The Board of Governors for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) met today for the first time since the agency changed its name from the Broadcasting Board of Governors to the U.S. Agency for Global Media on August 22, 2018.
“Having an understanding of who we are is just as important as the work we do,” said USAGM CEO and Director John F. Lansing. “This brand evolution captures the essence of the great progress we have made over the past few years at all five of our media networks.”
The name change is part of a broader modernization effort being implemented by the agency under CEO Lansing’s leadership. The broader plan includes restructuring the agency’s operations to make it more efficient and effective, and seeking a new headquarters building. Some of these changes were on display during the CEO’s report to the Board.
Voice of America (VOA) Director Amanda Bennett previewed the new 24/7 Persian-language global network that will launch early next year. VOA 365, as it will be known, is led by VOA in cooperation with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and follows the successful model of USAGM’s 24/7 Russian-language digital network, Current Time.
The newly installed Director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Tomas Regalado, unveiled some of the wholesale programming changes he has instituted at Radio and TV Marti, including a sharper focus on human rights issues, regional news, and underrepresented voices.
Alberto Fernandez, President of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, provided a glimpse of its transformation, which includes programming changes for Alhurra Television that will deliver a distinct and fresh voice, while propelling debate and fostering conversation, and adding several hours of news programming originating from the Middle East.
“It almost gives me chills to see the quality, advancement, and modernization of programming, the understanding of how to reach audiences today, and the impact we can have relative to where we were just two months ago, let alone two or three years ago,” remarked Governor Michael Kempner.
The Board and CEO Lansing also thanked outgoing RFE/RL President Thomas Kent. “We are deeply grateful to Tom for his contributions to RFE/RL and to U.S. Agency for Global Media more broadly,” said Chairman Kenneth Weinstein.