The Bangla language service of the Voice of America (VOA), one of the most popular international broadcast services in Bangladesh, is celebrating its 45th year of broadcasting this week. First broadcast on January 1, 1958, the programs are now aimed at an estimated 240 million Bangla speakers in Bangladesh and India.
"We are very proud of the support our programming has received from the Bangla-speaking people," said Iqbal Bahar Choudhury, the Bangla service chief since 1994. "The overwhelming amount of positive feedback from our listeners is a wonderful testament to VOA’s impact."
Bangladesh and the Indian State of West Bengal are home to more than 1,000 VOA fan clubs. These enthusiastic groups of listeners have sponsored public service efforts including planting trees, donating blood, and taking part in campaigns to eradicate polio.
"This is a real milestone for our Bangla service," said VOA Director David Jackson. "Thanks to their hard work, the Bangla service has some of VOA's most loyal and devoted listeners. They are not only supporters of Voice of America, but they have been active in humanitarian projects that have improved the lives of many of their fellow citizens."
VOA Bangla broadcasters have conducted thousands of interviews of prominent people in a variety of fields over the years. The service has been recognized for excellence in reporting, particularly on humanitarian issues.
Bangla programs are broadcast for 1 1/2 hours per day on FM in Dhaka (since April 2002), shortwave, and medium wave (AM). Programs can also be heard on the Internet, at www.voanews.com/Bangla. The broadcasts include news reports on current affairs, economics, sports, health, women’s issues, and education, as well as a call-in show once per month.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air on February 24, 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to a worldwide audience of 94 million people. Programs are produced in English and 54 other languages.