Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)

Dan Robinson on USIB's uncertain future.

If it wasn’t inevitable, the threat was clearly lurking on the horizon. And now, legislation that would eliminate the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [...] and de-federalize the Voice of America (VOA) has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Blowing up the Board and converting the 74-year-old VOA into a non-governmental entity, the kind of drastic reform which one congressional aide reportedly described as “the nuclear option,” is now on the table.

Are the BBG and VOA doomed?

The U.S. government desperately needs new and better tools to fight the information war against the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist networks. Once such new tool, The United States International Communications Reform Act (H.R. 2323), which was passed last May by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, remains in waiting mode and is pending a full House vote and Senate action.

The Voice of America and the U.S. international broadcasting community as a whole could use structural reform and more money. But that’s not why they appear to be failing miserably. No. The real failure is that they lack conviction. And without that, they will continue to appear irrelevant.

Ahead of a Senate committee hearing tomorrow (Nov. 17) on options for changing the structure of U.S. government broadcasting, [John Lansing, the new CEO and Director of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors] said one idea in particular makes no sense:  Dividing the governing structure into two separate, independent boards would only lead to confusion and wasted effort.

SRI’s "Dish", a radio antenna facility operated by SRI for the U.S. government

RFA's finances sharply criticized in new report.