A week-old grassroots crowdfunding campaign, Shortwaves for Freedom, is launching additional radio broadcasts this week to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe to provide critical information from Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty programs.
“We quickly raised enough money from our online appeal to start funding transmissions on Tuesday to the region from a private FCC-licensed shortwave station in Florida and from Monday, March 14th, we will expand broadcasts from commercial stations outside the United States,” said Kate Neiswender, a California lawyer and spokesperson for the campaign. [ https://fundrazr.com/radiowaves ]
Shortwaves for Freedom, with now more than a total of $10,000 in contributions from individual donors in the United States, Canada and other countries, is paying commercial broadcasters to air transmissions of the Russian and English language programs of VOA and RFE/RL. It plans to also fund Ukrainian language programs soon to reach Ukrainians, many now without electricity in their own country, as well as those who have taken refuge in Moldova, Poland and other countries.
The unprecedented campaign is not affiliated with VOA and RFE/RL or their parent organization, the United States Agency for Global Media.
“We hope USAGM will realize the dire need for radio broadcasts at a time of war when millions of people have been cut off from the internet and credible TV news due to censorship by Russia, the destruction of infrastructure and their homes,” said Neiswender. “Until the U.S. government decides to adequately return to radio – both shortwave and mediumwave (known as ‘AM radio’) – we will fund transmissions as long as we have money.”
The additional transmitters to be utilized from Monday “will put a stronger shortwave signal into the target region and add medium wave,” said Gerhard Straub, the former director of USAGM’s Broadcast Technologies Division, who is among those providing expert advice to Shortwaves for Freedom.
“In times of crisis if the content is compelling, the audience will go where they know the information is,” Straub said, addressing the question of radio’s ability to help effectively counter the Kremlin’s obstruction of outside media.
Reception of the initial broadcasts from Florida have been confirmed in the targeted countries.
The initial broadcasts that commenced over the past week will continue from WRMI (Radio Miami International), utilizing 100,000-watt transmitters beaming to Eastern Europe.
Here is the daily schedule [7x/week unless noted] from March 14 being funded by Shortwaves for Freedom:
(UTC is +4 hours EDT):
02:00-04:00 UTC Radio Svoboda (RFE/RL Russian) 7780 kHz
18:00-19:00 UTC Radio Svoboda 1395 kHz MW
19:00-20:00 UTC Radio Svoboda 9370 kHz
19:30-20:00* UTC ‘Flashpoint Ukraine’ (VOA English) 15770 kHz
Contact: Kate Neiswender, Esq.
Shortwaves for Freedom is not affiliated with any government, political, corporation organization or any special-interest group. One hundred percent of funds received by the group go to pay for broadcast transmissions.
(kd9xb via WOR io group)