Tag Archives: Voice of America

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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VOA’s Music Man For Africa, Leo Sarkisian, dies at 97

FILE – Leo Sarkisian, center, his wife, Mary, and VOA Director David Ensor smile during a celebration that followed the renaming of VOA Studio 23 in Sarkisian’s honor, Jan. 29, 2014. (Source: VOA News)

In February 2013, Leo Sarkisian and his sweet wife, Mary, invited me to their home and studio in Maryland and I recorded what turned into a 3+ hour audio interview.

Sitting with him, time seemed to disappear as I was absorbed by stories about his travels and experiences. He was so kind and gracious–he even insisted that I walk away with one of his amazing drawings which I’ve since framed for my office.

Leo passed away on June 8, 2018 at the age of 97. Rest in peace, Leo.

Here’s the story from VOA News:

(Source: VOA News)

Leo Sarkisian, the creator and longtime producer of The Voice of America’s “Music Time in Africa,” has died. He was 97.

Known by his fans as the “Music Man of Africa,” Sarkisian spent a half-century traveling Africa, listening to local musicians and capturing their performances. Those recordings became the basis of VOA’s longest-running English program.

“Leo always left you feeling like you were special. He didn’t treat anyone less or greater based on their social standing or age or anything, it seemed. He was a true gentleman and optimist and lover of the beautiful things in life,” said Heather Maxwell, an ethnomusicologist who succeeded Sarkisian as the host of “Music Time in Africa.”

Meeting Murrow

Sarkisian arrived in Africa as a soldier in the U.S. Army. In 1961, a fateful encounter changed the course of his life. Edward R. Murrow, newly minted as the director of the U.S. Information Agency, came to Sarkisian’s apartment in Conakry, Guinea, and asked if he’d like to join The Voice of America. Four years later, he went on the air with “Music Time in Africa.”

He spent the next 47 years traveling the continent with his wife, Mary, whom he married in 1949. Together, they met thousands of local musicians and gave their art a global stage.

Sarkisian’s travels put him at the vanguard of African music. Maxwell said a favorite recording from Sarkisian’s collection was of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, before he developed the Afrobeat style that would become his world-famous trademark.

Sarkisian was himself a musician and artist. He sketched performers, audience members and dignitaries. Some of his illustrations can be found in “Leo Sarkisian’s Faces of Africa,” a collection of portraits of people he met in his travels.

But his greatest legacy will perhaps be the original collection of about 10,000 recordings that he curated, representing every African country. In 2014, the University of Michigan acquired the collection from VOA on long-term loan. Their work involves digitizing the collection and preserving it for generations to come.

‘I feel as if I’m just beginning’

Sarkisian retired in 2012, when he was 91.

“I feel as if I’m just beginning,” he told VOA’s Vincent Makori in an interview that year.

When asked what African music meant to him, Sarkisian said, “It’s been my entire life. It’s from my childhood right up to today, and maybe into the future. I’ll still be doing my art, and I’ll be dancing with my music. What else? It is passion.”

Sarkisian’s parents emigrated to the U.S. from Turkey in the early 1900s, according to The Washington Post. Born in 1921, Sarkisian studied art and drew maps for the Army, the Post reported.

Sarkisian lived by Murrow’s “last three feet” motto, Maxwell said. That meant the most important part of communication, even across international borders, came from a personal, human connection.

“We still care about Africa,” Sarkisian said in 2012. “We care about them. We love the African culture. And in turn, of course, we have their love, also. And that is the satisfaction of our work.”

Leo and Mary Sarkisian, after spending most of their lives living in Africa, settled in Boston. Leo Sarkisian died June 8 and will be buried in North Andover, Massachusetts, with full military honors.

Click here to read this story at VOA News.

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