In a world of mobile phones, satellites and the internet, some old school technology is making a major comeback. The shortwave radio, used by spies for decades to send encrypted messages, is being resurrected for the war in Ukraine.
According to Dr. Andrew Hammond, curator and historian at Washington, D.C.’s International Spy Museum, the shortwave radio “is a classic tool that was used for espionage.
“With a shortwave radio like this, you can transmit information over huge distances,” he told CTV National News.
As I’ve mentioned many times here on the SWLing Post, I’m something of a “content DXer.”
Clearly, I enjoy chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer. Even though my favorite medium for doing this has been shortwave radio, these days, I often turn to Wi-Fi or over-the-internet radio. Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.
If you, too, like the chase, The Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG) will be your go-to, and this recent edition––the tenth!––is the latest in a long line of handy volumes that help the listener catch what’s out there, noting that with each passing year there’s more content to catch.
Cornucopia of content
The variety of content from online broadcasters today is surely orders of magnitude more than any one individual has ever had via over-the-air (OTA) radio sources.
Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content––both real-time station streams and on-demand podcasts––the content discovery part is actually quite difficult. I liken it to browsing a large public library looking for a new and interesting book to read, but without the guidance of a librarian. The options are so plentiful that even with superb indexing and organization, one simply doesn’t know where to begin.
On the other hand––and I’m speaking from very recent experience here––if you find a good local independent bookstore, you might actually discover more meaningful titles because the bookstore selections are curated by both the proprietor and the local community.
With this analogy in mind, The Worldwide Listening Guide is essentially my local bookstore for online content and programming.
I recently received a review copy of the new 10th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide by John Figliozzi and, as always, I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover.
The WWLG speaks to the types of programming I enjoy as an SWL because the author, John Figliozzi, is a devoted shortwave radio and international broadcasting enthusiast.
And while the bulk of the WWLG is a detailed and beautifully organized programming guide, it’s also so much more…
“The Many Platforms of radio”
As I’ve so often said, the WWLG is a unique guide; there’s nothing quite like it on the market because it truly takes a deep dive into the world of broadcasting and content delivery both from a technology and programming point of view.
Each media delivery platform, whether on AM, Shortwave, FM, Satellite Radio, Internet (WiFi Radio), and Podcasting, has a dedicated section in the book where Figliozzi explores each in detail. He also speaks to the state of each platform both from the broadcaster’s and the listener’s perspective.
Indeed, each chapter dedicated to these topics very much reminds me of the old Passport to Worldband Radio that I first picked up in the 1990s. The WWLG serves as a primer, but also speaks to the health and potential longevity of each platform.
I appreciate the fact that Figliozzi also addresses the nuts-and-bolts side of both over-the-air and online broadcasting. For while I’d like to think that I’m reasonably knowledgeable about the world of radio, I find I always discover something new in each edition.
There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound volume. The Worldwide Listening Guide is enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years…or at least, until the latest edition comes out!
In short? The WWLG is a bargain for all it offers, and I highly recommend it.
The 10th edition of The Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:
Note that at time of posting copies of the WWLG can be pre-ordered at Universal Radio. Amazon.com will soon have links to purchase the 10th edition when they’re in inventory. I assume the W5YI group will also have the 10th edition available for purchase soon!
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Michael Bird, John Figliozzi, and Jack Dully for the following tips:
Radio Six International has not been a full-time shortwave broadcaster for some time. But after two recent live broadcasts on 6070 kHz prompted by the pandemic, it says it will continue monthly broadcasts at least for now.
Radio World visited electronically with Tony Currie.[…]
Broadcast ratings for nearly all of NPR’s radio shows took a steep dive in major markets this spring, as the coronavirus pandemic kept many Americans from commuting to work and school. The network’s shows lost roughly a quarter of their audience between the second quarter of 2019 and the same months in 2020.
People who listened to NPR shows on the radio at home before the pandemic by and large still do. But many of those who listened on their commute have not rejoined from home. And that threatens to alter the terrain for NPR for years to come, said Lori Kaplan, the network’s senior director of audience insights.
“We anticipated these changes,” Kaplan said. “This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.”
Commercial radio is experiencing, if anything, worse declines. But audience research commissioned by Kaplan indicates that NPR’s audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are able to work from home and who are interested in doing so even after the pandemic subsides.[…]
New York’s history has included everything from transit strikes to riots over Shakespeare to immigration from nearly every country in the world. Yet, for much of this history, people didn’t always know the “correct” time or date. Until 1883, virtually every place in the country set local time according to the sun. According to Sam Roberts in his book Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America, “Typically, noon would be regularly signaled so people could synchronize their clocks and watches.” From dropping a ball down a flagpole in Manhattan to ringing a gong, settlements all across the country would alert people of noon. But as railroads spread throughout the country, it was nearly impossible to standardize the time.
“A passenger traveling from Portland, Maine, to Buffalo could arrive in Buffalo at 12:15 according to his own watch set by Portland time,” Roberts writes. “He might be met by a friend at the station whose watch indicated 11:40 Buffalo time. The Central clock said noon. The Lake Shore clock said it was only 11:25. At Pennsylvania Station in Jersey City, New Jersey, one clock displayed Philadelphia time and another New York time. When it was 12:12 in New York, it was 12:24 in Boston, 12:07 in Philadelphia, and 11:17 in Chicago.”[…]
I recently received a review copy of the 9th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide by John Figliozzi:
While WRTH is my favorite guide for radio frequencies and schedules, Figliozzi’s Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG) is my go-to for programming and content, not only helpful on the shortwaves, but especially handy when tracking online content.
The WWLG is a unique guide–there’s nothing quite like it on the market. I look forward to each edition because it truly takes a deep dive into the world of broadcasting, technology, and programming.
“Deep dive” almost feels like an understatement. I received the latest edition only a few days before Christmas travels, so packed it in my luggage and read it over the course of a week. Being the editor of the SWLing Post, I’m in the middle of a constant stream of news items and tips about the world of broadcasting and communications technology. When I read the WWLG, however, I discover so much information about the broadcasting industry as a whole, the health of various platforms, particular media companies, and even the history and technology behind content delivery systems.
Case in point: I always assumed SiriusXM satellite radio was delivered by a network of geostationary satellites. Turns out, they use a hybrid system of both “roving” satellites that orbit in a figure 8 pattern and geostationary satellites in the Clarke Belt. The WWLG is chock-full of details like this.
Each media delivery platform–AM, Shortwave, FM, Satellite Radio, Internet (WiFi Radio), and Podcasting–has a dedicated section in the book where Figliozzi explores each in detail. He also includes a “State of the Radio Platforms” chapter where he examines the health and potential direction of each.
SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, recently summed up his love of the WWLG in the following comment:
[I]t’s the best guide to digital streaming media I have ever found. An indispensable guide to the world’s public broadcasters and others broadcasters who appeal to us raised on decades of shortwave.
As shortwave transmitters close, don’t make the mistake of thinking your favourite broadcasters disappear – they in most cases continue and the Worldwide Listening Guide will guide you to them as live and on-demand programs.
I use the guide as a directory for online listening, but of course RF transmission broadcasts are comprehensively covered as well.
I agree 100%.
Like Mark and many SWLs, I’m something of a “Content DXer:” I love chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, and variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer. For this, I often turn to Wi-Fi radio. Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.
Digging into local content via a WiFi radio isn’t nearly as challenging or fun (for me, at least) as scanning the shortwave bands in search of elusive weak signal DX or a pop-up pirate radio station. Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content–both station streams and podcasts–the actual content discovery part is quite difficult.
Truth is, there’s so much content out there–tens of thousands of stations and shows–it’s hard to know where to start!
This is where the WWLG comes in: Figliozzi exhaustively curates thousands of programs, indexing their airing times, stations, days of broadcast, program types, frequencies, and web addresses. Additionally, he sorts the programs by genre: arts, culture, history, music, sports, and more. And Figliozzi also includes a well-thought-out directory of at least forty genres. In my shack and office, the WWLG has been an invaluable tool for content discovery.
There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide…enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years.
The 9th edition of Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Figliozzi, who discovered that the favorites feature is back on his Frontier Silicon-based WiFi radio and notes:
Check out the screen on your Como Solo and follow the instructions. Full features appear to be back! Wrote to Peter Skiera at Como and he said it wasn’t planned to go live until [today], but it showed up on my screen [Saturday]. Seems to work smoothly and flawlessly.
Brilliant news! Thank you for sharing, John. I’m happy to see that Frontier Silicon is getting back on its feet after dropping the vTuner backbone that powered its aggregator for so many years. Several others have commenting with this good news. This is certainly a positive sign.
Spread the radio love
Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. Ads are what helps us bring you premium content! Thank you!