Broadcasting Board of Governors
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is an independent agency of the United States government, responsible for all U.S. government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting.
Governing Board organizational structure
The Board is composed of nine members, eight of whom are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The ninth, an ex-officio member, is the Secretary of State.
The current members of the Board are
- Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Chairman;
- Joaquin F. Blaya
- Blanquita Walsh Cullum
- D. Jeffrey Hirschberg
- Edward E. Kaufman
- Norman J. Pattiz
- Veronique Rodman
- Steven J. Simmons
- and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
See  for updates on board structure.
It is composed of the following independent broadcasting organizations, which collectively broadcast in 65 languages in more than 125 markets around the world:
- Voice of America (VOA)
- Radio Sawa
- Radio Farda
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
- Radio Free Asia (RFA)
- Radio and TV Marti
- WORLDNET Television (Folded into VOA)
Its stated mission is:
- To promote and sustain freedom and democracy by broadcasting accurate and objective news and information about the United States and the world to audiences overseas.
The long-term vision for the BBG is:
- A flexible, multi-media, research-driven U.S. International Broadcasting System, incorporating regional networks and single-country operations, that reaches mass audiences by programming the distinct content of the Voice of America and the surrogate services through state-of-the art formats and the distribution channels - AM, FM, audio and video satellite, shortwave, and the Internet -- that our audiences use and we control.
Starting in 1990, all U.S. government international broadcasting services began to work more closely together. That year the U.S. Information Agency, then VOA's parent Agency, established the Bureau of Broadcasting to consolidate its three broadcasting services -- the Voice of America, WORLDNET Television and Film Service, and Radio and TV Marti -- into one cohesive and efficient element, supported by a single Office of Engineering and Technical Operations.
In 1991, the Bureau created the Office of Affiliate Relations and Audience Analysis (later renamed the Office of Affiliate Relations and Media Training in 1996) to establish and maintain a network of "affiliated" radio and TV stations around the globe that would broadcast VOA- and WORLDNET-produced programs. Today, more than 1,200 radio and TV stations receive programming through the Office of Affiliate Relations.
U.S. government international broadcasting was consolidated even further when President Clinton signed the International Broadcasting Act (Public Law 103-236) on April 30, 1994. The legislation established the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) within the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), and created a Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) with oversight authority over all non-military U.S. government international broadcasting.
The Voice of America, WORLDNET Television and Film Service and Radio and TV Marti -- the three federally-funded services of the former Bureau of Broadcasting -- along with the Office of Engineering and Technical Services, comprise the IBB. The bipartisan BBG includes the USIA Director (ex officio) and eight members appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The first Broadcasting Board of Governors was sworn in on August 11, 1995.
The BBG became an independent, autonomous entity on October 1, 1999, as a result of the 1998 Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act (FAIR Act, Public Law 105-277). BBG had 3,200 employees and a budget of US$535 million in 2002.
Convoluded organizational structure
Unlike during the 1940s and 1950s, BBG now has a very complex and convoluded structure. Its internal structure is so complex that any oversight by the US general public, or even members of congress is almost impossible. Any full scale audit of BBG operations would probably cost 30 Million USD.
- Some political scientists (outside North America) may seek classify BBG and its subsiderary broadcasting corporations as "Covert Broadcasting Entities" due to the impossiblity of any oversight by US elected officals or the general public.
Considering BBG's origins (with respect to the creation of VOA during World War II) this covert classification is reasonable and correct based upon the existing terminology.
- VOA was auditable by outside entities during the immedate post war era (1946-55) -- a claim that cannot be made about BBG (or its predecessor IBB) in the current era.