As you sit there at your computer reading this page, you may be wondering why KNLS continues to broadcast via shortwave radio instead of using Internet audio streaming or other new technology. The answer is simple.
Over six and a half billion people live in our world today. They’re scattered throughout a complex maze of geography, languages, national boundaries, and diverse cultural backgrounds. Although you have access to the Internet, most people do not. Of course, the numbers are always changing, but more than likely, less than twenty percent of the world’s population can access this page on the Web and only those who know English can read it.
However, estimates say that there are about three billion shortwave receivers worldwide. In years’ past, many of those were in China and the old Soviet Union. Once those governments opened the window to the rest of the world—and with the rise of the Internet—many people predicted that shortwave broadcasting would sharply decline.
In fact, the reverse has happened. The International Broadcasting Bureau estimates that at any given time of the day or night, one billion shortwave receivers are turned on. In some places in the world, car radios come equipped with shortwave bands. For millions of people around the world, shortwave radio is the only means they have to listen to the rest of the world. And for millions more, though they have local AM and FM radio available, they tune in to shortwave radio to listen to programs that originate outside their own countries.
Unlike other forms of mass media such as satellite, television, AM/FM radio, printed material, and the Internet, only shortwave radio signals can be sent without program content being restricted in any way.
Shortwave radio transmissions are directed up, not out. They bounce off the ionosphere, hit the ground, bounce back up to the ionosphere, back down to earth—each of these “bounces” is referred to as a “skip”—and in three “skips” the signal we send from Anchor Point, Alaska, comes down loud and clear in the heart of China and Russia. Shortwave signals cross political, social, racial, economic, and cultural barriers. This means that shortwave is the perfect medium for carrying our words to the international community.
You have the option of listening to our broadcast on this website. But you can also listen on shortwave. The world is listening.