If you don’t know what shortwave is, then you don’t listen to it. You probability don’t even own a radio that tunes to the shortwave bands (which are above the AM broadcast band, but well below FM).
When we were first starting out, I was new to radio and shortwave. The Air Force at the depot at Kelly where I was stationed had all sorts of equipment which I could use when working afternoon shifts. It was a blast to play with. The world was a much bigger place in 1983, and the magic of hearing Germany, the BBC, Australia, and even the USSR from a radio in Texas has to now be imagined. There was no internet.
Many countries, like Germany and Australia, have by now shut down their official overseas shortwave broadcasts, both because it’s not seen as necessary, and perhaps because having a national identity worth boasting about in that fashion seems a tad too right wing. Money was, as it always is, the largest driver. Putting out the wattage to “hit” distant lands costs.
Besides, who needs to monkey with radio and a bunch of wire hanging out your window, only to hear a bunch of static, when you can surf over to Deutsche Welle Radio and listen to clear audio?
Sure, lots of areas of the world, like in China, still routinely use shortwave for domestic broadcasting. Nothing else would cover the distances as effectively. But those signals are hard to pick up in the States and in Europe, and anyway they are in Mandarin and other languages. In the States and Canada, the only equivalent I can think of is CFRX (6.07 MHz, 49 meter band), which originates in Toronto and is a relay of CFRB (1010 Khz AM).
I gave a link a short while back of a BBC radio personality handing an AM radio to passersby and asking them to tune to (I think) Radio 4. Hardly any could. The “device” was too unfamiliar to them. (It’s a fair bet that few to none none of these folks know their cell phones are radios, either.) If people can’t work an AM radio, tuning in a shortwave where you have to be much more knowledgeable about the frequencies, times, and atmospheric conditions would be like trying to follow a recipe in Swahili.
Radio Shack is dead, and it’s difficult to find even AM radios at departments stores and places like Walmart. They instead have “devices” which phones can be plugged into. Standalone radios are nowhere common. I don’t even remember the last time I saw a shortwave radio in a store. Obviously, if people don’t know about it, they can’t buy it. And if they don’t buy it, they don’t listen to it.
In English on shortwave, there are not a great deal of good listening options (yes, there are some good ones!). There are many “religious” broadcasters, but, let’s face it, their programming is often tedious. (And I speak as a religious person.) Of course, on regular AM much of the programming is tedious, too, or worse. There is only so much sports talk one can tolerate (about thirty seconds with me).
Shortwave broadcasting will survive here and there, but I can’t see it lasting in places like the USA. Eventually, the “bands” will be given over to hams, the military, and other commercial services.
I am a ham. K2JM (I started as KA5YHN). You will not hear me on the air, or only very rarely. I have what is called an “HT” (handy-talkie), a VHF/UHF toy that can contact “repeaters”, towers that translate my tiny signal and cast it as a wider net. My preference is still “HF”, the same range of frequencies used by shortwave. These signals, as stated above, can reach (sans assistance) worldwide. There is still magic in the idea of taping out “CQ CQ…” in Morse code and having a response from Bulgaria.
Alas, I do not tap out CQ, nor anything else. I live in Manhattan apartment weer than any researcher’s p-value. The noise and static on shortwave is so thick I am sure the building itself is supported by it.
I do not even own any HF “gear”. I could buy it, and many do, but to me that feels as boring as using the HT. I am therefore, after many years, going put my Air Force training back to work and build my own. I’ll start (probably) with the Michigan Mighty Mite. It is dirt simple, and I already have the crystal. Listen for me in the new year at 3.57954 MHz. Plus or minus.