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Kenneth Y. Tomlinson is an American government official. He is the former chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which manages Voice of America radio.
A native of Grayson County, Virginia, Tomlinson began his career in journalism working as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1965. In 1968 he joined the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest.
He was a correspondent in Vietnam, and co-authored the book P.O.W., a history of American prisoners of war in the Vietnam War. In 1977 and 1978, he worked out of the Digest's Paris bureau covering events in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
In September 1982, President Reagan nominated Tomlinson to be his fourth Director of the Voice of America (VOA), where he served through August 1984.
In October 1986, President Reagan nominated Tomlinson to be the fourth chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), where he served until May 1987.
In May 1987, President Reagan nominated Tomlinson to be a member of the Board for International Broadcasting (BIB) where he served until 1994 when the BIB was dissolved by the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 and replaced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Tomlinson became a close friend of Karl Rove while they served together on the BIB after President Bush nominated Rove to be a member of the BIB in 1989.
Following his work at VOA, Tomlinson returned to Reader's Digest as managing editor in 1984. He was named executive editor in 1985 and became editor-in-chief in 1989.
Tomlinson was the Virginia Press Association's Virginian of the Year in 1994 and is a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
Tomlinson retired as editor-in-chief of Reader's Digest in 1996. After moving to Virginia soon after, Tomlinson was named president and director of the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virginia in 1999.
Mr. Tomlinson is a former board member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and served as chairman from September 2003 to September 2005. During his time as chairman, he pursued aggressive policies of adding a conservative viewpoint to CPB's programming.