05 May 2008

German and Jazz

Our colleagues at VOANews.com recently received an email from a gentleman in Germany who went to our website and clicked on the Europe section of our world map. He couldn’t find any programming in German.

“Pressing that button I understand that about 100 million German speaking people in Europe do have no value and weight and are unworthy to listen to VOA in their language,” he wrote, asking why smaller countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Croatia are, in his words, “privileged to listen VOA in their language?”

He then says: “For me it’s absolutely incomprehensible that VOA ignores German…”

As you know, VOA went on the air for the first time on February 24, 1942 and the first broadcast was in German. You can read more about that and actually listen to an excerpt of the initial show by clicking here.

But it’s true. We no longer broadcast in German. How does VOA decide what languages to broadcast in and which languages to drop and which to start? We turned to our Public Affairs office and asked them. Here is what they wrote:

“VOA currently broadcasts in 45 languages to a weekly audience of approximately 115 million people. Our mission is to provide programming to regions of the world where there is a lack of trustworthy news and information. The majority of our audiences live in areas where independent and free media have not fully developed, or in countries where governments maintain control over the media. VOA concentrates its efforts on these areas to provide accurate, objective, and comprehensive news reports and information.

“Germany, as well as other countries in Europe, has free and independent media. News and information is readily available on television, radio, and the Internet. In such a situation, our broadcasts are no longer needed.

“VOA does add languages as well. The most recent example is the addition of Somali in February of 2007.

“The world is constantly changing, but what is constant is that VOA continues to fulfill its mission of providing news and information to those who need it most.”


VOANews.com also received an email from a listener who wrote about happy years spent listening to jazz master Willis Conover on VOA. The listener said, “I am dismayed to discover that jazz on the VOA internet is virtually non existent.”

It’s true that Willis Conover is missed. His program was on the air for nearly 40 years until Willis died in May of 1996. He was 75 years old and never lost his enthusiasm for Jazz.
VOA ran some repeats of Jazz Hour after Willis died. We did it as a tribute to the man and his many contributions to the world of music. We now have a new Jazz show called Jazz America hosted by Russ Davis. It is heard weekends on our satellite music network as part of VOA Music Mix, a service that is placed on local affiliates around the world, and on shortwave, Medium Wave, and FM, as part of VOA News Now. The program can also be accessed on the Internet at 0500 UTC on Saturday and 1300 UTC on Sunday. Russ features all kinds of Jazz -- old and new -- along with weekly interviews of prominent and up-and-coming Jazz figures.

1 comment:

bea said...

“For me it’s absolutely incomprehensible that VOA ignores German…”

Dear German Friends, YOU ignore me when I would see your news in German Tele-Journal.
English language is a reality, if we want or not want it, it's REALITY.
I like English language because when I studied the Italian and Latin and Greeklanguage in my school time, discovering English I tell me: wow! English language is very very easy!!!
Shakespeare was too much easy for me!
Now, I cannot study German language, my brain is too much old to learn it.
And German language is very very difficoult, sob.
Help me, German People! send me your tele-journal on English!!!
If all peoples of the world could speack an only English language, maybe we better understand our good things and our good thought.
I love you, Deutscheland of Beethoven and Kant and Hegel and all wonderful culture-men.
But now, English is my language.
With love & thanks to all you:)