BBG Watch Commentary

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BBG, IBB, VOA executives break all 10 commandments of good management on (not) announcing bad news about Voice of America shortwave cuts

U.S. government officials in the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) have once again shown that they are capable of breaking every rule of good management.

Executives in charge of the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), which operates radio transmissions and manages the agency on behalf of the bipartisan board and U.S. taxpayers, have once again shown their contempt for loyal radio listeners of many years, as well as for Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists and broadcasters who prepare shortwave radio broadcasts, which IBB just announced it wants to terminate at the end of the day on June 30, 2014 in a massive and in most cases complete cut affecting many countries without free media: Belarus, Caucasus, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq (Kurdish), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

All shortwave frequencies will also be eliminated for Voice of America English radio broadcasts to Asia, VOA English teaching programs, and VOA programs to Bangladesh as of June 30, 2014, an internal VOA memo said.

The VOA memo also promised to give radio listeners in Asia less than 24 hour notice [Emphasis added by us.] of the dropping of shortwave radio broadcasts and promised that from now on, VOA will go all digital in Asia.

READ: Dropping radio and going all digital: VOA Asia Twitter not updated since May 3, BBG Watch, June 29, 2014.

Voice of America shortwave radio audiences in Asia had no clue that they will no longer be able to hear VOA broadcasts in just two or three days. Even VOA Asia programmers had no clue as of most of the day Friday that shortwave radio transmissions of their VOA English broadcasts to Asia will end on Monday.

IBB and VOA officials broke all 10 Commandments for Delivering Bad News, as seen in a Forbes magazine article. IBB officials also made a wrong decision, or at least they did not propose a solution that would strengthen rather than weaken U.S. international media outreach.

The 10 Commandments for Delivering Bad News


The Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt never surprise.

The Third Commandment: Thou shalt always remember your multiple audiences.

The First Commandment: Thou shalt always treat people with respect and dignity.



READ MORE: The 10 Commandments for Delivering Bad News, article is by Robert Bies, a professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Forbes, May 30, 2012.


ALSO READ: PCJ Radio making fun of Voice of America and BBG executives on radio cuts to Asia and Middle East, BBG Watch, June 29, 2014.

ALSO READ: Bureaucrats gave listeners little time to learn about shortwave cuts by VOA, RFA, and RFE/RL, BBG Watch, June 28, 2014.

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