Dingell Slams FCC For Non-Responsiveness

The congressman is ticked at Julius Genachowski, saying the FCC chairman hasn’t given him a “substantive response” to his questions about the proposed spectrum auctions.

Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski rebuking him for failing to provide a substantive response to Dingell’s June 17 inquiry about voluntary incentive auctions of broadcaster spectrum.

In his Aug. 3 response, Dingell’s office said, “Chairman Genachowski failed to respond to Dingell’s detailed questions, instead writing that releasing information about the predictive model the Commission has used to predict the outcome of incentive auctions is still ‘very much a work in progress’ and would ‘potentially damage the commission’s deliberative processes.’ ”

“I am deeply disturbed that an agency created by Congress so often and so willfully fails in its duty to respond in a substantive manner to Congressional requests for information,” said Dingell. “With respect to voluntary incentive auctions, it is imperative that members of Congress know what effect they will have on the broadcast industry and their constituents’ ability to receive free, over-the-air local programming.”

NAB President-CEO Gordon Smith issued a statement on the matter: “It is deeply disappointing that a member of Congress as distinguished and long-serving as John Dingell would not receive an answer from the FCC to a question so vital to his constituency.

“Every day, free and local television provides news, entertainment and lifeline emergency weather information to tens of millions of Americans. Under NAB’s analysis of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, local television’s future could be irreparably diminished, and Congressman Dingell’s concern clearly arises from the fact that Detroit citizens could lose access to all of their local TV stations because of U.S. treaty obligations with Canada.

“If the FCC has evidence proving that NAB’s analysis is incorrect, it should make it available, and quickly.”


Click on the following links to view copies of Dingell’s letter sent on June 17; Chairman Genachowski’s response sent on Aug. 3; and Dingell’s letter sent on Aug. 16, as well as a zip file of the three letters.

Comments (8)

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len Kubas says:

August 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

No answer is always preferabe to lies: which does Dingel prefer? Of course, the FCC is a “creature of Congress” it’ s just that Julius believes otherwise. The only way to get his attention is to zero-out FCC funding.

Ellen Samrock says:

August 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Hmm, I wonder why the FCC is not responding to Rep. Dingell’s questions? Could it be that with the modeling they’re doing the FCC is discovering that repacking the band WILL cause irreparable harm to broadcast TV despite the ‘win-win-win’ blather coming from the chairman? Putting the FCC and Congress on a collision course as Genachowski is doing is not a wise move. Someone is going to get hurt and it won’t be Congress (but, hopefully, it won’t be broadcasters either).

    len Kubas says:

    August 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    for all we know, D BP, you know more about this than the depleted engineering staff at the FCC. This is being run from the 8th floor.

    Ellen Samrock says:

    August 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    If you read Genachowski’s reply to Rep. Dingell it would appear that the FCC is still struggling with the modeling software. Either that or the software is only confirming the NAB’s findings, which would prove embarrassing to Genachowski. Whatever the case, Rep. Dingell’s letter is it plain: no information, no voluntary spectrum auction.

Chris Stone says:

August 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm

My small church struggled to raise enough money to put our lptv on the air, only to have the FCC AFTER THE FACT, sell our channel to AT&T. When AT&T demanded that we cease broadcasting or face legal action, they were able to do so with the full permission and approval of the FCC, and we were left with NO COMPENSATION for the loss of our station’s transmitter equipment. Now we have to raise another $50-100 THOUSAND DOLLARS just to get back on the air. Yeah, Mr. Dingell, go after the Commissioners with EXTREME PREJUDICE—they have bragged about not having to answer to Congress and are trying to destroy the broadcast business. At least when Nextel wanted the microwave channels, they compensated the licensees for the inconvenience. All we received from AT&T was threats of legal action from their corporate lawyers.

    len Kubas says:

    August 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    frankly, you either chose the wrong channel, or didn’t move quick enough. Sad, but not the FCC’s fault; you were always on notice that your spectrum use was secondary to all current and future uses, and that has been the case since September 1980.

Chris Stone says:

August 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm

By the way, the reason they are hesitant to answer Congressman Dingell is that they are trying to figure out how to justify their actions. Just like with the Comcast-NBC deal, I wonder when Genochowski and his fellow commissioners will go to work for the telco’s with extra large salaries!!!???!!! As Will Rogers said almost a hundred years ago, “We have nothing to worry about because we’ve got the best politicians money can buy!”

Go get them, Mr. Dingell!!!

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