Overlap found in most radio programs from Broadcasting Board of Governors

Alex Kalmbach/Shutterstock

This story was updated to add comment from the Broadcasting Board of Governors. 

Foreign language radio and television programming supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors contains wasteful overlap and duplication, auditors found.

The Government Accountability Office found nearly two-thirds of the U.S.-funded overseas broadcasts overlap with another BBG service by transmitting in the same country in the same language. Out of 69 total broadcast services, auditors found overlap in 23 instances involving 43 of the services. For example, programs from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia overlapped in eight cases involving 16 language services, it found.

The umbrella agency spent about $149 million -- or 20 percent of its appropriation in fiscal 2011 -- on services that could be considered overlapping, GAO said.

Auditors also faulted BBG for insufficiently considering the availability of commercial and allied governments’ broadcasts in some of the regions targeted for U.S.-created news and cultural programming, which might alter judgments on where to devote resources. Those other governments include the United Kingdom and Germany.

BBG had stated in its strategic plan for 2012 through 2016 that it recognized the need to reduce language service overlap. Its managers agreed with GAO’s recommendations that it improve its annual reviews to identify potential savings from reducing duplication.

In response to the report's publication, BBG put some of the blame on Congress. "During the past decade, the BBG has proposed to cut 20 language services due to overlap and obsolescence," the agency said in a statement. "But in each of the last three years, Congress has restored funding for what we identified to cut."

BBG also argued GAO had missed a major point. "Our mission is to provide news and information to countries that don't have full press freedom.   If the agency eliminated 43 of the 59 language services entirely, the theoretical savings would reach $149 million," it said. "Our experience with the past few budget cycles shows that even much smaller cuts have constituencies that effectively lobby Congress to fully restore them."

"That said, having two services for the same country is in some cases the right thing to do. Many of our broadcasts are branded and distributed for different audiences, who have come to count on them."

Last month, BBG announced that journalist and former National Public Radio president Kevin Klose will be the acting president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

GAO has been publishing a series of reports on duplication in federal programs, and the Obama administration has been seeking renewed congressional authority to reorganize government to cut down on redundancy.

(Image via Alex Kalmbach/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.