Proposed Closure of VOA Dixon Relay Station

ID-79-42: Published: Jun 20, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1979.

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The Voice of America (VOA), International Communication Agency, has decided to close the Dixon Relay Station, one of two such relay stations in California. VOA has chosen to provide satellite service to the Pacific rather than transmitting the signal via its California relay stations. A VOA Technology Study Group decided to maintain the other relay station at Delano as a backup for the satellite service and place the Dixon facility in a caretaker status, a change that is scheduled for September 1979. The union steward at the Dixon Relay Station question the judgment of this decision and pointed out that operating costs there have historically been lower than those at Delano, primarily because of lower electric costs. This allegation was not disputed by VOA, which estimated that retaining Dixon and closing Delano would save about $157,000 per year. The choice of Delano was made not on cost, however, but on Delano's markedly superior antenna complement. To raise Dixon to the same level would cost an estimated $1.7 million. VOA intends to offer positions at other VOA locations to the 20 staff members displaced at Dixon. GAO believed that a lengthy and expensive study would be needed to reach a conclusion regarding the relative merits of the two antenna complements, and for raising the Dixon Relay Station to the preferred level of operation. Consultants would have to be hired and the conclusions would still be subject to the stated requirements and assumptions of VOA, a condition that would probably produce the same ultimate action.

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