Voice of America

Voice of America’s Persian News Network (VOAPNN) began as a radio broadcast titled Voice of America Farsi Service in the early 1940s. Aside from some intermittent breaks—the radio service was forced to shut down due to budgetary issues in 1946 and 1960—broadcasts into Iran continue to this day. A satellite television broadcast of Voice of America Persian was launched in 2006, based out of Washington DC with studios in New York City. The network is funded by the US government and receives around 23-million- dollars annually. Reports from the State Department show that VOA’s PNN reaches 29 percent of Iranians in Iran.

Currently, VOA broadcasts five hours a day of radio programming, including one hour of original radio programming and four hours of radio or television simulcasts on short-wave radio and the Internet. Satellite programming currently totals seven hours (six hours of original programming and one hour of acquired programming from the History Channel), with the remaining hours airing reruns.

Parazit (Static), a weekly 30-minute satirical news show originally beginning as a ten- minute slot in 2008 was VOA’s surprise runaway hit. The name of the show is a reference to the Iranian government’s continued attempts to block viewer access to foreign networks by jamming satellite broadcasts into Iran. On January 20th, 2011 the show’s hosts Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi were invited as guests on John Stewart’s The Daily Show. Parazit went on a six-month hiatus and was set to start a new season in 2012, but never returned due to personal conflicts between the hosts. A spin-off entitled OnTen (Antenna) with host Saman Arbabi premiered in May 2012. Other VOA programs include Today in Washington, History Channel, News Brief, Today’s Woman, News and Views, Roundtable with You, Late Edition, Horizon, and News Talk.