Voice of America

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Voice of America produces popular news, information and cultural programs in 45 languages and reaches more than 164 million people around the world every week on television, radio, web and mobile platforms. 
VOA is the largest of the BBG’s networks, and attracts 80 percent of the total U.S. international media audience.  In countries with strict censorship, such as Iran or North Korea, VOA is often the only source of balanced news and information about the U.S., its policies and its people.  
VOA provides a forum for open debate, as well as an opportunity to question newsmakers and U.S. officials, through call-in shows and web interactives.  Its programs are guided by a legally mandated Charter that requires them to be accurate, objective and comprehensive. 
From its Washington headquarters, VOA produces more than 70 television shows, and more than 200 radio programs. VOA’s digital TV master control sends signals to multiple direct-to-home satellite networks simultaneously, and shortwave, FM and AM transmitters beam VOA to hot spots around the world.  Individual language services each maintain their own websites, mobile platforms and social media sites.
VOA reaches a significant part of its audience on affiliate stations that rebroadcast its programs or receive live updates from VOA reporters.  This affiliate network now includes more than 2,350 individual stations, which air a wide variety programs.  In Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, more than 300 affiliates carry VOA programs.  And VOA now reaches more than 26 million adults in Latin America, thanks to an ever-expanding affiliate network that stretches from Mexico to Chile.

Fast Facts

  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
  • Budget: $207.4 FY2012
  • Employees: 1152
  • Languages: 45
  • Audience: 164 million weekly

Recent Highlights

The following highlights are a sampling from 2012 of VOA’s engagement with audiences in countries of strategic importance, including areas prone to terror incidents, genocide, or failed states.


Several new Urdu language TV programs were introduced for audiences in Pakistan. Zindagi 360, which airs on the Hum TV cable channel and Sana. A Pakistani, which airs on the Express News cable channel, focus on topics that resonate with young people. For frank dialogue, the program Access Point with Ayesha Tanzeem gives viewers in Pakistan a way to debate tough issues with studio guests in Washington. The Urdu Service also has launched Newsminute, a short segment that airs in prime time on Aaj TV, Express News and Dunya TV.

Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province

Deewa Radio, which has a large audience in Pakistan’s tribal areas, has moved into the increasingly popular direct-to-home satellite TV market. It has adopted a “radio-on-TV” format as a cost-effective way to expand its reach.


VOA TV continues to enjoy a large audience in Afghanistan, where it is carried by the national TV network and reaches an estimated 27 percent of the adult population every week. Combined with the weekly radio audience, VOA reaches nearly 11 million people in Afghanistan every week, more than 60 percent of the adult population.

Latin America

The VOA Spanish Service increased both its affiliate base and audience reach in 2012 by offering live VOA reports to some of region’s leading television networks and stations. New affiliates include Mexico’s Television Azteca and Radio Formula, Globovision and Radio Caracas in Venezuela, Peru’s Andina TV and Radio Programas del Peru as well as Ecuador’s Teleamazonas and Radio Sonorama. The service also has made inroads in Central America with its “Washington Bureau” concept, which offers live reports from VOA correspondents throughout the United States.


VOA’s audience in Russia expanded with the launch of Podelis, a dynamic TV-webcast that engages online followers on topics they select. VOA Russian is also working with the independent Dozhd TV channel and other stations to provide coverage of U.S. news.

Ukraine“I think the Voice of America is the most prestigious medium on a global level…I thank them on behalf of all of the Albanian citizens for the precious service they have done on behalf of Albanian democracy...” – Bamir Topi, former Albanian President

VOA’s Ukrainian TV program remains one of the most popular in the country with a weekly audience of 16 percent. VOA reports and interviews are now featured on the popular Pravda news portal.


Among the more than 52 million people a week who listen to VOA programs in sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 20 million listen in Nigeria alone. The Hausa Service has responded to the emergence of the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram with the launch of a weekly program that looks at social issues in northern Nigeria. VOA also has conducted a series of journalist training programs, established a reporting center, and added a sports blog for soccer-mad audiences in West Africa.


VOA’s measured weekly audience is 74 percent of adults in the regions of Somaliland and Puntland. VOA played a key role in gauging public perceptions about a new constitution that was being drafted for the country. Government officials praised VOA for its survey that used Google Ideas software and polled more than 3,000 Somalis about key provisions of the constitution and the kind of government they want.


The seizure of Northern Mali by Islamic militants brought unique challenges. VOA is one of the first western news agencies to get a journalist into the region after the takeover and set up three-minute newscasts for mobile phone users with on-the-ground reports and breaking news from the surrounding countries.

South Sudan

VOA’s South Sudan In Focus radio program provided extensive coverage of ethnic violence in Jonglei State and tension between Sudan and South Sudan.


VOA’s Studio 7 broadcasts now reach 12.1 percent of rural and 7.5 percent of urban adults weekly in Zimbabwe. VOA is one of the leading international broadcasters in this African nation, which earns continued low marks for lack of press freedom.

“I always listen to VOA in the morning at 5:30. 		VOA world news is very useful for me.” – Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on a visit to VOA


The Burmese Service began the year by expanding its TV magazine show with a fast-paced, six-day-a-week summary of regional and global developments. In a historic market opening, VOA is now carried by Sky Net, a privately owned satellite TV operator of a 24-hour Burmese and English channel. Burma’s state-owned radio and television also agreed to broadcast VOA English teaching programs.


Chinese viewers now have two hours of fast-paced news and information following the launch of the new Mandarin language television program VOA Weishi via direct-to-home satellite and popular social media sites inside China. Innovative program elements provide viewers with information they cannot get on state owned stations. One segment, Error 404, focuses on Chinese censorship, showing the audience what is blocked by China’s Internet filters and why. In addition, VOA’s hit Chinese-English video blog, OMG! Meiyu is now available in the iTunes store as a podcast.

It is “unfortunate that censorship and distortion of news is prevalent in some parts of the world.” For this reason, “news organizations like VOA are critically important in providing comprehensive and impartial news.”  – Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on VOA’s 70th anniversaryTibet

VOA was on the front line in covering the self-immolations, demonstrations and civil movements that occurred across Tibet and Tibetan areas in China. Despite the closed media environment, VOA provided multimedia coverage of the Tibetan student protests in Qinghai province and a demonstration by the Tibetan medical students taking place in Rebkong. Exclusive cell phone video and a Skype interview with a witness were made available online and on social media sites within the hour, and promptly broadcast on radio.


VOA Khmer has moved from radio production to television with the launch of a four-day a week WebTV program on YouTube. The program covers topics ranging from genocide, corruption and human rights to economic development and social issues. The reports are shared on affiliate television stations in Cambodia as well as on the Web through a growing social media network.


VOA Indonesian is reaching more than 21 million people each week (13 % of the country’s adult population) through more than 400 affiliate radio stations and more than 30 TV affiliates.


Audience numbers in Iran grew in 2012. New Gallup data show the weekly TV audience grew to 21.4 percent, up from 6.5 percent in 2011. The return of the VOA signal to the popular Hotbird satellite is believed to be a key factor. With the addition of radio and the Internet, VOA’s total audience reach in Iran is now estimated at 22.1 percent. Under the leadership of a new management team, the Persian Service has updated its programs and is now available 24 hours a day on Livestation, an Internet streaming platform.


VOA inaugurated a new weekly news program Kurd Connection. Beginning as a web-cast only and hosted by Dakhil Elias, Kurd Connection recently gained two affiliations from Kurdish-speaking broadcasters. The Kurdish Service has introduced a social media component to its daily one-hour radio on TV program, with editors appearing on the program to talk about trending news stories and to solicit input from viewers/listeners.


The Azeri Service is having extraordinary success with its Live Web Forums, using social media and the Internet to bring prominent Azeri officials, human rights activists, writers, and journalists before average Azeri citizens. During the Live Web Forum, the services’ journalists act as mediators who relay the questions to the guest and make responses available to the public.

VOA on the Web

VOA websites got a new look and feel in 2012, with the transition to the Pangea content management system that makes navigation easier, highlights compelling content, and allows more multimedia functionality.


Earlier Highlights


Innovative uses of online media garnered recognition for several Voice of America journalists. VOA’s Jessica Beinecke, host and creator of the online English-Chinese teaching program, OMG! Meiyu received the 2012 AIB Founders Award. Arash Sigarchi of VOA’s Persian Service received the Deutsche Welle International Blog Award, which highlights online writing that champions the open exchange of ideas and freedom of expression, for his personal blog, Window of Anguish. And VOA’s Middle East Voices, which combines traditional reporting, commentary, and the stories of people living through the Arab Spring, was honored with the Online Journalism Award for topical reporting.

The 2012 Clarion Award for a television feature story/segment went to VOA reporter Carolyn Presutti, photographer/editor Michael Burke, and photographer Mike Kornely, for their report, The Falling Man, based on one of the most controversial images from the 9/11 terror attack in New York.

And Elez Biberaj, the Director of VOA’s Eurasia Division and former head of the VOA Albanian Service, received a Presidential Medal of Gratitude from Albanian President Bamir Topi.


See VOA Live

  • Take a behind-the-scenes look at VOA through our guided audio-visual Studio Tour.
  • Learn more about our history and the regions to which we broadcast, and watch broadcasters during live TV and radio programs.
  • For reservations or more information, call (202) 203-4990 or visit www.VOAtour.com.

Contact Information

330 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20237
Tel: (202) 203-4000
For more information on VOA, click here.

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