Will ‘Face the Nation’ become ‘Face the World’?

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors is considering asking commercial broadcasters to donate their news programming to Voice of America and other international broadcasters.

That was the word from Dana Perino, a new member of the BBG board.

“Everyone agrees we should look into this,” she said. “How do we repurpose things that we could acquire?”

Perino indicated a starting point would be the Sunday morning interview programs – ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation“, NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday.”

“The Sunday shows here in America have long been a tradition,” she noted. “How about running that for other audiences?”

One advantage for international audiences would be to hear directly from top U.S. newsmakers.

“You’re not always going to be able to get John McCain on Voice of America every week,” she said. “But you could get him from a [commercial] Sunday show.”

Perino indicated the Sunday interview proposal is part of the BBG’s year-long strategic review of U.S. international broadcasting.

“Everything is on the table,” she said, “structure to funding to new technologies.”

And according to Perino, some innovations may be seen and heard well before the review is completed:

“We’re not going to wait to implement until the strategic review is finished,” she promised.

Perino made her remarks at a forum held last month at the New America Foundation.

Asked about this proposal, VOA veteran Alan Heil said there already was an arrangement to rebroadcast the Sunday programs, but only on a case-by-case basis: Each time a program breaks major news, VOA must request permission to excerpt that week’s broadcast. Perino’s proposal would extend that agreement to give VOA permission to carry all broadcasts every week in their entirety.

One difficulty with this proposal is that some of the Sunday programs are already televised in other countries, as part of the commercial networks’ global syndication agreements. Whether these broadcasts could also be carried on VOA or other U.S. government networks could be problematic.

Then there would be issue of the broadcasts’ titles. For example, to be accurate for audiences in Asia, the title should be “Fox News Monday.”

The original article can be found on the USC Center on Public Diplomacy blog.