TVOM Radio Broadcasts
HOW FAR CAN OUR BROADCASTS TRAVEL?
Shortwave radio stations can often be heard from very far away due to a certain atmospheric condition called skywave propagation. Skywave propogation refers to the fact that certain kinds of radio waves are reflected back to the earth from the ionosphere. The ionosphere is the outermost layer of the earth’s atmosphere and it is often electrically charged due to the sun ionizing the upper gas layers. Radio waves travel up to the ionosphere and bounce back to earth (often at night), and can repeat this cycle over and over again until these signals sometimes circle the planet. Thus, shortwave radio signals can often travel thousands of kilometers and still be heard, while mediumwave (AM) signals can travel hundreds of miles. This is precisely the reason why we are able to have our radio towers outside of the Korean peninsula and still have strong signals inside of NK.
FM radio uses higher frequency waves and while these signals are often clear and strong, the waves can only travel a short distance. Thus, it is most often not possible to listen to an FM station in another country or even in another city. This is called “ground wave propogation” and often a large building or even the curvature of the earth will prevent the signal from traveling very far.
It is not hard to see why AM and shortwave signals are preferable for reaching inside of North Korea.
We wish our North Korean listeners could send an e-mail or make a phone call to give us immediate feedback on our radio broadcasts. But, it is this inability to do so which actually makes shortwave radio so popular in NK. Since obtaining outside information and engaging in outside communication is so difficult, they tune in to short-wave and medium-wave broadcasts for information they couldn’t otherwise receive.
So . . . how do we know that people are listening and that our signal is clear? We do this through three primary ways:
- We daily monitor our radio broadcasts in a number of different way to ensure that our signal is strong and clear.
- We interview NK defectors about radio once they arrive in China and in SK.
- We receive reception reports from people around around the world who listen to our broadcasts. These are typically from “radio enthusiasts” or from those who professionally monitor the airwaves. They benefit from the “skywave propogation” that is explained above. We have received reports from Russia, China, Europe, North America and even South America.
These reception reports give us another level of verification on whether our program is being jammed and whether our signal is accessible and clear. Below are a few reports from a small sampling of reception reports that we received over the last year. You can see that each report is quite different, but we’ve highlighted some helpful or interesting comments we received from each listener. Remember that there are North Korean workers in countries around the world. Far from home, they sometimes have access to radios at their work camps, but no knowledge of the local languages. We believe that one day we will discover that God reached NK workers in faraway countries with the saving message of Jesus Christ through our radio broadcasts.
Reception Report #1 - Italy
This Italian man not only found our broadcast, but also sent us a listening sample along with a description of the various program elements that he heard.
I live in a village ten Km south to Brescia, a city in the north of Italy (100 Km East to Milano).
Anyway I think you will be pride to know that your broadcasting station is listened also by some people who live very far from you and that your fame exceeds every border.
Thank you very much for your attention. I hope I will receive your news soon. Meanwhile I wish you a good work and see you soon.
Reception Report #2 – Ukraine
One listener sent us a 10 minute YouTube clip of our radio program. It is interesting to note how clear the signal is even though the listener is over 6,000 km away from NK. https://youtu.be/CQZxzMBNwmI
My name is Alexandr, I’m radio amateur from Ukraine. I had great pleasure of receiving your program here in Kyiv with my own SDR receiver. And I hope you would be pleased to know that your transmission was audible in Ukrainian capital.Reception details: very good signal level, no
interference from other stations, only slight fade-outs at times. Good quality of modulation.
Reception Report # 3 – India
Prog Details:-- Spiritual talking from Bible listen and heard good and informative. At the time jamming signal reach my area.
I hope you find my reception report to be of some use. If the details please veryfy with a Q.S.L Card. HAPPY CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR 2021
Receiver:--Grundig YB 400
Antenna:--External 2 Metre long
One listener in St. Petersburg, Russia sent us a postcard.
Please Join with us in Prayer for the Following Requests:
아래 기도 제목으로 함께 기도해주세요.
- Pray for a strong and clear signal for the VOMK broadcast. Nearly 30% of NKs tune into illegal short-wave and medium-wave radio on a daily basis and they will often make their listening choices based on what frequency has a clear signal on that particular day. This is why the NK government will often attempt to jam those frequencies it deems dangerous.
- Pray for NK underground church members who listen to our broadcast. Much of our program is designed to disciple and encourage NK underground church members. Pray that they would be encouraged by the reading of the Word of God and by the sermons of the early Korean Christians that are read on air.
자주 묻는 질문
What's new in NK radio ministry?
We’ve recently been updating the way in which we broadcast into NK. We learned that TV news broadcasting in NK has more of the sound of our old style broadcast but radio broadcasting in NK is using warmer personal voices these days. Our broadcast is pioneering the use of a combined NK/SK announcing corps, with NKs and SKs interacting about the Bible and the Christian faith in friendly voices. It’s very revolutionary and we think it will attract a wider range of listeners. We are also excited to be broadcasting between program segments the new NK hymns that were recorded as part of last year’s Hymnal Project. These songs were recorded in the traditional NK style and sung by former members of art performance teams in North Korea. We expect that their traditional voices will touch North Koreans’ hearts through the North Korean classical style hymns.
Listen to Amazing Grace in North Korean!
Listen to As The Deerin North Korean!
Listen to God Is So Good in North Korean!
What do we broadcast into North Korea?
Our radio broadcasts are produced by our North Korean Underground University students. In the broadcasts the students share Scripture—both in its pure form and in the North Korean-style dramas which hold such interest for our audience. They read from books on Christian persecution to help underground believers there understand why they face the challenges they do and how to bear up under them.
There are also discipleship training segments, songs (often rewritten versions of North Korean “hymns” originally designed to praise Kim Il Sung), and—for the first time this year—“live” segments where our announcers reflect on their own experiences and explain what are often the very new and foreign words and concepts of Scripture.
How many North Koreans listen to the broadcast?
There are an estimated 2 million North Koreans who tune into their illegal radios each evening.
Does the North Korean government try to block our broadcasts?
Our broadcast is the regular target of ultimately unsuccessful blocking attempts of the North Korean government. The blocking attempts are the best indicators we have of how threatening the NK regime considers our broadcast to be. One of the ways that we overcome the blocking is through our active team of engineers who do whatever it takes on a nightly basis to enable the broadcast to be heard.
It is likely that our broadcast is threatening to NK not only because it is Christian but also because it is voiced by North Koreans. Many broadcasts use South Korean voices. Not only does this make the broadcast harder for North Koreans to understand, but the regime likely considers South Korean voices of evangelism to be less threatening than North Korean voices of evangelism.
Do you have any testimonies of North Koreans listening to the radio?
JKS, a North Korean defector, shared her experience of listening to the radio while she was in North Korea, she came to South Korea in 2006. She said that she listened to the radio for 3 months with her friends just before she left the North. She said that it was quite easy to receive the gospel radio programs and other radio programs from South Korea because she lived in a border area. Here is the story of JKS’ experience of listening to the radio in North Korea:
One night, we closed the door and listened to the radio under the blanket. At the moment that I listened to the radio from South Korea, it was not only amazing but also tears pricked my eyes because of our nation’s state of division.From that point on, I kept listening to radio broadcasts from South Korea with my father. We realized that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un and their followers are untruthful. I sometimes got furious with them.Later, after I arrived in South Korea, when I talked with my home folks, there were some people who also listened to South Korean radio broadcasts in North Korea. They said that they covered themselves with blankets and agreed that the best time for listening to the radio was from 10 pm to 2:30 am.