FCC Under Scrutiny as New Regime Takes Over
Julius Genachowski may be sworn in as the new Federal Communications Chairman this week, if the Senate acts quickly to approve him in the aftermath of the 23-1 endorsement by the Senate Commerce Committee last week. That committee’s interrogation of Genachowski was largely a lovefest – although there were also stern partisan warnings that the new chairman should hurry to “fix” the Commission and prove that it is “not battered beyond repair,” as Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) asserted, alluding to the tumultuous tenure of the previous Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.
Also receiving Senate approval is current Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, who was reappointed to another term. They will join acting chairman Michael Copps, a Democrat. Mignon Clyburn, a South Carolina telecommunications regulator, has been nominated for the remaining Democratic FCC seat. Meredith Attwell Baker, former NTIA director, is expected to become the nominee for the remaining Republican seat, but her name has not officially been put forth yet.
The FCC’s immediate tasks range from cleaning up digital TV transition leftovers to establishing a broadband policy plan. Prior to Genachowski’s approval, the FCC brought aboard Blair Levin, a former FCC top bureaucrat, to handle a new position running the FCC's Internet broadband program. Levin, who most recently handled Wall Street analysis of telecom and media issues, assumed duties early this month