We only have the envelope for the letter sent to the Voice of America (VOA) in 1949 from Asker, Norway. The envelope is addressed to the VOA English program “Here Are The Answers” in New York where the Voice of America was located and had its studios from 1942 until 1954 when it moved to Washington, DC. We do not have any specific information about the VOA “Here Are The Answers” program, but presumably it provided answers to questions sent in by radio listeners abroad.
The Norway postal stamp shows the July 12, 1949 date. This 30 minute program on Mondays from 1715 to 1745 GMT was listed in the VOA English program schedule for July-August 1950 reprinted in the VOA German German Service Die Stimme Amerikas brochure. In 1949, the Voice of America was no longer broadcasting in Norwegian. VOA Norwegian broadcasts lasted from 1942 to 1945. Norwegian was probably one of the 17 VOA foreign languages eliminated in the first half of 1945. 1
Eventually, all VOA radio broadcasts in languages other than English to democratic countries in Western Europe which had free media were eliminated after World War II as radio listeners rapidly switched to local stations for news and information. The Voice of America was unable to compete with local media in democratic Western Europe, while the BBC could to some degree attract a small audience in at least some countries. The only way VOA was able to have some radio listeners in Western Europe was through placement of short news reports and feature programs on local radio stations. Eventually, such occasional VOA program placement also ceased in Western Europe, while audiences in East-Central Europe, where there was no press freedom, continued to grow rapidly during the Cold War. When those countries became democratic in the 1990s and developed their own free media, the same process occurred. The Voice of America could not complete through direct shortwave or even medium wave broadcasts and switched to placement on local radio stations. VOA had problems even with program placement as local stations started to demand shorter and better produced broadcasts and refused to air them without payment. Some of the better produced programs were being placed for free, however, including on a few small private FM stations in Norway which rebroadcast “VOA Europe” English-language music program, usually during the night. But “VOA Europe” programs did not gain a measurable audience in Western or Eastern Europe and were terminated. Eventually all VOA foreign language broadcasts and program placement in East Central Europe were eliminated as well by the VOA management in the 2000s.
- “The European Division VOA/PE” (Washington, DC: Voice of America, July 1981). ↩