The technology was top secret and perplexed Hitler and others as Americaʹs Voice continued to permeate Europe and South America. Frustrated by the inability to block this powerful voice, Hitler referred to the facility as ʺthose Cincinnati Liars.ʺ
The structure itself, while built during the shortages of war, was designed to highlight and pay tribute to the powerful technology held within its walls. The art‐deco building is made of glazed block with a four‐story tower that during time of national crisis held armed guards.
The bulk of the building was referred to as the Great Concourse, an open space with a 25‐foot ceiling, curved balcony and six transmitters on two podiums. This impressive space in the 1940s would have been a vision of technology and progress. Powel Crosley referred to this concourse as ʺThe Temple of Radio.ʺ
Unique American message ‐ While the structure of the building is significant in an architectural sense, it is the story of The Voice of America Bethany Station that speaks to our nationʹs history. This building represents American ideals in so many ways. In service of their country, a group of innovators united to create technology that had only been imagined.
With the advent of newer satellite‐based technology, ground stations like VOAʹs Bethany were no longer needed, and the facility was decommissioned in 1995. Shortly afterward, dozens of radio towers and curtain antennae were razed at the West Chester location, and the facility and about 500 of the surrounding acres were turned over to West Chester Township and Butler County Metro Parks for public use. The VOA Bethany Station and its surrounding 20 acres were given to West Chester Township for historic monument purposes.
Joining efforts ‐ Over the next several years interested citizens worked to convert the Bethany Station into a museum. Most notable among them was the local VFW Post and the West Chester Amateur Radio Association. As the museum took shape it was evident that the space was larger than needed for just the VOA Museum and West Chester Amateur Radio Association, which was operating an amateur radio station out of the building. At the same time two local museums were looking for new homes. They were the Gray History of Wireless Museum and Media Heritage. Both were excellent fits for the VOA Museum. The Gray History of Wireless Museum boasts one of the largest collections of antique radio equipment in the country and was assembled by Jack Gray, a former VOA Bethany Station engineer.
The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting Board has accepted the Rouse Master Plan. The plan can be viewed on the museum website. The fundraising campaign to complete the detail engineering and construction has begun. The goal is to raise $12 million to convert the Bethany Station into a museum that will preserve the rich history of VOA, wireless radio and Cincinnati broadcast history. Please visit www.voamuseum.org for more information on the affiliated organizations. If you are interested in contributing, please click on www.givevoa.org/ it links to the West Chester/Liberty Community Foundation, which is collecting the donations.
Thanks to: Bob Antoniuk, Shawn Axelrod, Wayne Heinen, Tim Noonan, Dave Schmidt, Radio‐Info.com, and Radio World Online.
(DX News 78-30)