So, you’re interested in shortwave (SW) radio stations.
Perhaps you want to start tuning into shortwave radio, and you’re looking for the best stations to listen to.
Maybe you’re thinking about starting your own shortwave radio station.
Whatever the case, here is your guide to shortwave radio stations.
Best Shortwave Radio Stations In The US
There are plenty of shortwave radio stations broadcasting from the States, though they aren’t all catering to local listeners. There are many stations that broadcast in languages other than English (or in addition to English, as the case might be) as well.
Additionally, many of the stations are government owned or broadcast religious content. With that in mind, here’s a small sample of the many stations you can listen to in the States. In most cases, you will need to Google for frequencies (website or Wikipedia entries are relatively reliable sources – but we’ve provided frequencies where possible).
This international shortwave radio station is located near Anchor Point, Alaska. They are operated by the non-profit World Christian Broadcasting. Their 20-hour per day programming includes Christian-themed content in English, Chinese, and Russian.
WWRB stands for World Wide Religious Broadcasting and is a shortwave international broadcasting station located in Morrison, Tennessee. It’s a subsidiary of Airline Transport Communication Incorporated, and most of their content is based around religious and Christian programming.
- Global-I: 3.195 MHz
- Global-II: 5.05 MHz
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, WWCR broadcasts on roughly 12 frequencies. For the most part, they lease their four transmitters to religious speakers and organizations, but they also air a few hours of original content per week.
Also known as We Transmit World Wide, WTWW primarily broadcasts religious programming at a couple of frequencies, and oldies/classics on another frequency. The station is in Lebanon, Tennessee.
- 5.085 MHz
- 5.83 MHz
- 15.81 MHz
WRNO (or WRNO Worldwide) is a commercial shortwave radio station operating out of New Orleans, Louisiana.
- 7505 15420 kHz
WRMI (Radio Miami International) broadcasts out of Okeechobee, Florida. It’s a commercial shortwave radio station, and they sell airtime to various businesses and organizations. WRMI also relays international news stations like Radio Slovakia International, Radio France International, Radio Ukraine International, and Radio Tirana, and many others (Prague, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and more).
- 13 m 21.525 MHz (Africa)
- 19 m 15.770 MHz (Eastern North America, Europe, Middle East, North Africa)
- 25 m 11.825 MHz (Eastern North America)
- 25 m 11.580 MHz (Eastern North America, Europe, Middle East, North Africa)
- 25 m 11.710 MHz (Latin America)
- 31 m 9.955 MHz (Latin America)
- 31 m 9.395 MHz (Eastern North America, Western Europe)
- 41 m 7.780 MHz (Eastern North America, Europe, Middle East, North Africa)
- 41 m 7.730 MHz (Mexico, Western North America)
- 41 m 7.570 MHz (Western North America)
- 49 m 5.985 MHz (Central America, Mexico, Caribbean)
- 49 m 5.960 MHz (Cuba, Caribbean, Central America)
- 49 m 5.850 MHz (Western North America)
- 60 m 4.980 (Mexico, Western North America)
Broadcasting from Red Lion, Pennsylvania, WINB is a brokered Christian station. It originally started broadcasting in October 1962, which makes it the oldest private shortwave radio station in the US.
- 9.265 MHz
WHRI, or World Harvest Radio International, is based in Cypress Creek, South Carolina. Most of their programming is based around conservative religious content.
- Angel-1: 6.175, 7.315, 9.605, 9.895, 11.565, 11.775, 17.51, 21.63
- Angel-2: 5.92, 6.195, 7.315, 9.825, 9.84, 9.895, 11.635, 17.51
- Angel-3: 9.93, 9.965
- Angel-4: 9.625, 9.96, 11.705, 15.4, 15.5, 17.8
- Angel-5: 9.93, 9.96, 9.965, 9.975
- Angel-6: 6.175, 7.385, 9.795, 9.86, 15.16
WEWN is owned by EWTN, a large Roman Catholic international broadcaster. They are based in Irondale, Alabama, and broadcast from Vandiver, Alabama. Presently, they transmit English programming to India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. They have Spanish coverage for Mexico, South America, Cuba, and the Caribbean.
WBCQ operates out of Monticello, Maine. It is owned by Allan Weiner, who also owns WXME AM and WBCQ-FM. Their programming is based around talk shows and other shows created by commercial networks and pirate radio broadcasters.
- 3265 MHz
- 6.16 MHz
- 7.49 MHz
- 9.33 MHz
KVOH (Kay-Vo) is also known as the “Voice of Hope.” This is a Christian/Gospel radio station (with English and Spanish content) that operates out of Rancho Simi, California.
- 9975 17775
TWR, or Trans World Radio, uses a mix of mediumwave, high-powered AM, shortwave transmitters, local FM stations, cable, satellite, internet, and mobile device tech for their broadcasting efforts. TWR is a multinational evangelical Christian media distributor.
FEBC (or Far East Broadcasting Company) is an international Christian radio network who has its headquarters in La Mirada, California. Their programming targets the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. They have shortwave broadcasts in different languages, transmitting from Bocaue, Bulacan. Philippines.
Best Shortwave Radio Stations In The UK
There are numerous shortwave broadcasters in the UK, but admittedly, they can be a little harder to find online. Frequency lists are easier to come by compared to specific stations that provide programming to their listeners.
With that in mind, we thought we’d at least highlight the following:
BBC World Service
BBC World Service, as you can imagine, is owned by the BBC. Their programming includes news, speech, and discussions in more than 40 languages using a variety of platforms, including shortwave.
What Is A Shortwave Radio Station?
Shortwave (or SW) radio refers to a type of radio transmission utilizing shortwave frequencies: in the 3,000 to 30,000 kilohertz frequency range. These types of radio waves can and do use reflection or refraction to extend their range, also known as “skip” propagation or skywave. This allows for greater range than line-of-sight propagation.
In simple terms, it means listening to radio in the high frequency wavelength.
Despite the name SW can be used for long distance communication. It is commonly used to broadcast voice and music covering large areas (sometimes even entire continents and bigger areas than that).
As you’re about to find out, many shortwave radio initiatives are government owned, or primarily feature religious broadcasting. There are clandestine operations targeting certain regions as well.
Another way of thinking about it is this. Before we had podcasts, we had shortwave radio broadcasts. SW gave individuals a way of sharing their voice and developing their own radio shows.
SW radio isn’t new, and these days it is considered outdated by many. But even major corporations continue to broadcast via shortwave (along with other platforms), and it is still possible to get your voice on the air using the technology.
Anything else we could say about the inner workings of shortwave radio is highly technical and mostly academic, but if you love the science behind how things work, it might be worth Googling and doing further reading on.
Of course, we will be looking at other aspects of shortwave radio here, so keep reading…
How Do I Listen To Shortwave Radio?
If you want to listen to shortwave radio, you’ll need a shortwave radio kit. You can build your own, but these days, as you might expect, there are plenty of pre-made solutions as well.
It’s important to note that there are a variety of factors that can affect which shortwave radio stations you can listen to and when. Given that the medium utilizes reflections and refractions, this should not come as a surprise.
Some of these factors include your equipment, the time of day, as well as your location (rural or urban). Also, rarely do shortwave radio broadcasts go 24/7. Many stations only broadcast at selected times during the day.
As result, sometimes, it can be difficult to find stations to listen to. Programming details can often be found online, so if in doubt, Google for broadcaster information.
We’ll be looking at some shortwave radio stations you can tune into a little later.
Anyway, as with most things, shortwave radio needs to be experienced to be understood. If what we’re talking about here occurs to you as a little “nebulous” or obscure, it will make a lot more sense once you get your SW radio kit and start tuning in to shortwave radio.
Why Would I Want To Listen To Shortwave Radio?
These days, there are many ways to connect with your peers and social groups – social media, forums, email, SMS/text messaging, blogs, and more. And to be fair, these are great ways to create and maintain connections.
But despite the convenience of the many new channels available, no doubt you would agree that each provide a bit of a different experience, right? And not all of them are conducive to more personal connections.
Which is one of the reasons people still love shortwave radio. Yes, it’s still a great way to communicate with people across the world. But it offers a different kind of experience. You can get different perspectives on news, what’s happening in the world, politics, religion and spirituality, and more.
Wikipedia even lists multiple clandestine shortwave radio stations targeting different regions like China, Cuba, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, and more. We don’t have anything further to say about that, but you can draw your own conclusions.
The point is that when listening to local or national news, you’re always going to get a perspective that’s filtered through your country or region. But by listening to shortwave radio, you can get another view on the events unfolding in a specific area. Oftentimes, you will find that different cultures and countries react differently to news items than you might expect.
Again, it might seem like the internet would be the best resource for getting different perspectives on news and events, but this is much harder than you might expect.
Not only does the internet automatically feed you local news, but most news outlets also share the same perspective, especially these days. Though not well known, it’s a confirmed fact that 15 billionaires own most if not all news companies in America. So, finding a fresh viewpoint is harder than it sounds.
If you like to stay informed, connect with people on a global level, and get a more worldly outlook on news and events, then listening to shortwave radio is sure to prove a rewarding pastime.
Shortwave radio certainly isn’t for everyone, but it offers an experience you can’t find elsewhere.
How Can I Start A Shortwave Radio Station?
As noted earlier, it is possible to start your own shortwave radio station. But it is necessary to consider things from multiple angles, including practical, legal, and business model considerations before jumping in. Here is an overview of the steps you’ll need to take to get your shortwave radio station up and running.
First, if you want to get into radio, it’s necessary to apply for a broadcasting license with the Federal Communications Commission website. This means filling out all required paperwork. Once your application is approved, you should receive a shortwave radio frequency for broadcasting.
Second, setting up a radio station costs money. There are many creative sources you can tap into, and you can even self-fund your operations if you have the necessary resources. For many, the expense of setting up will prove daunting, so they will need to offset the startup costs with investors or other sources of funding.
Third, you will need to outfit your station with the necessary equipment. If you have the funds, this part isn’t overly complicated. You should be able to find a shortwave radio setup kit online. When getting your equipment set up, be sure to follow instructions exactly and you shouldn’t encounter any issues.
You can also create your own shortwave receiver and antennae if you know your way around radio and electronics (DIY isn’t for everyone, but some people love it).
Fourth, generating revenue is generally a critical part of sustaining a radio station. The technical term for this would be “business plan,” but for the most part, it’s about figuring out what the format of your broadcasts are going to be, who is going to listen to your broadcasts (target audience), and whether you will have advertisers, community fundraisers, or other initiatives to keep your efforts sustainable.
You’ll also want to plan the programming and content, whether you’ll primarily be creating it yourself, hiring on-air personalities, outsourcing the content from elsewhere, or a combination of approaches.
Will you be broadcasting music? Then will need to purchase proper licensing. This can generally be done through a Performance Rights Organization. In the States, you would likely go through ASCAP. In the UK, PRS for Music is preeminent.
This, of course, goes hand in hand with the final step, and that is staffing. Who do you need working at your station? Admin staff, janitors, sales, DJs, on-air personalities, or otherwise? What roles will you be filling, and what roles will others be filling?
We talked about funding earlier, but if you want to hire people and pay for marketing and advertising (including a website), that’s going to cost something too. As you’re probably starting to see, starting a shortwave radio station doesn’t need to be expensive, but it isn’t cheap either!
Shortwave Radio Stations, Final Thoughts
And now you know more about shortwave radio than most people ever will.
We wish you all the best on your journey, whether it’s finding a great shortwave radio, joining and interacting with the community, or even setting up your own station!