Indulging in television or FM radio may be recreational behavior, but it isn’t a hobby like listening to distant stations on medium and short wave. The main reason is that DXing and broadcast band listening takes a little work-- as well as some curiosity and patience not necessary when tuning into clear, predictable and popular local VHF signals.
And it’s kind of a sport. Like fishing. The propagation of radio waves changes from month to month and day to day, and besides the local stations that are always there it’s always a bit of a mystery what you’ll find on the dial on any given evening. But perhaps the biggest draw for many of us who scan the AM & SW dial by night is the allure of novel and exotic broadcasting.
While I admit that hearing news and commentary from Atlanta, Havana or Moscow on the radio is still a little exciting to me (even in this era where you can almost do the same thing via internet streaming), it’s the fringe broadcasting, especially on shortwave, that I continue to find compelling and often humorous. And this is where the epidemic of Christian broadcasting on shortwave in the U.S. can actually get interesting for a minute.
Most of audio samples I’m offering in this post are programs broadcast on the monster U.S. Christian shortwave stations. The big ones that come to mind– World Harvest Radio, Family Radio and WWCR (World-Wide Christian Radio) are really more networks than stations, with multiple frequencies broadcasting simultaneously and covering the entire country and much of the world with Christian propaganda, as well as a few shows focusing on listener fan letters and the DXing hobby, AND a startling number of programs that specialize in fear, suspicion and raw paranoia.
While shortwave doesn’t appeal to very many Americans, there’s a significant portion of the existing audience that does exist who are isolated and disenfranchised out in the heartland. And they are afraid of a lot of things most of us don’t spend a lot of time worrying about-- like the U.N., Freemasons, homosexuals and space aliens. Much of this consternation is lumped together in overwhelming concern over the coming "New World Order." I've never been quite sure of what that the heck that is, but from what I've heard it's going to be a lot less pleasant than the old world chaos we've enjoyed over all of these years.
There’s a wide variety of these kinds of programs. The content of these shows range from deeply Christian to secular, from tangible alternative news to the ravings of disturbed individuals, and everything in-between. The common thread is a distrust of authority, and a concern that the world scene is spinning out of control... and maybe Jesus can help.
Beyond the questionable credibility offered by these programs, you gotta give these right wing type broadcasters credit for creating the exact opposite of mainstream AM conservative talk radio. Shortwave paranoia broadcasting almost never takes the side of power and privilege (unless you count the ultimate power of the baby Jesus and his dad the cloud being). It’s the sound of self-appointed visionaries and the worried voice of the little guy you hear amid the static and whining noises. These marginal media figures appeal to the fearful and umpowered huddled around their radios looking for guidance and truth. As I’ve said before about shortwave (and some AM broadcasts as well) it’s radio that still isn’t just about money-- it’s about power and identity. And somtimes it’s about being really apprehensive about the future.
So here’s a few MP3 clips of radio trepidation I’ve picked up on assorted shortwave sets over the last few years. The reception varies as does the credibility of the claims and concerns you’ll hear in these pieces. However, nothing you’ll hear in these MP3's is less believable than anything Scott McClelland might offer in a typical White House press briefing.
This is the late William Cooper with a discussion of the unknown (or little known) religion of the power elite of the world– The Mysteries. According to Cooper, it’s the secret religion of the movers and shakers of the world, and it’s all about keeping us dumb and productive. Apparently, it has something to do with some powerful being known as “Mithra.”
William Cooper was one helluva character. His strange life came to an end in a shootout with the cops at his home in November, 2001. His book, “Behold A Pale Horse,” he outlines his assorted conspiratorial theories and concepts. Cooper used to make a big stink about the government UFO cover-up. Yet in later days, including this broadcast (originally from 2000 or 2001 I believe) he considers UFO believers to be a “looney tune fringe element.” I think he always had a freshly arranged bouquet of opinions at any one time.
I personally was always taken by his "sound"-- a paced and emotionally-steeled voice of doom that always made me stop and listen for a while as I was slipping across the dial. In the end, Cooper might best be summed up as a disturbed contrarian who loved attention and had a driving sense of mission. William Cooper said a lot of stuff, and while I doubt it was ALL fantasy, what’s still amazing to me is how SERIOUS he always seemed to be. He was a colorful and strange guy. I miss his show and was happy to come across this rebroadcast.
This was recorded in my Brooklyn apartment in the late afternoon. There is a little fading and another station is chewing on the signal. And I had problems with the recorder I was using. However, it is most of an entire “Hour of the Time” program, with a chunk of 3 or 4 minutes missing in the middle. But if you do listen, you’ll get the idea(s).
Pastor Pete Peters is a controversial guy. The author of a pamplet entitled “Death Penalty for Homosexuals is Prescribed in the Bible,” and renowned as someone more in favor of white Protestant Americans than other types of folks. Pastor Peters pisses a lot of people off, and has been cited a number of times as a dangerous broadcaster.
But listen to his dramatic metaphors for the ongoing cultural war against the devout and disenfranchised. “They” are firing on the common folk-- shooting situations instead of bullets, using data instead of gunpowder and computers instead of guns. How can you defend yourself from that?
Peters isn’t very specific about what’s at stake or how to defend yourself, but even if you think he’s full of shit you still get an urgent sense of needing to so something after hearing this moving call to arms. “If you wanna win you better believe that we’re going to gain the victory.”
HIV and other nasty viruses were invented by human beings to kill other human beings. That’s the theory here. Depopulation. Dr. Boyd Graves will tell you all about it.
This is a scary one. It’s a problem escalating out of control, and nobody is talking about it. Some kind of nasty little-known critters are camping out in our digestive tracts. Are they worms? Blobs? Republicans? They’re not specific about the nature of these parasites, but they are supposed to be pretty darn gruesome. Why haven't we heard about this before?
Listen at your own risk. If you're curious, drop a string down your gullet and see what you might catch, or take a long lingering look in the toilet before you flush next time. It's all new information to me. It's like the most unappetizing infomercial I've ever heard.
Also on this clip, a Bible show host concerned that Jesus broadcasters may end up facing prosecution if they don’t promote and condone homosexual sex, and a little bit of Catholic confessional confession.
Lastly, here’s the current king of shortwave conspiracies– Alex Jones. This is a very short and unrepresentative clip, but at least you get to hear the gruff voiced Jones (who sounds quite a bit older than his 31 years) squawking darkly from his shortwave pulpit. Jones is always extremely controversial, and has plenty of fans and a number of detractors. Either way, I don't think there's another broadcaster out there more worked up over this New World Order problem. He has several websites, a bunch of videos, and a reputation as one of the most pessimistic voices in broadcasting. And watch out for those suitcase atom bombs sneaking over the Rio Grande.
Also, in this segment a some hard-core Christian kookiness. Stop the madness and pick up an orgone generator today! And just a few carefully placed magnets may be enough to protect you from being a mind control slave. Elvis Presley is NOT God! Like I said, some of these people are very very serious.
Thanks for listening.