BBG to Become More Nimble and Streamlined Under the FY15 Budget Request

RFE/RL correspondent Andriy Dubchak reporting live in Kyiv, Dec 2013

RFE/RL correspondent Andriy Dubchak covering a protest near the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine in Kyiv, Dec 2013

WASHINGTON (March 25, 2014) – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today released its detailed Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.  The agency, which oversees civilian international news and information programs for people in more than 100 countries, is seeking $721.26 million to meet strategic priorities, migrating to media that its listeners and viewers increasingly use, and innovating to reach next-generation audiences.

“Our objective is to position U.S. international media to be more nimble, to adapt our excellent programs to the technologies that audiences prefer, and to tap every avenue for efficiencies,” said BBG Chairman Jeffrey Shell.  “Our commitment to this agency’s journalistic mission is unwavering even in the face of limited resources and a volatile international operating environment.”

In accordance with U.S. foreign policy needs, the BBG has proposed investments of just over $24 million to expand journalism and content distribution efforts for audiences in Africa, East Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as to boost infrastructure and expand popular English language lesson programs.

In Africa, the investment request is for $8 million.  Building on the agency’s response to the crises and diminishing press freedom in the Sahel region, the BBG will enlarge its FM reach, establish a regional satellite television channel, create new video content for affiliate placement and digital distribution, and launch service in the Lingala language for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

With a $5 million investment in Asia, the BBG will expand youth-oriented video and digital initiatives for Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  The BBG will also boost its digital engagement efforts in China, including building its use of social media platforms and Internet anti-censorship.

Spanning multiple broadcast regions, the FY 2015 budget request seeks $10.15 million to invest in digital infrastructure and provide mobile-friendly journalism while increasing the availability of online learning English programs with a budgetary boost of $900,000.

The BBG will continue its growing and successful Internet anti-censorship efforts in FY 2015 with $12.5 million in funds.

By reducing administrative operations, eliminating needless language service overlap, streamlining central news operations, optimizing information technology and reducing ineffective transmissions, the agency would save about $32.9 million under this budget request.  Such reductions will be taken in order to sustain core journalistic operations.

As online and mobile media grow, along with distribution through more local affiliate partnerships, the request proposes migrating from use of legacy radio transmissions that are not a primary source of news for markets in Vietnam, Belarus, Laos, and elsewhere.

Further information regarding the BBG’s FY 2015 budget submission can be found here in the Fiscal Year 2015 Congressional Budget Request.

 

 

Broadcasting Board of Governors
FY 2015 Congressional Request – $721.26 million
Funding by Major Elements ($ in millions)

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