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History

Historical Highlights - 1950s

  • Shayan Rashid

Our Historical Highlights present a listing of significant dates and developments in VOA’s history.

Our Historical Highlights present a listing of significant dates and developments in VOA’s history. For a more detailed discussion of VOA’s overall development over the decades, visit our in-depth illustrated history chapters, which include historic audio clips and photographs. Click on the decade below to find more detailed information about that time in VOA's history.

1950s

1950

With the outbreak of the Korean War, VOA adds new language services and develops plans to construct transmitter complexes on both the east and west coasts of the United States.

February 16, 1953

The Permanent Committee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy, begins several weeks of televised hearings on VOA. The hearings are based on false charges of communist influence in VOA, and nearly destroy VOA, reducing its annual budget from $21 to $16 million.

August 1, 1953

The United States Information Agency (USIA) is formed, and VOA becomes its single largest element.

September 23, 1954

VOA commences broadcasting after its relocation from New York City to its present Washington headquarters near the U.S. Capitol on Independence Avenue.

Late 1958

VOA Director Henry Loomis and Program Manager Barry Zorthian commissions a task force to draft a VOA Charter to enforce VOA’s mission of an accurate news source for the world.

1959

VOA inaugurates Special English, which are slow-paced, simplified English broadcasts designed to facilitate comprehension for millions of listeners.

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