VoA Launches “Daily Download”

From the release:

    Now in its 65th year, the Voice of America remains one of the most identifiable brands everywhere but the United States, where VOA is prohibited from broadcasting.

    Trusted as an authoritative news source, the venerable broadcaster has suffered in recent years from staff cutbacks, failing frequencies, and frankly a sense that they remain something of a stuff throwback in today’s media marketplace.

    This week VOA is taking a big leap into the 21st century, and a leap of faith. VOA English has launched something called “The Daily Download.” At around 4 minutes in length, and downloadable in various forms, it’s a fast four-minute or so roundup of big world news and bizarre video.

    “Basically, we’re saying that if you need to know about it, or really have to see it, we’ll bring it to you on the Download,” says host Doug Bernard. “We’re every bit as committed to solid, fact-based journalism as other VOA products, we’re just adding a little flash.”

    The “Download” is part of VOA’s push to grow it’s internet based audience. This in part because the internet is just cheaper, but also because governments that restrict the flow of tradition broadcast have a much harder time blocking digital content. Governments can ban VOA TV or radio on their local stations, or with lesser success jam shortwave broadcasts. But as any viral video shows, it’s much harder to stop digits unleashed on the internet.

    The “Download” is also something of a departure for VOA in that it’s nearly as much based on personality as it is hard news. On it’s homepage at www.voanews.com it describes the podcast as “…Doug Bernard’s slightly different take on the day’s news.” Bernard is no stranger to hosting duties; last November he was named International Radio Presenter of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting, beating out heavies from the BBC, Sky, Fox and others.

See their inaugural webcast here.