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Save the Radios

'Don't Silence Voice of America,' Heritage scholar argues

A scholar at The Heritage Foundation, a think tank in Washington, is among those who think that the U.S. is shortchanging its international radio broadcasting efforts such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Author Helle Dale points to a recent survey conducted by the British communications regulator Ofcom that concluded that radio was considered the most reliable source of information was radio. It finished ahead of the Web, TV and well ahead of newspapers.

Dale notes that numerous U.S. broadcast operations have been shut down over the last couple of decades with few replacements.

“Over the past decade, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, whose nine members are appointed by the president and which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, has made the decision to close down nine transmitter sites around the world, leaving just 13 active. In previous decades another 14 sites were closed down, including in 1997 the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty site in Gloria, Portugal, the largest shortwave transmitting facility in the West.”

She particularly draws attention to a long-delayed transmitter that would have been in operation during recent unrest in Iran but remains silent.

She also remarks upon recent expansion of Chinese international broadcast efforts and makes a bang-for-the-buck argument that radio broadcasting is much cheaper than (recently expanded) television broadcasting.

Read it.