The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS -

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.”

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