Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Broadcasting Board of Governors

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) doesn't make the news very often. As government agencies go they're very quiet, not much coverage from the big three networks. The BBG dutifully posts press releases on their web page but they largely go ignored.  The BBG is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for all non-military, international broadcasting. That includes the Voice of America (VOA), WORLDNET Television and Film Service, and Radio y Televisión Martí. None of this programming is available inside the U.S. because by some definitions it's considered propaganda. That said, they do some surprisingly good news programming. In fact their content is carried on over 1,200 TV and radio stations globally. More here.

The Broadcasting Board Governors (BBG) was only formed in 1999. they idea was to move all of these similar government broadcasting services under one agency. So when President Bill Clinton signed the 1998 Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act (Public Law 105-277), the BBG assumed that authority.  They absorbed not only VOA, but the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).  They also oversee three other organizations, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). WORLDNET TV was folded into VOA in 2004. 

The bi-partisan board consists of eight members nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The chairman is the U.S. Secretary of State. By law, no more than four members shall be from the same political party, excluding the chairman. Board members have included a Sony CEO, Ambassadors, a Fox News commentator, the chairman of Westwood One, and a board member from the CPB. There are currently two vacant seats on the board. I would of course gladly serve if nominated.