• International Broadcasting Stations of the United States (May 15, 1939)
    Government Broadcasting,  International Media

    Shortwave Radio: Reaching Dissidents in China? Good theory, but…

    Shortwave radio was a mainstay of international news and information programs. It was the “new media” embraced to bypass and overcome the censorship of cables, the “old media.” This was particularly true in the United States. Radio broadcasting was seen as such an important and critical element to our national security a century ago that the Secretary of the Navy, a newspaper owner interested in the psychological defense of the nation, tried several times to nationalize wireless transmitters. He may have failed, but he contributed to forcing a British firm to sell their U.S. broadcasting assets which became the Radio Corporation of America. Indicative of the importance of the medium,…

  • Government Broadcasting

    Beijing makes its voice heard: CCTV expands in the U.S.

    The FT today reports on the continuing expansion of China’s CCTV in the United States. “China has started to serve US citizens its own side of the story with CCTV America,” writes the FT’s reporter. CCTV America, from its studio in Washington, D.C., is part of Beijing’s outreach of telling its own story through its own voice.  The expansion has been dramatic and expensive.  They are covering stories of Chinese interest that are not covered by Western media or not covered in a way the Chinese want.  Such is the purpose and advantage of Government International Broadcasting.

  • BBG,  Government Broadcasting

    All Quiet on the Western Front: a look at the Five-Year Strategic Plan for U.S. International Broadcasting

    Content is king, and credibility will continue to be the North Star of U.S. international broadcasting program producers and reporters in every region of the world and in the United States. As the strategic plan shows, the Board can supply an overarching policy framework. But accurate, objective journalism produced at the broadcaster level is what matters most and empowers listeners in a wide range of settings, from refugee camps in Africa, Tibetan monasteries in India, to large communities of social media consumers in the cities of China, Russia, the Arab world, Iran, North Korea, and in an awakening Burma. Although choices will be painful for all the broadcasters of the…

  • BBG,  Government Broadcasting

    The Future of U.S. International Broadcasting: A Call for Debate on its Mission and Funding

    By Alex Belida With the 70th anniversary of the Voice of America approaching (Feb. 1st), it is an ideal time to assess the future prospects for U.S. International Broadcasting (USIB). USIB has, over the past 70 years, grown into a multi-headed conglomerate.  Besides VOA, it now includes Radio Free Europe (founded 1950), Radio Liberty (founded 1953 and merged with RFE in 1976), Radio Marti (founded 1983) and TV Marti (founded 1990), Radio Free Asia (founded 1996) and the Middle East Broadcasting Network comprised of Radio Sawa (founded 2002) and Al-Hurra TV (founded 2004). The current Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), headed by Walter Isaacson, this month approved resolutions (see record…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Media

    Bye NPR. Hello BBC, Al Jazeera, Chinese Radio.

    The decision by Congress the House of Representatives to defund NPR and block local public radio stations from using federal money to acquire NPR content is, like any action, likely to have interesting unintended consequences. This action comes at a time when demand for information and knowledge of affairs around the globe continues to grow, to focus on just of the many values of NPR.  Congress The House is creating an opportunity that the US commercial media is unlikely to take advantage of, for whatever reason. The old giants of radio news, from CBS to NBC to the AP are unlikely to jump into the new gap and coverage of…

  • Government Broadcasting

    Russia Today (RT) expands into San Francisco, claims ratings success in Washington and New York

    As the debate over whether Al Jazeera English should be available in the United States continues, Russia Today, the Russian government’s international news channel, quietly makes inroads across the United States. Kim Andrew Elliott, audience analyst at the International Broadcasting Bureau, a unit of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, draws our attention to a press release from RT from 11 February 2011: RT, an international TV news channel, has launched its English-language feed, 24×7, on San Francisco’s major cable provider, Comcast, which brings it to approximately 4 million viewers in the San Francisco metro area. In the U.S., RT is carried by cable networks in New York, NY; Chicago, IL;…