Once a year, every VOA language service goes through what we call a "program review." It's a thorough analysis of the service's coverage, its writing, its sound and how it reaches its audience.
"This is a radio station, and it's been a radio station for 60 years," says John Lennon, the director of our Office of Program Review.
"The changing international media environment, though, has imposed certain requirements on all of us. We must keep up with the media usage habits of the people that we are communicating with," he said.
That issue came up in a recent review of VOA's Russian Service.
RESEARCHER "If you wanted to reach young people, you would use FM. We're talking about a particularly small number of people here who use shortwave generally."
STAFFER "You can't just simply dismiss shortwave . . . "
RESEARCHER "No, I'm not dismissing it . . ."
STAFFER "I'm not talking about you. But the point is, I don't think we should dismiss the fact in this case that there are young people who are liable to be interested."
How to reach young people with the right program through the right media is a frequent topic of VOA program reviews. That's why you hear many new programs on VOA these days, on media ranging from shortwave to FM to television and to the Internet.
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