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I've listened to hams quite a bit. It's true they don't just talk about antennas. There's also quite a bit of discussion of the weather.
I'm a bit soured on hams because I've been a shortwave listener since God was a teenager, give or take a bit. I listen to shortwave because I want to hear foreign points of view directly from the source, to have a better idea of world events than you'd get listening to domestic services only. I thought this was a Good Thing. Yet when I'd mention it to hams they'd get this blank, sheeplike expression on their faces and intone "Shortwave Broadcast Listening is Good because it Might Lead You into THE HOBBY." Every single time. I swear, the hams must have that tattooed on their frontal lobes when they get their licenses.
A bit off-putting, that is, since it is saying that there is only One True Hobby in the world (theirs, of course). And that what I like is only important in so far as it might lead to what YOU like. Which is talking endlessly about antennas and the weather.
In spite of new technology shortwave broadcast listening is still a great way to get a foreign perspective on things. So is streaming those stations over the Internet. Streaming, however, will only allow you to do this until your betters decide that foreign "propaganda" is bad for you and decide to protect you from it. It's not that hard to filter an internet connection. It's not that hard to intimidate people into avoiding foreign information, either. I can remember when (we believed at least) that if we got any mail from a godless commie nation we'd have to go down to the Post Office and sign for it, or they'd just destroy it. If you did go down and sign for it, you got a nice FBI file with your name on it. That's what we believed, anyway, and it did serve to discourage seeking free information, whether or not anything illegal was being done.
As for that whole propaganda thing, that's shaky ground. I have noticed as I get older that "propaganda" too often translates as "truth you don't want to hear."
I remember one interesting example of that, many years ago. I happened to tune into the Voice of Nicaragua one night, and they were going hysterical over some US Navy ship movements. I listened a while and thought "Grenada? Why in the name of hell would we invade Grenada? Stupid Commie propaganda. I'm going to bed." And so I did.
Posted at 03:06 PM in Radio Lovers Can't Be Cured | Permalink
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Did Ortega (or whomever was on the SW signal you were listening to) happen to mention that American college students (medical school) were in danger in Grenada? That might have explained why our military was so interested.
January 26, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Of course not. It was propaganda. That explains why I dismissed it. Nevertheless, the fact remains that when they said the US was about to go ashore on Grenada, they were telling the truth-- that time.
Propaganda isn't all lies. In fact, most of the best propaganda is truth, but not the whole truth.
January 26, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Point about Grenada invasion was that it was a British colony,the USA invaded without informing the UK & because they didn't like the governments politics,what happened to democracy & free speech?
As for what "hams" say they are restricted in what they can talk about in a lot of countries
Bob Balser |
January 27, 2013 at 02:32 AM
This is reason for the invasion,BBC report at the time,nothing to do with students
1983: US troops invade Grenada
United States marines and army rangers have invaded the Caribbean island of Grenada, seized the country's two airports and taken Cuban and Soviet prisoners.
The action, which has shocked the world, was ordered by President Ronald Reagan following a bloody coup by Cuban-trained military who executed Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, and at least 13 of his associates.
Backed by helicopter gunships, 1,900 US troops were airlifted to Pearls airport in the north of the island at dawn. They were followed a few hours later by 300 soldiers from six other Caribbean countries.
Bob Balser |
January 27, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Don't get me wrong--- I do see value in hearing other points of view. I listen to SW signals from China and Cuba for example, to hear what's being reported in those countries (pertaining to current events). I'm always amazed at the people reading the news---their delivery (and English) is better than our own newscasters in the U.S. It's almost embarrassing. But sometimes the things being reported---seem to be so slanted and lacking in full disclosure or truth.
January 27, 2013 at 06:12 AM
American news coverage is joke, especially local news coverage. I listen to international news off the internet, love BBC, Radio Australia, Radio Japan, CBC, and so on. In general, I'm with Angelo!!! With respect to Cuba and China, they're too slanted.
Tom Welch |
January 27, 2013 at 07:18 AM
The slant that a propaganda organization has is information in itself. An oppressive regime will try to make you think better of them by blathering on about the great operas the Beloved Leader has written. A group of bozos, foreign or domestic, will try to sway you with lie-filled, mouth-frothing screeds. As long as you have other sources of news to compare that to, all these do is point out the very evil and stupidity that they're trying so desperately to hide.
Of course another thing about propaganda is that a lot of it isn't meant to reach the outsider, actually. It's like those filthy campaign ads most people say they hate. They aren't trying to convince the outsiders, they're trying to motivate the core fanatics who are beyond reason.
January 27, 2013 at 03:12 PM
During a 1989 trip the then USSR we had Radio Moscow English piped into the hotel rooms every day. They were going off the rails about our forces in the Mediterranean Sea downing (more) Libyan aircraft. To them, it was the start of World War III.
After being in-country just long enough to get paranoid, we called the embassy (it was January, pre-Internet, and we needed football scores from the bowl games). After convincing the answering person that we weren't trying to complain about something at the hotel (apparently very common at the time) we got the scores and then asked, in passing, "say, what about Libya..."
In the finest of (US) Georgia southern accents, our phone person said "Oh, that, bang, bang, splash, splash."
This was when we learned that - at least on that day - the Embassy was using Marine guards on the telephone. Talk about "unfiltered".
I have always chuckled about this event in the years since. My little Sony 7600 keeps on humming (ok, not a good word choice) and Radio Netherlands, RCI, and Deutsche Welle are sources of information I'm not getting here.
Gordon C |
January 28, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Interesting comment from Gordon, but english world band service from Deutsche Welle and Radio Netherlands has been silent for some time, now.
A few years before the BBC silenced english language broadcasts to North America, I used to listen to the world service, DW, radio Austria, Swiss Radio International, and RNI every evening on my sony icf 2010. Now, shortwave broadcasts are mostly from CRI. The European news perspective is sadly lost.
February 02, 2013 at 10:59 AM
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