Sunday, February 24, 2008

Voice of America Day

It was an historic day in radio broadcasting, as the Voice of America (VOA) signed on for the first time on this day in 1942. The worldwide, shortwave radio service, a department of the United States Government, continues to beam a variety of programming around the globe under the auspices of the United States Information Agency (USIA).
The VOA transmits from modern studios in Washington, DC and beams much of its programming via satellite to transmitters worldwide. In addition, the VOA maintains huge transmitters in the U.S. and around the world in order to provide distinctly American information, culture and entertainment, in dozens of languages, to every corner of the globe. For years, the tune, Yankee Doodle, has opened each sign-on broadcast.
More than 40 years after the VOA was launched, the USIA started Radio Marti, an immensely powerful radio transmitter tethered from a huge blimp in the Florida Keys. The controversial station broadcast to Cuba, irritating Cuban Premier Fidel Castro enough for him to jam the signals of U.S. broadcasters. The Radio Marti blimp crashed after deflating while airborne a number of years ago. The station returned to the air and has been joined by TV Marti as well.
(Source: Antonio Schuler/SW World via Ron Trotto)