Digital Shortwave: a radio revolution

Apr 14, 2014, 05:09 PM

More than eighty years ago, the BBC began transmitting its first international radio broadcasts - on what was then known as the Empire Service. These days of course, we call it the World Service, and you're listening to it now.

What made the first international broadcasts possible was shortwave - a set of radio frequencies which allowed signals to travel very long distances - even if the end results could sound a little bit, well, odd.

These days, though far fewer broadcasters focus on shortwave. Here at the BBC, even, our transmissions have been heavily cut back. Instead, we use the internet, as well as relying on local FM broadcasters.

But could shortwave - or a version of it - be about to make a comeback? Here's Mark Whittaker with news of what could be a radio revolution.

And you may like to know that the BBC is already broadcasting in digital short wave for 5 hours a day to India and India's domestic radio station is currently building one digital medium wave transmitter every two weeks. A new wave of cheaper DRM receivers are expected to be on the market in the coming months.