BBG Watch Commentary

Rep. G. K. Butterfield
Rep. Walter B. Jones

Thanks to efforts by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Victor Ashe, support of his board colleagues Susan McCue and Michael Meehan, and intervention from North Carolina congressmen G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Walter B. Jones (R-NC), the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in Greenville, NC appears to be safe for now from budget cuts previously sought by officials of BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

In a letter to both congressmen, IBB Director Richard Lobo assured them that the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), which utilizes more than 80 percent of the scheduled shortwave transmissions from the Murrow Station, will work with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to utilize $50 million of existing democracy and human rights un-obligated funds to pay some of the costs of the station’s operations.

IBB Director Lobo assured both congressmen that under this proposal there will be no personnel changes at the Murrow Station and the employees would remain on the payroll of the International Broadcasting Bureau.

But with Victor Ashe expected to leave his post on the board soon. With new BBG members expected to be confirmed, long-term future of the Murrow Station is still not certain. Ashe and Congressmen G.K. Butterfield and Walter B. Jones worked hard to keep it open despite pressure and resistance from IBB executives who wanted to close it down. The station is the only BBG shortwave transmitting facility on American territory fully controlled by the U.S. government.

Greenville Station Letter July 2014