Does Anyone Listen to Shortwave Radio Anymore?

broadcastingQuestion – Does anyone listen to shortwave radio anymore? In not, why do you use it for your gospel broadcasts into North Korea?

Answer – Up until I started working with Voice of the Martyrs Korea, I often wondered who really listened to shortwave radio broadcasts.  I knew of a few Ham radio enthusiasts, but I figured that overall listenership was probably pretty small.

My inkling wasn’t that far off, as over the past fifteen years, shortwave has been in sharp decline. More and more people started turning to satellite radio, AM/FM rebroadcasting and the internet.  And as people stopped tuning in, organizations stopped broadcasting on short-wave frequencies.

But according to James Careless of Radio World, shortwave radio still has one distinct advantage over all other mediums.

For all its transmission expense and audio problems, analog shortwave radio has one clear advantage over the Internet and domestic radio/TV: It cannot be easily blocked — even when states try to disrupt its signals using jamming transmitters.

This is why short-wave radio is still popular in a country like North Korea.  We estimate that over two million North Koreans listen to short-wave broadcasts with their illegal shortwave radios in order to hear the gospel, learn about the outside world and even learn more about their own country.

Although tuning to any other radio channel except the state media channel is illegal in North Korea, there is no doubt that many NKs go to great lengths to do it anyway. We have been told numerous times by defectors ….. Just this week Mrs. Park told us,

I purchased a radio when I was in China and then brought it back into NK. When I went through customs, the NK government cut all of the wires to the radio so that I could not access any outside radio signals. However, my son re-connected all of the wires so that we were able to listen to it. We would turn it on secretly at night and listen to it under the covers. I was the leader of the village so I was watched and had to be extremely careful.

Radio is one of the primary ways that NKs learn the truths (and lies!) about their own country. Mrs. Kim did not even know that labor camps existed in NK. She shared this testimony with us…

I only listened to the radio one time in North Korea. It was the first time I heard South Korean voices and realized that our dialects are different. Through listening to the broadcast, I found out about one of the labor camps in NK.

NKs are now even hearing the dialect of their own people as they tune their radios in to listen. Mrs. Kim shared this with us,

I recently met a man in SK who listened to the radio in NK. He said it was difficult to hear everything on the broadcast, but he was so surprised to hear North Korean voices announcing the broadcast.

These testimonies give evidence to the fact that there is still no doubt that short-wave radio is an effective method of communicating the gospel to those in North Korea whom we wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

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One Leader Who Is Respected By Both North Korea And South Korea – Ahn Changho

Ahn Changho is one of the only Korean people that is respected by both North Korea and South Korea. His leadership philosophy was first to search for the truth, and then to live out the truth. Although it sounds very simple, it can be very challenging to live.

He believed that the truth was not always obvious. In other words, what everyone thinks is the truth is not always the truth. In North Korea, it is obvious that Kim Il Sung is the eternal president and is the highest embodiment of human living. But this is why Ahn Changho believed a sincere search for the truth is always extremely important.

Although this problem is very apparent in North Korea, it is also a problem in South Korea, America and the rest of the world. For example, many people in the Western world, search for success instead of the truth.

Ahn Changho reminds us that a leader isn’t someone who has money or power, a leader is someone who is seeking the truth and who is living it out.

To watch other Voice of the Martyrs videos, visit the Voice of the Martyrs Video Page!

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Rev. Wurmbrand On Hypocrisy In The Church: “Really Sincere Christians Are A Rarity” But…

Rev. Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of the Voice of the Martyrs movement, was profound even when completing such a simple task as acceding to a reader’s demand to be removed from the VOM mailing list due to the reader’s concern that Christians are hypocrites. His personal reply to the reader is as gracious as it is instructive on many levels. Read below to find perhaps a new way to respond next time someone complains to you that, e.g., preachers are really like paid actors. (Not only the preachers, agrees Rev. Wurmbrand, but the congregation members are also!) And yet…

Well, read on and discover for yourself.

(And thanks to venerable Wurmbrand historian Merv Knight for sharing this gem from the Wurmbrand Archives!)

Dear Brother:

I received with delay your letter of April 19. We have taken care that your name should be removed from our mailing list. You are perfectly right in your diffidence towards religious organizations and preachers. There exists very much abuse in this matter. Since religion exists there have always been abusive pastors, priests and rabbis. There have been also other ones who were glad to sacrifice their time, energy and life in the service of their religion. We don’t have to accept all the pastors; neither is it right to discard them all. we should use discernment to discover those who really can be helpful in guiding us on the ways of the Lord….

I am sorry if we have offended you. Though generally I agree with you that the preachers of today are more like actors who promote their careers, it is so not only today, it has always been so. Not only preachers are acting, rank-and-file Christians do it too. Really sincere Christians are a rarity. We strive to be such Christians. You from your side also endeavor and let us pray for each other that we might be found undefiled at God’s judgment.

We usually send our newsletter to people without any obligation from their side. We wish just to inform them about what is happening to Christians in Communist countries in the newsletters. I never tell the story of my sufferings but that of the sufferings of other Christians.

If you wish to know what is happening with your brethren in Communist countries in order to pray intelligently for them, just write to us and we will put you back on our mailing list without the slightest financial obligation for you.

Yours very sincerely,

Rev. Richard Wurmbrand

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