Long distances don't necessarily dull a friendship. In my case, long-distance created a new one.

Per Eriksson of Sweden has what he calls "a strange hobby." He loves listening to radio stations from around the globe. In fact, he heard 1420 WBSM in Sweden, but more about that in a moment.

If you want to know something personal about me, as a kid, I also enjoyed staying up late at night so I could tune in to the scratchy sounds of AM radio stations thousands of miles away, on my handheld transistor radio. So when I received an email from Per, it was like an immediate, long-distance friendship had formed.

I'm not going to get highbrow scholarly on you, but in physics, a radio signal or wavelength is the distance between two peaks in a wave and wavelengths can be measured on anything that travels in waves, like sound, light or water.

Both Per and I are excited that 1420 WBSM was recently heard all the way over the heavens and ocean to Sweden. I heard the .mp3 clip he sent to verify. And what's crazy is Per heard the station that was transmitting at only 250 watts. It's the equivalent of you holding a lit flashlight while standing at the edge of Fort Taber, and someone in Sweden seeing that speck of light! Pretty incredible, if you ask me.

Of course, there was a lot of noisy interference, but you can hear our broadcast and station ID. Per says his buddies just can't understand why he spends so much time listening to monotonous crackling, hissing and static. But that's what separates Per from them, because through the atmospheric swishing and popping, Per listens carefully to hear something his friends will never make out or figure out.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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