The Broadcasting Board of Governors oversees the United States Government’s non-military broadcasting. Its function is to provide managerial guidance from talented private sector leaders. The combined audience of the broadcasting it oversees is over 171 million, an increase of 71% over 2003, according to the BBG. Programming is in 60 languages and is provided though online media, satellite, terrestrial and cable television, as well as shortwave, AM, and FM radio. Like most advisory boards, the Governors, including the Chairman, are part-timers.
The Board is to have eight members, including the Chairman, plus the Secretary of State as an ex officio member. For over a year, however, the Board barely had quorum, and only if the Secretary of State was included. Four seats on the Board have been vacant for between one year to nearly 4 years while the terms of the seated Governors expired between 3.5 and 5.5 years ago. For all the lip service to the urgency to communicate with the world, the Board has been long neglected.
Yesterday, the White House announced a whole new slate for the Broadcasting Board of Governors: Walter Isaacson, as Chairman, Michael Lynton, Susan McCue, Michael Meehan, Victor H. Ashe, Dennis Mulhaupt, Dana Perino, and S. Enders Wimbush. The announcements and bios are here and here. Isaacson has been a candidate for over six months but has rumored to have held out until all the vacancies were filled.
Change is good, but more change is needed: the Chairman must become a full-time position in order to fully support and champion the needs of US Government broadcasting.
Let’s hope the nominees are confirmed quickly.
Will the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy be getting some attention soon?
Hitting Bottom at Foggy Bottom