BBG Watch Commentary
Without any proper advance notice to shortwave radio listeners, the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) International Broadcasting Bureau suddenly cut numerous Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) shortwave radio programs to Asia and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) shortwave programs to Central Asia and the Middle East, abandoning these audiences to China.
RFA, VOA, and RFE/RL broadcasters received the following list of cuts just a few days before they were implemented on July 1. All Voice of America English-language shortwave radio transmissions to Asia were cut, while China Radio International maintains a robust English-language shortwave and medium wave broadcasting schedule to Asia and other parts of the world.
BBG Watch has learned subsequently that due to the intervention of the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia and members of Congress, RFA shortwave transmissions to that country have not yet been cut. Shortwave transmission cuts to Belarus have been apparently postponed and some shortwave transmissions to the Caucasus were saved, according to our sources. BBG Watch has also learned that as of a few days ago RFE/RL Belarusian language medium wave (AM) transmissions to Belarus were scheduled to end on August 17 unless the BBG changed this decision.
All other most recent shortwave radio cuts planned by the International Broadcasting Bureau were made, which means that the Broadcasting Board of Governors through IBB has abandoned many Asian shortwave radio audiences to China, which continues its China Radio International broadcasts on shortwave in English and in other languages.
The IBB claims that these latest cuts will save approximately $1.6 million in the BBG’s budget of over $700 million. In the last seven years, the number of IBB staff positions has grown by 37 percent at the cost of multiple millions, while numerous other shortwave transmissions, news programs, and journalistic positions were cut.
BROADCAST TIMES AND FREQUENCIES FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE SERVICE OF CHINA RADIO INTERNATIONAL
(Beginning March 30, 2014)