Draft bill outlines major changes to BBG and US International Broadcasting

BBG-LogoMany thanks to Dan Robinson who shares this post on the BBG Watch which outlines major changes to US International Broadcasting.

The draft bill, originating in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is known as the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014. The bill outlines:

  • “the creation of the United States International Communications Agency within the executive branch of Government as an independent establishment”
  • creating an Advisory Board of the United States International Communications Agency–as the name implies, this board would serve in an advisory (in lieu of management) capacity
  • a new CEO of the United States International Communications Agency, who would be “appointed for a five-year term and renewable at the Board’s discretion. The CEO would exercise broad executive powers.”
  • the creation of the Consolidated Grantee Organization, for the non-federal grantees of the BBG who would be consolidated “and reconstituted under a single organizational structure and management framework.” This would affect the following agencies:
    • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL),
    • Radio Free Asia (RFA), and
    • Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN)
  • “The Consolidated Grantee Organization would have its own board and its own CEO.”
  • “The Voice of America would be placed within the the United States International Communications Agency.”
  • Changes to the VOA charter including more freedom and flexibility to report the news. BBG Watch quotes: “The Voice of America’s success over more than seven decades has created valuable brand identity and international recognition that justifies the maintenance of the Voice of America; the Voice of America’s public diplomacy mission remains essential to broader United States Government efforts to communicate with foreign populations; and despite its tremendous historical success, the Voice of America would benefit substantially from a recalibration of Federal international broadcasting agencies and resources, which would provide the Voice of America with greater mission focus and flexibility in the deployment of news, programming, and content.”
  • The new bill also outlines sharing resources between the VOA and the new Consolidated Grantee Organization (which currently maintains much of its own network infrastructure)

There are many, many more points to this bill thus I would encourage you to read the BBG Watch post in full for all details.


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3 thoughts on “Draft bill outlines major changes to BBG and US International Broadcasting

  1. andi

    While this is a good step in U.S. International Broadcasting, especially in merging all these brands but that brings about a more difficult challenge. When you are merging 5 to 6 different organizations there is bound to be opposition from employees and managers. An EFFECTIVE CEO should be brought in to oversee this process to ensure employee morale isn’t damaged any further.

    If this merger isn’t done properly USIB could 1) see more employees leaving the organization 2)Voicing there concerns on websites such as this 3) Or even worse beginning to neglect there work as a form of opposition to merger.

    Its easy for congress to snap its fingers and say “lets merge and everything will be fixed” but if there is no plan in place for this merger, its going to be doomed to fail.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Andi, you have many good points here. I’ve spoken with employees at RFE/RFA who, even two years ago when consolidation was first mentioned, very much opposed this idea. They feel as if they could lose their unique identity and autonomy.

  2. TP Reitzel

    Creation of the US International Communications Agency within the EXECUTIVE branch where the POTUS can further meddle in international affairs without operational oversight from the US Congress… Personally, as a taxpayer and adherent to the US Constitution, I say AXE the BBG, VOA, and all the other federally subsidized organizations meddling in international and NATIONAL affairs … 😉

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Mussolini


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