THE BIGGEST MEDIA OF ALL
The Broadcast Board of Governors has released its 75-page annual report. This low-key, independent federal agency is behind such networks as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and Alhurra TV — charged with a mission to “inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy,” sometimes in the world’s most remote regions.
The agency reports that the average weekly audience is 278 million people — up by 52 million in the last year. They have many fans. Voice of America, for example, provided 2016 U.S. election coverage in 47 languages; 86 percent of its audience deems their broadcasts “trustworthy.”
And a historic note: Voice of America went on the air from a small studio in New York City in 1942, transmitting to Germany, and opening with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The first announcement followed, delivered in German by William Harlan Hale, a journalist.
“We bring you voices from America. Today, and daily from now on, we shall speak to you about America and the war,” he said. “The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.”