We told you recently about the report by
a BBG committee on the future of shortwave. It urged the board to take an
aggressive approach to reduce or eliminate
shortwave broadcasts where it finds minimal audience reach or an audience not targeted by U.S. foreign policy. It listed services that could be curtailed and said implementation of its recommendations would enable the closing of four transmitting stations, saving some 44 percent of current BBG shortwave-related expenses by fiscal 2018. (The report is here in PDF form.)
can hear directly as board member Matt Armstrong, chair of that committee, makes his presentation. Armstrong is introduced by BBG Chairman
Jeffrey Shell; the relevant section starts at about 25:45 into the meeting and about 10 seconds into this segment.
Armstrong said the committee work was ultimately driven by two questions: “Does the audience we are trying to reach rely on shortwave? And, what, if any, are the opportunity costs to reach these audiences?” The
report concluded that while there is still a critical need for shortwave in certain 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.” And it remains an expensive infrastructure to support.