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VOA’s 'Podelis' on Satellite to Russia: Amb McFaul Talks Twitter

'Podalis' hosts Igor Riskin and Yulia Savchenko
'Podalis' hosts Igor Riskin and Yulia Savchenko

VOA Director calls the interactive new show “unlike any television program we have ever produced."

Podelis, Voice of America’s cutting-edge TV-webcast to Russia, went live on satellite Wednesday, bringing social media and direct audience participation to a new level.

VOA Director David Ensor says the interactive new show (here) is, “unlike any television program we have ever produced.” He says it is designed to appeal to the so-called “second screen culture” of young people who are comfortable having the TV on while they interact and surf through sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The VOA Russian-speaking anchors of the weekly broadcast interact with the audience in real time on Twitter, Skype and other social media channels that are displayed on a giant video wall in the studio.

On Wednesday’s program, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said he is now relying on social media sites like Twitter to communicate directly to the people in Russia. In a taped interview, McFaul said, “I want to engage with Russian society in any way I can, so I do it through television, I do it through radio, I do it through Twitter.”

Podelis enables citizen journalists and members of the audience to comment on VOA reports, contribute show suggestions, provide eyewitness updates and guide the live conversation to subjects that are trending in Russia. The program’s webpage is staffed round-the-clock to moderate and curate audience contributions from social media sites that serve as an incubator for the program.

VOA Director Ensor says, “Podelis is new for the Russian media market, there are no shows like it, and we’re also hoping it can be a model for other VOA broadcasts.”

For more information about this program contact Kyle B. King at the VOA Public Relations office in Washington at For more information about any of our programs visit our English language website at