Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BBG Meets to Consider the Future of Shortwave

BBG  Meeting 2013 (
This morning, August 13, 2014, the Broadcasting Board of Governors met at the BBG headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Board's agenda included a discussion on FY 2015 regional strategies and establishment of new Board special committees, and an exceptional video report overview from the leadership of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The video provided the Board with an overview of the network’s operations throughout the trouble spots across the globe. The Board also received a report by its Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting.
(G Van Horn)

Exceprts from the BBG report on shortwave include;

In October 2013, the Board established the Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting to undertake a comprehensive review of the efficacy of shortwave radio as a distribution platform for U.S. international media. Taking an audience-first approach, the Committee found that shortwave use is heavily concentrated in a limited number of countries; that other means of delivery are used and preferred by many of the BBG’s target demographics across most markets; that audiences tend to migrate to other media as they become available; that audiences do not return to shortwave in a crisis; and, use of the medium trends downward as audiences eagerly adopt other platforms as they become available.
The BBG, with our limited resources, must choose from a wide variety of media used by our current and future audiences to fulfill our mission to the maximum extent possible. Radio now comes in many formats beyond shortwave: medium wave (AM), FM, satellite and cable delivery, and Internet streams. These modes often overcome many of the traditional shortcomings of shortwave, such as fading, variability in sound quality, and difficulty of tuning. We must also embrace television, as many of our audiences now turn to TV first for news and information and, of course, entertainment. The explosion of social media provides us with exciting new opportunities to complement information delivery with rich interaction and greater audience
interaction, including content contribution by the audience. For many around the world, the next electronic media they acquire will be a cell phone or similar mobile device. The BBG must choose to have a commanding presence the media where our audiences are today and in the future.
The BBG is committed to maintaining its shortwave broadcasting to regions where a critical need for the platform continues while also being diligent to ensure the BBG networks are reaching audiences on the appropriate media. The BBG gratefully acknowledges the strong historical foundation created by shortwave radio broadcasting as we invest in the necessary capabilities for the evolving media environment. The result of this inquiry, arguably the most indepth and comprehensive to-date, is that the Committee recommends substantial “right-sizing” of the BBG’s shortwave broadcasting to be more focused and effective.

An in-depth 44 page report is available at: