The Worldwide Listening Guide

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

We look at a new listening guide which removes the barriers between international and domestic broadcasting in English, and concentrates on programmes rather than broadcasting platforms.


Author: John Figliozzi
No of pages: 112
Publisher: Master Publishing Inc, 6019 W Howard Street, Niles, IL 60714, USA.
E-mail: [email protected]
Cover price: $24.95
ISBN: 978-0-945053-59-0

International broadcasting has gone through some fundamental changes in the past 20 years since the end of the Cold War. It used to be the case that, if you wanted to hear news from abroad, the obvious solution was to buy a shortwave receiver. There’s still a lot of international broadcasting on shortwave, but some of the stations that used to be popular have disappeared, and others have migrated to the Internet.

This change, which has been especially rapid in the past five years, is still not often reflected in the literature that’s available for the international radio listener. Some publications stick doggedly to shortwave and pay little or no attention to the other, newer, delivery platforms. Even the World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH), for reasons of space, confines itself to broadcasts that are available over the air rather than online.

For broadcasters, concentration on the delivery platform rather than the content is frustrating, and they have been crying out for someone to take the initiative and compile listings based on the content, with the delivery platform being of secondary importance. Veteran international broadcasting expert John Figliozzi took up the challenge, and has published the Worldwide Listening Guide, a new version of his Shortwave Listening Guide. This is aimed specifically at North American listeners, but the use of UTC throughout the book makes it useful anywhere in the world.

New ground
This book breaks new ground, as it focuses on the programmes rather than the platforms. It also breaks down the barriers between international and domestic broadcasting. It’s just as easy for an Internet user to listen to BBC Radio 4 as it is to the World Service, or to ABC Radio National rather than Radio Australia. John Figliozzi is a big fan of WiFi Internet radio, and a large proportion of the listings cover Internet broadcasts. But there’s also comprehensive coverage of satellite broadcasts, and of course shortwave. For the latter, frequencies are listed, though some may have changed since the book was compiled in the second half of 2008.

There are three main sections:

  1. A listing in time/days order of station, programme name, type of programme, and frequency and/or platform.
  2. Classified Program Lists – a comprehensive listing of all the programmes within various categories, arranged by programme name.
  3. A fuller description of the individual programmes, in name order.


There are also background notes to help the reader get to grips with this new approach to listing programmes, and explain what all the abbreviations mean.

Selective rather than comprehensive
The Worldwide Listening Guide doesn’t claim to be all-embracing, and choices have had to be made. Since the book is aimed at US listeners, the decision was made to focus on the public radio networks of the six other “primary English language countries”, of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and South Africa. But the English language service of RNW is included, which is no surprise as Mr Figliozzi is a long-time loyal listener of ours. Other major European broadcasters such as Deutsche Welle, Radio France International and the Voice of Russia are also included, as are some of the more popular “smaller” broadcasters such as Radio Prague and the Polish Radio External Service. Additional stations are included under the umbrella of the World Radio Network – North America service.

The choice of stations is a de facto guide to the best of the world’s English-language radio broadcasting, mostly but not exclusively non-commercial. The Classified Program Lists section is ideal for selecting a programme to suit the mood or the occasion. At the end of the book are some 19 “Listeners Log” pages in which the user can add listings of additional stations and updates to the published listings. There are also details of where to find more information on related subjects of particular interest to the reader, such as shortwave or WiFi stations.

The wire-bound format of the book makes it perfect for placing beside a computer or shortwave radio. We felt at home using this book from the word ‘go’, as it has maintained the structure of Mr Figliozzi’s earlier “Worldwide Shortwave Listening Guide” books, but adapted it to suit the new ways of listening to radio from around the world. Because so much of the book is about what can be heard on the Internet, it is of greater value to users outside North America than a shortwave guide aimed at that region. As such, we heartily recommend it as a book worth buying regardless of where you live. It can be ordered on the Internet through major book and electronics suppliers. 


This review was done independently of the author and publisher. Radio Netherlands Worldwide has no financial connection with either and provides the information above in good faith.