Tag Archives: Voice of America

“VOA Launches Rohingya Language Program”

Teachers gather with VOA Learning English instructor at the end of training. (Source: Inside VOA)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Eric McFadden and Bruce who share the following item from NPR:

The Voice of America has begun a daily radio show in Rohingya, the language spoken by Muslim refugees who have been forced to flee Myanmar. The program is called “Lifeline.”

Click here to read/listen at NPR.

Also, Inside VOA published the following press release:

VOA Launches Rohingya Language Program

Today the Voice of America’s Bangla language service started a five-day-a-week radio show in Rohingya, the language spoken by Muslim refugees that have fled Myanmar. More than 800,000 people have taken refuge at the Kutupalong camp, one of the world’s largest refugee camps at the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.

Titled Lifeline, the 30-minute radio show, is available through short and medium wave signals. The program focuses on the lives and needs of the refugees, providing them with valuable information on security, family reunification, food rations, available shelter, education and health including vaccinations and water purification. In addition, a daily segment of the program offers the refugees the opportunity to share their stories, extend greetings to their families and learn about the hazards of joining extremists groups. One overarching objective of the broadcast is to counter Muslim extremists’ narratives and recruitment efforts in the camps and inform the Rohingya about the U.S. and the international community’s involvement in the crisis.

“After visiting Cox’s Bazaar and the Kutupalong refugee camp last year, it became obvious to me that we needed to address the informational needs of these people caught in the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world today,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. “Providing them with a reliable and authoritative source of news, as well as practical information that will improve their lives, is what the Voice of America does well in various hotspots around the world.”

Prior to launching the Rohingya language program, a VOA Learning English team travelled to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in March of this year at the invitation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The VOA instructors offered six days of intensive training on teaching techniques and methods for 100 selected English teachers. The teachers, in turn, will use the acquired knowledge to train another 5,000 of their colleagues in the camps.

Click here to read at Inside VOA.

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From the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive: VOA and BBC on the anniversary of moon landing

Eagle in lunar orbit photographed from Columbia. (Image: NASA)

There are a hundreds of fascinating off-air radio recordings in our Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

One of our frequent contributors, Tom Laskowski, has digitally converted numerous magnetic tape recordings from his personal collection to share with the archive. Tom made the following recording of the Voice of America on July 20, 1979 at 0500 UTC on the 31 meter band.

Tom notes:

The first 4:30 is from a VOA newscast that aired before the main part of the program.

The main recording was presented on the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I enjoy listening to this every year on the landing anniversary.

I’ve enjoyed listening to this 10th anniversary presentation as we, today, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing::

Click here to download this recording.

[Update:] Tom also shares another recording that marks this anniversary:

I thought this might be [another] appropriate file to upload considering we are  marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. I recorded this program thirty years ago on July 20, 1989 [5.975 MHz at 0400 UTC] the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Omnibus takes a look back at the historic Apollo mission and how and why it happened:

Click here to download the recording.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Tom!

Readers: Note that you can subscribe to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive as a podcast via iTunes or by using the following RSS feed: http://shortwavearchive.com/archive?format=rss You can also listen via TuneIn.

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USAGM: questions about journalistic and financial management

(Source: New York Times)

WASHINGTON — The United States Agency for Global Media, the government’s foreign broadcast service, already struggling to clean house after a series of scandals last year at flagship operations like Voice of America and TV Martí, is now being rocked by two new cases that have raised further questions about its journalistic and financial management.

In one, Tomás Regalado Jr., a reporter for TV Martí, which broadcasts into Cuba, and a cameraman for the network, Rodolfo Hernandez, were suspended amid allegations that they faked a mortar attack on Mr. Regalado during a broadcast from Managua, Nicaragua, last year.

That incident surfaced only days after Haroon Ullah, the former chief strategy officer at the global media agency, which operates Martí and foreign-language networks around the world, pleaded guilty on June 27 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., to stealing government property.

A former deputy to the agency’s chief executive, John Lansing, Mr. Ullah admitted to fleecing the government of $37,000 between February and October last year by claiming reimbursements for expensive hotels he did not book, double-billing the government for official travel and forging a doctor’s note to allow him to fly business class. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

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The new problems are unrelated to each other; in the case of Mr. Ullah, the agency said its internal controls flagged the expense fraud. But along with many others over the past two years, the scandals have brought intensified scrutiny and criticism to the agency, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Created during World War II to be an objective, trusted source of information in nations where freedom of the press is under attack, the agency has 3,500 journalists who reach more than 345 million people in 100 countries each week.

The United States Agency for Global Media initiated an investigation into the allegedly faked segment at TV Martí “immediately after these concerns about the footage in question were raised,” the agency said in a statement. “As the agency has made clear, we have zero tolerance for failing to honor clear and universally accepted standards of professional journalism. We also owe it to all involved to conduct a thorough and clear investigation to get all of the facts.”

“I take seriously any breach of professional journalistic standards at any U.S.A.G.M. network. I have asked for a thorough and swift investigation,” Mr. Lansing said in an emailed statement. “I expect all U.S.A.G.M. networks to adhere to truthfulness, fairness and accountability in their reporting.”

Click here to read the full article at the New York Times.

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Photo Tour: The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station

Yesterday, I posted a photo and asked if you guess where I was when I took the shot.

Those of you who guessed the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station (formerly, “VOA Site B”) near Greenville, North Carolina, were absolutely correct!

My buddy, John Figliozzi, gave a presentation about NASWA and the Winter SWL Fest at the NASB (National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters) which was held in the Raleigh area, May 9th and 10th. Due to a conflict, I was not able to attend the NASB meeting this year, but I did arrive at the conference hotel late Thursday where I met a handful of attendees. I had previously invited John to join me on the station tour, and he was quite happy to do so!

Macon Dail (WB4PMQ), the transmitting station’s Gold Medal award-winning Chief Engineer, made time to give us a tour Friday, May 10, 2019.

And now, on to the photo tour of this remarkable facility.  My inclination is to caption each photo…but I know if I attempt this, I won’t post this gallery for several months!  Instead, I’ll roughly divide the photos by the various sections of the site. Note, however, that there are more than one hundred photos in this detailed post––to decrease its length, some of the photos have been placed in clickable thumbnail galleries. Those of you who receive the SWLing Post as an email digest, I would strongly encourage you to view this post directly on our website, so all of the gallery images will appear.

Enjoy!

Station entrance, lobby, and library

The Front Lobby

In this photo, Macon is showing John one of the notebooks, which is chock-full of reception reports from listeners. This notebook, as you can see, is prominently displayed in the front lobby.

We found our friend Rich D’Angelo in the stack of reception reports.

In a mezzanine above the control room, there is a space that houses a library, a presentation/classroom area, and even a small workout/fitness room.

View into the control room from the mezzanine.

Control room

     

Transmitters

 

Tubes glowing in the active GE transmitter!

Very high voltage in this power room for the GE transmitters.

Installing new transmitters

Macon and his team are in the process of installing modern transmitters sent from other IBB sites. As you might imagine, this is a tedious process, and requires highly-skilled technicians.

 

 

Power

Antenna switching bay and feed lines

In this photo, we’re looking straight down a 50 kW feed line in conduit which leads to the switching bay. Normally, this would not be accessible, but this line is being built for a new transmitter.

The antenna switching bay is truly massive…

Antenna farm

View from the observation tower

Wow, what a tour…

John and I enjoyed our in-depth tour of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station! The staff, as always, were incredibly welcoming and accommodating.

I believe this was my fourth tour; nonetheless, I still discovered new things, and it’s no wonder. The staff of the station are constantly upgrading, updating, and tweaking the performance of their equipment. This is the reason their signals are always full-fidelity and crystal-clear on the air.

I’m simply amazed by all they accomplish.  Keeping this station running is certainly a labor of love.

Of course, this won’t be my last visit to the station.  I fully intend to return, if not later this year, at least next, to check out the new transmitters in operation.  Stay tuned! To this active VOA station.

Click here to read an article about my first visit to the Murrow Transmitting Station.


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“VOA Learning English Team Trains Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh”

(Source: VOA News via Michael Bird)

Anna Matteo of Learning English teaches Rohingya teachers

VOA’s Learning English program is bringing its decades’ long expertise of teaching foreign audiences the English language to refugee camps in Bangladesh. Learning English is VOA’s multimedia source of news and information for millions of English learners worldwide.

At the end of March, a VOA Learning English team travelled to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to train 100 English teachers using a range of multimedia materials. The training program includes follow-up virtual classroom sessions, as well as VOA Learning English content accessible at the camp’s learning centers and though mobile devices.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees invited VOA to provide six days of intensive training on teaching techniques and methods for selected teachers. The teachers, in turn, will use the acquired knowledge to train another 3,000 of their colleagues in order to provide English lessons for refugees in the camp. The refugees requested this training during a visit by VOA Director Amanda Bennett at the Cox’s Bazar camps last year.

Rahma Rashid Toki, one of the selected teachers, told the VOA Learning English team he was ready to quit on the first day of training. By the end of the course, Toki commented: “When I came to the first day of training, I felt nervous. I decided I will not continue. Already I had applied to leave. But my P.O. (personnel officer) would not accept my application to leave. He said to me that this training is important and necessary. Now that the training is finished, I realize it’s really important for me and my students!”

Francis Nath a UN Education Associate at Cox’s Bazar who assisted with the training, said “you can see the [teachers’] level of English competency improve dramatically by the second day.”

VOA’s Learning English service uses clear and simple vocabulary to teach American English on radio, television, Internet, and mobile.

Learning English began as Special English, which VOA launched in 1959. Special English newscasts and features were a primary fixture of VOA’s international shortwave broadcasts for more than half a century. In 2014, the line of products was expanded to include more English teaching materials, and the service became known as Learning English.

Click here to read this story at VOA News.

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VOA Museum 75th Anniversary Events & Activities

(Source: WVXU via Michael Bird)

Voice Of America Museum Sets 75th Anniversary Events

The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting will celebrate the 75th anniversary of West Chester Township’s Bethany Station with yearlong programs highlighted by a presentation by VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman on March 6.

Events include a talk by Rod Serling biographer Nicholas Parisi; a program on sound effects from the golden age of radio; a “Hamvention” by the West Chester Amateur Radio Association; and a free four-part series of programs called “The Voice of Truth in America: Celebrating 75 Years of the VOA Bethany Station” with the MidPointe Library System.[…]

The anniversary events include:

Feb. 17: “The Imagination of Rod Serling: A Conversation with Nick Parisi,” by the author of Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination published last year.

March 6: “Covering the White House and the World” by Steve Herman, VOA White House Bureau Chief.

April 6: “History of the VOA-Bethany Station and the VOA Museum Today” presentation by museum director Jack Dominic at MidPointe Library West Chester Township.

April 9: “Theater of the Mind: Sound Effects During Radio’s Golden Age” with Mike Martini, president of the museum’s Media Heritage Collection.

May 16-19: “Hamvention Nights at the VOA Museum” with the West Chester Amateur Radio Association.

June 5: “There’s a Radio in My Cell Phone!,” a children’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event at MidPointe Library Liberty Township.

July 11: “Stealth Antennas for Amateurs Living in HOAs.”

Aug. 25: Big Band music at MidPointe Library West Chester Township.

Sept. 21: The fourth annual VOA Museum “75 Years of Rockin’ the Radio” fundraiser.

Oct. 18-20: “Jamboree on the Air” with West Chester Amateur Radio Association and area scouting organizations at the museum.

[…]The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays 1-4 p.m. at 8070 Tylersville Road. General admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children.  Museum events are listed at the VOA Museum website.

Click here to read the full article at WVXU.

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Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) rebranded as U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM)

(Source: BBG/USAGM Press Release)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2018

John Lansing (Source: BBG)

Effective immediately, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent U.S. government agency that employs thousands of talented journalists, storytellers, and media professionals, is now the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

The U.S. Agency for Global Media is a modern media organization, operating far beyond the traditional broadcast mediums of television and radio to include digital and mobile platforms. The term “broadcasting” does not accurately describe what we do. The new name reflects our modernization and forward momentum while honoring our enduring mission to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.

We recognize the overdue need to communicate the evolving, global scope of our work as well as our renewed, urgent focus on the agency’s global priorities, which reflect U.S. national security and public diplomacy interests. USAGM is an independent federal agency that provides accurate, professional, and objective news and information around-the-globe in a time of shifting politics, challenging media landscapes, and weaponized information. Our identity and name will now address these realities.

The decision to change our name was a result of thorough research and extensive consultation with numerous internal and external stakeholders, including the BBG Board of Governors, agency staff and leadership at all levels, the five networks, Congress, the Administration, and interagency colleagues.

As with the BBG, the U.S. Agency for Global Media encompasses five networks: the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Television and Radio Martí), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). These networks collectively reach an unduplicated weekly audience of 278 million people in 59 languages and in more than 100 countries. Insulated by a firewall from political influence, these networks will continue to deliver truth and professional journalism to people living in some of the world’s most closed societies.

Now more than ever, people around the world need access to the truth. USAGM continues to tell the truth, and illuminate the world like no other news organization in the world.

Video: Lansing On USAGM

Click here to view on YouTube.

Learn more about U.S. Agency for Global Media 

For more information

Nasserie Carew

US Agency for Global Media Public Affairs

202-203-4400

publicaffairs@bbg.gov

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