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Voice of America
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Voice of America

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 Wartime Information with propaganda 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.

VOA uses a number of transmitting sites throughout the world, including Greenville, North Carolina and Delano, California in the United States; in the United Kingdom, Greece, the Philippines, Sao Tome, Kuwait, and Thailand among other sites.

VOA is currently under the International Broadcasting Board, 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.

Under United States law, the Voice of America is forbidden to broadcast directly to American citizens. The intent of this legislation is to keep the government from having a direct outlet to the public, as in many European countries. In special cases, such as the 1981 TV program Let Poland Be Poland, Congressional approval was required to show Americans the program. However, the VOA is audible on shortwave and broadcasts streaming audio over the Internet, which enables Americans to hear the programming.

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.

VOA broadcasts several programs aimed at specialist audiences:

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

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

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 interval signal for many years.

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