IBB/BBG's proposed cuts for Voice of America: Summary of Main Points


BBG Watch is providing this information, which was obtained from several sources. While the main points are believed to be accurate, we can’t guarantee complete accuracy. Please continue checking our website and official BBG announcements.

Latest Update:
Central News and English Divisions: Seventy-one (71) positions will no longer be required;
The budget request reduces Burmese staffing, eliminates VOA Lao service SW transmissions, and minimizes its Vietnamese radio broadcasts;
The budget also eliminates VOA Tibetan language radio;
This proposal would reduce staffing by one Burmese position, four positions in Lao, 10 positions in Vietnamese, and seven positions in Tibetan;
VOA’s Spanish Service: 14 positions will be eliminated;
VOA’s Radio Ashna: This restructuring will reduce total radio output by half. VOA Ashna will need 10 fewer positions under this proposal;
The budget request eliminates VOA broadcasting in Cantonese. This would reduce staffing by 7 positions;
The budget request will reduce expenses and four staff positions related to VOA Georgian radio;
The VOA Bangla Service: six fewer positions;
The VOA Turkish Service: four fewer positions;
The proposal eliminates VOA radio broadcasts to Albania. Five positions will be reduced in this proposal;
Discontinue Broadcasting in Greek. Four positions will be reduced in this proposal.

Broadcasting Board of Governors
FY2013 Budget Request
Summary of Main Points
What They Want To Do:
• $711.56 million for international broadcasting operations
• $11.6 million Internet circumvention funding
• $9 million new TV programs to Egypt
• $8.59 million broadcasting capital improvements
• $21 million claimed administrative/tech support costs cut
• Elevate and expand social media
• Buy-outs/early retirements, positions reduced through attrition
• TV to Central Asia
What They Want To Do:
• No cuts to Farsi, Korean, Urdu, Mandarin
• No cuts to domestic bureaus, overseas bureaus to merge with grantee counterparts
• Says: “Radio has a very secure place at VOA, not dying by any means, won’t kill it before its time.” (1)
What They Don’t Want To Do:
• No cuts to Greenville (2)
• English programs: 28-30 positions cut
• VOA Newsroom: 43 positions cut
• Lao Service: 2FTEs (full-time employees), 2 vacancies eliminated, 2 FTEs eliminated
• Cantonese Service: eliminated (7FTEs, 2POVs [purchase order vendors])
• Greek Service: eliminated
• Dari Service: 5 positions cut
• Pashto Service: 5 positions cut
• Afghan Service (Pashto/Dari): 6 hours of programs cut during weakest day part
• Albanian: 5 radio positions cut (eliminating Albanian radio)
• Turkish: don’t have specifics
• Tibetan: don’t have specifics
• Vietnamese: don’t have specifics
• Spanish: don’t have specifics
• Bangla: don’t have specifics
• Georgian: don’t have specifics
Ensor says:
• Greek, Avar, Chechen, Circassian cut
• Grantees facing cuts (no specifics)
• There will be cuts to management (no specifics)
• Number of contractors to be cut (no specifics) (3)
(1) In agency literature, VOA is identified as having 43 languages (various English operations apparently identified as separate language services). VOA cuts affect 14 of the 43 services. Represents an adverse impact on almost 33% (32.5%) of VOA language services.
(2) Can’t do anything to Greenville until they know what the authorization is from Congress. Reductions could come later.
(3) AFGE union reps say Federal employee to contractor ratio is about 50/50: about 800 each. We don’t know if union can negotiate retaining FTEs over contractors. If agency targets a larger proportion of FTEs over contractors, it would aid the agency’s attempt to de-Federalize the workforce.
Best information available as of 7:16pm, February 13, 2012. More information will likely be forthcoming as events unfold.