Thursday, March 01, 2012

The slow death of shortwave radio

With the advent of the Internet, Digital Audio Broadcasting and satellite transmission, shortwave radio is in decline. Even the BBC World Service, which once covered the entire globe, has cut back on its services. But the demise of shortwave will be missed by many millions who regularly tune in from remote locations.

1 comment:

  1. It's really sad, too, because it's one of the last ways people of all walks of life could gather, virtually, on equal footing. Though there are many who can't afford to buy a radio, they are designed to be shared, so usage has permeated more social strata than computers. Many more very poor listeners could usually manage to post a letter to a shortwave station, get a mention on their DX program, and get a QSL card in return than can get access to a computer, I fear. Computer-based social networks are affluence-centric, though that is changing, slowly, thanks to ubiquitous cell phone use throughout the world.

    But even in that case, the networks don't extend much beyond your circles of acquaintance, and I think we are losing something in the process. I guess online forums cast a pretty wide net, but most seem to be elaborate games of oneupsmanship or, worse, just opportunities to be target marketed.

    There is something thrilling, and equalizing, about tuning into a DX program and hearing greetings from every country in the world, strangers who want to become friends, all sharing the same experience by listening to the radio, and I wonder if we'll ever get it again.