BBG Shortwave: Sorting the Fact From the Fiction

The BBG's Greenville, North Carolina transmitting station.

The BBG's Greenville, North Carolina transmitting station.

The BBG Strategy Blog takes a look shortwave, one of the hottest topics in U.S. international broadcasting:

Once the only tool, shortwave is now just one of many in the distribution toolbox. But when, where, and how much the BBG should use SW has become a hot topic…

Shortwave. It’s among the most hotly debated topics inside and outside the BBG. Once the single go-to method of distribution, the medium is now just one of many tools employed by BBG broadcasters.

The debate on the funding and promise of shortwave merits careful research and analysis as well as accurate data. Readers of online commentary may struggle to sort fact from fiction, so here’s a breakdown of recent arguments.

Radio – including shortwave – remains a viable tool for BBG broadcasters. The decision to use shortwave will be driven by target audience habits, market forces, and available transmission opportunities in each individual market.


The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).

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