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Mike Dorrough Lends His Voice to Delano VOA Effort

Tells city mayor 'the last shortwave broadcast facility of its kind' is at risk 'in your backyard.'

One radio icon is trying to save another.

Mike Dorrough, a familiar name in radio technology, is taking part in efforts to save the retired VOA facility in Delano, Calif.

Dorrough said he’s trying to enlist the help of Delano city officials to restrain demolition of the facility; he says Mayor Sam Ramirez had not been aware that the facility might be removed.

“The possibilities are limitless for the VOA broadcast facility in the areas of education, rehabilitation, experimentation and tourism,” Dorrough told Ramirez in one of his letters to the city.

Dorrough is a long-time electronics manufacturer in the broadcast and audio business, and is a recipient of notable awards including the NAB’s Radio Engineering Achievement Award and a technical Emmy and Academy Award.

He calls the Delano facility “part of America’s broadcast history and the greatest radio/antenna landmark in California, if not the world.” The facility is as famous as Eiffel, Empire or Alpine “but far more important in terms of its surpassing capabilities. It is also the last shortwave broadcast facility of its kind,” he wrote.

Dorrough urged the city to “use whatever power you have to keep the wrecking ball from destroying the most important historical, educational and strategic radio installation in the world today. … There is only one intact VOA in existence, and you have it in your backyard.”

Radio World reported last year that the facility would close, saving $1.8 million a year. The facility has two major buildings, 23 shortwave antennas, seven 250 kW and two 50 kW shortwave transmitters; it provided shortwave transmissions to Cuba, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific Ocean prior to its closing.