Citing a diminishing audience, US to close Iranawila Station in Sri Lanka

(Source: US Embassy in Sri Lanka)

The United States values its strong relationship with Sri Lanka and our bilateral partnership over the past 60 years. The Iranawila shortwave station, managed by an independent U.S. agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), is an example of this partnership. The shortwave station has transmitted Voice of America programs from Washington through shortwave radio signals to audiences around the world, bringing them news, music, and special interest programs about the United States. Without the support of Sri Lankan governments over many years, Voice of America could not have succeeded in its mission of telling America’s story to the world.

Over time, however, the audience for shortwave broadcasts has diminished. People are increasingly turning to other sources of news and information – including, but not limited to FM radio, satellite television, websites, and social media – often delivered via mobile phones. The BBG is committed to reaching audiences on their preferred media. Given changing audience habits and the increasing costs of operating shortwave transmission stations, the BBG decided to close the Iranawila station.

The land where the station is located was leased from, and is being returned to, the Government of Sri Lanka. During the time of its operation, the U.S. government has developed the Iranawila property, building roads, clearing and levelling the land, building drainage canals, fences, and modern office buildings. The U.S. government has also installed service connections to public utilities and 4.2Mw of onsite self-generated power. All of these improvements have significantly increased the property’s value, and the flexibility of the site to serve many roles in the future. The United States government is returning with gratitude its lease of over 400 acres of property in Iranawila back to the Government of Sri Lanka in its entirety, including any and all improvements.

Voice of America provides trusted and objective news and information in 47 languages to a measured weekly audience of more than 236.6 million people around the world. For nearly 75 years, VOA journalists have told American stories and supplied objective news and information about the US, their region and the world. For more information on VOA –

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4 thoughts on “Citing a diminishing audience, US to close Iranawila Station in Sri Lanka

  1. Tom Servo

    I believe the Sri Lanka broadcasts mostly targeted the Middle East, East Asia and India. For whatever reason, despite being far away in the US, those Iranawila broadcasts were often audible here if conditions were at all palatable. It’s also fairly easy to find on Google satellite view, not a bad looking site.

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  3. Carlos Fernandez

    I’m wondering whether there are any readers in the Sri Lanka or South Asia area who tended to catch VOA often. For example, could the Sri Lankan broadcasts be heard far outside that region. I’m assuming many of the people here used the large setups they have to pick it up, but where could the standard person with a cheap set reliably receive and understand the broadcasts from this antenna. As I see it, THE u.S. probably used that station to target places like Afghanistan and Iran, but that’s mostly me looking at a map and trying to come to my own conclusions. I’m really not knowledgeable enough.


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