There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Our voice is getting weaker

At a time when America's standing in the world is low and getting lower, the American government is cutting back on one of our most effective forms of public diplomacy. The Voice of America, our worldwide broadcaster, has already cut its English-language output from 24 hours a day to 19, and is about to cut it even further, to 14. VoA is one of the most popular radio stations in the world. Its only real competitor for an English language audience is the BBC World Service (okay, this may actually be better phrased that the VoA is BBC's only real competitor, since BBC has a larger audience). The BBC broadcasts around the clock in English. My friend Kim does audience research for the VoA, and he makes the case in this week's Radio World magazine that the U.S. government is making a mistake by cutting back on English. (Good thing George Bush hasn't made a single mistake in the past three years....) In addition to the BBC, other broadcasters who transmit in English 24 hours a day include the Voice of Russia and China Radio International. Deutsche Welle also has a 24 hour a day English language service, but five hours a day of it are only available on satellite and the Internet, not shortwave. If all these other countries feel it's important to reach the world's English-speaking elites, why doesn't the dominant English-speaking country in the world?

Posted at 7:36 PM

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Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

Damn, How else are we going to get our propaganda out. But I mean propaganda in a good way. I actually do like the VOA. I listen to them on the KCRW-News online feed.

Posted by lilbro at 9:07 PM, April 14, 2004 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

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