White House Eyes Bannon Ally for Top Broadcasting Post

Politico reports the Trump administration’s leading candidate to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a position that with recent changes would give the appointee unilateral power over the United States’ government messaging abroad reaching millions, is a conservative documentarian with ties to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Steve Bannon is pictured. | Getty

The BBG controls Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and the Middle East Broadcast Network, which constitutes the largest public diplomacy program by the U.S. government, reaching an audience of 278 million by broadcasting in 100 countries and 61 languages.

Michael Pack, the leading contender for the post, is president and CEO of the Claremont Institute and publisher of its Claremont Review of Books, a California-based conservative institute that has been called the “academic home of Trumpism” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The recent changes in BBG management are “a really big deal because the board of governors really represents the firewall. And the firewall is a legally mandated firewall which prevents the government from interfering with the editorial independence of the BBG,“ the senior official said. "Once President Trump appoints Pack or anyone else and when or if they’re confirmed by the Senate, then the entire board of governors goes away.”

A Republican government official familiar with the agency’s work told POLITICO in December that abolishing the board will make the BBG susceptible to the influence of Trump’s allies. Under the new arrangement, the board of governors will be replaced by an advisory panel. Once confirmed, the new CEO could hire his or her own directors for the five networks under BBG and theoretically push whatever message he or she chose without the board’s approval.


Community Owned and Operated

UK Regulator Ofcom Awards Four New Community Radio Licences

Ofcom has today announced the award of four new community radio licences to serve communities in Wandsworth and surrounding areas of south west London, Newham, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Greenwich. Community radio services are provided on a not-for-profit basis, focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to a particular geographical community or a community of interest. Licences have been awarded to:

Flex FM will provide a community radio service for 15-30 year old dance music fans in Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Radio Minhaj will provide a community radio service for black, Asian and other ethnic minorities in Newham.

Nomad Radio will provide a community radio service for the Somali community in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Maritime Radio will provide a community radio service for the local community in Greenwich.

See the statement setting out the main determining factors for the award of the community radio licences referred to above. Community radio licences are awarded for a five-year period.

Ten years of community radio

Community radio, which offers thousands of volunteers the chance to get involved in broadcasting across the UK, is ten years old. The last decade has seen the number of community radio stations increase from just a handful to more than 250 stations, each reflecting the local needs and interests of its audience.

Resulting from a review of its review of community radio licensing and technical policy, Ofcom will amend its technical policy to remove references to set coverage areas for community radio stations. They will adopt a more flexible approach, and applications will be considered for wider areas where applicants can clearly demonstrate the proposed coverage area will better serve its target community, where it is technically possible.

Internet Radio Pioneer Dublab adding LPFM

Dublab is the long-time radio source for innovative, diverse and local music in Los Angeles, California.

Founded in 1999, Dublab ranks among internet radio's earliest pioneers, broadcasting more than a decade before streaming technology blossomed. General manager Ale Cohen says their new Low Power FM initiative is progressing: "99.1 FM. We have the gear. We're close to confirming the place for the antenna. Later this year, we'll be up and running."

As a non-profit organization, the station receives funds from various grants and the National Endowment for the Arts, and donations from devoted supporters. "I still haven't lost that excitement of discovery. ... I feel excited for new music, trends and styles," he says. "The spirit of what we're doing will not change on FM." You can read more from LA Weekly here.

Making News in Mozambique Accessible: TV Surdo Includes Sign Language in All Programming.

In February 2017, with training and support from IREX and USAID, TV Surdo officially started broadcasting its weekly news program through the largest independent media group in Mozambique. The stories cover all topics in the mainstream media, but also focus on issues of particular interest to the deaf community.

The goal for TV Surdo is to have mainstream media that is fully accessible to people who are deaf in all provinces in Mozambique, so they can better understand the world and be informed just like everyone else. They also hope that many viewers, both deaf and hearing, can learn sign language to help create a more inclusive society throughout the country.

World Press Freedom Day

Every year, 3May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. You can learn more about the work of UNESCO in supporting free media here.

A New Ecomomic Model to Guide the Future? It's the "Doughnut".

In today’s global economy, riven with extreme inequalities, the living world on which everything depends is being degraded. Could the “Doughnut” of social and planetary boundaries be the compass we need for creating a safe and just 21st century?

For the future of media, what business design models — such as cooperatives and employee-owed companies — can best ensure that committed workers, not fickle shareholders, reap a far greater share of the value that they help to generate? Community media are well-positioned to play a significant role in the quality of life for communities now, and in the future.

Radio for Refugees by Refugees

Media headlines often fuel fear about refugees and amongst refugees. But what happens when refugees pick up the microphones and tell their own stories?

Refugee Radio Network, in the German city of Hamburg, is a project that is tapping the power of community radio stations and the internet to give voice to refugees from wherever they have come. Founder Larry Macaulay, a Nigerian refugee who fled Libya in 2011, says “Let it be diverse, multi-ethnic, universal, no barriers, no borders - that is what I believe. Just come express yourself in the way you can.”

Can this innovative radio project create better integration with German society and replace fear with hope? Learn more in this BBC documentary.

Why does "Christian" Radio exist?

At first glance, one might assume christian radio exists puely to evangelize. But upon futher examination, one can find another more concrete motivation: money.

The recent market revenue report for the Dallas, Texas radio market offers a prime example. The report estimates that the "christian" formatted radio KLTY - owned by the Salem Media Group - generated more than $20,000,000 of advertising revenue in 2016.

While the airwaves are by law reserved for serving the public interest, the profit motive still pervades USA broadcasting; and often creates stange bedfellows in the process. So is using the airwaves to sell religion for profit really "in the public interest"?

Can a Commercial Radio also be a Community Radio? Meet the Hybrid in Upstate New York.

Radio Woodstock’s introduction of a new listener-supported hybrid campaign that solicits funding from the audience, as well as a commercial load, is one that experts and independent broadcasters are watching carefully.

While advertising sales is a critical funding channel for community radios in the United Kingdom, it is outlawed for not-for-profit broadcasters in many countries, including the USA. But soliciting donations - long the exclusive province of not-for-profits, is a new and some say innovative development for commercial operators. Time will tell if this hybrid approach proves successful in the USA.

C4D Modules in University Courses?

  Writing in the Communication Initiative Network blog, author Caroline Hungwe of Tanzania argues that college graduates are ill-prepared for communication for development (C4D) careers.

"Every year universities channel out Journalism/Public Relations/Marketing graduates who then get C4D jobs in UN or international NGOs etc... These graduates are often lacking knowledge and skills for application of C4D strategies. As such there is a gap that exists between the academia and field.The challenge is that in most cases the targeted beneficiaries end up with knowledge about the existence of a certain project /programme in their area, but this does not translate to change in practices.

Well-trained human resource is key to making a case for C4D budget lines at proposal development, and this will help to upscale C4D in the field. They can contextualize issues and help answer questions such as “what can the beneficiary do with what they have physically, financially, academically and socially at their disposal".

The 2017 NFCB Community Media Conference - Denver, USA

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters will hold its annual conference July 17-20 in Denver, Colorado.

This signature annual event is aimed at inspiring, energizing and moving you to make your community broadcasting station better. From tech innovation to development to storytelling, it is your chance to learn skills, to talk with attorneys on issues related to your station, and to get face-to-face time with key leaders and trailblazers.

The conference theme, A Place Called Community, speaks to the role community media plays in uniting neighbors, convening conversations, and bringing out the best in all of us. Click here for more information.

UNESCO Chair on Community Media updates Toolkit

The Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit version 2.0 is ready for download. The toolkit can be a valuable resouce for the effective and sustainable operation of community radios.
The toolkit was created and recently updated by the UNESCO Chair on Community Media at the University of Hyderabad; led by Dr. Vinod Pavarala. You can learn more about their important work here.

A Gem on the California Coast

Effective leadership and best practices are keys to the success of community radio KWMR in Pt. Reyes, California.

Pictured left to right: Mia Johnson (fundraising), Lyons Filmer (program), and Katie Eberle (community affairs).

KWMR has grown to become an integral and important hub for community activity in West Marin County, developing a sustainable organization which deploys the people, systems and materials necessary to insure continued success.

As one of the world's best-run community radios, they are a role model for community radios everywhere to emulate.

U.S. Congressman Introduces Bill to Defund NPR and Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Upon the filing of H.R. 726 and H.R. 727, Representative Douglas Lamborn (R - Colorado) said congressional Republicans need to prove they take fiscal responsibility seriously: “American taxpayers do not want their hard-earned dollars funding superfluous government programs just because that is the way things have always been done,” Lamborn wrote on his congressional webpage.

The Coloradan introduced the bills to “permanently defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. CPB received $445 million during Fiscal Year 2016, and this money could be put to better use rebuilding our military and enhancing our national security.”


CPB is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting and the largest single source of funding for public radio, television, and related online and mobile services.

CPB’s mission is to ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services. It does so by distributing more than 70% of its funding to nearly 1,500 locally owned public radio and television stations.

CPB by the numbers:

  • 410 grantees, representing 1,123 public radio stations
  • 170 grantees, representing 366 public TV stations
  • 220 of the total 580 grantees are considered rural
  • 99% of Americans have access to public media
  • More than 70% of CPB’s federal funding goes directly to local public media stations
  • Less than 5% of funding is spent on CPB operations
  • $1.35 – Average annual cost per American for public media

CPB strives to support diverse programs and services that inform, educate, enlighten and enrich the public.  Through grants, CPB encourages the development of content that addresses the needs of underserved audiences, especially children and minorities. CPB's core values of collaboration, innovation, engagement, and diversity, help to inform program investments system-wide.