Tuesday, November 17th 2015
Both the new CEO and the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors [see] said they opposed a move to restructure U.S. international broadcasting because it was not needed and would make matters worse.
John Lansing, BBG’s new CEO and Director, said the proposal to divide BBG into two entities, each with its own governing structure, would mean “dueling CEO’s and dueling boards.”
“I honestly cannot imagine running a media company with two CEO’s,” Lansing said. And he was supported by his boss, Jeff Shell, Chairman of the Board of BBG.
“Having two boards and two CEO’s makes no sense,” said Shell, adding later, “I don’t see any benefit.”
Their remarks came at a Senate committee hearing this afternoon (see more athttp://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/options-for-reforming-us-overseas-broadcasting-111715)
The committee chair, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), conceded that the two-part structure, proposed by a bill in the House of Representatives, might have been made moot by recent improvements at the BBG. The legislation, he said, was framed “at another point in time.”
There was broad agreement, however, on two other provisions of the House bill: One would institutionalize the role of the CEO in legislation, and the other would consolidate the four “grantees” – RFE/RL, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting. (The fifth BBG network is Voice of America.)
Senator Corker, expressing support for the consolidation, asked why the grantees were separate independent entities. Shell replied that each had a separate history, each was created at different times and each was governed by legislation. (So any consolidation must be done by legislation.)
Lansing’s remarks came after he earlier had criticized the proposed restructuring, at a PDC / USC lunch forum; detaiuls at http://www.publicdiplomacycouncil.org/commentaries/11-16-15/bbg-ceo-opposes-plan-restructure-us-international-broadcasting
More about Lansing: http://www.bbg.gov/about-the-agency/senior-management/john-lansing-chief-executive-officer-and-director/
More about Shell: http://www.bbg.gov/about-the-agency/board/jeff-shell/