I once listened to "Shortwave Radio Broadcasters" with a simple regenerative receiver hooked to a few feet of wire for an antenna. I'd plug in the headphones, tweak a few knobs, and spend hours listening to Radio Moscow or Cuba during the cold war days. The BBC, Radio Netherlands, Christian Science Monitor, and CBC were essential for keeping informed in that turbulent time period of the world.
It's still possible to do that, but "shortwave operators" have been overwhelmed with expenses and operating costs that make them a money hungry, time consuming, wasteful endeavor these days. The Voice of America doesn't even have a North American broadcast now.
Whereas a lot of broadcasters used to run schedules, many times a day, in different languages, it's becoming difficult to hear an English broadcast more than once an evening.(and sometimes just once a weekend). Given bad band conditions, you miss that one transmission, and you don't hear any news or music from that particular part of the world.
Now there's an answer to these problems on the Internet.
I've listened to XM Satellite Radio for several years, mostly for music...but also for political views and information on the world. It's a rare medium with much more variety than anything on the shortwave bands and especially the AM Radio bands. (AM Radio has become nothing but a cesspool of propaganda from the "nuts" that have it all, and plan on keeping it that way).
I find it very offensive to hear the same old stuff (?) on at least three dozen stations every night when trying to re-capture the "magic" of those regenerative reciever days.
XM Satellite Radio now has a program called "World Radio Network" (station #135) on thier service. I've been listening to it for several weeks now and I'm able to, once again, hear "shortwave stations" from all over the world. I've put a link to the "network" on the right hand side of this site under "Ham Radio Sites of Interest".
Clicking here will allow you to hear all those "International Shortwave Broadcasts", again, without having to worry about missing the "one" transmission an evening. It's not the same a hearing it "live" on the air (it looses some of it's "magic" in this mode) but it's there.
It's nice to casually listen to them while working on the computer.