There was a time when many of us in radio would spend evenings turning knobs on shortwave receivers filled with glowing tubes, staining over the static to hear exotic music and news broadcast in foreign languages. We strung wire antennas in the attic, built Heathkits, and coveted QSL postcards returned by overseas broadcasters in exchange for reception reports. Ah, those were the days.
Today, thanks to the miracle of the internet, zillions of broadcasters spanning every country (and every spare bedroom) can be heard on computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Since the first Gulf War, Public Radio Tulsa has been broadcasting the BBC World Service overnights on Public Radio 89.5-1 to provide a different global perspective than what is normally heard on American media. We so believe this is vital to the discourse of democracy that we dedicated a HD Radio channel to the BBC 24/7: World Radio 89.5-3. Far from being exotic transmissions of yesteryear, these BBC transmissions in English draw upon the world's largest team of reporters, heard in static-free clarity.
But there's another source of continuous English-language world news and music, presented by the national radio services of countries from around the globe: World Radio Network. Headquartered in south London, WRN aggregates these transmissions and presents them both live and on-demand to your favorite internet-connected device.
When you haven't learned enough about world events from either NPR or the BBC, or are in the mood to hear something exotic from halfway around the globe, surfing these radio broadcasts can be a favorite pastime. And no shortwave radio is needed. Give WRN a listen.