oversight

U.S. International Broadcasting: New Strategic Approach Focuses on Reaching Large Audiences but Lacks Measurable Program Objectives

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-07-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to the Committee on International
             Relations, House of Representatives



July 2003
             U.S. INTERNATIONAL
             BROADCASTING
             New Strategic
             Approach Focuses on
             Reaching Large
             Audiences but Lacks
             Measurable Program
             Objectives




GAO-03-772
             a
                                               July 2003


                                               U.S. INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING

                                               New Strategic Approach Focuses on
Highlights of GAO-03-772, a report to the      Reaching Large Audiences but Lacks
Committee on International Relations,
House of Representatives                       Measurable Program Objectives



Prompted by a desire to reverse                Consistent with its new plan to dramatically increase the size of U.S.
declining audience trends and to               international broadcasting listening and viewing audiences in markets of
support the war on terrorism, the              U.S. strategic interest, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has launched
Broadcasting Board of Governors                several new projects, including Radio Sawa in the Middle East, Radio Farda
(BBG), the agency responsible for              in Iran, and the Afghanistan Radio Network. These projects adhere to the
U.S. international broadcasting,
                                               Board’s core strategy of identifying a target audience and tailoring each
began developing its new strategic
approach to international                      broadcast product to market circumstances and audience needs.
broadcasting in July 2001. This
approach emphasizes the need to                The Board’s plan lacks measurable program objectives designed to gauge the
reach mass audiences by applying               success of its new approach to broadcasting, detailed implementation
modern broadcast techniques and                strategies, resource needs, and project time frames. A number of key
strategically allocating resources to          effectiveness measures could provide a starting point for developing
focus on high-priority markets.                measurable program objectives and related performance goals and
GAO was asked to examine (1)                   indicators under the Board’s annual performance plan. These measures
whether recent program initiatives             include audience size in specific markets, audience awareness, broadcaster
have adhered to the Board's new                credibility, and whether the Voice of America (VOA) effectively presents
strategic approach to broadcasting,            information about U.S. thought, institutions, and policies to target audiences.
(2) how the approach’s
effectiveness will be assessed, and
(3) what critical challenges the               The Board has identified a number of market and internal challengessuch
Board faces in executing its                   as technological innovation and better coordination of its seven separate
strategy and how these challenges              broadcast entitiesthat must be addressed to make U.S. international
will be addressed.                             broadcasting more competitive. It has also developed a number of solutions
                                               to address these challenges. However, the Board has not addressed how
                                               many language services it can carry effectively (with the number rising
GAO makes recommendations to
                                               nearly 20 percent over the past 10 years) and what level of overlap and
the BBG on (1) revising its strategic          duplication in VOA and surrogate broadcast services would be appropriate
plan to include measurable                     under its new approach to broadcasting. Resolving these questions will have
program objectives,                            significant resource implications for the Board and its ability to reach larger
implementation strategies,                     audiences in high-priority markets.
resource requirements, and project
time frames; (2) including audience            Language Service Overlap as of April 2003
size and other key effectiveness
measures as program objectives in
the strategic plan; (3) revising its
annual performance plan to track
the Board’s revised strategic plan;
and (4) revising the strategic plan
to include a clear vision of the
Board’s intended scope of
operations. The Board stated that it
largely concurred with our report
recommendations.
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-772

To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Jess Ford at
(202) 512-4128 or fordj@gao.gov.
Contents



Letter                                                                                                      1
                             Results in Brief                                                               2
                             Background                                                                     4
                             Projects Supporting War on Terrorism Adhere to Board’s New
                               Approach                                                                    10
                             Effectiveness Is Difficult to Assess Absent Measurable Program
                               Objectives                                                                  14
                             Board Plans to Address Many Challenges, but Scope of Operations
                               May Limit Its Impact                                                        18
                             Conclusions                                                                   26
                             Recommendations for Executive Action                                          27
                             Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                            27
                             Scope and Methodology                                                         28


Appendixes
              Appendix I:    Challenges Facing U.S. International Broadcasting                             30
             Appendix II:    Survey Development                                                            32
             Appendix III:   Survey of Program Managers of U.S. International
                             Broadcasting Entities                                                         33
             Appendix IV:    Comments from the Broadcasting Board of Governors                             47
              Appendix V:    GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                        50
                             GAO Contact                                                                   50
                             Acknowledgments                                                               50


Tables                       Table 1:   The Board’s Recently Implemented Initiatives                       11
                             Table 2:   Costs of BBG New Initiatives                                       13
                             Table 3:   Planned Actions and Additional Options                             23
                             Table 4:   Board-Identified Challenges                                        30
                             Table 5:   Proposed SolutionsStrategic Goals and Objectives                  31


Figures                      Figure 1: U.S. Public Diplomacy Community                                      5
                             Figure 2: The Board’s New Strategic Plan                                       8




                             Page i                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Contents




Abbreviations

ARN          Afghanistan Radio Network
BBG          Broadcasting Board of Governors
CEO          Chief Executive Officer
COO          Chief Operating Officer
IBB          International Broadcasting Bureau
OMB          Office of Management and Budget
RFA          Radio Free Asia
RFE/RL       Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
PART         Program Assessment Rating Tool
VOA          Voice of America


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Page ii                                        GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
A
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548



                                    July 15, 2003                                                                               Leter




                                    The Honorable Henry J. Hyde
                                    Chairman
                                    The Honorable Tom Lantos
                                    Ranking Minority Member
                                    International Relations Committee
                                    House of Representatives

                                    Millions of foreign listeners and viewers turn each week to U.S.
                                    international broadcasting to obtain news and information about the
                                    United States and the world. However, the United States’ share in several
                                    broadcast markets has been declining or static for decades due to
                                    increasing competition and an outdated approach to broadcasting.
                                    Prompted by a desire to reverse this trend and a sense of urgency created
                                    by the war on terrorism, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG or the
                                    “Board”),1 the agency responsible for nonmilitary U.S. international
                                    broadcasting programs, initiated a new strategic approach to international
                                    broadcasting in July 2001. The new strategy emphasizes the need to reach
                                    large audiences by applying modern broadcast techniques and strategically
                                    allocating resources to focus on high-priority broadcast markets, such as
                                    the Middle East.

                                    The BBG and the Department of State share an annual budget of about $1
                                    billion for public diplomacy activities designed to inform, engage, and
                                    influence foreign audiences. The BBG manages and oversees the Voice of
                                    America (VOA), WorldNet Television and Film Service, Radio/TV Marti,
                                    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio Sawa, and Radio
                                    Farda (collectively referred to as the broadcast entities). This report
                                    focuses on the BBG’s public diplomacy efforts. A planned follow-on report
                                    will assess the Department of State’s public diplomacy efforts.




                                    1
                                     Congress created the BBG when it passed the United States International Broadcasting Act
                                    of 1994 (title III of P.L. 103-236), which sought to reorganize and consolidate U.S.
                                    international broadcasting efforts in light of the end of the Cold War and administrative
                                    efforts to meet deficit reduction targets. The Board is composed of nine voting members.
                                    Eight members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for 3-year
                                    terms. The ninth member of the Board is the Secretary of State. Under the Foreign Affairs
                                    Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-277), the BBG was removed from the U.S.
                                    Information Agency and established as an independent entity.




                                    Page 1                                        GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                   As agreed with your staff, this report examines (1) whether recent program
                   initiatives have adhered to the Board's new strategic approach to
                   broadcasting, (2) how the approach’s effectiveness will be assessed, and
                   (3) what critical challenges the Board faces in executing its strategy and
                   how these challenges will be addressed.

                   To accomplish our objectives, we met with individual Board members and
                   senior managers from each broadcast entity (including Radio Free
                   Europe/Radio Liberty officials in Prague) to discuss a range of management
                   issues including the Board’s new 5-year strategic plan (titled “Marrying the
                   Mission to the Market” and issued in December 2002), which defines the
                   Board’s new approach to broadcasting. We met with foreign ministry
                   officials in London and Berlin and broadcasting officials from the British
                   Broadcasting Corporation in London and Deutsche Welle in Cologne and
                   Berlin to compare their respective approaches to public diplomacy and
                   international broadcasting with the Board’s activities. We also met with
                   several private sector audience research firms to discuss a range of
                   performance management and measurement issues. Finally, we
                   administered a survey to 34 senior program managers across all 7 BBG
                   broadcast entities to obtain their views on strategic planning, current
                   operations, program challenges, and various program options.



Results in Brief   Consistent with its new strategic approach to broadcasting, the Board has
                   initiated several new programs focusing on attracting larger audiences in
                   priority markets and supporting the war on terrorism. Launched in March
                   2002, Radio Sawa in the Middle East replaced VOA’s Arabic-language
                   service and represents the Board's first attempt to implement the new
                   tailored approach to broadcasting. Based on extensive research of the
                   target audience, Radio Sawa incorporates brief news bulletins in a popular
                   music format aimed at young listeners. A new initiative in Afghanistan
                   called the Afghanistan Radio Network and a language service to Iran called
                   Radio Farda also have adhered to the Board's new broadcasting approach
                   and support the Board’s efforts in the war on terrorism. Estimated start-up
                   and recurring costs for these three projects through fiscal year 2003 total
                   about $116 million. As funds become available, the Board intends to launch
                   other high-priority projects using its new broadcasting approach, such as
                   an Arabic language television network in the Middle East.

                   While the Board’s new approach to broadcasting is based on the need to
                   reach large audiences in priority markets, there is not a single long-term
                   strategic goal or related program objective to gauge the Board’s success in



                   Page 2                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
increasing audience size. Further, the strategic goals that are included in
the plan (for example, employing modern broadcast techniques, assuring
broadcaster credibility, and telling America’s story) are not supported by
measurable program objectives and do not provide a basis for assessing the
Board’s performance in these key areas. While we recognize that measuring
impact is complex, we identified a number of key effectiveness measures
that could form a starting point for creating measurable program objectives
that support the full range of the Board’s strategic goals. These measures
include audience size in specific markets; audience awareness of BBG
broadcasting; the credibility of U.S. language service broadcasts; and
whether VOA language services effectively present information about U.S.
thought, institutions, and policies to target audiences.

The Board’s key challenge in executing its strategy is how to generate large
audiences while dealing with a number of market, organizational, and
resource issues. The Board identified several shortcomings in U.S. market
competitiveness including outdated programs and delivery systems. It
plans to overcome these problems by promoting, among other things, new
formats and technologies. Topping the list of organizational challenges is
the disparate structure of the agency, which consists of seven separate
broadcast entities and a mix of federal agency and grantee organizations
that must be collectively managed by a part-time Board of Governors. To
overcome this challenge, the Board proposes treating the broadcast
services of the separate entities as a “single system” under the Board’s
direct control and ongoing oversight. While the Board’s solutions to many
of its challenges may suffice, our analysis revealed that a number of other
program options could be considered in the future if the Board’s efforts
falter or prove ineffective. One option would be to further consolidate all
entities into one organization to streamline the management structure,
simplify budget and programming decisions, and reduce duplicative staff
and functions. Finally, the Board has concluded that the agency’s resources
are currently spread across too many language services. We found strong
support among BBG managers for cutting the number of language services
to focus resources on a limited number of priority markets. However, the
Board has not established a strategic vision for how many languages should
be pursued and what level of overlap and duplication among its many
entities is appropriate.

This report makes several recommendations to the Board to help improve
agency operations and measurement of program performance. The Board
provided written comments on a draft of this report and largely concurred
with our report recommendations.



Page 3                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Background   U.S. international broadcasting efforts support the three key objectives of
             U.S. public diplomacy, which are to engage, inform, and influence overseas
             audiences. As a news organization, the BBG must maintain its journalistic
             independence while also serving U.S. strategic interests as a member of the
             public diplomacy apparatus. To fulfill this latter role, the BBG seeks input
             from the Department of State and the larger public diplomacy community
             in formulating its broadcast plans and making annual decisions on the
             deletion and addition of language services. The Secretary of State serves as
             a member of the Board, further strengthening coordination efforts. Within
             the BBG, VOA, Radio/TV Marti, and WorldNet Television, are organized as
             federal entities, while Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free
             Asia operate as independent, nonprofit corporations and are funded by
             Board grants. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and
             Radio/TV Marti function as “surrogate” broadcasters where a local free
             press does not exist. Congress created the International Broadcasting
             Bureau (IBB)2 in 1994 in an effort to streamline and consolidate certain
             broadcast operations.

             Figure 1 illustrates the Board’s placement in the U.S. public diplomacy
             hierarchy and its current organizational structure.




             2
              The IBB currently provides transmission services to all U.S. broadcast operations. It also
             provides management oversight and support services such as audience research and
             marketing to VOA, WorldNet Television, and Radio/TV Marti.




             Page 4                                          GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Figure 1: U.S. Public Diplomacy Community




a
Relevant White House Offices include the National Security Council and the Office of Global
Communications.
b
 While not considered a major public diplomacy player, USAID activities contribute to U.S. public
relations and media development efforts.


Each U.S. broadcast entity is organized around a collection of language
services that produce program content. In some instances, both VOA and a
surrogate broadcaster run “overlapping” services due to the different
missions pursued by VOA and the surrogates. For example, both VOA and
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have their own Russian language service.



Page 5                                               GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                             The BBG currently has a collection of 97 language services—with a 55
                             percent overlap between VOA and the surrogates broadcasting in the same
                             language.



The Mission of U.S.          Each broadcast entity has its own legislated mandate. VOA’s mandate is to
International Broadcasting   (1) serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative, accurate, objective,
                             and comprehensive source of news; (2) represent America, not any single
                             segment of American society, and therefore present a balanced and
                             comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions;
                             and (3) present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively and
                             also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.3 In
                             contrast, the role of the surrogate broadcasters (Radio Free Europe/Radio
                             Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Radio/TV Marti) is to temporarily replace the
                             local media of countries where a free and open press does not exist.
                             WorldNet Television and Film Service provides production and distribution
                             support for television broadcasts developed by VOA and the Department of
                             State. The Board’s public diplomacy mandate also includes helping to
                             develop independent media and raising journalistic standards where
                             possible.



The Board’s New Strategic    The Board’s new approach to broadcasting represents an ambitious
Approach                     attempt to reach larger audiences in key markets. To do this, it seeks
                             creative solutions that prioritize the use of limited resources and marry the
                             mission of U.S. international broadcasting to the needs and wants of target
                             audiences. The Board’s new strategic plan was issued in December 2002;
                             however, development of its new approach to broadcasting began in July
                             2001. The plan was developed to address declining audience share in key
                             markets such as Russia and historically static performance in key strategic
                             regions such as the Middle East. For example, the BBG had a 21 percent
                             market share in Russia in the early 1990s that has declined to about 4
                             percent of the adult listening audience in recent years. In the Middle East,
                             the VOA’s Arabic service has for decades reached less than 2 percent of
                             potential listeners.




                             3
                              VOA also serves as a surrogate broadcaster in information-deprived countries in Africa
                             since Congress has not established a separate surrogate entity for this region.




                             Page 6                                         GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
The Board’s new plan outlines a strategic vision for U.S. international
broadcasting that is designed to move the organization toward a market-
based approach that will generate the large listening audiences in priority
markets that the Board believes it must reach to effectively meet its
mission. Early implementation of the plan has focused on markets relevant

to the war on terrorism;4 however, the Board intends that many elements of
its new approach will be applied to many of its language services over time.
The Board’s vision is to create a flexible, multimedia, research-driven U.S.
international broadcasting system. This system will incorporate regional
networks and single-country operations to reach large audiences by
programming the distinct content of VOA and the surrogate services
through state-of-the-art formats and distribution channels controlled by the
Board.

Figure 2 provides an overview of the Board’s new strategic plan and shows
the links among the Board’s mission statement, vision statement, broadcast
priorities, strategic goals, and program objectives. Appendix I provides a
complete list of the goals and objectives.




4
 One of the Board’s key objectives is to provide support to the war on terrorism through
anti-terrorism broadcasting. The Board views recent initiatives in the Middle East, such as
Radio Sawa, as examples of its new approach and as a major initiative supporting the war
on terrorism.




Page 7                                          GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Figure 2: The Board’s New Strategic Plan




Strategic plans play a critical role in the management of agency operations.
Guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) makes clear
that agency strategic plans, annual performance plans, and annual
performance reports form the basis for a comprehensive and integrated




Page 8                                     GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
approach to performance management.5 In the Board’s case, its
performance management is augmented by an ongoing series of program
reviews of individual language services conducted each year6 and an
annual comparative review of all language services. Program reviews are
in-depth assessments of performance conducted by a team of management,
audience research experts, technical staff, and language service staff. The
comparative review of language services represents an intensive 4-month
review by the Board designed to evaluate the need for adding or deleting
language services and strategically reallocating funds to the language
services on the basis of priority and impact. This year, the Board asked
eight language services to prepare individual performance plans that
capture key elements of the Board’s new strategic approach to
broadcasting, including the need to identify a target audience and establish
specific audience goals.7 These performance plans will become the focus of
future program reviews and form the final link in a planned performance
management system that will integrate the Board’s strategic plan,
performance plan, annual language service review, budget preparation
process, and program reviews into a unified whole. The strategic plan
forms the heart of this system since it should provide the performance
goals and measures that drive the Board’s entire operations.




5
 OMB guidance notes that agency strategic plans may include multiyear strategic goals that
are not subject to direct measurement. However, these goals must be supported by
measurable program objectives that provide a long-term basis for assessing whether an
agency’s strategic goals are being met. Annual progress toward achieving agency program
objectives should be tracked through the performance goals and indicators in an agency’s
performance plan under the Government Performance and Results Act. See Circular No. A-
11, Part 6, Preparation and Submission of Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans,
and Annual Program Performance Reports; Office of Management and Budget
(Washington, D.C.: June 2002).
6
 These two components of the Board’s performance management system were addressed in
detail in our last report on U.S. international broadcasting. U.S. General Accounting Office,
U.S. International Broadcasting: Strategic Planning and Performance Management
System Could be Improved, GAO/NSIAD-00-222 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 27, 2000).
7
 These languages fall in the Near East Asia and South Asia region targeted for evaluation as
part of OMB’s new Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) exercise, which is designed to
support the budget and performance integration component of the President’s Management
Agenda. Under the PART process, approximately 20 percent of agency programs were
supposed to be covered during the formulation of the fiscal year 2004 budget, with other
programs to be annually added to the assessment in future years.




Page 9                                          GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Projects Supporting       Consistent with the plan’s theme of “marrying the mission to the market,”
                          the Board has applied its new audience-focused broadcasting approach to
War on Terrorism          recent initiatives supporting the war on terrorism. The first project under
Adhere to Board’s New     the new approach, Radio Sawa in the Middle East, was launched in March
                          2002 using many of the modern, market-tested broadcasting techniques and
Approach                  practices prescribed in the plan, in an effort to attract a larger, younger
                          population. Follow-on program initiatives also adhere to the Board’s
                          modern approach to broadcasting, though application is tailored to the
                          specific circumstances of each target market. These initiatives include the
                          Afghanistan Radio Network (ARN) and the new Radio Farda service to
                          Iran. Estimated start-up and recurring costs for these three projects
                          through fiscal year 2003 total about $116 million. As funds become
                          available, there are plans to extend application of the Board’s new
                          approach to other high-priority markets, such as Indonesia. In addition, the
                          Board hopes to further expand its presence in the Middle East through the
                          launch of a Middle East Television Network. Future initiatives are expected
                          to require additional reallocation of funds and possible supplemental
                          spending by Congress.



Application Tailored to   The Board has tailored the use of its modern, audience-focused approach
Market Circumstances      to broadcasting, taking target audiences and market circumstances into
                          consideration when developing and implementing new program initiatives.
                          Table 1 provides a brief description of recently implemented projects
                          supporting the war on terrorism.




                          Page 10                                GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Table 1: The Board’s Recently Implemented Initiatives

Initiative                      Launch date         Project description
Radio Sawa                      March 2002          A modern Arabic-language network that broadcasts music, news, and information to
                                                    young people in the Middle East via a combination of FM, medium wave, short wave,
                                                    digital audio satellite, and Internet transmission resources. The network uses four 24-
                                                    hour, seven-days-a-week regional programming streams.a
ARN                             August 2002         The network combines the distinct news and information program content of Radio Free
                                                    Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Free Afghanistanb and VOA’s Dari and Pashtu language
                                                    services into a closely coordinated, single programming stream targeting the broad
                                                    Afghani population. The network currently broadcasts 24 hours, seven days a week on
                                                    FM and the Internet.
Radio Farda                     December 2002       Radio Farda integrates the distinct music, news, and information content of VOA and
                                                    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty into a single programming stream targeting youth in
                                                    Iran. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week via medium wave, digital audio
                                                    satellite, and the Internet. It also broadcasts 21 hours a day via short wave.
Source: Broadcasting Board of Governors.
                                                a
                                                 Radio Sawa’s four programming streams are directed at Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and the
                                                Persian Gulf countries (i.e., Kuwait, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, etc.) and reflect regional
                                                tastes and interests.
                                                b
                                                 Radio Free Afghanistan was launched by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in December
                                                2001 in an effort to build a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan. This service was
                                                congressionally authorized.


Radio Sawa                                      The first program under the Board’s new approach, Radio Sawa in the
                                                Middle East, was launched using modern, market-tested broadcasting
                                                techniques and practices, such as the extensive use of music formats, to
                                                improve performance in this priority market and lend support to the war on
                                                terrorism by targeting youth audiences. Although music remains a large
                                                part of the programming on Radio Sawa, the proportion of news and
                                                information to music is steadily increasing, peaking at 5-hours a day during
                                                Operation Iraqi Freedom. Radio Sawa replaced the poorly performing VOA
                                                Arabic service, which had listening rates at around 2 percent of the
                                                population. The Board has survey research indicating that Radio Sawa is
                                                reaching 51 percent of its target audience and is ranked highest for news
                                                and news trustworthiness in Amman, Jordan. Despite such results, it
                                                remains unclear how many people Radio Sawa is actually reaching
                                                throughout the Middle East because audience research has been performed
                                                only in select markets and has not yet included audiences in key markets
                                                like Saudi Arabia.




                                                Page 11                                           GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Afghanistan Radio Network   The Afghanistan Radio Network was launched in August 2002 to more
                            effectively use and strengthen the impact of BBG broadcasting resources
                            targeted to Afghanistan, a key market for the war on terrorism. ARN
                            utilizes broadcasting concepts outlined in the Board’s new strategic
                            approach, such as tailoring content to the target audience and integrating
                            programming streams across entities. Unlike Radio Sawa, ARN is not
                            primarily designed to reach a youth audience but a broader Afghani
                            audience. Programs are designed to be locally focused and are high in
                            educational, news, and information content. BBG service to Afghanistan
                            has in the past yielded some of the Board’s highest listening rates (in 1999
                            around 80 percent of adult male heads-of-household). Recent BBG
                            research indicates that the Board is reaching about 45 percent of all male
                            and female adults in the listening regions of Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Radio Farda                 Radio Farda was launched to strengthen the impact of BBG broadcasting
                            resources targeted to Iran, another key market for the war on terrorism.
                            Based on audience research and an analysis of specific market factors in
                            Iran, the Board tailored the plan’s elements to Radio Farda. Radio Farda
                            uses modern broadcast techniques to attract a youth target audience.
                            Although it uses music formats, Radio Farda also strives to provide
                            substantial news and information. The Board claims that increases in the
                            volume of e-mail and phone calls from the region indicate that the service is
                            gaining popularity among the target audience in Iran.

Other New Initiatives       The Board is planning other program initiatives in support of the war on
                            terrorism, and plans indicate that the Board will selectively apply its new
                            broadcasting approach to these projects. Future initiatives include
                            enhancements to the VOA Indonesian and Urdu services and creation of a
                            Middle East Television Network, which represents the single largest
                            enhancement to the Board’s operations in the coming year. Still in the
                            planning stages, the Middle East Television Network will be an 18- to 24-
                            hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week, U.S.-controlled satellite TV service
                            presenting what the Board sees as American-style news and information
                            programs in the Arabic language to counter the lack of depth and balance
                            in the Middle Eastern media. As television is the most important medium in
                            the region for news and information, the Board expects to significantly
                            increase its audience size with this initiative.




                            Page 12                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Projected Costs of the New   Certain elements of the Board’s new plan will require substantial levels of
Strategy Are Significant     investments. Such elements include broadcasting round-the-clock, using
                             audience research and music formats extensively, and reaching audiences
                             on Board-controlled AM and FM frequencies. Other elements do not
                             require as substantial capital investments, such as identifying target
                             audiences and redesigning program content to appeal to these audiences.
                             Just as Radio Sawa, ARN, and Radio Farda incorporate the Board’s new
                             broadcasting approach to varying degrees, the Board has stated in its
                             strategic plan that it will apply certain high-cost elements of its new
                             approach on a case-by-case basis. It cannot afford to broadly apply all
                             elements to all language services, and some markets do not require such
                             changes for U.S. international broadcasting to remain competitive. Table 2
                             provides a cost summary of recently implemented high-priority projects.



                             Table 2: Costs of BBG New Initiatives


                             Dollars in millions
                                                                                 Sawa       ARN      Farda
                             One time capital costs (paid in FY 2001 or
                             2002)                                               $10.5     $19.6       N/A
                             Additional expected capital costs (paid in FY
                             2003)                                               $21.6      $1.8       $1.0
                             Annual operating expenses (paid in FY
                             2002)                                               $11.7      $9.6       N/A
                             Projected annual operating expenses (paid
                             in FY 2003)                                         $20.6     $13.4       $6.2
                             Total project costs (through FY 2003)               $64.4     $44.4       $7.2     $116.0
                             Source: GAO analysis of BBG data.

                             N/A = Not applicable.


                             The estimated price tags for other priority initiatives, such as the Middle
                             East Television Network and the expansion of the VOA Indonesian service,
                             are also significant. For example, the Board estimates that it will cost about
                             $62 million to initiate the Middle East Television Network and an additional
                             $37 million annually for recurring operational costs. Expanding VOA
                             Indonesian radio and TV programming is estimated to cost an additional
                             $3.4 million. Cost estimates for the VOA Urdu service program expansion
                             are not yet available because the Board has not finalized its plans for this
                             project.




                             Page 13                                         GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                      Some of the Board’s recent priority projects have been funded in part by
                      reallocation of program funds under the Board’s annual language service
                      review process. For example, the Board funded Radio Farda by
                      reprogramming more than $5.6 million in fiscal year 2003 funds and also
                      helped pay for Radio Sawa by reprogramming approximately $4.1 million in
                      fiscal year 2001 funds from other language services.



Effectiveness Is      The Board’s new approach to broadcasting is based on the need to reach
                      large audiences in priority markets, but its strategic plan does not include a
Difficult to Assess   single goal or related program objective designed to gauge progress toward
Absent Measurable     increasing audience size. In addition, the plan’s seven existing strategic
                      goals (for example, to employ modern communication techniques or to
Program Objectives    revitalize efforts to tell America’s story) are not supported by measurable
                      program objectives that would allow the Board and others to gauge the
                      agency’s progress in implementing its strategic goals.8 While the plan lacks
                      a range of measurable program objectives, key effectiveness measures that
                      could be incorporated in future versions of the Board’s strategic plan
                      include audience awareness of U.S. broadcast efforts, audience
                      perceptions of the credibility of U.S. broadcasts, and whether VOA
                      effectively presents information about the United States and its policies to
                      target audiences. Efforts to assess the effectiveness of the Board’s new
                      approach to broadcasting may also be hampered by the lack of details on
                      how the Board intends to implement each of its program objectives.
                      Missing from the plan are specifics on implementation strategies, resource
                      requirements, and project time frames.9 The Board has acknowledged that




                      8
                       Our observations on these missing elements are mirrored in OMB’s summary report on this
                      year’s implementation of the Program Assessment Rating Tool. OMB’s report in the
                      President’s fiscal year 2004 budget request notes that “the [BBG] program scored poorly in
                      strategic planning, primarily because the long-term and annual goals are vague and do not
                      include time frames and measurable targets.”
                      9
                      These findings mirror several of the observations we made in GAO/NSIAD-00-222.




                      Page 14                                        GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                          its strategic plan needs to be significantly improved, and major changes are
                          planned for the next iteration.10



Plan Lacks Focus on       The absence of “audience size” as a strategic goal and related measurable
Audience Size and Other   program objectives represents one of the most significant oversights in the
                          Board’s strategic plan. The strategic plan references the importance of
Measurable Program        reaching a large audience in priority markets as the key driver behind the
Objectives                Board’s new approach to broadcasting and notes that audience size is the
                          most readily available and accurate impact measure it has. Despite the
                          central importance of audience size to the Board’s new approach to
                          broadcasting, the plan is silent on how these data should be incorporated
                          as a measurable program objective or series of program objectives to gauge
                          the Board’s effectiveness in this key area. The Board has traditionally
                          reported audience size in its annual performance plan; however, this
                          reporting lacks any contextual meaning since it is not tied to a program
                          objective(s) defining the Board’s multiyear vision for what it would like to
                          accomplish in this area. In addition, the Board’s practice of reporting
                          audience size goals and accomplishments at the entity level in its annual
                          performance plan obscured important performance data at the regional
                          and language service level.

                          We also found that the plan’s existing strategic goals are not supported by
                          measurable program objectives. The strategic plan has 17 program
                          objectives,11 any of which can be used to illustrate the lack of performance
                          goals and expectations. For example, under the goal of employing modern
                          communication techniques and technologies, one objective is to accelerate
                          multimedia development and infuse more television and Internet into the
                          mix. The Board’s plan only makes broad assertions about the need to “do
                          more with TV where market realities demand and resources permit” and
                          that the Board “will ensure that all entities have world-class Internet
                          presences.”

                          10
                           We recently reported that a “program logic model” can help information dissemination
                          agencies systematically identify their program activities, inputs, outputs, outcomes, and
                          program impact. By specifying what is expected at each step, a logic model can help
                          agencies define the most appropriate set of program goals and measures. As such, the model
                          could be used by the Board as a tool to help prepare its next iteration of the strategic plan.
                          See U.S. General Accounting Office, Program Evaluation: Strategies for Assessing How
                          Information Dissemination Contributes to Agency Goals, GAO-02-923 (Washington, D.C.:
                          Sept. 30, 2002).
                          11
                               See appendix I for a list of the Board’s strategic goals and program objectives.




                          Page 15                                             GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                              Under the goal of progressively building out the U.S. international
                              broadcasting system, the Board lists the successful launch of Radio Sawa
                              as a program objective. Again, the plan makes broad statements about the
                              need to attract and build a significant audience in the Middle East and
                              present news that is objective, comprehensive, fresh, and relevant.
                              However, it does not provide details on expected performance levels.
                              Specifically, the plan does not establish short- or long-range target audience
                              figures for the Gaza strip, West Bank, and 17 countries in the Middle East
                              and Africa to which Radio Sawa will eventually broadcast.



A Range of Effectiveness      Our survey of senior program managers across all broadcast entities and
Measures Could Be             discussions with other program staff and outside parties, suggested a
                              number of other effectiveness measures the Board could incorporate when
Incorporated in the Board’s   developing measurable program objectives designed to support the plan’s
Plan                          strategic goals.12 These measures include audience awareness; broadcast
                              entity credibility; and a measure of VOA’s ability to communicate a
                              balanced and comprehensive projection of American thought, institutions,
                              and policies so that audiences receive, understand, and retain this
                              information.

Audience Awareness            The strategic plan does not include a measure of audience awareness to
                              answer a second key question of effectiveness: whether target audiences
                              are even aware of U.S. international broadcasting programming available in
                              their area. Board officials have stated that such measures would help the
                              Board understand a key factor in audience share rates and what could be
                              done to address audience share deficiencies. The Board could develop this
                              measure since it already collects information on language service
                              awareness levels in its audience research and in national surveys for
                              internal use.

Broadcaster Credibility       The strategic plan does not include a measure of broadcaster credibility,
                              which can identify whether target audiences believe what they hear.
                              Reaching a large listening or viewing audience is of little use if audiences
                              largely discount the news and information portions of broadcasts. Our


                              12
                                These measures represent a starting point, since each strategic goal in the plan needs to be
                              supported by measurable program objectives. Once strategic goals are lined up with
                              measurable program objectives, a related set of performance goals and indicators should be
                              included in the Board’s performance plan to track annual progress toward implementing the
                              plan’s program objectives.




                              Page 16                                          GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                             survey of senior program managers and discussions with BBG staff and
                             outside groups all point to the possibility that U.S. broadcasters (VOA in
                             particular) suffer from a credibility problem with foreign audiences, who
                             may view VOA and other broadcasters as biased sources of information.
                             InterMedia, the Board’s audience research contractor, told the Board that it
                             is working on a credibility index for another customer that could be
                             adapted to meet the Board’s needs which, when segmented by language
                             service, would reveal whether there are significant perception problems
                             among key target audiences. However, to develop this measure, the Board
                             would need to add several questions to its national survey instruments.

Measure of VOA Mission       Finally, the strategic plan does not include a measure of whether target
Effectiveness                audiences hear, understand, and retain information broadcast by VOA on
                             American thought, institutions, and policies. The unique value-added
                             component of VOA’s broadcasting mission is its focus on issues and
                             information concerning the United States, our system of government, and
                             the rationale behind U.S. policy decisions. Tracking and reporting these
                             data are important to determining whether VOA is accomplishing its
                             mission. InterMedia officials noted that developing a measure of this sort is
                             feasible and requires developing appropriate quantitative and qualitative
                             questions to include in the Board’s ongoing research activities.



Plan Lacks Specifics on      We found that each of the plan’s program objectives lacked a detailed
Implementation Strategies,   description of implementation strategies, resource needs, and project time
                             frames. Typically, each program objective consists of an overview of the
Resource Needs, and          problem followed by a general assertion that operations must be improved.
Project Time Frames          For example, the “action plan” for the accelerated use of television and the
                             Internet is limited to the following statements:

                             • “Appropriate Television – VOA has seen significant audience impact in
                               several key markets through television broadcasts—the Balkans, Iran,
                               and Indonesia. We can and will do more with TV where market realities
                               demand this and where resources permit. The first step is to cement the
                               establishment of VOA-TV from the former Worldnet.

                             • Higher Quality Web Presence – We have seen spotty progress towards
                               the goal of having all language services create high quality news-
                               oriented websites. Some are outstanding. The content of others is thin
                               and visually uninteresting. Bottom line: We will ensure that all entities
                               have world-class Internet presences.”




                             Page 17                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                         This level of planning begs key questions such as:

                         • What is the overall strategy for implementing the enhanced use of
                           television and the Internet? Who will be responsible for implementing
                           the component parts of the strategy? How much will it cost? How long
                           will it take to implement?

                         • How will the Board manage workforce planning issues such as
                           transitioning staff from radio-based skills to the skill set required to
                           significantly augment the Board’s multimedia operations?

                         • How will the long-planned merger of VOA Television and WorldNet
                           impact the Board’s strategic approach to television?

                         • How will the Middle East Television Network factor into the Board’s
                           plans and what are the resource, staffing, and training implications of
                           this proposed network?

                         Answers to such questions will provide the Board, BBG managers, OMB,
                         and the Congress with specific information needed to manage ongoing
                         program implementation and assess progress against meaningful short- and
                         long-term criteria. This level of planning also will reveal any potential gaps
                         or inconsistencies in planned implementation steps across the Board’s
                         many program objectives.



Board Plans to Address   The key strategic challenge the Board faces is how to achieve large
                         audiences in priority markets while dealing with (1) a collection of
Many Challenges, but     outdated and noncompetitive language services, (2) a disparate
Scope of Operations      organizational structure consisting of seven separate broadcast entities and
                         a mix of federal agency and grantee organizations that are managed by a
May Limit Its Impact     part-time Board of Governors, and (3) the resource challenge of
                         broadcasting in 97 language services to more than 125 broadcast markets
                         worldwide. The plan does address the challenge of revamping its current
                         broadcast operations by identifying a number of solutions to the
                         competitive challenges the Board faces. It also provides a new
                         organizational model for U.S. international broadcasting that stresses the
                         need to view the broadcast efforts of the separate entities as part of a
                         “single system” under the Board’s direct control and authority. The Board
                         has stated that it cannot sustain all its current broadcast operations and
                         have the desired impact in high priority markets at the same time. Despite a
                         clear articulation of U.S. international broadcasting’s resource challenges,



                         Page 18                                  GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                       the Board and Congress have not been able to substantially reduce the total
                       number of language services or a reported 55 percent overlap in VOA and
                       surrogate language services.



Board Has Identified   The Board’s strategic plan does an adequate job of identifying the market
Solutions to Market    challenges for U.S. international broadcasters and potential solutions to
                       these challenges. The task of reaching a significant audience today is a far
Challenges
                       different proposition than reaching an audience a decade ago. Priority
                       markets have multiplied and media environments have advanced virtually
                       everywhere with an explosion of local radio and television outlets that
                       compete aggressively for audience share. Broadcast and computer
                       technologies have made quantum leaps, with satellite television and the
                       Internet becoming preferred information modes for millions. The Board
                       has concluded that because many people can now pick and choose their
                       information sources, U.S. international broadcast operations must be
                       improved to remain competitive in a new media environment.

                       The Board’s strategic plan includes a frank assessment of the market
                       challenges that must be addressed to make U.S. international broadcasting
                       more competitive. These challenges include:

                       • Branding and positioning. Language services lack a distinctive
                         contemporary identity and a unique reason for listeners or viewers to
                         tune in.

                       • Target audiences. Few language services have identified their target
                         audience—a key first step in developing a broadcast strategy.

                       • Formats and programs. Many language services have outmoded
                         formats and programs with an antiquated, even Cold War, sound and
                         style.

                       • Delivery and placement. Three-quarters of transmitted hours have poor
                         or fair signal quality, and affiliate broadcaster strategies have stressed
                         quantity over quality.

                       • Marketing and promotion. Audience awareness levels are low across
                         the world and audiences often do not know where to tune in or what to
                         expect once they do.




                       Page 19                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                           • Technology. The Board is not maximizing the use of multimedia to reach
                             audiences, stimulate real-time interaction, and cross-promote broadcast
                             products.

                           These challenges are addressed by a number of proposed solutions in the
                           form of strategic goals and program objectives listed in the plan. With
                           regards to the marketing challenges, 12 of the 17 program objectives are
                           designed to directly or indirectly overcome these challenges. For example,
                           the Board’s strategic goal of employing modern communication techniques
                           and technologies is supported by the following program objectives:

                           • accelerate multimedia development and infuse more television and
                             Internet into the mix;

                           • adopt modern radio principles and practices including the matching of
                             program formats to target audiences;

                           • control the distribution channels that audiences use;

                           • go local in content and presence;

                           • tailor content to audiences; and

                           • drive innovation and performance with research.

                           Full implementation of these and other solutions to market challenges in
                           high priority markets will depend on available resources, which in turn will
                           be driven in part by the Board’s effectiveness in addressing its
                           organizational and resource challenges.



Plan Proposes a “Single    The plan identifies a number of internal challenges or obstacles which, if
System” for Broadcasting   not addressed and corrected, will hamper the Board’s ability to effectively
                           implement its new strategic approach to broadcasting. First, the Board
and Increased Leadership
                           believes that it needs to do more to consolidate and rationalize its
for the Board              organizational structure to better leverage existing resources and generate
                           greater program impact in priority markets. As the strategic plan notes,
                           “the diversity of the BBG—diverse organizations with different missions,
                           different frameworks, and different constituencies—makes it a challenge
                           to bring all the separate parts together in a more effective whole.” Second,
                           the Board believes that it must clarify the respective roles and
                           responsibilities of the Board, the IBB, and the broadcast entities to ensure



                           Page 20                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
that a rational management process is in place and that internal
communications flow in a logical manner.13

The Board’s response to these internal challenges is largely contained in
the two program objectives listed under the strategic goal of designing a
broadcast architecture for the 21st century. The first program objective is
to create a unified broadcasting system by treating the component parts of
U.S. international broadcasting as a single system. This is an important
distinction since it places the Board in the position of actively managing
resources across broadcast entities to achieve common broadcast goals. A
good example of this strategy in action is Radio Farda, which draws on the
unique content of VOA’s Persian service and Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty’s Persian service to create a new broadcast product for the Iranian
market. Board officials acknowledge that the new single system approach
will take years to implement throughout the BBG and require hands-on
management by the entire Board to ensure that resources are adequately
managed across entities. Also, the Board’s experience with implementing
Radio Sawa suggests that it can be difficult to make disparate broadcast
entities work toward a common purpose. For example, Board members
and senior planners said they encountered significant difficulties
attempting to work with VOA officials to launch Radio Sawa and there are
now plans to constitute Radio Sawa as a separate grantee organization.
While this move is understandable under the circumstances, it also
contributes to the further “balkanization” of U.S. international
broadcasting.

The second program objective consists of realigning the BBG’s
organizational structure. This objective highlights the need to reinforce the
Board’s role as CEO and to reaffirm the IBB’s role as central provider of
transmission and local placement services. The plan notes that by law the
Board is the head of the agency with a host of nondelegable responsibilities
including taking the lead role in shaping the BBG’s overall strategic
direction, setting expectations and standards, and creating the context for


13
  The Board’s concerns over organizational and management issues mirror the results of a
retreat of senior BBG managers held in July 2001, which served as a springboard for the
development of the Board’s strategic plan. The retreat represented a “no holds barred” look
at current activities and future operations. One retreat exercise focused on identifying the
key “restrainers” blocking the Board from moving toward a future vision for U.S.
international broadcasting as articulated by the group. A tabulation of votes revealed that
senior managers believed that a “flawed BBG organizational structure” and “very poor
internal communications” were the two top restrainers the Board faces.




Page 21                                         GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                         innovation and change. As it consolidates its role as the collective CEO for
                         U.S. international broadcasting, the Board will seek to create better and
                         stronger linkages among entities, uniting them in a common purpose and
                         program. At the same time, the Board plans to assume the role of helping
                         the broadcasting organizations develop radio formats to package and
                         better present the broadcasters’ content. According to the plan, this
                         becomes a major responsibility, as professional formatting is vital to the
                         BBG’s competitiveness and effectiveness.



Plan Does Not Discuss    We found significant support among BBG staff and outside experts we
Several Organizational   interviewed and surveyed for a select number of solutions not included in
                         the Board’s plan. However, these are complex issues that deserve detailed
Options
                         review and careful weighing of the pros and cons. Implementing these
                         solutions is largely beyond the Board’s control. However, the Board can
                         play a key role in identifying and endorsing creative solutions for Congress
                         to consider if the Board’s planned solutions to organizational and
                         leadership challenges falter and are ineffective. A list of these options is
                         offered for informational purposes and as a reference point for the Board,
                         OMB, and Congress in pursuing solutions to acknowledged operating
                         challenges. (See app. II for relevant survey responses we received from
                         senior program managers.) Table 3 summarizes the Board’s planned action
                         compared with these potential alternatives.




                         Page 22                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Table 3: Planned Actions and Additional Options

Planned action                                 Potential alternatives
“Single system” approach to broadcasting       Consider whether U.S. international broadcasting should be consolidated into a single
                                               entity to streamline and rationalize operations.

                                               (See survey question 20.1.)
Reinforce the Board’s role as CEO              Consider whether a full-time CEO or Chief Operating Officer (COO) for international
                                               broadcasting is needed to manage day-to-day operations that may put too great a
                                               stress on a part-time Board. In either case, it is presumed that the Board would have
                                               direct hire and fire authority over such a position.a,b

                                               (See survey question 20.2.)
Reinforce the IBB’s central support role       Consider an alternative to the current support services arrangement giving VOA,
                                               Radio/TV Marti, and WorldNet the same flexibility as grantees to manage their
                                               nontransmission support services. Grantee organizations (Radio Free Europe/Radio
                                               Liberty and Radio Free Asia) directly control most nontransmission support services
                                               such as affiliate relations, marketing, and computer services. In contrast,
                                               nontransmission support services for VOA, Radio/TV Marti, and WorldNet were
                                               largely consolidated within the IBB as part of the 1994 International Broadcasting Act.

                                               (See survey question 4.3.)
No parallel action                             Consider whether VOA, the IBB, and Radio/TV Marti should be reconstituted as
                                               grantees to place them on the same footing as the surrogate broadcasters, who enjoy
                                               more liberal workforce rules and fewer restrictions. It has been argued that the flexible
                                               environment grantees have is more conducive to a fast-paced business such as
                                               broadcasting.

                                               (See survey questions 20.8 and 20.9.)
Source: GAO analysis.
                                           a
                                            Certain Board members and senior BBG planners view this option as problematic given the
                                           perception that attracting talented individuals to serve on the Board is dependent, in part, on the Board
                                           having a central and unambiguous role in managing the operations of U.S. international broadcasting.
                                           b
                                            The utility of appointing federal agency COOs was recently explored at a roundtable of senior private
                                           and public sector executives sponsored by GAO. See U.S. General Accounting Office, Highlights of a
                                           GAO Roundtable: The Chief Operating Officer Concept: A Potential Strategy to Address Federal
                                           Governance Challenges, GAO-03-192SP (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 4, 2002).




Plan Does Not Directly                     The Board has concluded that if U.S. international broadcasting is to
Address the Board’s Scope                  become a vital component of U.S. foreign policy, it must focus on a clear
                                           set of broadcast priorities. Trying to do too much at the same time fractures
of Operations                              this focus, extends the span of control beyond management capabilities,
                                           and siphons off precious resources. The Board has determined that current
                                           efforts to support its broadcast languages are “unsustainable” with current
                                           resources given its desire to increase impact in high priority markets.
                                           Currently, the Board broadcasts in 66 languages, through 97 language



                                           Page 23                                                GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
services (resulting from a 55 percent overlap between VOA and surrogate
language services) to more than 125 markets worldwide. The plan notes, “it
is a daunting challenge to obtain the impact the Board desires across all its
language services given what is essential to spend in high priority services.”

Despite this recognition, the plan fails to answer such questions as, when is
it appropriate to broadcast VOA and surrogate programming in the same
language, and what level of duplication in roles and target audiences
should be allowed between VOA and surrogate broadcasters. These types
of questions have been raised before. For example, in our September 1996
review of options for addressing possible budget reductions at the U.S.
Information Agency, we concluded that any substantial reduction in
funding for U.S. international broadcasting would require major changes in
the number of language services and broadcast hours.14 Our report noted
that the BBG planned to extensively review its language services to
determine their continued need and effectiveness. Our September 2000
report on U.S. international broadcasting noted that the Board concluded it
was essential to revisit the issue of broadcast overlap between VOA and the
surrogate services in light of evolving foreign policy, geopolitical, and
budget realities in the new century.15 Finally, the Board considered the
issue of role and target audience duplication among VOA and surrogate
broadcasts in a July 2000 language service analysis, which sought to
identify where broadcast services shared similar roles (that is, to supply
international/regional news, local news, information on American policies
and perspectives, etc.) and the same target audiences (that is, elites, mass,
youth, women, and diaspora). This analysis confirmed that surrogate
broadcasters, consistent with their mission, carry substantially more local
content than VOA. Likewise, the analysis confirmed that VOA alone
provides news and information on what the Board labeled the “American
political perspective.” However, the Board’s analysis also revealed that a
significant degree of overlap existed in other content areas (such as
“political/democracy building”) and in target audiences between VOA and
the surrogates.




14
 See U.S. General Accounting Office, U.S. Information Agency: Options for Addressing
Possible Budget Reductions, GAO/NSIAD-96-179 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 23, 1996).
15
     See GAO/NSIAD-00-222.




Page 24                                      GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Reducing the Number of   Our survey of senior program managers revealed that the majority
Language Services and    supported significantly reducing the total number of language services and
                         the overlap in services between VOA and the surrogate broadcasters.16
Broadcast Overlap Has    Eighteen of 24 respondents said that too many language services are
Broad Support            offered, and when asked how many countries should have more than one
                         U.S. international broadcaster providing service in the same language, 23 of
                         28 respondents said this should occur in only a few countries or no
                         countries at all. Finally, when we asked respondents what impact a
                         significant reduction in language services (for the purpose of
                         reprogramming funds to higher priority services) would have, 18 of 28
                         respondents said that this would have a generally positive to highly positive
                         impact.

                         The BBG’s annual language service review process addresses the need to
                         delete or add languages. The process prioritizes individual language
                         services based on such factors as U.S. strategic interests, political freedom,
                         and press freedom data. Such assessments have been used in an attempt to
                         shift the focus of U.S. international broadcasting away from central and
                         eastern Europe to allow greater emphasis on Russia and Eurasia; central
                         and South Asia; China and east Asia; Africa; and selected countries in our
                         hemisphere such as Colombia, Cuba, and Haiti. This system has been used
                         to re-deploy resources within the BBG. For example, the Board has
                         reallocated more than $9 million through the elimination or reduction of
                         language services since its first language service review in January 2000. In
                         total, the Board has eliminated 3 language services17 and reduced the




                         16
                          We did not ask program managers for their views on the duplication of roles and target
                         audiences among broadcast entities since this issue surfaced after our survey was released.
                         17
                          VOA Portuguese to Brazil was eliminated as a direct result of language service review. VOA
                         Arabic and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Persian service were eventually eliminated as
                         the result of decisions made during language service review and were replaced by Radio
                         Sawa and Radio Farda, respectively.




                         Page 25                                        GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
              scope-of-operations of another 25 services since January 2000.18 In terms of
              the total number of language services, the Board had 91 language services
              when it concluded its first language service review and 97 language
              services at the conclusion of this year’s review. Congress has contributed
              to this situation by authorizing additional language services over the years.
              However, the Board, through its required annual language service review
              and strategic plan, is responsible for analyzing, recommending, and
              implementing a more efficient and economical scope of operations for U.S.
              international broadcasting.



Conclusions   The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ strategic plan embodies, defines,
              and guides the Board’s new approach to U.S. international broadcasting,
              which aims to dramatically increase the size of listening and viewing
              audiences in markets of U.S. strategic interest while focusing on the war on
              terrorism. Early initiatives such as Radio Sawa, Radio Free Afghanistan,
              and Radio Farda represent the first wave of projects incorporating, to
              varying degrees, the market-driven techniques on which the Board’s new
              approach to broadcasting are based. Effective implementation of the
              Board’s new approach to broadcasting rests, in part, on a rigorous plan that
              reflects the Board’s best strategic thinking on a host of critical issues.
              However, the Board’s plan lacks measurable program objectives, detailed
              implementation strategies, resource needs, and project time frames. We
              identified a number of key areas that could provide a starting point for
              developing multiyear program objectives that focus on the Board’s actual
              effectiveness. These measures include audience size by language service,
              audience awareness, broadcaster credibility, and whether VOA effectively
              presents information about U.S. thought, institutions, and policies to target
              audiences. Implementation of these and other program objectives could be
              tracked through a related set of performance goals and indicators in the
              Board’s annual performance plan. The Board has identified a number of

              18
                Cutting language services can be challenging due to congressional concerns that the
              proposed elimination or reduction of language services is not supported by a clear rationale.
              For example, at OMB’s direction, the Board’s fiscal year 2004 budget request was reduced by
              $8.8 million to reflect the proposed elimination of broadcasts in nine foreign languages
              assessed as low priority/low impact services in connection with the Board’s 2001/2002
              language service review. However, Senator Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
              Committee, has expressed the view that the U.S. should not withdraw broadcasting services
              in certain countries until there is assurance of a free and fair press in those countries. In this
              regard, that Committee has approved S.925 which contains a provision that would prohibit
              the BBG from eliminating the foreign language broadcasts proposed for elimination in the
              BBG’s fiscal year 2004 budget request.




              Page 26                                            GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                      market and internal challenges and proposed solutions to address them. If
                      the Board falters in its efforts to correct some significant organizational
                      challenges, a number of alternative solutions do exist. Finally, the Board
                      needs to evaluate how many language services it can effectively carry and
                      what level of overlap and duplication in VOA and surrogate broadcast
                      services is appropriate. Resolving these key questions will have significant
                      resource implications for the Board and its ability to reach large audiences
                      in markets of priority interest to the United States.



Recommendations for   To improve overall management of U.S. international broadcast operations
                      and maximize their impact on U.S. public diplomacy efforts, we
Executive Action      recommend that the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors:

                      • revise the BBG’s 5-year strategic plan to include measurable program
                        objectives, implementation strategies, resource requirements, and
                        project time frames;

                      • include audience size, audience awareness, broadcaster credibility, and
                        VOA mission effectiveness as measurable program objectives in the
                        strategic plan;

                      • revise the BBG’s annual performance plan to include performance goals
                        and indicators that track the Board’s progress in implementing the
                        multiyear program objectives established in the Board’s revised
                        strategic plan; and

                      • revise the Board’s strategic plan to include a clear vision of the Board’s
                        intended scope-of-operations and the appropriate level of overlap and
                        duplication between VOA and surrogate language services.



Agency Comments and   The Broadcasting Board of Governors provided written comments on a
                      draft of this report. The Board stated that overall our report is fair and
Our Evaluation        accurate and it largely concurred with our report recommendations. The
                      Board noted that it intends to create a new strategic goal (that is,
                      maximizing impact in priority areas) and recast the plan’s seven existing
                      strategic goals as operational goals that would support the Board’s single
                      strategic goal. These operational goals would be descriptive in nature and
                      generally not measured directly. However, the Board intends to develop
                      measurable multiyear program objectives and related performance



                      Page 27                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
              indicators under its new strategic goal that will be tracked on an annual
              basis through the BBG’s performance plan. The Board’s response notes that
              possible performance indicators include audience reach, share, awareness,
              credibility, programming quality, mission, added-value, and delivery.
              Finally, the Board noted that it is currently undertaking an in-depth
              assessment of the utility and practicality of integrating overlapping
              language services and expects to include this assessment in its fiscal year
              2005 budget submission. We believe these planned actions are significant
              and if fully implemented should materially improve the Board's
              performance management process and provide OMB and Congress with
              more meaningful data on the actual impact of Board activities.

              The comments provided by the Board are reprinted in appendix IV. The
              Board also provided technical comments which we have incorporated in
              the report as appropriate.



Scope and     To obtain comparative information on all our objectives, we conducted
              fieldwork in the United Kingdom and Germany. We met with foreign
Methodology   ministry officials in London and Berlin to discuss their approaches to
              public diplomacy. We also met with broadcasting officials from the British
              Broadcasting Corporation in London and Deutsche Welle officials in
              Cologne and Berlin to discuss their respective approaches to international
              broadcasting.

              To examine the status of the BBG’s new strategic approach, we conducted
              interviews with Board members and senior managers from the broadcast
              entities including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty officials in Prague. We
              also reviewed the Board’s new 5-year strategic plan titled “Marrying the
              Mission to the Market” as well as other agency documentation, including
              entity mission statements and budget requests.

              To identify how the Board plans to measure the effectiveness of its new
              strategic approach, we reviewed current performance management
              documentation, such as language service and program review documents,
              audience research summaries, and annual performance plans and reports.
              We also met with Board officials and with several private sector audience
              research firms to discuss a range of performance management and
              measurement issues.

              To obtain information on various challenges the Board faces in executing
              its new strategy, and to identify program options for overcoming key



              Page 28                                GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
challenges, we administered a survey to 34 senior program managers
across the 5 broadcast entities in existence at the time our survey was
implemented. We also conducted interviews with Board members and the
Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the Department
of State.

We conducted our work from May 2002 through April 2003 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.


We are sending copies of this report to other interested members of
Congress, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the
Secretary of State. We will also make copies available to other parties upon
request. In addition, this report will be available at no charge on the GAO
Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact me
on (202) 512-4128. Other GAO contacts and staff acknowledgments are
listed in appendix V.




Jess T. Ford
Director, International Affairs and Trade




Page 29                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix I

Challenges Facing U.S. International                                                                                                         Appendx
                                                                                                                                                   ies




Broadcasting                                                                                                                                  Append
                                                                                                                                                   x
                                                                                                                                                   Ii




                                               The Board’s strategic plan provides both a candid assessment of the
                                               challenges facing U.S. international broadcasting and a series of proposed
                                               solutions to address these challenges in the form of strategic goals and
                                               related program objectives. Table 4 is an overview of each challenge
                                               described in the Board’s strategic plan. Table 5 is a list of the proposed
                                               solutions the Board identified.



Table 4: Board-Identified Challenges

Challenge                               Description from strategic plan
Marketing
Branding and positioning                Many BBG broadcasters lack a distinctive contemporary identity.
Target audiences                        Identifying a target audience is essential to a broadcasting strategy—yet only a few BBG
                                        language services have set targets.
Formats and programs                    The formats and programs of too many BBG language services are outmoded.
Delivery and placement                  Broadcasts are frequently hampered by poor audibility. Placement, where available, is
                                        sometimes hindered by poor partner station choices with poor broadcast times.
Marketing and promotion                 Audience awareness of BBG programs is generally low across the world.
Technology                              The BBG must use multimedia to its advantage. While radio is the backbone, TV is usually
                                        dominant and there has been substantial growth in Internet use in many markets.
Internal
Consolidate and rationalize the overall The diversity of the BBG—organizations with different missions, different frameworks, and
enterprise                              different constituencies—makes it hard to bring all the separate parts together into a more
                                        effective whole. Fifty-five percent of VOA’s language services overlap with the surrogates,
                                        presenting a chronic resource allocation challenge for the Board.
Roles and responsibilities              Since its inception, the Board has worked to sort out the respective roles and responsibilities of
                                        the BBG, the IBB, and the broadcasters.
Resource allocation                     Appropriate performance measures are needed to establish a direct link between performance
                                        and budget. Language service review has made great strides in this area for the broadcast
                                        language services; however, the Board now needs to broaden this exercise to encompass
                                        support elements as well.
New requirements to ensure market       The Board will need substantial new budget outlays to fund a variety of requirements including
competitiveness                         the strengthening of multimedia programming, conducting research, carrying out marketing and
                                        promotion efforts, and securing language-qualified staff.
Journalistically independent, yet a     The BBG must work with other federal agencies to ensure the level of diplomatic and other types
government agency                       of support needed to function effectively.
Source: BBG strategic plan.




                                               Page 30                                          GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
                                                 Appendix I
                                                 Challenges Facing U.S. International
                                                 Broadcasting




Table 5: Proposed SolutionsStrategic Goals and Objectives

Goal I – Design a broadcasting architecture for the future.
• Create a worldwide U.S. international broadcasting system.
• Realign the BBG organizational structure.
Goal II – Expand the U.S. international broadcasting system through regional networks and single-country priority initiatives.
•   Launch the Middle East Radio Network and make it a success.
•   Harmonize Radio Free Afghanistan and VOA into the Afghanistan Radio Network.
•   Pioneer anti-terrorism broadcasting.
•   Reach the two continental giants: Russia and China.
Goal III – Employ modern communication techniques and technologies.
•   Accelerate multimedia development and infuse more television and Internet into the mix.
•   Adopt modern radio principles and practices such as matching program formats to target audiences.
•   Control the distribution channels that audiences use.
•   Go local in content and presence.
•   Tailor content to the audience.
•   Drive innovation and performance with research.
Goal IV – Preserve our most precious commodity—credibility—and ensure overall programming excellence.
• Maintain the firewall.a
• Update and enforce journalism standards.
• Perform periodic program reviews of all language services.
Goal V – Revitalize “Telling America’s Story” to the world.
•   Be a model of a free press and democracy in action.
•   Concentrate on those aspects of America that research indicates are of interest to target audiences.
•   Present targeted editorials that are relevant to local and regional concerns.
•   Use formats, presentation techniques, and on-air presence that will appeal to audiences.
•   Maximize interactive use of the Internet as a ready reference source for presidential speeches and other vital documents.
Goal VI – Shore up surge capacity.
• Upgrade existing shortwave transmitter and support systems to ensure backbone of U.S. surge capability.
• Develop a rapid-response capability—low power, portable AM and FM.
Goal VII – Ensure broad federal support.
• No associated program objective.
Source: BBG strategic plan.
                                                 a
                                                  The term "firewall" refers to the Board's independent status in separating and protecting the
                                                 professional independence and integrity of U.S. international broadcast elements from the policy-
                                                 making institutions in the U.S. government's foreign affairs community.




                                                 Page 31                                              GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix II

Survey Development                                                                             Appendx
                                                                                                     Ii




              To determine senior managers’ views of current operations, obtain
              information on the challenges associated with U.S. international
              broadcasting, and obtain information on the expected impacts of the BBG’s
              new “Marrying the Mission to the Market” initiative, we conducted a survey
              of these managers. Our survey questionnaire was administered from
              January 15 to March 11, 2003, to the directors, program-related managers,
              and regional language chiefs at the five BBG broadcasting entities in
              existence at the time our survey was implemented.

              The questionnaire was developed between September 2002 and January
              2003 by social science survey specialists and other individuals who were
              knowledgeable about international broadcasting issues. In late October, we
              obtained an external expert review of the questionnaire from InterMedia, a
              private consulting group that conducts research into international
              broadcasting issues. We also obtained a series of comments and feedback
              from key Board planners and staff in November and December 2002.

              We pretested the questionnaire in December 2002 with four senior
              managers of BBG broadcasting entities to ensure that the questionnaire
              was clear, unambiguous, and unbiased. Initially, we had considered
              surveying a broader section of managers of BBG broadcasting entities,
              such as language service chiefs and managers of support services.
              However, after conducting the pretests, we concluded that our questions
              were appropriate only for directors, program-related managers, and
              regional language chiefs. In addition, we decided that it would be
              inappropriate to survey members of the Board of Governors because many
              of the questions asked about decisions and strategies for which they were
              directly responsible.

              We developed our study population of top managers, program-related
              managers, and regional language chiefs based on information that the BBG
              provided and input from BBG management. In those instances where
              managers had taken office during or after the time period to be evaluated in
              our survey (Oct. 1, 2001, through Sept. 30, 2002), we also surveyed their
              predecessors. In all, we sent the survey to the 34 individuals we identified
              as our study population and received 30 responses, resulting in an 88
              percent response rate. All data from the completed surveys were double-
              keyed and verified during data entry.

              The results of our closed-ended questions to our survey are provided in
              appendix III.




              Page 32                                 GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix III

Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
International Broadcasting Entities                                                                                      Appendx
                                                                                                                               iI




                                                    United States General Accounting Office

                                                    Survey of Program Managers of
                                                    U.S. International Broadcasting Entities
               The United States General Accounting Office          Finally, the questionnaire asks about current
               (GAO), an agency of Congress, has been asked         operations, recent changes in programming, and
               by the Chairman of the House International           program options.
               Relations Committee to study the activities of
               the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).           We believe that you can make an important
               This request was prompted by the terrorist           contribution to our study of U.S. international
               attacks of September 11, 2001 and the question       broadcasting, and ask that you respond to this
               of what can be done to improve our image and         questionnaire so that we may provide the most
               audience understanding of U.S. foreign policy.       complete information to Congress. The
               As part of this work, we are surveying entity        questionnaire should take between 30 to 45
               heads, senior program managers, and regional         minutes to complete, depending upon the length
               language chiefs in the International Broadcasting    of your answers to the open-ended questions.
               Bureau, Voice of America (VOA), Worldnet
               Television, Radio/TV Marti, Radio Free               The information you provide may be attributed
               Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio             to the types of officials we are surveying in your
               Free Asia (RFA).                                     organization. GAO will not otherwise disclose
                                                                    individually identifiable data from this survey
               This questionnaire asks you to assess various        unless compelled by law or requested by a
               program elements during fiscal year 2002 for the     member of Congress.
               language services for which you were
               responsible. It also asks you to consider            Please complete this questionnaire as soon as
               whether any external factors impeded the ability     possible and fax it to Melissa Pickworth at (202)
               of your language services to achieve their           512-2550 or e-mail it to her at
               mission, and rank any factors that contributed to    pickworthm@gao.gov. If you have any
               or impeded that mission. Furthermore, the            questions about the questionnaire, please contact
               questionnaire asks for your reaction to the          Melissa Pickworth at (202) 512-3158.
               BBG’s new strategic planning initiative
               “Marrying the Mission to the Market” that was
               introduced in November and December 2002.




                                                                                                                     1




                  Page 33                                                     GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




                 Section 1: Assessment of Program Elements in Fiscal Year 2002
                          (October 1, 2001, through September 30, 2002)


           Mission of All U.S. International Broadcasting Language Services
  “To promote and sustain freedom and democracy by broadcasting accurate and
  objective news and information about the United States and the world to audiences
  overseas.”


Q.1) During fiscal year 2002, how effective or ineffective were the following factors, which we are
     calling distribution factors, in terms of how they helped your language services achieve their
     mission? (Please check one box in each row.)


                                   Very      Generally       As          Generally       Very          Not       No basis to
                                 effective   effective   effective as   ineffective   ineffective   applicable     judge /
                                                         ineffective                                             Don’t know

    Distribution Factors
    1) Number of hours of           6          14             5             4                                        1
    transmission.
    2) Transmission strength                   13             6             6             2                          3
    and quality.
    3) Use of affiliates.           2           7             5             4             2             8            2
    4) Monitoring of affiliate                  3             2             7             7             8            2
    rebroadcasting.
    5) Coordination with IBB        4           8             2             4             5             7
    Affiliates and Marketing
    office.
    6) Use of shortwave radio.                  9             8             6                          6             1
    7) Use of AM/FM radio.          5          10             3             1             1            10
    8) Use of television.           2           9             6             1                          8             3
    9) Use of the Internet.         5          14             6             2             1                          1
    10) Use of e-mail.              3          16             3             2             1            2             1
    11) Use of new/emerging         2           4             3             1             3            14            2
    technology (e.g., digital
    SW or Web-enabled cell
    phones).
    12) Use of audience and         4          11             6             5             3
    market research to help
    identify audiences and
    media/format preferences.



Comments, if any. (Please provide highlights of what worked well, areas needing improvement, and
   suggestions on how operations can be improved.)




                                                                                                                               2




   Page 34                                                                      GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




Q.2) During fiscal year 2002, what impact did the following strategic planning elements have on your
     language services’ ability to achieve their mission? (Please check one box in each row.)
                            Highly        Generally       No impact         Generally          Highly               Not            No basis to
                            positive       positive                         negative          negative           applicable          judge /
                            impact         impact                            impact            impact                              Don’t know
Strategic Planning
1) BBG strategic                  3           5                9                  5                 1                                   7
planning.
2) BBG/IBB technology                         11             10                   2                 1                                   6
planning.
3) BBG/IBB workforce                                         14                   4                 3                  1                8
planning.


Comments, if any. (Please provide highlights of what worked well, areas needing improvement, and
   suggestions on how operations can be improved.)




Q.3) During fiscal year 2002, how effective or ineffective were the following performance management
     system elements in terms of how they helped your language services to achieve their mission?
     (Please check one box in each row.)
                                        Very       Generally           As              Generally            Very              Not           No basis to
                                      effective    effective       effective as       ineffective        ineffective       applicable         judge /
                                                                   ineffective                                                              Don’t know
    Performance Management System
    1) BBG’s Annual                                   7                 6                 4                  6                 4                 3
    Comparative Language
    Service Review process.
    2) Your entity’s annual              6            10                3                 4                                    6                 1
    program reviews of
    individual language
    service.
    3) Quantity of research for          3            10                8                 3                  1                 4                 1
    your entity’s annual
    program reviews.
    4) Quality of research for           3            9                 6                 6                  1                 4                 1
    your entity’s annual
    program reviews.
    5) Timeliness of research            3            8                 7                 3                  3                 4                 2
    support for your entity’s
    annual program reviews .

Comments, if any. (Please provide highlights of what worked well, areas needing improvement, and
   suggestions on how operations can be improved.)




                                                                                                                                                          3




   Page 35                                                                                    GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




Q.4) During fiscal year 2002, did the following organizational structures have a positive or negative
     impact on your language services’ ability to achieve their mission? (Please check one box in each
     row.)
                                    Highly     Generally   No impact   Generally    Highly       Not       No basis to
                                    positive    positive               negative    negative   applicable     judge /
                                    impact      impact                  impact      impact                 Don’t know
     Organizational Structures
     1) Management oversight by        2          8           8           7           3                        2
     the board of governors.
     2) Use of multiple broadcast      3          5           2           4           3          11            2
     entities (VOA and surrogates
     model).
     3) Organizational placement       1          7           4           9           5           1            3
     of the IBB and its support
     services role.
     4) New regional network           2          3           6           3           2           9            5
     approach (combining VOA
     and surrogate program
     streams on one frequency).
     5) Intra-agency                   1          11          9           4           3                        2
     coordination/guidance/leader
     -ship (the board, entity
     directors and senior
     managers, and the IBB).
     6) Firewall to protect            7          8           6           7                                    2
     journalistic independence.
     7) VOA and Radio/TV               2          4           4           6           3           7            4
     Marti’s status as federal
     entities.
     8) RFE/RL and RFA’s status        7          2           4           3                      10            4
     as grantees.

Comments, if any. (Please provide highlights of what worked well, areas needing improvement, and
suggestions on how operations can be improved.)




                                                                                                                         4




   Page 36                                                                    GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




Q.5) During fiscal year 2002, how satisfied or dissatisfied were you with the allocation of resources and
     organizational capacities with regards to your language services?
     (Please check one box in each row.)
                                       Very      Generally   As satisfied as    Generally        Very        No basis to
                                     satisfied   satisfied    dissatisfied     dissatisfied   dissatisfied     judge /
                                                                                                             Don’t know
        Allocation of Resources and Organizational Capacities
        1) Program funding         2        4          8                           12              4
        levels.
        2) Staffing levels.                          7             8                8              7
        3) Level of staff skills        1           11            12                4
        and knowledge.
        4) Level of staff               1           13            10                4              2
        training.
        5) Condition of                 4           8              9                4              5
        technology and
        equipment.
        6) Ability to compete in        9           6              3                3              9
        terms of content with
        broadcasting competitors
        such as the BBC.
        7) Ability to compete in        2           3              2                8             13             2
        terms of signal delivery
        with broadcasting
        competitors such as the
        BBC.
        8) Ability for crisis           3           10             4                8              3             2
        response and surge
        capability.
        9) Managerial flexibility:      4           8              5                4              8             1
        ability to re-deploy
        resources.

Comments, if any. (Please provide highlights of what worked well, areas needing improvement, and
   suggestions on how operations can be improved.)




                                                                                                                           5




   Page 37                                                                        GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




                 Section 2: Assessment of External Conditions in Fiscal Year 2002


Q.6) To what extent, if any, do you believe the following external conditions (1) were present in the
     countries to which your language services broadcast, and (2) - if present - impeded the ability of
     your language services to achieve their mission in fiscal year 2002?
     (Please check two boxes in each row unless your answer to question 6A below is “No extent.” If
     your answer to any of the items in 6A is “No extent,” please continue to the next row.)

                                            6A) Extent to which external conditions were      6B) Extent to which external conditions
                                            present in countries to which your language       impeded the ability of your language services
                                            services broadcasts                               to achieve their mission
                                            No extent     Moderate      Great      No         No          Moderate     Great      No basis
                                            (Continue     extent        extent     basis to   extent      extent       extent     to judge
                                            to the next                            judge
                                            item)
    1) A perception of U.S. international       1            17           11                     6           11           6          1
    broadcasting as a propaganda tool of
    the United States.
    2) Impact of U.S. foreign policy on                      13           13          2          1           14           4          3
    foreign perceptions.
    3) A generally negative image of the        3            19            6                     1           15           3          2
    United States.
    4) Fear of listening because of             8            14            7                     4           9            4          2
    repressive regimes.
    5) The jamming of U.S.                      10            7            7          5          3           4            6          3
    international broadcasts by foreign
    governments.
    6) Potential audience’s lack of             7            15            6          1          2           15           4          1
    technology (no SW radios, satellite
    dishes, etc.).

Comments, if any.




                                                                                                                              6




   Page 38                                                                       GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




               Section 3: Assessment of External Conditions in Fiscal Year 2002


Q.7) Think back over the main categories of factors and elements you were asked to address in questions
1 through 6 of this survey. The following table summarizes the categories and issues within the
categories:

        A) Distribution
            Number of hours of transmission, transmission strength and quality, use of
            affiliates, use of technology, use of audience and marketing research.
        B) Strategic Planning
            BBG and IBB strategic, technology, and workforce planning.
        C) Performance Management
            Language Service Review process, entity annual program reviews, and research
            for annual program reviews.
        D) Organizational Structure
            Management oversight by the Board of Governors, use of multiple broadcast
            entities, organizational placement of the IBB, new regional network approach,
            intra-agency coordination/guidance/leadership, firewall issues, status of some
            entities.
        E) Resource Issues and Organizational Capacities
            Current program funding and staff levels, staff skills, knowledge and training,
            technology and equipment, ability to compete and respond to crises, managerial
            flexibility.
        F) External Conditions
            Perceived credibility of U.S. international broadcasting, image of the United
            States, lack of free media and civil liberties, jamming of U.S. broadcasts, potential
            audience’s lack of technology to hear broadcasts.

7a) During fiscal year 2002, what factor made the greatest contribution to your broadcasting entity’s
ability to meet its mission?
(Please enter the letter corresponding to the factor from the list above.) A 13
                                                                           E6
                                                                           C5
                                                                           B1
Comments, if any.



7b) During fiscal year 2002, what factor represented the greatest impediment to your broadcasting entity’s
ability to meet its mission?
(Please enter the letter corresponding to the factor from the list above.) E 13
                                                                           D5
                                                                           A4
                                                                           F4
                                                                           B2
Comments, if any.




                                                                                                          7




   Page 39                                                          GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




                               Section 4: New Strategic Planning Initiatives


Q.8) How familiar or unfamiliar are you with the BBG’s new strategic planning initiative, “Marrying the
     Mission to the Market,” which was introduced in November and December 2002? (Check one box.)

      1 ‰ Extremely familiar                                       8
      2 ‰ Very familiar                                            5
      3 ‰ Generally familiar                                       12
      4 ‰ Somewhat familiar                                        1
      5 ‰ Not familiar Î (Skip to Question12)                      1
      6 ‰ No basis to judge Î (Skip to Question 12)                3




Q.9) To what extent, if any, do you believe the new strategic planning initiative, “Marrying the Mission to
     the Market”: (Please check one box in each row.)

                                                 Very     Great        Moderate   Some or   No       No basis
                                                 great    extent       extent     little    extent   to judge
                                                 extent                           extent
    1) Is well structured?                          2        4            13         5
    2) Addresses issues of critical importance      2        5            7          8         1
    to U.S. international broadcasting?
    3) Is likely to succeed in most aspects?                 4            9          8         1        1
    4) Will be embraced by middle                            4            7         11         2
    management?
    5) Will be embraced by the rank and file?                3            5          9         7


Comments, if any.




                                                                                                                8




   Page 40                                                                     GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




Q.10) In your opinion, what impact will the BBG’s new strategic planning initiative, “Marrying the
     Mission to the Market,” likely have on the following aspects of U.S. international broadcasting?
     (Please check one box in each row.)

                                        Highly     Generally     No     Generally    Highly    No basis     Don’t
                                        positive    positive   Impact   negative    negative   to judge   know/ no
                                        impact      impact               impact      impact                opinion
     1) Distribution                       3          9          7                     2          4          3
     Number of hours of
     transmission, transmission
     strength and quality, use of
     affiliates, use of technology,
     use of audience and marketing
     research.
     2) Strategic Planning                 3          6          4         5           3          6          1
     BBG and IBB strategic,
     technology, and workforce
     planning.
     3) Performance Management             2          9          7         2           2          4          1
     Language Service Review
     process, entity annual program
     reviews, and research for
     annual program reviews.
     4) Organizational Structure           2          3          8         4           4          4          2
     Management oversight by the
     Board of Governors, use of
     multiple broadcast entities,
     organizational placement of
     the IBB, new regional network
     approach, intra-agency
     coordination/guidance/leader-
     ship, firewall issues, status of
     some entities.
     5) Resource Issues and                2          4          4         8           4          3          2
     Organizational Capacities
     Current program funding and
     staff levels, staff skills,
     knowledge and training,
     technology and equipment,
     ability to compete and respond
     to crises, managerial
     flexibility.
     6) External Factors                   1          5          7         6           4          2          3
     Perceived credibility of U.S.
     international broadcasting,
     image of the United States,
     lack of free media and civil
     liberties, jamming of U.S.
     broadcasts, potential
     audience’s lack of technology
     to hear broadcasts.


Comments, if any.




                                                                                                                     9




   Page 41                                                                     GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




Q.11) Overall, do you think that the BBG’s new strategic planning initiative, “Marrying the Mission to
     the Market,” will likely have a positive or a negative impact on U.S. international broadcasting’s
     ability to achieve its mission?

      1 ‰ Very positive                                    2
      2 ‰ Generally positive                               8
      3 ‰ As positive as negative                          9
      4 ‰ Generally negative                               5
      5 ‰ Very negative                                    2
      6 ‰ No basis to judge                                2
      7 ‰ Don’t know / No opinion




   Section 5: Assessment of Current Operations and Recent Changes to Service Delivery


Q.12) The International Broadcasting Act says
     that language services need to reach
     "significant" audiences. In your opinion,           Q.13) Given the resources currently available to
     to what extent are your language services                U.S International Broadcasting entities,
     actually reaching significant audiences?                 which of the following best describes the
     (Check one box.)                                         number of language services offered by
                                                              U.S. international broadcasting entities?
      1 ‰ Very great extent     5                             (Check one box.)
      2 ‰ Great extent          8
                                                               1 ‰ Too many language services       18
      3 ‰ Moderate extent       10
                                                                     Just the right number of       5
            Some or little      6                              2 ‰
      4 ‰                                                            language services
            extent
                                                               3 ‰ Too few language services        1
      5 ‰ No extent
                                                               4 ‰ Not sure
      6 ‰ No basis to judge     1
                                                               5 ‰ No basis to judge                3

Comments, if any:
                                                         Comments, if any:




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   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




Q.14) In the post-Cold War era, the                  Q.16) In how many countries do you think there
     Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)                should be more than one U.S. international
     has made shifts in resources. Do you                 broadcaster providing service in any
     believe that the BBG:                                particular language? (Check one box.)
     (Check all that apply.)
                                                           1 ‰ In most countries    1
            Has made shifts that result in      5          2 ‰ In many countries    4
      1
          ‰ good use of resources
                                                           3 ‰ In a few counties    12
             Needs to make further shifts in    11
      2 ‰
             resources                                     4 ‰ In no countries      11
             Should have left resources                    5 ‰ Not sure
      3 ‰
             allocated as they were
                                                           6 ‰ No basis to judge    1
             Has made shifts that result in a   13
      4 ‰
             poor use of resources
                                                     Comments, if any:
             Other (please explain in the
      5 ‰
             comments)
      6 ‰ Not sure                              2
      7 ‰ No basis to judge                     2

Comments, if any:


                                                     Q.17) One current model of service delivery
                                                          uses the same program stream, coordinates
                                                          coverage, and has common production
                                                          values. To what extent do you believe this
                                                          model might be applicable to the countries
                                                          served by your broadcasting entity? (Check
                                                          one box.)
Q.15) Based on your experience in broadcasting,
     how would you assess the current level of
                                                           1 ‰ Very great extent   1
     funding for U.S. international broadcasting
     relative to its mission: (Check one box.)             2 ‰ Great extent        5
                                                           3 ‰ Moderate extent     7
             More than             1
      1 ‰                                                      Some or little      3
             adequate                                      4 ‰
                                                               extent
      2 ‰ Adequate                 4
                                                           5 ‰ No extent           5
          Less than                23
      3 ‰                                                  6 ‰ Not sure            1
          adequate
      4 ‰ Not sure                 2                       7 ‰ No basis to judge   5

      5 ‰ No basis to judge
                                                     Comments, if any:
Comments, if any:




                                                                                                  11




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   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




                                                  Q.19) In your opinion, do VOA editorials have a
Q.18) In your opinion, do VOA editorials have a   positive or a negative effect on the credibility of
     positive or a negative impact in promoting   U.S. international broadcasting?
     U.S. foreign policy interests?
                                                        1 ‰ Very positive
      1 ‰ Very positive                                 2 ‰ Generally positive                2
      2 ‰ Generally positive              3             3 ‰ As positive as negative           5
      3 ‰ As positive as negative         7             4 ‰ Generally negative                11
      4 ‰ Generally negative              10            5 ‰ Very negative                     7
      5 ‰ Very negative                   4             6 ‰ No basis to judge                 2
      6 ‰ No basis to judge               2             7 ‰ Don’t know / No opinion           3
      7 ‰ Don’t know / No opinion         4
                                                  Comments, if any:
Comments, if any:




                                                                                                   12




   Page 44                                                  GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




                                             Section 6: Program Options


Q.20) In your opinion, what impact would the following program options (identified by various contacts
     in our review) likely have on the ability of U.S. international broadcasting to achieve its mission?
     (Please check one box in each row.)

                                              Highly     Generally   No impact   Generally    Highly    No basis to
                                              positive    positive               negative    negative     judge/
                                              impact      impact                  impact      impact    no opinion
  1) Consolidate VOA, the IBB, and the           6          5           2           6           7           4
  surrogates into one broadcasting entity
  headed by the Board of Governors.
  2) Appoint a single individual as CEO          8          5           4           7           5           1
  for U.S. international broadcasting, and
  give that individual direct reporting
  responsibilities to the board.
  3) Significantly reduce the overall            9          9                       4           6           2
  number of language services in order to
  reprogram funds to higher priority
  services.
  4) Use language service audience goals         8          10          2           2           5           3
  tailored to local circumstances (e.g., 5
  percent audience share in one market
  versus a 10 percent share in another
  market).
  5) Set language service audience goals        11          13          2           1           3
  by target audience (e.g., mass versus
  elites, under 30 versus over 30, men
  versus women, etc.).
  6) Eliminate VOA editorials.                  10          6           7           2                       4
  7) Revamp/re-invent VOA editorials.            3          10          9                                   5
  8) Defederalize VOA (e.g., give VOA           11          7           6                       1           4
  grantee status).
  9) Defederalize IBB (e.g., give IBB            9          5           3           7           1           4
  grantee status).
  10) Establish closer strategic                 2          4           4           8           8           3
  coordination between the BBG and the
  State Dept.
  11) Establish closer strategic                 2          6           4           7           7           3
  coordination between the BBG and the
  White House.
  12) Establish closer cooperation with          6          11          9           1                       2
  other international broadcasters.
  13) Establish a national strategic             4          10          3           5           5           2
  communications plan that provides
  guidance to all agencies involved in
  public diplomacy.



Comments, if any.




                                                                                                                      13




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   Appendix III
   Survey of Program Managers of U.S.
   International Broadcasting Entities




                                      Section 7: Background Questions


Q.21) Which organization do you work for?                       Q.22) Which of the following categories
(Please check one box.)                                         most closely matches your level within your
                                                                organization?
   1   ‰ IBB                                  2
   2   ‰ VOA                                  10                         Director of broadcasting entity   7
                                                                1   ‰
                                                                         (VOA, IBB, RFA, etc.)
   3   ‰ WorldNet Television                  4
                                                                2   ‰ Program Manager                      14
   4   ‰ Radio/TV/Marti                       3
                                                                         Regional Language Director        6
   5   ‰ RFE/RL                               5                 3   ‰

   6   ‰ RFA                                  3                 4   ‰ Other, please specify                2
   7   ‰ Other, please specify                1




Q.23) Please briefly describe the language services for which you are responsible:



Q.24) Other comments (Please continue on additional sheets, if necessary. Also, please feel free to
   attach any relevant documents you wish.)




Note: If you would like to send us any documents, please send them to:

                 Melissa Pickworth
                 Room 4440
                 U.S. General Accounting Office
                 441 G St. NW
                 Washington, DC 20548

Contact information: If you would like us to contact you directly about an issue related to this survey, please
   provide your name and telephone number below. Any contacts we have with you will be strictly confidential.

                          Name: ___________________________________________

                          Telephone number: _________________________________


                                         Thanks for your assistance!




                                                                                                                14




   Page 46                                                               GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix IV

Comments from the Broadcasting Board of
Governors                                                            Appendx
                                                                           iIV




              Page 47       GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix IV
Comments from the Broadcasting Board of
Governors




Page 48                                   GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix IV
Comments from the Broadcasting Board of
Governors




Page 49                                   GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
Appendix V

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                                            Append
                                                                                                       x
                                                                                                       i
                                                                                                       V




GAO Contact       Diana Glod (202) 512-8945.



Acknowledgments   In addition to the person named above, Michael ten Kate, Melissa
                  Pickworth, and Janey Cohen made key contributions to this report.
                  Martin De Alteriis and Ernie Jackson also provided technical assistance.




(320159)          Page 50                                GAO-03-772 U.S. International Broadcasting
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