Tag Archives: VOA Bethany

VOA museum marks 75th anniversary with gala

(Source: Journal News via Howard Bailen)

WEST CHESTER TWP. The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting will host “Celebrate the Voice of America under the Stars,” a romantic, Big Band dinner-and-dance party on Sept. 23 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the VOA museum.

The event will mark the 75th anniversary of the Voice of America and commemorate the Sept. 23, 1944 dedication of the VOA-Bethany Station.

Carmon DeLeone and his New Studio Big Band will provide entertainment and record a program for later broadcast on public radio station WVXU.

[…]For 50 years, the VOA-Bethany Station transmitted Voice of America broadcasts to countries worldwide that lacked a free press, first in Europe during World War II and to South America during the Cold War. It was decommissioned by the federal government in 1994.

The iconic art deco building has been developed into the National VOA Museum of Broadcasting with the help of the entire community, mostly with volunteer labor. Contributions and grants have been secured from local, regional and national companies and foundations.[…]

Read the full article at the Journal News online.

Click here to view our photos from the VOA Bethany Museum.

VOA Museum celebrates VOA 75th anniversary

Photo from the control room at the VOA Bethany museum.

(Source: Southgate ARC)

National VOA Museum to celebrate 75th anniversary of Voice of America

There’s an important birthday celebration in West Chester this year: the 75th anniversary of the Voice of America.

“We’re planning a series of events and exhibits this year to celebrate the VOA’s commitment across America and the world to embrace best practices in telling the truth in order to let the world decide,” said Jack Dominic, museum executive director.

The VOA was formed in 1942 as a way to counteract Nazi propaganda in Germany and provide war news to American troops and Allies overseas.

“WLWO, a division of WLW, was transmitting news via shortwave radio overseas long before 1942,” said Dominic. “In fact, broadcasters from WLWO provided the nucleus of the early VOA broadcasting team. Cincinnati’s shortwave technology and its broadcasters truly helped the U.S. win the war.”

The reentrant rhombic antennas at the VOA-Bethany station in West Chester were so powerful that they became quickly known as the “siege guns of radio” for their capacity to reach the far corners of Nazi-occupied countries with little audible distortion. A frustrated Adolph Hitler was known to call the VOA “those Cincinnati liars.”

The VOA-Bethany station transmitted VOA news to Europe during WW II and South America during the Cold War through its innovative shortwave rhombic antenna network developed by the Crosley Corporation. The Bethany station was decommissioned by the federal government in 1994, after shortwave radio technology was supplanted by television and satellite technology.

“The men and women who made up the VOA broadcasting system were our journalistic beacons of light during the 20th century,” said Ken Rieser, president of the VOA museum board.

“Elmer Davis, John Houseman, Edward R. Murrow and Robert Bauer all had positions of leadership within the VOA.

“We hope that the VOA enjoys many more years of embracing the highest of journalistic standards in its reporting so it inspires people in war-torn and oppressed countries to hope, dream and work toward democracy.”

The Voice of America, based in Washington, D.C., is the world’s largest international broadcaster, providing balanced and comprehensive news and information in 47 languages to 236 million people each week, according to the VOA website. It continues to reach people in countries lacking a fee press today and its languages include: Russian; Ukrainian; Azerbaijani; Serbian; Armenian; Thai; and Somali.

The National VOA Museum of Broadcasting is located in the art deco Bethany station building and houses three collections: Gray History of Wireless radios; VOA-Bethany station’s Voice of America control room; and the Media Heritage Cincinnati Museum of Broadcast History. The West Chester Amateur Radio Assn. operates station WC8VOA from the museum building.

The VOA museum now offers an annual $50 membership that provides free admission for the member, an adult guest, and up to three children under 12. Members also receive updates and advance information about new exhibits and programs.

For $250, members receive the benefits above, as well as a 50 percent discount on any and all lectures, programs or visiting exhibit tickets.

The National VOA Museum of Broadcasting is open the third Saturday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children. The museum is located at 8070 Tylersville Road in West Chester.

Museum will be open this Saturday, Feb. 18

For more information, visit the VOA Museum website at www.voamuseum.org or call (513) 777-0027.

To access Voice of America programs, visit www.voanews.com

The VOA Bethany museum is certainly worth a visit! I went there in 2015 and was most impressed with the work these volunteers have accomplished.

Click here for our short photo tour.

Photos from the VOA Bethany Museum

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Immediately after packing up our table at the Dayton Hamvention, my buddies Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and I made the 30 minute journey to Bethany, Ohio, to visit the VOA Bethany museum.

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Main entrance and front lobby (above).VOA-Bethany- - 1 (34) VOA-Bethany- - 1 (3)

Entering the transmitter control room.

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VOA-Bethany- - 1 (28)Eric pointed out an article on the future of shortwave radio I published last year that the museum has posted in the hallway next to the control room (above).  What an honor!

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The antenna switching array behind the main building (following four photos).

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WLW (700 kHz) 800′ tower in the distance (above).

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The satellite dish (above) was once used for VOA’s downlink/feed–now the West Chester Amateur Radio Association (WC8VOA) uses the dish for EME (Earth Moon Earth) contacts.

VOA-Bethany- - 1 (32)Back inside, WC8VOA has four full amateur radio operating locations stocked with Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood gear. The club president told us that an antique amateur radio station will soon be added.

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Our docent took us on a tour of two vaults filled with vintage radio equipment and then a museum devoted to the legacy of WLW. The item in the photo above is a corona ball from one of the original towers–notice the holes from lightning strikes.

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Example of an early radio kit (above).

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A rare Third Reich radio (above).

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When Ohio-based R.L. Drake Company stopped manufacturing amateur radio equipment, samples of their full product line were donated to the museum.

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The Museum is planning substantial renovations to restore the VOA Bethany Station and become a first class institution. During the restoration, the Museum is only open one day per month to the public: The third Saturday of each month from 1:00 PM – 4:00.

Click here to view the museum’s new website.

Video documents the history of the VOA Bethany site

(Update 18 August 2011)
Digging back through our archives, I found this video post from February. If you aren’t familiar with the history of the VOA Bethany site, this is a must see.


Thanks to Kim Elliott for bringing to my attention.

Ted Landphair takes us to the VOA Bethany transmitting station

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VOA Bethany transmitting station, now a museum and park.

Veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist, Ted Landphair recently posted an essay on his blog outlining the past and present of VOA’s Bethany, Ohio transmitter site. This article is a fascinating read and takes us back to the the site’s roots in WLW and wartime propaganda.

Thanks Ted–and to Kim Elliot for bringing this article to my attention.