Steven J. Simmons, a Greenwich, Conn., cable company executive, has been re-appointed to a three-year term on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the bipartisan, nine-member board which supervises all U.S. international, nonmilitary broadcasting.
The Senate on Friday confirmed Governor Simmons, who was nominated by President George W. Bush. Governor Simmons was first appointed to the BBG in November 2002 to fill an unexpired term.
Since joining the BBG, Governor Simmons has played an active role in promoting new broadcasting initiatives to East and Central Europe and South Central Asia. He is chairman of the BBG committee that oversees Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic. He also sits on the BBG’s three-person Executive Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Middle East Committee that oversaw the recent launch of Alhurra, the Arabic-language satellite television network to the Middle East. Governor Simmons is spearheading, with Voice of America (VOA) personnel, the first medium-wave (AM) Urdu broadcasts for Pakistan.
“I’m delighted to have a chance to continue my work at the BBG,” Governor Simmons said. “With press freedom under threat in many countries around the world, U.S. international broadcasting is more important than ever.”
Simmons is Chairman and CEO of Patriot Media and Communications, LLC, (“Patriot”) a company that provides advanced broadband services and cable TV to 80,000 homes, or about 250,000 people, in New Jersey. Its franchises cover 31 towns in central New Jersey, including Princeton. Patriot is in the process of reviewing other cable television acquisitions.
From 1982-1994, Simmons served as Chairman and CEO of Simmons Communications, Inc. (SCI), which owned and managed cable companies. At its height, SCI served approximately 350,000 cable subscribers in 20 states, had over 50 offices nationwide and more than 600 employees. Prior to starting SCI, Simmons served almost four years as an assistant and then associate director on the White House’s domestic policy staff. Among his areas of responsibility were broadcasting policy and government reform.
A graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, Simmons began his career at the University of California at Irvine where he taught communications and constitutional law, among other subjects. His writing includes a book entitled, The Fairness Doctrine and the Media. Simmons has also authored five children’s books, including Alice and Greta, which became a best-selling children’s picture book in the country after its release.
Simmons continues to be active in cable and other organizations. He previously served on the board of the National Cable Television Association for three years, and he co-founded and chairs the Entrepreneurs Club, a group of 24 leaders of cable television companies. He was also active in the Young Presidents’ Organization, serving on its board, and is a member of the Chief Executives’ Organization. He previously served for six years on the Board of the Greenwich Country Day School.
The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); the Middle Television Network (Alhurra); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Office of Cuban Broadcasting (Radio and TV Mart