Edward R. Murrow Shortwave Transmitting Station: wallpaper images

VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-MainBuilding2

On April 1st, I spent the bulk of the day at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station outside of Greenville, North Carolina. Prior to my visit, I asked if SWLing Post readers had any requests or questions I could address while there.

I printed all of your inquiries and made sure they were addressed during my visit. I also took a lot of photos!

I had hoped to have a post published the following week with all of the photos and responses properly curated, but frankly, I haven’t had the spare time to do it yet. I’ve simply had too much travel and too many projects on my plate since that site visit (not to mention cramming for the Extra exam!).

I’m working on a draft of the post now and Macon Dail (WB4PMQ), the transmitting station’s Chief Engineer, is helping me with captions and responding to your questions.

Wallpaper

One reader asked if I could snap some photos that could be used as wallpaper on his computer. This morning, I selected eleven images and cropped them to fit a widescreen monitor.

I tried to pick images that would work well as a background/wallpaper–meaning, they’re not too busy (visually). Some are abstract close-ups.

Click on any of the images on this page to enlarge–then simply save the image to your computer to use it as you see fit.

I hope you enjoy!

VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-MainBuilding VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-HighVoltage VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Curtain-Closeup VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Curtain-Antenna VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Continental-Transmitter VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-BluePrints VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-AntennaFarm VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Antenna VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-1 VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-TX-Mimic-Panel

Any requests? Heading to the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station…

VOA-Greenville-Curtain-Antennas

I’m planning to visit the Edward R. Murrow transmitter station for a few hours on Friday (tomorrow). This will be my third trip to the station and I’ll be hanging out with the chief engineer, Macon Dail. I plan to take more photos–especially of some recent transmitter upgrades.

Any questions/requests?

If you like, I would be happy to ask Macon any technical/engineering questions you may have about the site and post his replies here on the SWLing Post next week.

Additionally, if you have something specific you’d like me to photograph, please ask and I’ll attempt to do so. The only areas I’m not allowed to photograph are those dealing with site security.

Please comment with your questions and requests no later than tomorrow morning!

In case you’re not familiar, the Edward R. Murrow transmitter site is the last BBG shortwave broadcasting site on US soil. Click here for a photo tour I posted a few ago.

Breaking news: OIG Report on the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station

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I’ve just received a copy of the Office of Inspections (OIG) report on the VOA transmitting station in Greenville, NC. The full OIG report is now in the public domain as a PDF.

Here are a few highlights…

A summary of what OIG found:

  • The Broadcasting Board of Governors Special Committee on the future of shortwave broadcasting issued the report “To Be Where the Audience Is,” in August 2014. It concluded that the demand for shortwave broadcasting is declining in most of its audience markets. The report referred to transmission to Cuba twice, but fell short of recommending to close any Broadcasting Board of Governors shortwave transmitting stations.
  • The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station reports to the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and Office of Technology, Services, and Innovation. The dual reporting structure has not affected operations negatively.
  • Administrative operations for the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station were effective, except in management of human resources. Specifically, the station
    manager’s position description was outdated and the performance evaluations record keeping did not comply with Federal regulations.
  • The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station had effective internal controls processes in place. The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station management were
    cognizant of internal controls and provides effective oversight of operations.
  • The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station complied with the Broadcasting Board of Governors and applicable Federal regulations for contracting, property management, and safety. The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station complied with the Broadcasting Board of Governors review processes for unliquidated obligations and the purchase card program.
  • The security and emergency preparedness at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station met the Interagency Security Committee, Office of Security, and Office of
    Technology, Services, and Innovation policies and standards. The employees participated in emergency drills and complete required insider threat training
    annually.
The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station's mail building, located in the center of the 2800 acres campus. (Click to enlarge)

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station’s mail building, located in the center of the 2800 acres campus. (Click to enlarge)

Regarding the future of the station:

BBG has not evaluated the return on investment of the Station’s operations to determine its effectiveness in advancing the U.S. international media strategies. The BBG’s Special Committee report refers twice to transmissions to Cuba but falls short of recommending to close any BBG shortwave transmitting stations. Congress continues funding the Station’s budget even though on February 1, 2010, the BBG FY 2011 budget request proposed the closure of the Station.

Futhermore, in FY 2011, the Senate Committee on Appropriations asked BBG to submit a “multiyear strategic plan for broadcasting to Cuba to include an analysis of options for disseminating news and information to Cuba and a report on the cost effectiveness of each.”

The Office of Management and Budget’s Global Engagement Resource Guidance for FY 2015 and for FY 2016 address the need to modernize U.S. International media by “transitioning away from the use of shortwave radio where this platform is ineffective, toward more widely used media platforms like mobile, television, and the internet.” The United States International Broadcasting Act, Public Law 103-236, Section 303(a)(1) and (7) states that BBG has the responsibility to “be consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States” and “to effectively reach a significant audience.” Section 305(a)(7) states the Board is also authorized to “ensure that all broadcasting elements receive the highest quality and cost effective delivery services.” Given BBG’s limited resources and changes in technology as well as the significance of Cuba to U.S. national security objectives, BBG risks missing an opportunity to engage with Cuban audiences in a digital media environment.

Recommendation 1: The Broadcasting Board of Governors should prepare a written
cost/benefit evaluation of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station to determine its
efficiency and effectiveness for continuing, reducing, or eliminating operations. (Action: BBG)

The full report:

Click here to download the full report as a PDF.

For a little context, this is the same station I’ve visited multiple times and even posted a photo tour of (click here to view) several years ago.

Victor Ashe joins CUSIB after leaving the Broadcasting Board of Governors

Victor Ashe

Victor Ashe

Without a doubt, Victor Ashe has championed US international broadcasting on the Broadcasting Board of Governors and has voiced his support for continued funding of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station. He will now join The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting Advisory Board:

(Source: CUSIB Press Release)

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusig.org) announced that departing Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Victor Ashe has joined CUSIB Advisory Board.

CUSIB is a nonpartisan, independent NGO supporting U.S. international broadcasting. CUSIB has worked with individual BBG members, heads of BBG entities, members of the U.S. Congress, and media to identify and correct management problems that hamper effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasting. CUSIB members were active in successfully opposing proposed cuts to Voice of America (VOA) radio and satellite television programs to China and VOA radio programs to Tibet. CUSIB also defended dozens of Radio Liberty journalists in Russia who were fired by the previous Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) management. Some of the journalists were rehired after the BBG hired Kevin Klose and acting RFE/RL president. Klose initiated management reforms at RFE/RL.

At the BBG, Victor Ashe was a champion of accountability and transparency. He won respect of rank and file employees for his willingness to communicate with them and address serious management issues. Ashe insisted that top agency executives not ignore the problem of record low employee morale under the management of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), as measured by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).

Ashe said in a statement: “I am honored to serve on this [CUSIB] Board and appreciate their dedication to transparency and fairness. There is still much work to do for international broadcasting by the United States due to serious management issues which still exist.” “I am hopeful the new BBG Board with the leadership of Jeff Shell will make the decisions necessary to move BBG forward,” Ashe added.

BBG Watch: Edward R. Murrow site appears safe in fiscal year 2014

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station campus as seen by Google Earth (Click to enlarge)

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station campus as seen by Google Earth (Click to enlarge)

This is good news for our friends at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station (click to read tour):

(Source: BBG Watch)

Thanks to efforts by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Victor Ashe, support of his board colleagues Susan McCue and Michael Meehan, and intervention from North Carolina congressmen G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Walter B. Jones (R-NC), the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in Greenville, NC appears to be safe for now from budget cuts previously sought by officials of BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

In a letter to both congressmen, IBB Director Richard Lobo assured them that the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), which utilizes more than 80 percent of the scheduled shortwave transmissions from the Murrow Station, will work with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to utilize $50 million of existing democracy and human rights un-obligated funds to pay some of the costs of the station’s operations.

IBB Director Lobo assured both congressmen that under this proposal there will be no personnel changes at the Murrow Station and the employees would remain on the payroll of the International Broadcasting Bureau.

But with Victor Ashe expected to leave his post on the board soon. With new BBG members expected to be confirmed, long-term future of the Murrow Station is still not certain. Ashe and Congressmen G.K. Butterfield and Walter B. Jones worked hard to keep it open despite pressure and resistance from IBB executives who wanted to close it down. The station is the only BBG shortwave transmitting facility on American territory fully controlled by the U.S. government.

Let’s hope the new BBG board members understand the importance of keeping at least one BBG shortwave transmitting on US soil. In my opinion, every country should do this; not only for diplomatic and free press reasons, but for reasons of national security. In an emergency, if other communications systems were to fail, shortwave radio could still cover a vast broadcasting footprint–even the whole of the US.

Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station: re-dedication videos

Last week, we noted the upcoming re-dedication of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station and the significance of this particular broadcasting location.

Videos of the event have now been posted on the BBG Watch website, including this one, which features the original dedication of the site in 1963:

Local CBS affiliate, Channel 9, provided raw video feeds from the event, which are also posted.  Of particular note is the footage of Governor Victor Ashe’s speech and the tour of the station.

Victor Ashe:

Station tour:

As I previously mentioned, in December 2012, I had the honor of receiving a five-hour tour of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station. Following that marvelous tour, I  wrote a piece for the March 2012 issue of the Monitoring Times in which I describe the day’s experiences; the article has already received many kind comments (thanks!) and continues to draw interest to the station. I think this may be one of the best articles I’ve ever written, and the clear reason for this was my sheer delight in the tour, a dream come true for me.  Moreover, I had early information about the re-dedication of the site, and was immensely pleased that  those who work there should receive such well-deserved accolades.

BTW:  While I have a busy travel schedule this summer, I intend to publish some items of interest in my absence that I’ve been saving for the purpose. This will include the article I wrote for the MT–the full, un-cut version–along with dozens of hi-res photos from the site. It’s quite long, thus will be posted in manageable sections; each post will be tagged: VOA Greenville. Keep an eye open for those!

But if you just can’t wait, you can always download an electronic version of the March issue on the MT’s website.  Hope you enjoy it…!

And to our good friends at VOA Greenville:  thanks again, and congratulations!

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station: VOA “Site B” re-dedication means a new name plus a future

My feature article on touring the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in the March 2012 issue of Monitoring Times

Last December, I had the honor of receiving a personal five hour tour of the VOA transmitter site near Greenville, NC, USA. It was literally a dream come true for me, and providing a more in-depth understanding of the history, the equipment, the antennas and, most importantly, the people who keep this remarkable site on the air 24/7. You can read all about my experience in a feature article I wrote for the  March 2012 issue of Monitoring Times Magazine.

Just before my article was sent to print, I received word from my new friends at the transmitter site that it had been renamed the “Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station.” Fortunately, timing was on my side and my article carried the new name throughout.

This was much more than a re-naming of the site, however. I knew that to some degree, it was a reassurance by the BBG (Broadcasting Board of Governors) that the site, which had been slated for closure as recently as 2010, was to have a future that would reflect its honored past in international broadcasting. Clearly, the site is very important; it’s the last remaining international broadcating station that is not only wholly owned by the US government, but is nonetheless on US territory, where no restrictions can be imposed upon either what is broadcast, nor for whom the broadcast is targeted.

On a side note, perhaps what disappoints me most about the Radio Canada International cuts, and why I’ve been so vocal about it, is the fact that they plan to close their Sackville, New Brunswick transmitting site. In a sense, it’s the Canadian cousin to the VOA’s Murrow site, which is to say, the only international broadcasting site in Canada, that’s fully owned by Canada and grounded firmly on Candian soil.

Tuning controls on one of the 500 kW Continental Electronics transmitters I admired at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Site. Click to enlarge.

I’m very pleased the US government and the Broadcasting Board of Governers made what I strongly believe to be the right decision, namely, keeping Edward R. Murrow Transmitting station open and active. Once that transmission infrastructure is gone, it’s gone. Fortunately, this re-dedicationconfirms that it will live on.

I was personally invited to the dedication, but sadly will be unable to attend, the distance (twelve hours by car) being fairly prohibitive.

Yet I wish you well, broadcast heroes:  long live the Edward R. Murrow transmitting site!

The Greenville Reflector published an article about the May 2nd dedication of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station:

(Source: The Reflector)

VOA site to be rededicated

A Voice of America site once scheduled for closure has not only been saved but will be rededicated Wednesday in a ceremony featuring the son of broadcasting pioneer Edward R. Murrow.

Voice of America Site B, located 15 miles east of Greenville outside of Grimesland, was named for the legendary broadcaster when it opened in 1963.

Murrow’s name was removed from the building as part of security measures taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Murrow’s name will be returned during a 10 a.m. ceremony being held at the site, 3919 VOA Site B Road.

[…]The Broadcasting Board of Governors announced in February 2010 it wanted to close VOA Site B so it could save about $3.1 million annually and focus on upgrading its satellite, digital and other broadcasting technologies.

The site B location broadcasts via short-wave radio to Cuba, the Caribbean and South America. In the past it also has broadcast to West Africa.

Jones and U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., worked to stop the closure, aided by another member of the North Carolina delegation, Democrat David Price.

The closure never came because Congress had difficulties finalizing its 2010-11 budget and funding was included in continuation budgets.

The broadcasting board notified Jones in January 2011 that the administration wouldn’t pursue the site’s closure.

By that time Victor Ashe, former mayor of Knoxville, Tenn., and former ambassador to Poland, joined the broadcasting board and toured the VOA Site B facility.

Ashe said he was impressed by the facility’s staff members and their dedication to the organization’s mission.

“We believe free and honest information is a prelude and a foundation of a democratic society,” Ashe said.

Like other proponents of the site, Ashe said it’s important to keep VOA Site B operating because it’s the only short-wave Voice of America facility operating under U.S. jurisdiction. Other short-wave locations can be shut down at the insistence of its host nation.

Other methods of broadcasting — radio, television, the Internet and social media — can be cut off or blocked.

And the invitation from the BBG:

Speakers will include:

Congressman Walter Jones

Casey Murrow, son of Edward R. Murrow and Executive Director, Synergy Learning

Victor Ashe, BBG Governor, former Ambassador to Poland and former mayor of Knoxville

Richard M. Lobo, award-winning media executive and journalist and Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau

Edward R. Murrow’s legacy as a journalist and his rich understanding of the importance of press freedom as part of the bedrock of democracy along with the key role of U.S. international broadcasting as a model of a free press will be highlighted in the ceremony to be held in the lead-up to World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd.

The transmitting station, a 24/7 broadcast facility, supports the mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy” through about 2,200 hours of transmissions each month.

Program:

Welcome:
André Mendes, Director, Office of Technology, Services and Innovation, International Broadcasting Bureau

Invocation:
Pastor William Thompson, Burney Chapel Free Will Baptist Church

Presentation of Colors:
D. H. Conley High School  ROTC

National Anthem:
Karen Meetze, Choral Director, J. H. Rose High School

Musical Accompaniment by:
A.G. Cox Middle School Band
Barney Barker, Band Director

Remarks about Edward R. Murrow:
Casey Murrow, Executive Director, Synergy Learning

Remarks:
Ambassador Victor Ashe, BBG Governor

Introduction:
Richard M. Lobo, Director, International Broadcasting Bureau

Keynote:
Congressman Walter Jones

Following the ceremony a tour of the facility will be offered.

Register through Eventbrite by April 26, 2012.

For more information, please call 202-203-4400 or email pubaff@bbg.gov.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).