In the past, I’ve mentioned in posts that email from readers and subscribers (of both QRPer.com and the SWLing Post) has increased to a point that I can no longer keep up with them. It became very evident when I went camping in West Virginia last month and came back home to find no less than 60 messages in my inbox. These 60 messages were all ones needing some sort of reply or acknowledgement–they didn’t include notifications and SPAM.
I take pride in replying to each and every message I receive, but sadly I can no longer keep up with the volume. Sadly, I don’t have enough time especially with my busy family life.
In fact, I realized recently that replying to emails is actually taking a large bite out of the time I have to do content creation. I can’t let that happen, because that could quickly lead to burn-out. Both of my sites are pure labors of love and I enjoy them immensely. Continue reading →
I’m very honored to have been interviewed by John Walsh who produces the excellent program Wireless on Flirt FM in Ireland. John reached out to discuss the relevance of the shortwave radio medium, particularly through the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here’s the show description:
In the April 2022 edition of Wireless, we look at the part of the radio spectrum called shortwave, consider its importance in the past and continued relevance in a digital world. Founder of the SWLing blog Thomas Witherspoon discusses the historical development of shortwave, including its heyday during the Cold War, and explains how it continues to be used today, for instance to evade Russian internet censorship during the Ukrainian war. The programme also remembers Irish pirate shortwave operators of the 1980s as featured on our related site Pirate.ie.
John is a true kindred spirit and devoted radio enthusiast. I would encourage you to subscribe to his monthly Wireless episodes via your favorite podcast player; here are links to iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.
In addition, John is the one of the founders and curators of Pirate.ie which is a brilliantly documented archive of pirate radio stations in Ireland. I highly recommend checking it out!
I think we can all agree that 2021 was a more challenging year than any of us would have liked.
Here’s hoping 2022 is a turning point in the pandemic, and let’s hope the New Year brings new opportunities to appreciate our world both on the ground and over the airwaves.
Happy New Year!
PS: I’d like to thank our friend Carlos Latuff for the brilliant artwork at the top of this page! If you’ve been following Carlos’ posts here on the SWLing Post, you’ll know that during the pandemic he’s been focusing on the world of Clandestine radio and, specifically, the conflict in Ethiopia. His frequent posts remind me that shortwave radio–even in 2022–is still a meaningful source of direct news for certain communities and the signals cannot be stopped at national borders regardless of who is in power.
We’ve replaced Feedburner’s free email delivery service which Google has announced (after pushing out the date once) will close sometime in August 2021. As of today, it seems email digests are still being propagated via Feedburner, but note that it will end this month when Google turns off the service.
At time of posting, we have 691 subscribers on the new service.
2.) Swimming in email
I love correspondence from readers, but as I mention on my contact page it can take me days or even weeks to respond especially if you need a complex, multi-answer reply. I do my best to reply to each and every email I get, but these days it can be very difficult because my free time to reply is so limited. On average, I receive anywhere from 30-40 emails from readers per day that require a reply, but only have perhaps 30-60 minutes per day to answer them, thus they stack up. Every few weeks, I try to work through the backlog when I have a morning or afternoon free to do so.
A few suggestions/requests that would really help me:
If you have a news tip, it would help to note that in the subject line of the email; for example, “NewsTip: RCI to build shortwave transmitter on the moon.” That sort of thing. 🙂
If you have a guest post proposal, please note this in the subject line; for example, “Guest Post Proposal: How to build a benchmark receiver with chewing gum and four shoe boxes.” I absolutely love guest posts because by virtue of publishing them, I get to read and enjoy them as well. I’ve learned so much from your amazing articles. Thing is–and I’m sure anyone who’s been blogging for a few years can relate–we receive mountains of SPAM guest post and sponsored posts emails from (I’m guessing?) robots. Or androids. Or possibly Skynet…the point is, anything you can do to make your email stand out by showing you’re a human and you have a real radio article would help. This is especially important if it’s your first time contacting me.
If you have a specific technical question–especially one where you’re trying to gather input to make a quick decision–consider leaving a comment/question in an appropriate post before contacting me. The SWLing Post has a daily readership in excess of 7,000 individuals; if you post a question in the comments, there’s a strong likelihood it will be answered in short order! [There’s an even better chance it’ll be a more accurate response than you’d get from me!]
If you want to contact, me feel free to do so! Just understand if it takes time to reply. I especially enjoy your kind comments, compliments, and encouragement. Please don’t stop sending those. 🙂
I actually caught up with my email backlog this weekend only to discover this morning that (at some point a few weeks ago) Google started sending loads of legitimate readers emails to my SPAM folder. I rescued about 52 messages from SPAM this morning. If you haven’t gotten a reply from me, this is likely why. I’m going to attempt to work through many of these this afternoon.
3.) Thank you…
As always, thank you. The SWLing Post is a labor of love and I’m fueled by your kind words and, yes, by your generosity via our Coffee Fund and Patreon. The SWLing Post will always be free to read, and free of annoying pop-up ads. Never feel like you have to support the site–especially if you have a tight budget–but I certainly appreciate your support if you can. I’m still amazed each day by the incredible radio community that has developed around this site. It’s truly an honor to be its curator and custodian.
If you’re one of the 1,700 people who have an email subscription to the SWLing Post via Feedburner, please take note:
No more Feedburner
In July 2021, the email delivery system we’ve used for daily email newsletters, Feedburner, is scaling back their operations and will discontinue email delivery. This means, if you subscribe to the SWLing Post via Feedburner, email newsletters will soon stop.
Feedburner is owned by Google and has been a free email subscription service. While it has had issues in the past (Google actually dropped almost all support for it a decade ago!) many website owners like me continued to use it because it “just works” and has a very simple interface.
Are you subscribed to the SWLing Post via Feedburner?
If you receive a daily email digest from the SWLing Post and, at the bottom of the email, you find the following footer, then you are subscribed via Feedburner:
If you don’t see this footer, then you may be subscribed via WordPress and, most likely, don’t receive a daily digest, but an email with each post as they are published.
A new email subscription system
I am looking into a new system for email newsletters that should pair very nicely with the SWLing Post.
My policy with any changes on the SWLing Post is that they will always be meaningful upgrades.
There are no free email subscriptions services that can handle the number of subscribers we have and that meet my requirements for being simple to use, containing no annoying non-relevant ads and pop-ups, and respecting subscriber privacy.
I’ve been looking into the best paid services in the business: companies that insure subscriber privacy and have a reliable track record. I’m in the process of finalizing purchase now. This will cost at least $30/month, but I’m happy to pay that knowing that the service is benchmark.
In the next few days, I’ll post details with a subscription link to the new service.
While I have a spreadsheet with all 1,700+ email subscribers, I’d rather you sign up for the service directly if you decide to use it. This will cut down on any bounce-back emails and set it up initially with a clean list.
Spread the radio love
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