With their website reportedly available at only 17% of normal levels in Russia, the UK broadcaster has revived radio technology to reach Ukraine and parts of Russia
- BBC website ‘blocked’ in Russia as shortwave radio brought back to cover Ukraine war
- Can You Listen to Shortwave Radio Online?
- Whatever Happened to Shortwave Radio?
Listeners can tune their receivers to 15735kHz from 18:00-20:00 and 5875 kHz from 00:00-02:00, Kyiv time.BBC News
04 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
Access to BBC websites has been restricted in Russia, hours after the corporation brought back its shortwave radio service in Ukraine and Russia to ensure civilians in both countries can access news during the invasion.
State communications watchdog Roskomnadzor restricted access to BBC Russia’s online presence, as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet, the state-owned Russian RIA news agency reported on Friday.
According to Globalcheck, a service that tracks internet censorship in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the availability of the entire BBC website was at 17% of normal levels in Russia, which suggests some services have been blocked.
BBC Russia also reported that Meta, formerly known as Facebook, also appeared to be blocked, as was Google Play.
The signs the BBC was being blocked emerged hours after the BBC’s decision to revert to a mostly obsolete form of broadcasting, broadcasting four hours of its world service, read in English, to Ukraine and parts of Russia each day.
“It’s often said truth is the first casualty of war,” BBC director general Tim Davie said in announcing the move on Thursday. “In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust … millions more Russians are turning to the BBC.”
The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle also reported in Russian that the BBC site was not working in Russia.
The BBC’s shortwave radio broadcast can be found on 15735 kHz from 6pm to 8pm and on 5875 kHz from midnight to 2am, Ukraine time.
The BBC’s move to bring back shortwave came days after Russia launched two missiles on Kyiv’s TV tower, killing five people and knocking out some access to news and broadcasts.
Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, wrote on Twitter that the Kremlin was preparing to cut off communications and spread “massive fake messages that the country’s leadership has given up”.
Russia has clamped down on public dissent at home, while Kremlin-backed media organisations such as RT have been pulled internationally. The Kremlin has complained about the BBC’s coverage of the invasion, with Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claiming without evidence that the BBC “plays a determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.
BBC – Global Short Wave FrequenciesBBC Short Wave
Zakharova also claimed Russia had been the victim of “unprecedented information terrorism” that was “creating hysteria around Ukrainian events”.
The BBC has reported huge increases in its audiences in Ukraine and Russia since the invasion began. In the last week of February, viewership of BBC’s Ukrainian language website more than doubled from a year earlier to 3.9 million visitors. Its Russian-language website has reached a record 10.7 million visitors over the past week, more than tripling its weekly 2022 average.
Shortwave radio uses frequencies that can travel long distances and are accessible on portable radios, making it the go-to method to reach listeners in conflict zones throughout history. Shortwave was used extensively in Europe to broadcast propaganda during the second world war, and usage peaked during the cold war.
But as radio technology developed, along with the mass adoption of online news, shortwave fell out of favour around the world. After 76 years, the BBC World Service ended its shortwave broadcast to Europe in 2008.
Press Association contributed to this report
March 1, 2022 by Justin Soriano
If you’re wondering whether you can listen to shortwave radio online or not, this article will provide a detailed explanation with valuable knowledge right away.
Before the modern technology revolution, the demand for listening to shortwave radio was not as high as it used to be. However, it is difficult to ignore that forums dedicated to shortwave radio broadcasts still appeal to many people.
So, can you listen to shortwave radio online? Furthermore, how do you listen to shortwave radio over the internet? By the end of this article, you should learn some valuable tips and advice that are sure to be of help.
Listening to Shortwave Radio Online: Is It Possible
Yes, we can listen to shortwave radio online. There has been a surge of shortwave radio forums or social media groups that offer relevant services and channels.
When it comes to your listening experience, hardly a difference can be found between online and traditional radio. However, listening to shortwave radio over the internet appears to be more beneficial and convenient. Besides, it compensates for the limitations of conventional radios and gives listeners a complete listening experience.
The development of online shortwave radio
Witnessing the dominance of Internet platforms, some may think that shortwave radios are about to be completely “wiped out” since their popularity has decreased significantly.
Yet, listening to the radio still wins the hearts of millions around the world. According to statistics, 92% of users listen to AM/FM radio through airwaves, while TV viewership is slightly lower at 87%.
As such, there are still a large number of people who are sympathetic to traditional radio.
That said, shortwave radios are not meant to challenge the development of the Internet. In fact, people have found a way to combine both platforms, leading to online shortwave radio forums and websites.
As mentioned before, online shortwave radio stations can help you deal with the limitations of traditional radio. All you need is a secure Internet connection to relinquish all worries and anxieties of low-quality sound and unstable signals.
In addition, online radio systems provide further support in terms of program filtering and schedules. This means that you can playback whatever radio program you like without the need to listen in real-time.
Advantages of online radios
In the past, it’s not easy to listen to traditional shortwave radios. You’d need a large space and a specialized device, not to mention other complicated steps to set up the radio perfectly.
Meanwhile, with shortwave radio stations online, things have become more straightforward than ever. No more cumbersome equipment, only a smart mobile device connected to the internet is enough for you to get access anytime, anywhere.
- Speed & stability
Which would you choose between an online radio application on your phone and the manual operation of turning on your traditional radio? I guess we all know the ultimate answer.
Indeed, listening to the radio online not only saves you a lot of time but also helps you avoid frustration caused by unexpected signal interference.
As the proliferation of mobile devices appeals to millions in the world, it is believed that the trend of moving to online radio is inevitable. If you encounter too much interference when using a traditional shortwave radio in your area, tuning in and listening to shortwave radio online is by far one of the ideal choices.
Where Can You Listen to Shortwave Radio Online
You should find a whole host of online shortwave radio forums that offer this service for free in this day and age.
Is this your first time getting used to the world of online shortwave radio? No worries, browse through our below list for further information on shortwave radio stations online free sources:
- BBC World Service (UK)
- National Public Radio (USA)
- Radio Australia (AU)
- Deutsche Welle (GER)
- Radio France (FR)
- Dutch radio
- RTE (IRE)
- Radio New Zealand
- Radio Voice of Russia (RUS)
- United Nations (UN)
- Swedish Radio (SWE)
While some online radio forums are dedicated to one country or region, others may specialize in broadcasting a specific category or niche.
For example, SDR Space is a forum that only focuses on the recording enthusiast community. Their servers allow automatic connection to any shortwave radio equipment. If you have a shortwave receiver and an SDR (software-defined radio) system running on your computer, listening to online shortwave radio should be no problem.
How to Listen to Shortwave Radio Online Free on the Computer
Due to the advantages introduced above, most people would prefer to listen to shortwave radio on computers over the internet rather than the traditional way.
To better understand how to listen to shortwave radio, you can refer to the following video:
Basically, you can follow the following steps to listen to online radio on your computer more efficiently and methodically.
- First, prepare a device connected to the internet.
- Visit a website that offers shortwave radio channels.
- Take a look at the schedule and choose to listen to your favorite program.
- Use an online tuner to access more functions, such as finding broadcasts in your native language.
Can You Listen to the Online Radio on Your IPhone
Yes, open your App Store and search for useful platforms to listen to online radio every day. Here, we would like to introduce 2 of the highest-rated apps at the moment.
- myTuner Radio
This is probably the most famous and convenient app for iPhone users. It helps you search for shortwave and ultra-short wave radio broadcast servers while still allowing access to normal AM/FM radio channels.
If this is your first time using it, you’d be surprised to know that it provides up to 50,000 radio channels, along with country and territory filters for you to choose your favorites.
- Shortwave WTWW
Unlike myTuner, this application is only dedicated to shortwave radio service, not AM/FM radio. Also, it is one of the oldest radio platforms on the App Store, so its graphic interface and sound effects bear a significant resemblance to traditional radios.
When using Shortwave WTWW, you can adjust the wavelength to tune in and pick your desired radio channels.
BY JAMES CARELESS
PUBLISHED: MARCH 8, 2010 ⋅ UPDATED: FEBRUARY 10, 2022
As recently as 25 years ago, shortwave radio was a preferred source of breaking international news in North America.
Most hours of the day, the BBC World Service boomed in, especially at night on 6175 kHz. There was also Radio Moscow — once the mouthpiece of old-style Soviet propaganda — the Voice of America, Radio Netherlands, Deutsche Welle from West Germany and Radio Berlin International from East Germany.
If you wanted to know what was happening in Cuba, Tel Aviv or what was then called Bombay, you could tune to Radio Havana, Kol Yisrael or All India Radio directly.
120 million people
At the time, the BBC estimated global shortwave listenership to be in excess of 120 million people weekly. Granted, most of that audience was outside of North America. But back when there was no awareness of the Internet and no international satellite TV, shortwave was where many news-hungry North Americans went first.
Scan across the shortwave bands and you’ll find that much has changed. In North America and Europe, many of the major broadcasters have disappeared or minimized their presence. In fact, the BBC World Service no longer beams programming via shortwave to the Americas or most of Europe.
“There has been a massive decline in shortwave listenership, especially in Europe and North America,” said Andy Sennitt. He is one of the world’s most respected experts on shortwave radio and the editor in charge of the Radio Netherlands Worldwide “Media Network” Web site.
“Media Network” began in 1981 as a weekly shortwave program; in 2000 that show ended in favor of its current online presence.
“Other regions vary from country to country,” said Sennitt. “Shortwave is still significant in much of Africa, South Asia and parts of Latin America.”
It is easy to blame the Internet and international satellite television for the decline in shortwave radio listenership. But shortwave was in trouble before these new media took hold, said Larry Magne.
He is publisher of Passport to World Band Radio, the annual shortwave radio tuning guide that thrived for 25 years but suspended publication in 2009.
“We reached an apex in shortwave radio listenership in 1989, when the Cold War ended,” said Magne. “Shortwave audiences have been in decline since then.”
“AM broadcasting is expensive, and, since the end of the Cold War, many Western governments don’t see the need to spend large amounts on transmitting their output on shortwave,” said Sennitt. “As a result, some have closed down their shortwave services altogether. Others have created satellite services and/or partner with local stations in key targets, and most now stream their programming on the Internet.”
Magne said he believes it was the BBC World Service that speeded shortwave’s decline in North America. In 2001, then-BBC World Service Director Mark Byford decided that local AM/FM rebroadcasting, satellite radio and the emerging Internet made it possible to stop shortwave broadcasts to North America. (Byford is now BBC deputy director general.)
The move, hotly contested by avid shortwave listeners, had a domino effect.
“After the BBC ended its North American broadcasts, other broadcasters followed suit,” said Magne. “The result is that North Americans don’t get much in the way of shortwave programming these days. Spectrum that once carried international news and programming is now host to U.S. fundamentalist religious stations.”
Kim Andrew Elliott, a former VOA contributor who reports on international broadcasting at his Web site, www.kimandrewelliott.com, adds that BBC World Service was attracting more listeners via U.S. public radio stations than via shortwave when the shutdown occurred. “Those FM listeners are, however, not exposed to as wide a variety of BBC programming than was available on shortwave,” he said.
In Elliott’s day job as audience research analyst for the International Broadcasting Bureau, he has seen audiences migrate to FM overseas as well.
“For example, a 2009 survey shows that of Cambodians who listen to VOA Khmer, 63 percent do so via FM affiliates in the country, 31 percent via the medium-wave relay from Thailand, and only 6 percent via shortwave,” Elliott said.
He also noted that in a 2003 survey in India, 7 percent of respondents said they listened to shortwave radio yesterday, and 7 percent to FM. By 2008, that changed to 18 percent for FM and 2 percent for shortwave.
(Under current broadcasting rules, private FM stations in India cannot carry news programming, which means VOA, BBC, RFI and other international broadcasters do not have local FM partners, as they do in other nations.)
International radio now
Today, the BBC and other international radio broadcasters are indeed available on the Web and satellite radio. But most of the attention that went to radio services is now directed toward Web sites and international television stations.
Meanwhile, the attempt to save money by distributing international programs to domestic broadcasters is backfiring, said German shortwave expert Kai Ludwig.
“Often they cease because the programming from the foreign broadcaster is just no longer considered as appealing,” said Ludwig. “For example, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty lost its full-coverage FM rebroadcasts in Ukraine when their partner station reformatted to adult contemporary music.”
Even when domestic stations do carry international radio programs, they cannot match the coverage and reach of shortwave radio, he added. “Online streaming is of course a valuable addition, but here the competition is just overwhelming.”
Meanwhile, the religious stations that have moved onto shortwave do not appear to be making money from it.
“Are people listening? The answer can be found in such developments like Christian Vision withdrawing its programming from transmitters in Germany and Australia; HCJB not replacing the shortwave plant it recently closed in Ecuador, and Evangeliums-Rundfunk, the German partner of Trans World Radio no longer using shortwave,” Ludwig said.
There had been hopes that digital shortwave receivers using the Digital Radio Mondiale standard, which do not suffer analog shortwave’s traditional audio problems, would be the savior of the medium.
Unfortunately, “DRM was a decade too late, and badly marketed,” said Sennitt. “It has its uses for specialist tasks — such as Radio New Zealand delivering its shortwave programs to Pacific partner stations — but as a mainstream shortwave broadcasting platform it’s as dead as a dodo. … The other problem, of course, is that the shortwave receiver companies didn’t keep their side of the bargain to develop affordable mass-produced DRM receivers.”
As well, “in many cases I’ve heard DRM stations using telephone-grade bitrates because it’s the only thing that would get through to the target,” said Elliott. “Higher bitrates, with better audio, often don’t get through.” Given these facts, Andy Sennitt said he expects “shortwave broadcasting to Europe and North America will be almost totally phased out, but there will still be shortwave services to Africa and parts of Asia.” These services will continue until those regions develop radio, TV and Internet infrastructures akin to the developed world.
For all its transmission expense and audio problems, analog shortwave radio has one clear advantage over the Internet and domestic radio/TV: It cannot be easily blocked — even when states try to disrupt its signals using jamming transmitters.
Webcasts can be filtered or blocked through IP geolocation techniques that block access to sites based upon the IP address of the site or the user.
Access to local radio transmitters can be withdrawn by officials. For example, Radio Azadliq, the RFE/RL service for Azerbaijan, along with VOA and the BBC World Service, was forced off local FM and medium-wave frequencies at year-end 2008 after its often critical coverage of that year’s elections.
“The Internet, satellite signals and placement AM/FM can all be blocked by a determined officialdom,” said Magne. “Yet properly executed analog shortwave tends to get through when others fail. Because of this, international broadcasters have the potential of saying pretty much what they please, when they please, and to whom they please; they don’t have to self-censor their messages to appease gatekeepers.
“According to Lech Walesa, Václav Havel and other freedom leaders behind the former Iron Curtain, this ability to circumvent gatekeeping was the main reason communism was defeated in Eastern Europe,” he added.
Information is still being censored not just in North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but Tunisia, Vietnam, Cuba and China, among other nations. Shortwave advocates argue that their favored platform remains relevant at a time when outside information is as important as it was in the Cold War.