Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shortwave Audience Still Dropping in Most Markets

Like other forms of radio, U.S. overseas broadcasters must reach their audience on multiple platforms; increasingly, that means using delivery mechanisms other than shortwave.
The findings of a BBG report on the future of shortwave broadcasting for U.S. overseas broadcasting are key as shortwave transmission facilities continue to age, repairs are deemed expensive and the Broadcasting Board of Governors is trying to reduce what it considers to be unnecessary costs. The BBG oversees U.S. international broadcasters like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Marti.
“While there is still a critical need for shortwave in key countries, it is a medium of marginal and continuously declining impact in most markets. Even in countries with currently significant levels of shortwave usage, audiences will migrate to other platforms as they become more accessible,” note the writers of a committee report on the future of shortwave, “To Be Where the Audience Is.”
The BBG has found no evidence that shortwave use increased during a crisis. In the report, the committee observes that audiences continue to use their existing platforms like FM, TV and the Internet “or seek out anti-censorship tools including online firewall circumvention, private chat software, flash drives and DVDs to access content.”

Digital shortwave, or Digital Radio Mondiale, is unlikely to become an established mass media distribution methodology in enough of the BBG’s current or future markets to justify the costs, notes the committee in the report.

Additional story at: http://www.radioworld.com/article/shortwave-audience-still-dropping-in-most-markets/271654

CUSIB Pans Shortwave Report

The advocacy group Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting has panned the recent “To Be Where the Audience Is” report on the future of shortwave broadcasting conducted by a committee of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the body that oversees U.S. overseas broadcasting.
The CUSIB said in its response that the shortwave committee is targeting poor and vulnerable audiences for cuts while the BBG doesn’t curb its own “wasteful” spending.
CUSIB founder and Executive Director Ann Noonan and CUSIB co-founder Ted Lipien stated that they’re not questioning the need to adjust shortwave radio transmissions to changing audience preferences and they “support digital media expansion as part of a carefully-designed multimedia program delivery strategy.”
However, they state CUSIB’s recommendation to the committee to broaden its scope and to look holistically and comprehensively on how the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau spends U.S. taxpayers’ money was ignored.

CUSIB says the group advocates for “hundreds of millions of people who don’t have Internet access or are too poor to afford it. We also advocate for those who can’t see Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Office of Cuba Broadcasting and Middle East Broadcasting Networks’ news websites because of government filtering and censorship. They should not be forgotten, nor can most of them use Internet censorship circumvention tools being promoted by the BBG.”
(Radio World)