The audience in Japan will be having lunch when Bill McCrory and Bob Lodge go on the air. The audience in Europe will barely be awake, and most of the millions of people who hear the veteran broadcasters tell the story of the 1982 elections will never have heard the terms "Boll Weevil" or "Gypsy Moth."
Starting at 9 p.m. EST and for at least 20 minutes every hour until 2 a.m., McCrory and Lodge, the anchormen of the Voice of America's election night broadcast, will report the decisions of the voters to an English-speaking audience whose curiosity may exceed its understanding of the American political process.
So, while they have to digest and disgorge the same mass of information as American journalists in the same short time, they also have to remember that their listeners will care more about the fate of Paul Findley, who sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee and has promoted discussions with the Palestine Liberation Organization, than Steny Hoyer, who sits on the Post Office and Civil Service Committee.
"You're trying to give listeners some point of identity," said McCrory, who has been covering elections for VOA for 20 years. "We focus on the leadership in the House and Senate, of course, and anyone on the foreign relations committees."
"When we get any outcome on a nuclear freeze referendum, we'd probably break into the regular newscast with it," Lodge added.
"We tell it like it is," McCrory said. "You can hear criticism of Reagan on our broadcasts . . . . A lot of our analysis, on things like the voters' attitude to Reaganomics, will be the same as on the networks, but there's another dimension in talking to a foreign audience."
While McCrory and Lodge and two private political analysts are sketching the new shape of the American U.S. Congress for their listeners, including people gathered listeners in special election-night news centers set up in many U.S. embassies and consulates, VOA translator-broadcasters will be doing the same in Spanish, Arabic, Polish and Persian.