Tag Archives: Voice of Amercia

Radio Waves: Chelmsford Radio at 100 Years, First Broadcast Station Site, Alfred Vail, and News Executives Purged from VOA

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors John Hoad, Bruce Atchison, and David Korchin for the following tips:


Chelmsford celebrates 100 years of radio with a play (Radio Today)

The city of Chelmsford is celebrating its status as ‘the birthplace of radio’ 100 years ago today with a special live stream of a new play about the Marconi Company tests of 1920.

Britain’s first ever radio entertainment broadcast took place on 15 June 1920, and featured two arias by Australian operatic tenor Dame Nellie Melba, one of most famous singers of the late Victoria era. The broadcast from the Marconi Factory was heard all over Europe and picked up as far away as Canada.

To mark the milestone, Chelmsford City Theatre is streaming a radio play The Power Behind the Microphone: The First Live Radio Entertainment Broadcast about the original broadcast, 100 years to the minute at 7.10pm this evening. International opera star Anna Steiger will recreate the concert given by Madame Melba as part of a radio play based on the story of that fateful night and the breakthroughs that made it possible.[]

Site of the World’s First Radio Broadcasting Station (Atlas Obscura)

Three plaques mark the spot where the “forgotten father of broadcasting” worked.

CHARLES “DOC” HERROLD WAS A pioneer. After founding his College of Engineering and Wireless in 1909 inside the Garden City Bank building at 50 West San Fernando Street in San Jose, California, he launched the world’s first radio broadcasting station, which beamed music, news, and notably, advertising to listeners on a regular basis.

Herrold and his team at Station FN, which included his own wife, the world’s first female disc jockey, epitomized the mantra of many a Silicon Valley startup today: “move fast and break things.” His early transmitting devices burned out one after the other, and Herrold had to use a water-cooled microphone. He stole wattage from San Jose’s street car line to power his innovative “Arc Fone” transmitter, and cut a deal with a local store to play records on a Victrola that he would point at the microphone.[]

Morse’s Partner Argued He Invented Famous Code—to No A-Vail (HistoryNet.com)

Alfred Vail came up with dots and dashes, but Patent Office gave credit to Samuel Morse, the better known inventor

In 1887, 18 years after his father’s death, Stephen Vail took up metaphorical arms to claim Alfred Vail’s place as a key figure in communications history. Starting a war of words that would last decades and end with a declaration carved into stone, the younger Vail bombarded newspaper editors with letters. Alfred Vail’s son insisted that his dad had invented the dot-and-dash system used in telegraphy and known to all, and most gallingly to the younger man, as “Morse” code.

Before telegraphy, the United States had been more a collection of outposts than a nation—when a treaty ended the War of 1812, word from peace talks in Europe between Britain and the United States took so long to creep across the Atlantic that two weeks after the signatures on the peace treaty had dried British and American troops were fighting the Battle of New Orleans. Until telegraphy arrived for good in 1844, information traveled no faster than horses could gallop, trains could roll, or ships could sail. News from Boston reached San Francisco and vice versa by traveling aboard vessels that had to round South America’s southern tip. Only dreamers spoke of rails crossing North America or a canal traversing the Isthmus of Panama. []

Trump administration purges news execs from U.S. agency meant to counter disinformation, leaving staff fearing more to come (CBS News)

The overnight purge of top news organization officials at the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) has raised concern among its federal government employees and reporters that their jobs, immigration status, and editorial independence may soon be at risk following the arrival of new CEO Michael Pack.

Pack, who is a conservative filmmaker and close ally of one-time Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and had just stepped into the job after being confirmed by the Republican-led Senate earlier this month, did not respond to a request by CBS News for comment or explanation.

“Pack uses deep state language. Is Bannon calling the shots?”

A USAGM source said this is the question being pondered by executives and journalists inside the organization now.

Four news division heads were removed from their positions, including Middle East Broadcasting Network chief Alberto Fernandez, who is a former US Ambassador, Radio Free Asia’s Bay Fang, Emilio Vazquez of the office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Radio Liberty’s Jamie Fly. Replacements have yet to be named.

Steve Capus, the former CBS and NBC News executive who had been serving as a senior advisor, was also dismissed. Earlier this week, the top director and deputy director at Voice of America resigned as did the head of the Open Technology Fund Libby Liu, which promotes global internet freedoms.[]


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“National Press Club and Journalism Institute support VOA and its journalism”

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

(Source: National Press Club Press Release)

WASHINGTONApril 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute stand with Voice of America and its director, Amanda Bennett, against unsupported criticism by the White House of its coronavirus coverage.

Bennett is a highly respected journalist who has been a staunch advocate of the independence guaranteed in The VOA Charter signed by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. To claim, as the White House has done, that VOA has been reporting Chinese propaganda flies in the face of the facts. VOA has reported on the Chinese undercount of coronavirus deaths in the city of Wuhan, reported on China’s misleading count of cases testing positive and reported on China’s use of Twitter to spread disinformation globally.

“From its founding during World War II to combat Nazi propaganda with accurate and unbiased information, the Voice of America has consistently served the world in a manner in which all Americans can and should be proud,” said National Press Club President Michael Freedman. “From Edward R. Murrow to Amanda Bennett, VOA has represented the best in journalism and we stand firmly behind its reporters, who are dedicated to truth and accuracy.”

“The attacks from the president and from White House officials not only undermine VOA’s mission, but they pierce a firewall that is supposed to protect the publicly financed news agency from political interference,” said NPC Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane.

When Amanda Bennett was honored with the National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Award last year, she said: “Here’s what we do do: We broadcast all around the world the uncensored version of speeches. The unheard views of opposition parties. The stories of disappeared teachers, politicians, journalists – sometimes even whole populations. And we also show the world America in all its — yes, greatness – and also its flaws and faults. We are as independent as all of you are, and – again – God willing, we stay that way. As we say, we broadcast the First Amendment.”

The National Press Club, The World’s Leading Professional Organization for Journalists™, represents more than 3,000 reporters, editors and professional communicators worldwide. The Club’s nonprofit affiliate, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.

PRESS CONTACT: LINDSAY UNDERWOOD FOR THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB; LUNDERWOOD@PRESS.ORG; (202) 662-7561

SOURCE National Press Club

Related Links

http://press.org

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Dan takes a critical look at the BBG as government transition commences

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

SWLing Post readers are likely aware that contributor, Dan Robinson, is the former White House, Congressional and foreign correspondent for the Voice of America.

I’ve just learned that Dan has authored a piece questioning the viability of the BBG as the US presidential transition take place.

Dan’s commentary titled What’s A President-elect To Do . . . With the BBG? appears on the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy site:

http://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/blog/whats-president-elect-dowith-bbg

I encourage you to read his full article and please direct your comments to the original post on the Center on Public Diplomacy website.

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Proposed amendment to National Defense Authorization Act calls for privatization of VOA

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

(Source: BBG Watch via Andrea Borgnino)

BBG Watch has learned that a proposed privatization of the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) is widely opposed by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) federal employees, their union, the independent Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org), and numerous foreign policy and public diplomacy professionals, as well as some former VOA journalists. At the same time, critics of privatization of America’s “Voice” strongly support structural reforms of its ailing federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which they blame for VOA’s troubles.

“A decision to reform the Broadcasting Board of Governors merits its own separate bill where both houses of Congress can debate and carefully consider the best course of action,” AFGE Local 1812 union told its Broadcasting Board of Governors members. “It should not be addressed in a stealth last minute amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act,” the union said. The union urged BBG employees to contact their senators and express their opposition to the amendment submitted by Congressman Mac Thornberry and “the offensive language is contained in section 310 (b) of the amendment.” The Senate version of the bill does not have this language, the union reported. Also see an earlier AFGE Local 1812 article, HERE WE GO AGAIN: Another Agency Attempt to De-federalize TV and Radio Marti.[…]

Continue reading on the BBG Watch website.

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VOA reducing shortwave radio broadcasts

VOAFollowing the BBC World Service’s lead, the VOA will reduce broadcasts to Iran, Albania, Georgia and Latin America, along with English language broadcasts to the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Full details below:

(Source: Inside VOA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Voice of America is reducing some of its radio transmissions this weekend and ending shortwave broadcasts to regions where audiences have alternative ways of receiving VOA news and information programs.

The transmission reductions allow VOA to comply with budget cuts required by sequestration and to avoid furloughs of staff members.

When the new broadcast schedule goes into effect on March 31st, cross-border shortwave and medium wave broadcasts to Albania, Georgia, Iran and Latin America will be curtailed, along with English language broadcasts to the Middle East and Afghanistan.

VOA will continue to provide audiences in these regions with up-to-date news and information through a host of other platforms, including radio and TV affiliate stations, direct-to-home satellite, web streaming, mobile sites and social media.

The new broadcast schedule calls for reductions in some  shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasts in Cantonese, Dari/Pashto, English to Africa, Khmer, Kurdish, Mandarin, Portuguese, Urdu and Vietnamese. Direct radio broadcasts to all of these regions will continue.

The transmission reductions are expected to have minimal impact on audience numbers since primary modes of delivery will remain.  Shortwave and medium wave broadcasts will continue to regions where they draw substantial audiences, and to countries where other signal delivery is difficult or impossible.

For more information contact Kyle King at the VOA Public Relations office in Washington at (202) 203-4959, or write kking@voanews.com.  For more information about VOA visit our Public Relations website atwww.insidevoa.com, or the main VOA news site at www.voanews.com.

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