WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Euro Golden Oldies on Shortwave

I've lamented before about the disappearance from shortwave of some of the very finest international broadcasting stations, although in some cases (Radio Canada International, Radio Netherlands Worldwide), even the web broadcasting has crashed.

Once upon a time - as in the 1960's and 1970's - it wasn't at all unusual to find American youngsters listening to shortwave; I knew several in my neighborhood. Indeed, some of us treasure fond memories of shows on international stations ("Radio Canada Shortwave Club" on Radio Canada International; "His & Hers" and "DX Jukebox" on Radio Netherlands; the "Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round" on SBC Swiss Radio International; "Moscow Mailbag" on then Radio Moscow; "DX Partyline" on Ecuador's evangelical broadcaster, HCJB; etc.), alongside memories of local rock stations.

One can still pick up English-language shortwave broadcasts from the BBC and Deutsche Welle, albeit targeted primarily at Africa and Asia. Radio Romania International remains the one European shortwave outlier, with easy-to-receive, shortwave broadcasts. Radio Prague left the airwaves last year, but still puts up great content on the web.

My favorite station of all-time, Radio Netherlands, signed off shortwave & the internet earlier this year, recommitted to broadcasting for "captive" countries. Radio Netherlands, in its heyday, projected the home country to the world far disproportionate to that country's size. Along with Swiss Radio International, Radio Sweden, Radio Canada International, and a few others, RN (later RNW) might have been the most popular international broadcaster in the United States. Along with a few other things, Radio Netherlands sparked my interest in a career in broadcasting.

So, it is with great pleasure that I've noted a private station, "The Mighty KBC" -- with studios in the Netherlands, but transmitting from Bulgaria -- has begun broadcasting to North America on our Saturday nights (UTC Sundays).

00:00 -- 02:00 UTC = 7--9 p.m., our time, on 9450 kiloHertz.

The format is Euro pop & rock, particularly from the Dutch music scene. I always knew Shocking Blue ("Venus"), Golden Earring ("Radar Love"), and Focus ("Hocus Pocus") were Dutch bands. I never realized until this weekend that the Tee Set ("Ma Belle Amie") was until I heard that song again Saturday night.

Dust off your old shortwave radio and try tuning in again this Saturday night. If not this Saturday, definitely December 22nd. (If your receiver is so old that you don't have digital read-out, 9450 kHz. is around the beginning of the 31 meter band.)

Here's a link to the Mighty KBC website. (It's a truckers' station in Europe)...


Meanwhile, as noted some months ago on this hobbies blog, the Voice of Russia and particularly China Radio International continue to reign supreme on shortwave, and increasingly on local transmitters in target countries. They realize many people outside the West don't have access to the internet, but still listen to radio. It's still a battle for hearts and minds. I happened to listen to China Radio International's Filipino-language service Sunday morning (our time). CRI played some music from The Carpenters ("Superstar") and also said, "God bless" near the end of the transmission. Go figure!

Posted at 1:57pm on December 3, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 9:04am
Thanks for the update Allan. I continue to have one Grundig in the bathroom and one in the basement. Alas, I have only used them for AM in the past year. I'll check out 9450 this Saturday.

Tue, Dec 25, 2012 1:14am
I miss shortwave. As in the movie Independence Day, it would be an effective method of communication that would fly under the radar of an alien monitoring all digital traffic.

I can see where it would be hard to justify the cost. But as with any piece of childhood, it is hard to see it go.

Allan, I tried back then but was never successful. Did you ever catch Radio Albania? I never had their schedule, so spent hours scouring the bands...

Allan Loudell
Thu, Dec 27, 2012 5:31am
Radio Tirana (Albania) remains on-the-air in English, typically on the 49 or 41 meter bands.

Last time I listened, Radio Tirana was transmitting on 7425 kiloHertz at 01:30 UTC = 8:30 P.M., EST.

Not exactly the most interesting international broadcasters, unless you have a special interest in Albania.

During the Cold War period, however, Radio Tirana - China's one ally in Europe - decried the United States AND the Soviet Union. Then, when China moved from Maoism to authoritarian capitalism, Radio Tirana condemned the Chinese as well!

I have several Radio Tirana Q.S.L.'s in my collection, from both the Cold War period and today...

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