BBC Romanian Service Is Victim of Budgets and New Media Competition

It had launched on Sept. 15, 1939 but will shut down Aug. 1.
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It had launched on Sept. 15, 1939 but will shut down Aug. 1.

The BBC World Service will shut off its Romanian-language service after 68 years. The news and current affairs service airs about four hours daily on radio and is also on the Web. Its last day is Aug. 1; the closure will affect 46 employees in Romania, Moldova and the United Kingdom. Broadcasts in Romanian for the Republic of Moldova will also cease.

Romania will continue to be served by other BBC Global News services in English.

Programmers blamed the move on budget reasons, a changing media landscape in Romania and what the BBC calls the declining impact of the service.

“BBC World Service’s funding settlement gave increased resources for new projects, such as television services for BBC Arabic and BBC Persian,” the organization stated. “But it also imposed a tough savings target of around 3 percent per annum to meet rising costs of existing services.”

“The scale of the competition in radio and all media has intensified since Romania acceded to the EU in 2007,” it continued. “In addition, mergers have meant that several major FM network partner stations which previously carried BBC Romanian output no longer do so. These FM partnerships are critical in a country where direct listening to the BBC via shortwave is neither popular nor cost-effective.”

This, it said, has led to a significant drop in audience, which could not be countered by the presence of the BBC’s “limited number” of FM relays.

In the statement, BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman said, “Like the other European services we closed three years ago, BBC Romanian had its roots in the Second World War. It has served its audiences with distinction through the Communist era to the present day.”

The BBC World Service has 33 language services including English. But this is the last of its non-English-language service aimed at countries that are members of the European Union.