Chris Warren of Off Grid Ham put up a nice entreaty earlier this month for the reinstatement of truthful, international, shortwave radio broadcasting like Voice of America of old. Of course, maybe no one can agree on what constitutes truthful, news broadcasting any more.
…Of special note, recent data has communist China broadcasting more than two times as much international programming as Voice of America. We are being beaten at our own game.
The Golden Years of shortwave is well behind us, thanks to the internet. Computers propagate news and information more quickly. Internet audio quality is far superior to shortwave broadcasts and the listening audience can leave comments, repost articles, and actively participate as opposed to listen passively.
But there’s a catch.
The internet affords little privacy, anonymity, or security. IP addresses can be tracked. It’s fairly easy to know who is accessing what content. Plus, the internet depends on a complex system of routers, servers, and data circuits to connect them. Oppressive governments can and do control what information is accessible within their borders and severely punish anyone who crosses the line.
Shortwave broadcasts have no borders.
The success of the shortwave broadcasts of yesteryear was due to the fact that radio has no borders and defeats attempts at censorship. No one can know for sure who is listening because a received signal cannot be tracked to any individual. Somebody, somewhere can tell when and where you do anything on the internet. But if you had a radio on, who would know? Unless you have Amazon Alexa or some similar connected device eavesdropping in the background no one can tell what you listen to on the radio…