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US Broadcasting Executive John Lansing to Head BBG, VOA's Parent

The Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. government agency that supervises the Voice of America, hs announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer – John Lansing, former president of Scripps Networks, which develops and distributes news and entertainment programming over multiple media platforms.

Lansing will take up his position in September, the BBG said in a statement.

As chief executive, he will be responsible for supervising all U.S. government-funded civilian international news media.

John Lansing has been appointed as chief executive officer and director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
John Lansing has been appointed as chief executive officer and director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

VOA is the largest part of the group; together with the other U.S. broadcasters – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio and TV Marti – BBG estimates its programs reach 215 million people around the world each week.

Lansing retired from his post as president of Scripps Networks, the operating division of Scripps Network Interactive, in 2013, but remained on as a consultant.

He later was president and chief executive officer of Cable & Telecommunications for Marketing, a group that includes 90 top U.S. and Canadian cable and television companies.

“John is a proven executive and a remarkable, transformative leader in multiplatform content strategies, development and distribution,” BBG Chairman Jeff Shell said Monday.

"With his journalistic sensibilities and success in leading media companies through periods of challenges and growth, John is the ideal person to lead the BBG as we accelerate efforts to shape a global, world-leading media organization that is up to the challenges of the 21st century," Shell said.

Shell, chairman of NBC Universal Filmed Entertainment, and the eight other BBG governors appointed Lansing as chief executive, responsible for day-to-day governance of the agency.

The BBG governors are named by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and they serve on a part-time basis.

They appointed the agency's first chief executive earlier this year – Andrew Lack, who resigned six weeks after taking the job in order to become president of NBC News.

Shell said the leadership transition at BBG comes at a "critical time when U.S. international media is on the front line of the United States’ most important and complicated foreign policy issues. From eastern Ukraine to China to ISIL and Iran, the programming of the BBG is the most important – and in many cases, the only – voice of honest and open journalism."

He added that Lansing "understands that conveying and critically assessing official U.S. policy is a key component of BBG’s mission. American leadership in the world depends in part on international audiences knowing where the United States stands with respect to their countries and the issues that affect them.”

Scripps Networks, which Lansing directed for nine years, grew out of the newspaper publishing empire once known as the E.W. Scripps Company, and then Scripps-Howard Newspapers, which traces its roots to The Penny Press newspaper, which was founded in 1878 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lansing began his career in journalism at the age of 17, as a news photographer for WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky.

More information about the BBG and John Lansing is available at the agency's public website.