Voice of Korea

This article is about the North Korean broadcasting service. For the South Korea's international radio service, see KBS World Radio. For the Montreal local radio program, see CKUT-FM § Voice of Korea. For the South Korean reality show, see The Voice of Korea.
Voice of Korea
Type Radio network
Country North Korea
Availability International
Owner Korean Central Broadcasting Committee
Launch date
October 14, 1945
Former names
Radio Pyongyang
Official website
Voice of Korea
Chosŏn'gŭl 조선의 소리
Hancha 朝鮮의 소리
Revised Romanization Joseon-ui Sori
McCune–Reischauer Chosŏn-ŭi Sori
Voice of Korea interval signal and national anthem received in the UK in May 2013.
An old Radio Pyongyang pennant.

Voice of Korea (Korean: 조선 소리) is the international broadcasting service of North Korea. It broadcasts primarily information in Chinese, Spanish, German, English, French, Russian, Japanese, and Arabic.[1] Until 2002 it was known as Radio Pyongyang. The interval signal is identical to the one of Korean Central Television.


Its origins can be traced back to 1936 and radio station JBBK. Operated by the occupying Japanese forces, JBBK broadcast a first and second program as part of Japan's radio network that covered the Korean peninsula from Seoul.

The station officially inaugurated programming on October 14, 1945, with a live broadcast of the victory speech of Kim Il Sung when he returned to Pyongyang at the end of World War II.


Voice of Korea broadcasts on HF or shortwave radio frequencies, as well as on medium wave for broadcasts aimed at neighboring countries. Some frequencies broadcast are well out of the ITU allocated shortwave broadcast bands, making them less susceptible to interference but less likely to be listenable on older receivers.

Most of the broadcasts are transmitted from the Kujang shortwave transmitter site, located approximately 25 km from the city of Kujang.[2]

In 2006 VOK started broadcasting on the same frequency as the Lincolnshire Poacher numbers station[3] It is unknown whether this was an intentional effort to frustrate the Poacher's operators or an accident, as it is not unknown for Voice of Korea to unintentionally jam its own signal by transmitting programmes in different languages simultaneously on the same frequency.

On occasion, VOK has missed its regular service. The interruptions have not been explained by VOK, but they are thought to be due to engineering works at the transmitter sites, faulty equipment or because of power outages. In 2012 they occurred when the country was facing one of its worst electricity shortages in years.[4] The off-air periods also affect North Korea's own jamming signals designed to prevent reception of South Korean stations such as Echo of Hope, Voice of the People, and KBS Hanminjok Bangsong.[5][6]

Voice of Korea also broadcasts on the Thaicom 5 satellite along with Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) and Korean Central Television.


Unlike most international broadcasters, "Voice of Korea" does not broadcast an interval signal in the minutes leading up to the start of the transmission. It instead starts broadcasting the interval signal (the first few notes of the "Song of General Kim Il-sung") on the hour.

A typical program line-up begins with the interval signal, followed by the station announcement "This is Voice of Korea". After the announcement, the national anthem, "Song of General Kim Il-sung" and "Song of General Kim Jong-il" are played. The songs are followed by a news broadcast consisting of Korean Central News Agency items with small adjustments for the radio.[1] If there are any items about Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il or Kim Jong-un, these are the top bulletins. The news items are typically one day behind the news of the domestic service Korea Central Broadcasting Station. The news is followed by music and an excerpt from Kim Il-sung's memoirs With the Century. After the memoirs, there is more music and feature stories, sometimes followed by an editorial. The fifty-seven-minute broadcast is concluded with frequency information and a sign-off message.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Voice of Korea mid-2014 schedule". North Korea Tech. 27 March 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  2. Martyn Williams (April 29, 2011). "Kujang shortwave transmitter site". North Korea Tech. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  3. Info about the clash. October 3, 2010.
  4. Martyn Williams (February 24, 2012). "DPRK radio disappears". North Korea Tech. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  5. Martyn Williams (July 22, 2013). "Some North Korean external radio, jamming reportedly off air". North Korea Tech. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  6. Martyn Williams (March 28, 2012). "Voice of Korea still having problems staying on-air". North Korea Tech. Retrieved October 18, 2014.

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