Voice of America Bethany Relay Station


Voice of America Bethany Relay Station

Infobox_nrhp | name =Voice of America Bethany Relay Station
nrhp_type =


caption =
location= West Chester, Ohio
lat_degrees = 39
lat_minutes = 21
lat_seconds = 18
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 84
long_minutes = 21
long_seconds = 24
long_direction = W
locmapin = Ohio
area =
built =1944
architect=
architecture= Art Deco
added = November 28, 2006
governing_body = Local
refnum=06001081cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2008-04-15|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

The Voice of America's Bethany Relay Station was located in Butler County, Ohio's Union Township about 25 miles (40 km) north of Cincinnati, adjacent to the transmitter site of WLW. Starting in 1944 during World War II it transmitted American propaganda abroad on shortwave frequencies, using 200,000-watt transmitters built by Crosley engineers under the direction of R.J. Langley. The site was developed to provide 'fallback' transmission facilities inland and away from the East Coast, where transmitters were located in Massachusetts, on Long Island in New York, and in New Jersey, all close to the ocean, subject to attack from German submarines or other invading forces.

The station operated until 1994 when the VOA abandoned ground transmitters in favor of satellite-based transmitters. The facility took its name from the Liberty Township community of Bethany, which was about two miles north of the facility.

In 1943, the United States government bought nearly all of Section 12 of Township 3, Range 2 of the Symmes Purchase, the northeasternmost section of Union Township. From Hazel Beckley, 170 acres (688,000 m²) were purchased; from Philip Condon, 143 acres (579,000 m²); from Lola Gray Coy, 100 acres (405,000 m²); from John Miller, 69 acres (279,000 m²); and from Suzie Steinman, 142 acres (575,000 m²). The site was chosen for its elevation and its shallow bedrock and is today bounded by Tylersville Road on the south, Cox Road to the west, Hamilton-Mason Road to the north, and Butler-Warren County Line Road.

The transmitters were built by Powel Crosley Jr.'s Crosley Broadcasting Corporation about one mile west of the company's tower for WLW-AM in Mason. The Office of War Information began broadcasting in July 1944 and Adolf Hitler is said to have denounced the "Cincinnati liars". Following the war with the OWI abolished, the facility was taken over by the State Department in 1945. It became part of the newly created United States Information Agency in 1953. Until November 1963, the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation operated the facility for the government when the Voice of America assumed direct control.

At its peak the facility had three transmitters broadcasting with 250 kW, three broadcasting with 175 kW, and two transmitting with 50 kW.

The facility was closed on November 14, 1994; because of changing technologies, the transmissions shifted to satellites. The towers were brought down from December 1997 to February 1998. Most of the land was turned over to the county and township for use as a park. Part in the southwest corner was sold to developers who have erected a shopping center called the Voice of America Centre. A museum on the site remains the subject of contention. Miami University is planning to open a satellite campus on a portion of the land as well.

References

*Jim Blount. "The 1900's: 100 Years In the History of Butler County, Ohio." Hamilton, Ohio: Past Present Press, 2000.
*Virginia I. Shewalter. "A History of Union Township, Butler County, Ohio". [West Chester, Ohio?] : The Author, 1979.
* Stern, David & Banks, Michael, "CROSLEY: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed the Nation" Cincinnati, Ohio: Clerisy Press, 2006.


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