Voice of America

From Academic Kids

The Voice of America (VOA) is the official broadcasting service of the United States government. It is one of the best-known stations in international broadcasting.

VOA was organized in 1942 under the Office of War Information with news programs aimed at German-occupied Europe and North Africa. VOA began broadcasting on February 24, 1942. Transmitters used by VOA came from shortwave transmitters used by the Columbia Broadcasting System and National Broadcasting Company. Voice of America began to transmit radio broadcasts into the Soviet Union on February 17, 1947.

During the Cold War, VOA was placed under the U.S. Information Agency. VOA was involved in white propaganda broadcasts. In the 1980s, VOA also added a television service, as well as special regional programs to Cuba, Radio Marti and TV Marti.


Laws governing VOA-IBB's activities

Under United States law, the Voice of America is forbidden to broadcast directly to American citizens. The original intent of this legislation is to keep the federal government from having a direct outlet to the public, unlike many European countries.

  • It is only a matter of time until this 1942 shortwave broadcasting policy is undone. In many ways this 1942 law and policy has no real or residual strategic value, because of changes in the US mass media system. The policy's post-9/11 strategic value is questionable.
  • The law explicitly forbidding VOA from carrying out any domestic broadcasting activities is partly derived from the US's lack of a state funded domestic radio or television broadcaster. The law was also designed to satisfy the needs of the US's commercial radio broadcasting companies.
  • The US PBS (TV) and NPR (Radio) networks in the US function with some public funding, but without the oversight that state broadcasting corporations typically have. Both networks supply material for VOA Worldnet TV or VOA's Radio's flagship English Service.

In special cases, such as the 1981 TV program Let Poland Be Poland, Congressional approval was required to show Americans the program. However, VOA is audible on shortwave and broadcasts streaming audio over the Internet, which enables Americans to hear the programming.


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IBB Broadcasting Activities, Non-VOA

VOA broadcasts several programs aimed at specialist audiences:

VOA Languages and Programming

The Voice of America currently broadcasts in more than 50 languages, including Special English, which uses simplified vocabulary and grammar.

Many Voice of America announcers, such as Willis Conover, Pat Gates, and Judy Massa became world-wide celebrities, though they were unknown in their home country.

The interval signal is "Yankee Doodle," played by a brass band, followed by the announcement: "this is the Voice of America, signing on." "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean" was used as the interval signal for many years.

The Voice of America is located at 330 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC, 20547.

Transmission Network

IBB uses a number of transmitting sites throughout the world, including its domestic relay stations at

  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Delano, California

IBB operates a series of relay stations outside the US

  • United Kingdom
  • Greece
  • Philippines
  • So Tom
  • Kuwait
  • Thailand

It formerly used a 625 site in Union Township in southwestern Ohio's Butler County, the Bethany Relay Station, which operated from 1944 to 1994.

VOA is currently under the International Broadcasting Bureau, which is part of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. This has led to debates over the degree of independence of VOA's news programs from government policies.

See also

External links

pl:Głos Ameryki vi:VOA zh:美国之音


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