In view of the diverse models and objectives of public broadcasting, one can say as a general rule that the terms "public broadcasting" and "public service broadcasting" refer to electronic media that are characterized by public ownership, are noncommercial in most countries, and rely on governments, foundations, corporate underwriting, and/or listener support for funding (Hiebert and Gibbons 2000). These media are the home of high-quality, if sometimes elitist and esoteric fare-programming that can, nevertheless, serve as a model for commercial network television (Dizard 2000). Broadcasting in Africa is as diverse as the continent's fifty-three countries. The public broadcasting systems that obtain on the continent are made up of several shades, hues, and degrees of freedom. This diversity reflects the different political, sociocultural, and linguistic environments. It also reflects the diverse relationships between governments and broadcasters in the different countries and regions of Africa. The single most important factor that has influenced the development of broadcasting in Africa is the continent's diverse colonial heritage. Most broadcasting traditions were inherited from the monopolistic traditions left by European colonial powers. The wave of democratization that swept through the African continent in the early 1990s led to the liberalization of the airwaves. Governmental public broadcasters, once virtual monopolies, soon faced stiff competition from private commercial stations and the "surrogate" rebroadcast allies of international broadcasters. Today, Africa's governmental public broadcasters are caught in the crosswinds of globalization, commercialization, and democratization.