BBG Cites Record Audiences

TV and online grow, but radio is still tops
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TV and online grow, but radio is still tops

Radio remains the medium with the largest reach among those used by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. U.S. government-funded radio signals (shortwave, FM and AM) reach 106 million people per week.

That’s among findings in a BBG report about the reach of Uncle Sam’s broadcast entities.

Its TV audience has grown to 97 million; its Internet audience stands at 10 million, with large gains in Iraq, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt and Iran.

Overall, BBG broadcasters “reached an estimated 187 million people every week in 2011, an increase of 22 million from last year’s figure,” said the BBG.

Chairman Walter Isaacson made the announcement, saying Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Martí, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa) are reaching audiences “through traditional and social media alike.”

BBG issued audience numbers in a Performance and Accountability Report.

It found “significant audience increases” in Afghanistan, where it says RFE/RL and VOA jointly reach 75% of adults each week; in Egypt, where Alhurra TV “doubled its weekly audience to 15% in tandem with the Arab Spring”; and in Indonesia, where BBG said VOA has pursued an aggressive affiliate strategy.

“Audiences in many other strategically relevant countries held strong. In Nigeria, VOA retains its position as a news source of record with 23 million weekly listeners. In Burma, VOA and RFA reach 26% and 24% of adults, respectively, amounting to a weekly audience of 10 million.

“Audience declines took place notably in Iran, where the government continues aggressive jamming of every BBG transmission platform, including satellite uplink jamming; and Pakistan, where the media market is increasingly fragmented and use of radio is declining.”

The accompanying chart lists the largest weekly audiences by country for U.S. International Broadcasting.

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