Monday, June 06, 2011

VOA operator plans 'sunset' for shortwave radio broadcast

The sun is setting on Voice of America's shortwave radio service, heard worldwide in dozens of languages for 70 years.

A strategic technology plan prepared by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency responsible for Voice of America, Alhurra, Radio Free Asia and other international stations, concludes that it should end many shortwave broadcasts in favor of "more effective" media such as internet radio.

"The intrinsic high cost of operating high powered shortwave stations is constantly being weighed against the rapidly diminishing effectiveness of shortwave within a growing number of countries," the report states. "... the cost effectiveness of shortwave transmissions continues to wane and is expected to be circumscribed to a very small number of target countries in the relatively near future."

The "sun-setting strategy" proposed will reduce the number of stations owned by the BBG in favor of lease or sharing arrangements with—or outsourcing to—independent broadcasters. A "long-term analysis" of each country and language, and in-house research on shortwave's effectiveness in each, would determine which areas retain service.
(Alokesh Gupta, India)

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