“Voice of America Marks 79th Anniversary”

(Source: VOA News)

Voice of America is 79 years old today [February 1, 2021].

Its 1942 debut was unpretentious — a live, 15-minute shortwave radio broadcast transmitted into Germany from a small studio in New York City.

Now, the U.S.-funded but independent VOA reaches more than 280 million people across the globe each week in more than 40 languages.

Its stories, covering the range of the human existence in the Unites States and countries throughout the world, appear on digital, television and radio platforms and can be accessed on mobile phones and social media. VOA stories are carried on a network of more than 2,500 affiliate stations.

In the first broadcast in 1942, a little more than seven weeks after the United States officially entered World War II, listeners first heard an American patriotic song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Then, announcer William Harlan Hale said, “We bring you Voices from America. Today, and daily from now on, we shall speak to you about America and the war. The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.”

It is a credo that since 1976 is embedded in the VOA Charter, which by law requires the organization to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” It says VOA news must “be accurate, objective and comprehensive.”

VOA is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the government agency that oversees all non-military, U.S. international broadcasting.

VOA’s professional journalists produce dozens of stories every day without interference from the U.S. government.

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9 thoughts on ““Voice of America Marks 79th Anniversary”

  1. Michael Sly

    Happy Birthday VOA!

    I have the privilege of being a docent at the National Voice of America Museum in West Chester Ohio. This is the site of the former Bethany Relay Station. It is a shame that more American’s don’t know about VOA and its impact on the world, yet given this, I find it so encouraging when I am able to share the history of VOA with museum visitors. If any of you are ever in the West Chester, OH (suburb of Cincinnati) area, please make plans to visit the museum. Information can be found at: http://www.voamuseum.org

    Reply
    1. John

      Hey Michael,
      It’s now on my list!
      That’s not too far from where I lived when I came to the US.
      Totally agree re your comments on VOA and the positive impact it’s had on the world and how most Americans don’t seem to be aware of its existence.
      VOA also has an excellent news website, I have it bookmarked and often go there for news on cuurent events.
      Best,
      John
      KC8RZM

      Reply
  2. K S Shama Sunder. VU2USA

    Happy VOA
    I still remember my good old days of listening to VOA morning breakfast show on 40m HF.
    Famous phrase from the announcer “ If you see someone without a smile give him one of yours”
    I cannot forget VOA’s live broadcasts of man’s landing on moon.
    Also getting a book “ Man’s conquest of space” and “ Our Country” for having selected and answered my questions on the air.
    One my favourite stations way back in late 60s.
    VOA was a great source of news and information.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. John

      Hey K.S,
      I used to QSL VOA back in the UK and was, and still am, a follower of all things NASA and space technology, (congratulations SpaceX on Starship reaching the 10km altitude mark three hours or so back in Texas, need to work a little more on the landing part though!).
      Somewhere I still have the ruler VOA sent me that listed all the US Presidents.
      Great memories and good times!
      Best,
      John
      KC8RZM

      Reply
      1. K S Shama Sunder Vu2usa

        Hi. John
        Really those were the good old days.
        After listening to VOA breakfasts show beaming
        to our part of the world (India) then used to go and
        VOA African service some times.
        Great to know that you still have VOA ruler with all
        US presidents.
        I have displayed VOA qsl cards in my radio room.
        Best
        Sam

        Reply
  3. John

    Listening to VOA back in the UK was a huge part of my childhood and one of the reasons I’m now an American citizen. In my head I can still hear the voices of the announcers, particularly Willis Conover who presented The Voice of America Jazz Hour, what a great radio voice he had.

    VOA and its programming was a great source of information and a beacon of hope to others then living under authoritarian regimes. I believe VOA transmissions also helped win the Cold War. It did, and still does, communicate to the rest of the planet the exceptional nature of my adopted country,

    Happy Birthday VOA!

    Reply
    1. Mike C.

      I just watched a fantastic doc on my local PBS this evening, The Jazz Ambassadors, which featured the VOA and Willis Conover’s Jazz Hour pretty heavily, especially as he interviewed and showcased greats like Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck as they traveled the Middle East and Soviet Europe during the Cold War. Fabulous and fascinating documentary. A very fitting watch for VOA’s anniversary.

      Mike
      N0TLD

      Reply
      1. John

        Hey Mike,
        Thanks for the tip, gonna watch it this weekend.
        VOA couldn’t have had a better ambassador than Willis to introduce this uniqely American style of music to the world.
        He may not have been that well known in the US outside Jazz circles but I know he was a celebrity in some other nations and particularly behind the Iron Curtain.
        Best,
        John
        KC8RZM

        Reply

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