If you’ve ever found yourself scanning the AM dial during a late night road trip on the highways of North America, then you’ve probably encountered one of the radio networks that serves truckers with country music, call-in shows, and information tailored to long-haul professional drivers. They rely on the long-distance capacity of AM to serve road dogs for hundreds of miles without changing stations.
Of course, shortwave radio broadcasts can outrun AM, covering thousands of miles. But it never occurred to me that there would be a shortwave station serving truckers.
Thanks to the Shortwave Listening Post I learned about The Mighty KBC which is a European shortwave station that blasts out rock n’ roll oldies and classic rock to truckers across the continent. Historically, shortwave has been more popular in Europe than North America, and there are still car and truck radios with shortwave reception available. So it makes perfect sense that an enterprising broadcaster would choose this band to serve an audience traveling across countries and across the continent.
In the US many truckers have migrated to satellite radio, since it offers nationwide coverage in addition to its own trucker channel. But there has yet to be a successful satellite radio service in Europe.
Featuring an international lineup of DJs from the UK, US and Holland, KBC is also quite proud of its rebroadcasts of border-blaster legend Wolfman Jack. The station also carries Trucker Radio (formerly the Driver Show), a syndicated Canadian program targeted to professional drivers, built on a foundation of country music.
KBC is the brainchild of former pirate broadcaster Eric van Willegen, who says he used to broadcast from Dutch high-rise apartments and ships at sea until he grew tired of being raided by the authorities. Van Willegen is also president of Holland-based KBC Import-Export, which sells consumer electronics, specializing in citizen band, police band, marine and shortwave radios.
The current incarnation of the Mighty KBC went on the air from a transmitter in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2009, broadcasting in English at 6095 KHz. Recently the station has been running test broadcasts aimed at North America on 9450 KHz, which they claim originates from an old Soviet transmitter based in Bulgaria. The SWL Post recorded a 2-hour aircheck of last weekend’s transmission and uploaded it to the Internet Archive.