Louis G. Cowan began his career at the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information as an Army office liaison. His experiences in wartime radio led him to run overseas programing at the Radio Program Bureau. Towards the end of World War II, Cowan was appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the second director of Voice of America. By the second year of his directorship, VOA was flourishing, with hundreds of hours of programming in more than 40 languages.
In commercial radio, Cowan experienced sensational success with the advent of two hit programs, “Quiz Kids” and “The $64,000 Question”. He later became the Vice President, and eventually President, of the CBS television network. His wife, Pauline Cowan, was an early civil rights organizer who helped to raise awareness in the north about the status of race relations in the south. Two of his three children continued the family connection to VOA, with his son Geoffrey becoming director in 1994, and his daughter Holly publishing a book on the history of the organization.