Jeffrey Shell, Comcast Photo

President Obama says he intends to nominate Jeffrey Shell as Member and Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). The White House made the announcement on Wednesday, but it has not yet appeared on the official BBG website — bbg.gov.

Comcast has the following bio information for Jeffrey Shell:

“Jeff Shell is President, NBCUniversal International. He is based in London and reports directly to Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. Mr. Shell is responsible for overseeing the operations of all NBCUniversal International businesses including International TV Distribution, Global Television Networks, and International Television Production. He also oversees, in partnership with their domestic leaders, CNBC International, International Theatrical Marketing and Distribution, International Home Entertainment, and International Theme Park Operations. In addition to managing the day to day operations for the Company outside the US, Mr. Shell is responsible for identifying and executing all international growth opportunities for both NBC Universal, and Comcast Corporation overall.”

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The BBG Board is also missing one Republican member. If confirmed by the Senate, Shell will preside over U.S. international broadcasting operations which are rated in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveys as having one of the worst management team and being one of the worst place to work in the federal government. The five-year strategic plan developed by BBG executives reporting to the International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard Lobo is in shambles after being widely criticized and its key provisions rejected by members of Congress on both parties. The BBG/IBB senior staff continues to push, however, for expanding the central government bureaucracy through the proposed administrative merger of the BBG’s grantee broadcasters (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks) and the creation of the CEO position that would not be subject to Senate confirmation. They also want to eliminate many of the Voice of America broadcasting services, combine programs from VOA and grantee broadcasters, and to de-Federalize VOA.

BBG Watch has learned that at least one BBG member who initially supported the proposed merger of grantee broadcasters is now calling for postponing a decision on this issue until after January 2013.

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