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.


1 comment

  1. Avatar
    Anywho 14 February, 2012 at 03:06 Reply

    The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) budget submission requests cutting 7 employees out of 22 in the Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan Service, ending all six hours of daily VOA Tibetan radio broadcast.
    This is happening on the day China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, heir apparent of the communist regime, arrives in Washington on a get-to-know-you visit.
    This is happening while Tibet is burning. A day after the 23rd Tibetan monk self-immolated to protest unprecedented Chinese crackdown on their religion.
    This is happening one week after CCTV, China’s state TV launched its first live daily broadcast from its brand new 36000 sq ft studio in Washington DC, the first step of China’s $7 billion media offensive in America.
    What is the BBG thinking? Has it gone mad?
    And, decimating VOA broadcasts to the Laos (4 out of 6 employees), Vietnam (10 out of 15 employees) and Cantonese to China (all 7 employees). Cutting America’s broadcasts to three out of five remaining communist regimes.
    While planning all these cuts, the BBG promoted Bruce Sherman, the BBG strategist (or de-strategist) to SES without contest; hiring an SES director for ODDI, Office of Digital Design and Innovation; hiring a BBG communication director, another SES. All three SES positions were created as the Broadcasting Board of Governors was planning to eliminate dozens of rank and file journalists.
    Who needs this Board that cannibalizes its own worker bees to feed itself?

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