Wed, Feb 16, 2011 - Page 1 News List

US to cut VOA broadcasts in Chinese

‘DOWNPAYMENT’:Voice of America plans to lay off 45 Chinese-language staff as part of the US government’s goal to cut US$1.1 trillion from its deficit over the next decade

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

“The BBG will strategically consolidate the network’s shortwave transmissions to ensure availability of peak listening hours for Radio Free Asia [RFA] Mandarin,” the document said.

“RFA will continue its radio broadcasting in Mandarin and exchange some of its off-peak hours for VOA’s preferred broadcast hours, while realizing a significant reduction in its overall transmission expenses. This will be accomplished by decreasing the number of frequencies utilized simultaneously and minimizing the power levels used for each transmission,” it said.

The BBG announcement came just as the BBC World Service confirmed in a press release late last month its own cutbacks. The cuts included five full-language service closures, the end of radio programs in seven languages and a phased reduction from most shortwave and medium-wave distribution of remaining radio services.

While the BBC World Service will cease all radio programming in Mandarin, its Cantonese radio programming would continue, the release said.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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