“I had ducked under an entrance in front of the VOA building on a rainy morning in the early 1990’s when suddenly, I found myself face-to-face with Willis Conover (VOA’s internationally-known jazz aficionado and announcer). There was a bit of silence. Then, Willis asked me ‘Do you know who Jack Teagarden is?’ What a strange litmus test, I thought. I told Willis, of course I knew about Teagarden, an influential jazz trombonist. That delighted him. As it turned out, we had a lot to talk about. When he learned I was from Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia, we would talk about his trips to the city. I knew Willis later in his life. He was frail and often kept to himself. But he always had a smile for me when I saw him in the hallways or went down to his office.”
VOA broadcaster Jagoda Bush grew up in Zagreb listening to Willis Conover’s jazz program on Voice of America. Bush says she never dreamed she would one day work at VOA. Bush and her husband lived in Brazil and South Africa before moving to the United States in 1979. She began at VOA in 1991 as an announcer for the Yugoslavia Service but spent most of her VOA career in the Croatian Service. Now a member of the Bosnian Service, she writes stories for television and the Internet, voices material and serves as a translator.