International Broadcasting

NSIAD-93-286R: Published: Sep 17, 1993. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the proposed consolidation of U.S. international broadcasting activities. GAO found that: (1) it could not determine whether retaining Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) as a private corporation or federalizing it would be more cost-effective based on available information; (2) it would cost more than $200 million to liquidate RFE/RL, but the costs of converting RFE/RL to a federal agency are unknown; (3) if RFE/RL is federalized, it could lose some nontransferable transmitting licenses and facilities, since some governments may object to the U.S. government operating in their countries; (4) personnel cost savings are unquantifiable, since details of compensation and staffing levels have not been completed and may not be realized until a substantial staff turnover has occurred; (5) overseas overhead costs will remain high; (6) RFE/RL downsizing costs will be about $130 million based on current information, but employee termination costs, unfunded pension liability, and closure of transmission sites could substantially alter the cost estimate; and (7) the Office of Management and Budget's administrative support cost estimates for RFE/RL and the Board for International Broadcasting may not be accurate due to differences in categorizing expenses and higher overseas operating costs.

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