BBC uses old shortwave radio to get news about Ukraine in Russia

In most parts of the world, you can turn on a news channel to catch a glimpse of the devastation of Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine. If you live in Russia, that’s not the case.

Russian citizens get their information only from state-run news channels, which paint a very different picture of what really happened since late last month. Vladimir Putin is hiding details of his army’s brutality in Ukraine from his own people.

As the Russian government closes down any outlet that dares to share real news about the war, the BBC came up with a new idea of ​​sharing information based on age-old technology. And it seems that Russian leaders can do nothing about it.

Here’s the backstory

That old technology is shortwave radio, which was a huge breakthrough in the 1920s. What made it so special is that this particular band allowed for long-range broadcasts that were never possible before, as well as easily accessible on portable radios.

Shortwave radio was a go-to method of sharing information during World War II and as the guard reports, it was also widely used to spread propaganda across Europe. Shortwave was used in other conflicts in recent decades, including the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War.

The BBC shared shortwave news for 76 years from 1932 to 2008, when newer technologies made the method no longer as relevant. With many of those newer technologies now being blocked in Russia to keep citizens in the dark, the BBC has decided it’s time for a shortwave revival.

What you need to know

Last week, Putin took Russia’s last independent TV station off the air as it had gathered news of the invasion from Western media. He didn’t stop there and later blocked Facebook for its “discrimination against Russian media and information sources”.

Russia gave the boat to Twitter and all sorts of other platforms that disagreed with helping spread all those lies. This also applies to Western media such as the BBC.

So in recent days, the BBC has resorted to seemingly obsolete shortwave radio to broadcast news to Ukraine and Russia. If you have a radio that can pick up the shortwave, you probably don’t have a great chance of picking up those BBC reports here in the US. That doesn’t mean you can’t try…


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Here are the details of those broadcasts:

15735 kHz from 9-11am Eastern (6-8pm Pacific) 5875 kHz from 3-5pm Eastern (noon-2pm Pacific)

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