Shortwave broadcasting in the United States

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Shortwave broadcasting in the United States allows private ownership of commercial and non-commercial shortwave stations that are not relays of existing AM/MW or FM radio stations, as are common in Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania except Australia and Latin America. In addition to private broadcasters, the United States also has government broadcasters and relay stations for international public broadcasters. Most privately owned shortwave stations have been religious broadcasters, either wholly owned and programmed by Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant charities or offering brokered programming consisting primarily of religious broadcasters. To better reach other continents of the world, several stations are located in far-flung US territories. Shortwave stations in the USA are not permitted to operate exclusively for a domestic audience; they are subject to antenna and power requirements to reach an international audience.

Non-religious private broadcasters[edit]

While many private shortwave broadcasters in the United States are operated by religious groups or carry mostly religious programming, there have also been attempts at starting non-religious shortwave stations.

Two such stations were WRNO in New Orleans and KUSW in Salt Lake City, both of them with a rock and roll music format. Both stations were well received by shortwave listeners, but could not make the format successful in the long run. KUSW was eventually sold to the Trinity Broadcasting Network and converted into religious broadcaster KTBN. WRNO kept its rock & roll format going for most of the 1980s but eventually switched formats to selling brokered airtime to political and religious broadcasts, suffered a damaged transmitter, and eventually ceased broadcasting following the death of its owner, Joe Costello. WRNO was acquired by Dr. Robert Mawire and Good News World Outreach in 2001. After installing a new transmitter, the station was within just days of returning to the air when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. The new transmitter was spared from flood waters, but the antenna was severely damaged by high winds. WRNO finally returned to broadcasting in 2009, operating 4 hours per day. On March 13, 2010, WRNO began transmitting a weekly religious broadcast in Arabic for a portion of its broadcast schedule.

A notable exception is WBCQ, a non-religious private station operated by Allan Weiner in Maine. WBCQ has been a success by brokering much of their airtime to religious programs like Brother Stair, while also carrying some music and entertainment programs.

WRMI in Miami, Florida also airs several non-religious programs, including relays of international news stations.

Pirate radio[edit]

Numerous pirate radio stations have operated sporadically in or just outside the shortwave broadcast bands. Most are operated by hobbyists for the amusement of DX'ers with broadcasts typically only a few hours in length.

Few American pirates are political or controversial in their programming. Pirates have tended to cluster in unofficial "pirate bands" based on the current schedules of licensed shortwave stations and the retuning of amateur radio transmitters to operate outside the "ham" radio bands.

Most pirate activity takes place on weekends or holidays, Halloween and April Fool's Day being traditional favorites of pirates. Most broadcasts are only a few minutes to a few hours at a time. One notable exception was Radio Newyork International, a short-lived attempt to establish a permanent broadcasting station operating from international waters.

Some European nations have recently begun allowing privately owned shortwave stations on a far more limited scale.

Notable personalities[edit]

Preachers/Religious broadcasters[edit]

White Supremacists[edit]


Shortwave stations[edit]

Government broadcasters (USA)[edit]

Current privately owned US broadcasters[edit]

Defunct broadcasters[edit]

New stations[edit]

External links[edit]