If you tune around on a shortwave radio, you might stumble across a voice reciting an endless stream of numbers. Just numbers, all day, everyday. These so-called “numbers stations,” say nothing about where they are transmitting from or who they are trying to reach, but they can be heard in Spanish, Thai, German, Russian, Chinese, and any number of other languages from around the world.
These mysterious shortwave transmissions caught the attention of producer David Goren when he was just a kid. His piece, Atencion! Seis Siete Tres Siete Cero: The Mystery of the Shortwave Numbers Stations, aired in 2000 as part of the series Lost and Found Sound. In tuning into these weird little broadcasts, Goren joins a curious community that has been listening to numbers stations for decades, some suspecting that the stations are run by intelligence agencies sending encrypted messages to individual agents in the field.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:36 — 21.7MB)