Voice of America’s Bengali service may go digital soon

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Kolkata, Oct 3 (IANS) The Bengali Service division of Voice of America (VOA), the international radio broadcasting service of the USA, which has seen a dip in its number of listeners in West Bengal, on Tuesday said they are planning to take their service fully online.

In its bid to regain the audience, the VOA also plans to tie up with private television channels in the state to telecast their own production in a few months.

“The VoA would tie up with private television channels in West Bengal to telecast our productions on a weekly basis,” Roquia Haider, Chief of the Voice of America’s Bangla Service, said at an event commemorating 75 years of VOA and 60 years of the Bengali division.

“However, the collaboration might take another six months to a year to materalise as the production has to get a nod from both parties — us and the telecasting channel,” she said.

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Haider said the VOA already had a tieup with three channels in Bangladesh — MTV, RTV and Desh TV — which telecast its contents on a weekly basis.

“Our listeners in West Bengal are facing issues as VOA is presently broadcasting in medium wave instead of the short wave. With the technological advancement, however, we hope to be in an advantageous position. We have already launched an online portal for our broadcast which can be streamed live as well as later. We might go fully online in a few years,” he said.

The VOA Bengali Service currently broadcasts a one-hour daily capsule at 9.30 p.m on topics like current affairs, sports, entertainment and interviews.

Haidar said though the VOA broadcasts had over 1.4 crore listeners worldwide, its Bengali division enjoyed more tune-ins from Bangladesh than from India now.

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The dip in the number of listeners had resulted in VOA limiting its broadcast to an hour now, as against the two-hour programme it aired during the 1980s, she said.



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