Meredith Attwell Baker

On the same day that Jules Genachowski was confirmed as FCC chairman by the U.S. Senate, President Obama named the former Commerce Department official who administered the federal converter box program to the final open seat on the commission.

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.

Meredith Attwell Baker, the presumptive fifth member of the Federal Communications Commission, will bring almost unprecedented connections to the consumer electronics industry.  If, as expected, President Obama appoints Baker to a Republican seat on the FCC, Baker will bring her experience in handling the digital TV transition during the past two years when she served as Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Commerce Department.  In that role, she dealt extensively with consumer electronics makers and lobbyists in crafting the DTV transition policy, including deployment of the $40 coupon program.

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