“I like going back to Indonesia,” says VOA Indonesian Service Chief Norman Goodman, “but I also like the fact that we don’t just have an audience there, we also have all these affiliate stations. So I love getting back together with those people. Sitting here you don’t necessarily get a sense of anybody. If you’re talking to a microphone in a studio, you have no idea if anyone’s listening, and it’s not difficult to forget that people are out there listening and affiliates are counting on you. So for me it’s very important to be able to go back and reconnect with people.” Several years ago, Goodman also set up a VOA Indonesian contest that asks viewers to send in a photo with a minimum of ten people and a sign that contains a message to VOA. Goodman says the Service has received “some absolutely terrific photos,” one of which sits on his desk. “I did this because I wanted our broadcasters to have pictures of the people who are listening to them.”
Before coming to VOA as Indonesian Service Chief in 2000, Norman Goodman spent nearly 20 years working and living overseas. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia and later conducted his dissertation research there as well. Afterwards, he spent ten years in Indonesia and more than three years in Thailand serving as the Representative and Regional Director for the Institute of International Education (IIE). He then went on to serve on a USAID development training project in Cairo before coming to VOA. As Indonesian Service Chief, Goodman led the transition from solely radio to television and the Internet.