would the SWLs all buy DRM capable receivers https://www.drm.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/DRM-Radio-Receivers-leaflet-October-2022.pdf to keep high frequency broadcasters afloat? Remember also that http://kiwisdr.com/public/ are all DRM capable. The latest sound compression algorithm (xHE AAC) gives good stereo audio at a very low data rate is used by some broadcasters. Dream 2.2.1 is incapable of decoding xHE AAC. You can decode the less efficient HE AAC along with Journaline text.

    After all, AM including that used in High Frequency broadcasting is a 100 year old technology. Remember that between 67 – 100 % of the radiated power is the carrier which contains no information at all, where as in DRM, there is no carrier just a few pilot tones which are the same power as the data, are used to keep the receiver gain and automatic fine tuning correct.

    Reply
    1. Shane

      A pilot tone at 100 kw still draws the exact same amount of power as a 100 kw carrier.

      Matter of fact, a tone IS a carrier.

      DRM saves very little. Like, none.

      “A digitally-modulated signal can be considered to be equivalent to a phase-modulated signal (of constant amplitude), in turn also modulated in amplitude. Such a signal can be “smuggled through” an AM transmitter structure by separating the signal into its AM and PM components. The amplitude-modulating signal simply takes the place of the previous audio modulation input, while the carrier-frequency input (normally derived from a synthesizer or other stable frequency source) is replaced by the phase-modulated RF signal. The bandwidth of the amplitudemodulated signal 5 in this arrangement is greater than that of the audio signal it was designed for. In addition, the modulator must work down to zero frequency”

      DRM gives you the ability to have HiFi at the receiving end. It reduces fading in the same way your digital cell phone does. It can also (depending on the location of the xmitter and the local regulations) give you another channel. You can also use AM and DRM at the same time (arguably. Sometimes it will work, almost always you will have a digital grunge in the background according to some people. I think this is more dealing with the passband of the receiver IF(s).

      Using a KiwiSDR still means you also need an internet connection. Might as well just connect to their stream and get rid of the middle man.

      I seriously think you are confusing DRM with MDCL, Modulation Dependant Carrier Level (also known as other names). This technology, depending on the method used and how the engineer sets it) either increases the carrier power between words, which increases efficiency (an AM transmitter at carrier level is not 100 percent on a typical high level transmitter) and also gives more quieting or lowers the carrier power between words (this is usually used in the PWM / PDM systems) to save money.

      Then you have systems that use EER. Those are the most efficient….. But you would require a new transmitter for that if you have the older style high level modulated xmitters.

      Reply
        1. Shane

          They infer in the paper you linked a new transmitter, but stating that older legacy transmitters might be able to use the system.

          The new transmitters use a system that gives them the same efficiency as a EER system. IE, they use a PWM driver to flip amplifiers off and on at an audio rate. This can give them > 85 percent efficiency.

          However, this isn’t the case when using any other system… So their white paper is pretty much a sales pitch for DRM designed transmitters.

          And in that case, using a Harris DX series transmitter will net the same thing, sans the multiple streams…. When used in analog mode. In digital mode (DRM) it doesn’t give anything better than when used in analog mode, again, other than multiple streams.

          Disingenuous, at best.

          Reply
      1. Thomas Giella

        I listened to WTWW on 5085 kHz every night here in central Florida when in the radio room and when I went to bed. They had a good one hop signal here. I knew that they would fold as a money making SW station. Sorry to see them go. I wasn’t thrilled by Ted’s commercials.

        Reply
  18. Raven

    I managed to record the WTWW oldies rock request show on November 5th at 225UTC had I known this would be the last time I’d hear WTWW I would have recorded more of the program. I checked the WTWW website today (11/12) which made no mention of going off the air and shutting down. I didn’t hear anything on 5085 at 200UTC, so it appears for now the news of their SW signing off is true.
    I received a WTWW QSL card on September 30, 2022, guess I have a collector’s item now.
    I made the recording on the RSPdx SDR receiver hooked up to an MLA mega loop roof mounted antenna.

    Reply
  19. TomL

    I wonder why WWCR can stay on the air? WWCR has a large number of paying broadcasters, some of which I regularly listen to. Perhaps hosting in-house music shows does not pay, especially many oldies that I have never heard of. I believe WBCQ uses cheaper hydro power and has large donors. And I think WRMI has some sort of cattle ranch to help pay some expenses. Multiple income streams seems important to survive.

    Reply
    1. Shane

      WBCQ’s new transmitter was paid for, 100 percent, but the flat earthers.

      They have been a staple on Alan’s transmitters for years. They finally ponied up for a half megawatt station with an ERP in the multiple megawatts, both rotatable and steerable for takeoff angle.

      Lots of money in flat earthing, it seems.

      Reply
    1. Shane

      50Kw carrier power is the smallest transmitter the US FeeCees (FCC) will allow a shortwave licensee.

      They had 50kw and 100kw transmitters. I believe they may have had the capability to go higher, but knew there was no point.

      Ham Radio Outlet could only pay for so much airtime.

      Reply
  20. rob

    That’s just dumb. The internet does not have the world coverage that shortwave has. Sounds like a decision by some technically illiterate bean counter.

    Reply
    1. Clay Nicolsen

      No, that would be a decision by the person who owns this station, and cannot afford the dramatically increasing electric bill to run the transmitters.

      Reply
    2. Tom Servo

      I can assure you “the internet” has a much wider reach than WTWW, whose 5085 signal that mostly played oldies is basically an regional signal that didn’t make it much off of the North American continent. They had a Europe-aimed signal but I was never able to hear it well on SDRs.

      The bigger issue is that once you’re internet-only, you’re just one of literally thousands of music “stations” a click away, so it’s easy to get lost in the ocean of choices. At least on shortwave in the US, Ted’s station was one of a handful of signals in the US still doing music.

      Also, I’d take that info from Glenn (the extra n in for ‘nudge’) Hauser because I think it’s incorrect. I have always been under the impression that Ted’s wife was part-owner of the station.

      Reply
      1. Mark

        I can assure you shortwave has a far greater and practical access than the internet. Sorry you are dead wrong. Odds are in a war zone any internet access would at best be spotty. Shortwave requires a radio and a wire attachment to the radio antenna for greater range. There are people who believe it or not can’t get to the internet. But. They can share a radio. It’s rather jaded to assume the point of view that only real people can access the internet.

        Reply
        1. Tom Servo

          The original comment was “the internet doesn’t have world coverage like shortwave has” which is technically true but realistically, the internet is used in a lot more places than shortwave these days.

          Regarding WTWW specifically, their 5085 broadcast was targeted to the Americas, where last I checked there was no war going on.

          And while we’re talking war, has anyone ever seen a Ukrainian getting news from shortwave? That’s an actual war, going on right now, and no one is using shortwave that we know of.

          Reply
    3. WP2ASS

      A shortwave transmitter runs in the hundreds of dollars per day.

      A 100kw transmitter realistically runs 500kw pep (120 percent positive modulation). That’s a half megawatt of power. At 80 percent efficiency (which will rarely, if ever, happen… It’s realistically more like 70…. But let’s give the benefit of the doubt) that means it’s drawing 900 megawatts.

      900kw x .12 (12 cents per kw/hr) = 108 dollars an hour.
      $108×24 = $2952
      $2952 x 30 days = $77,760 dollars a month.

      They had more than one transmitter online.

      So let’s round that down, since it won’t be producing peak modulation 100 percent of the time. Let’s say 60k a month.

      Times the three transmitters.

      That’s 180k dollars a month, JUST in transmitter power.

      Now, keep the lights on, make the payments on the property, pay the people whom are running the transmitter plant, pay for spares (ever price the final output tubes? On the non PWM transmitters you have the modulation tubes) and you easily have a quarter million. A month. Buy let’s round down to 200k a month.

      How much do you think Ham Radio Outlet could afford to keep paying?

      Having worked for a shortwave facility (as a technical consultant) with a couple 100kw xmitter (there was one then added more), I know first hand what it costs to run an xmitter plant.

      Typically it’s run on a generator plant. That’s slurping 40 gallons of diesel an hour (that’s what our Caterpillar C32 runs, 1 megawatt). That’s…

      30×24 hrs = 720 gallons of diesel a day.
      720 x 30 days = 21,600 gallons a month
      21,600 x 4.00 a gallon = 80k a month.

      Plus an oil change every week. With 200 gallons of oil. Pay for a tech to come in site when any little hiccups happen. Pay for your power plant technician…. Makes it about 175k a month (I have 3 generators at our plant we keep going. 2 x 2.5 megawatt and. 1 x 1 megawatt)…

      This isn’t even factoring in cost of the propane injection we use on the C32 nor the urea for the NO2 injection system to meet emissions.

      And there is no generator plant that I saw ATVWTWW.

      Yeah, bean counters. The most uninformed comment on the internet today.

      Do the math.

      Reply
        1. Shane

          I live in the USVI and I pay appx 17C a Kw.

          In California, PG&E, I paid about the same, give or take whatever tariffs Newsome was letting slide, what cities had burned down that PG&E was on the hook for (and then the state PUC let them bill their customers for).

          Reply
  21. Steve Allen

    That’s too bad. It really saddens me to read about shortwave radio broadcast stations going QRT. It’s so easy for those who wish evil upon the free world to “throw the switch” and no more internet.
    Steve, KZ4TN

    Reply
  22. Ian P

    Glenn Hauser reports something quite interesting/intriguing to explain WTWW’s sudden closure. Quoted from a very recent posting of his in the World of Radio group:

    Axually the real problem is that for some reason, Ted Randall has been failing to carry the Scriptures for America broadcasts. They, after all, own the station. So, on Nov 9th or into 10th, a representative from SFAW in Colorado came in and closed down the station, and ousted Ted Randall. This is a breaking story as we go to “press“ on Thursday afternoon, and I`m sure there will be more to follow. Maybe Ted will find some other station to carry his stuff

    Reply
    1. paul walker

      Scripture for america doesnt own it… the listed owners on the tennessee secretary of state website and FCC records show leap of faith, inc as the owners which is ted and his wife holly and it may be in part, george mclintock. George lauinched WTWW and was the original owner i think, coming from WWCR

      I emailed glenn hauser calling his report into question, with proof and as usual, he ignored me.

      Reply
  23. Dave Hockaday

    I’m on the WTWW fan pages, and it does seem that WTWW has now signed off, forever. Sad day for shortwave radio. Ted said the owners of the station had jacked to costs to $15,000/month, and they could not pay that. There was also a comment that it looked as if they owner was preparing to sell the station.

    Reply
    1. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

      If it goes on sale, it will be interesting to see how much they’ll ask for and how long it may stay on the market. There isn’t exactly a high demand for shortwave broadcasting facilities.

      Reply
      1. Ken Hansen

        I don’t know, this site (selling.com) is reporting that a firm is interested in setting up a new HF broadcast service to transmit stock ticker data using what appear to be “consumer” steppir antenna and a 2 KW DRM transmitter with a 48 KHz signal footprint. Buying this station could give them a leg up on antennas, but they’d likely/obviously need a new transmitter.

        Reply
    2. paul walker

      Ted and his wife holly are at least part owners. The $15,000 is what it cost to run 5085 as theyve been running it.

      Reply

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