Reflections On The Pai FCC Chairmanship

With the presidential election behind us (and make no mistake, it’s over), scholars are beginning to consider what tech policy under a Joe Biden administration may look like. But before getting there, it’s worthwhile to reflect on how Ajit Pai’s chairmanship has shaped the FCC and the future of tech policy.

House Democrats Slam Pai Over 230

House Democrats blasted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday over his announcement that the commission would move forward with the Trump administration’s petition to clarify the meaning of a law that grants tech companies a legal liability shield over content posted on their websites by third parties. Democratic leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee accused Pai of attempting to help a “flailing President Trump” through his decision to move forward with the administration’s push to clarify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Pai: FCC Will Clarify Sec. 230

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has signaled he plans to follow President Trump’s lead and “clarify” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. He also says he has been assured by FCC lawyers that the FCC has the authority to do so. ““As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does Section 230 currently mean?,” Pai said in a statement. “[M]any advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230. The commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230.  Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.”

Pai Proposes Foreign Broadcast Content Disclosure Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a notice of proposed rulemaking establishing new disclosure requirements for TV and radio content sponsored by foreign governments. “With some station content coming from the likes of China and Russia, it is time to update our rules and shed more sunlight on these practices,” he said, urging his colleagues to vote to approve his proposal ASAP.

Anthem’s Asper Presses For Retrans Review

Leonard Asper, president & CEO of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, has sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai taking aim at the retransmission consent regime, prompted by the retrans disputes between Dish and Scripps (it was settled last week)  and Dish and Cox Media Group (Apollo).

Pai: FCC Not Generally In Business Of Censorship

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has told a member of the House that the agency is generally not in the business of dictating what viewers can and can’t see. Pai was responding to a letter from Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), who was concerned about a TV show, La Comay, airing on Mega TV in Puerto Rico and containing what she called “a pattern of xenophobic and racist remarks.”

Ajit Pai Making Enemies On The Road To 5G

In moving to free up Wi-Fi and bolster superfast service, Ajit Pai has alienated some industries, congressional committees and Trump Cabinet leaders.

Pai: Court Has Impeded FCC Diversity Efforts

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he has been trying to focus on diversity for the last couple of years,but has been hampered by the courts. Pai was asked during his post public meeting press conference on June 9 about the link between media ownership and the wider conversation in the country about racial justice, whether the FCC was doing enough to promote media diversity and what more it could do.

Pai: Broadcasting To Be Cherished, Encouraged

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told a virtual NAB Show audience Wednesday that their legacy public service commitment is “showing up in spades” during the pandemic. Fresh from the FCC’s May 13 public meeting, Pai was able to appear at the NAB Show Express virtual convention to be interviewed by NAB President Gordon Smith only a couple of hours later.

NAB Show Express To Feature FCC’s Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and NAB President-CEO Gordon Smith will participate in a keynote conversation Wednesday, May 13, during the NAB Show Express Welcome event. The industry’s top regulator and the head of NAB will discuss communications policy issues before the FCC, including spectrum policy and media ownership. The opening session will be streamed on at noon ET […]

Pai: Pallone Should Condemn Free Press Petition

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has asked the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to speak out against Free Press’s emergency petition to the FCC to stop what that group said was “right-wing personalities” spreading disinformation about the pandemic.

FCC’s Pai Thanks America’s Broadcasters

The FCC Chairman praises their response to the coronavirus pandemic, including providing social distancing PSAs, educational programming, and community fundraisers.

Pai Commends Broadcasters’ Coronavirus Efforts

In a conference call, the FCC chairman also asks broadcasters to air public service announcements promoting social distancing.

Too Soon To Make Call On Pai And NAB

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has not made a decision yet on his planned appearance next month at the National Association of Broadcasters’s NAB Show, according to a source. Pai is still slated for a Q&A with NAB President Gordon Smith at the show, which was still on as of Thursday evening, according to NAB’s coronavirus update page.

Pai To Get Lowry Mays Award At NAB Show

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been tapped to receive the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The award is given to an “individual in broadcasting” whose work “exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.”


TVN Tech | At CES, NextGen TV’s Coming Out Party

Next week’s CES in Las Vegas will once again take over the Strip with a sprawling, frenetic glimpse into tomorrow’s consumer technology. This time, NextGen TV will make its show floor debut, and hopes are high consumers will notice.

Pai Proposes FCC Auction Of C-Band Spectrum

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has decided to hold a public auction of C-Band spectrum. That is the midband spectrum the FCC wants to free up for 5G, and that is the proposal that the chairman signaled Monday he would be asking the other commissioners to vote to approve in an order early next year.

Pai To Hill: Repack Is About 66% Over

The FCC’s repack of 1,000 TV stations into smaller spectrum quarters is almost two-thirds of the way to completion, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told a Senate oversight hearing audience Thursday (Oct. 17), and has proven to be a smooth transition.

Pai: Streaming Is Strong Competition To MVPDs

In what could signal a big change in regulatory approach, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has plans a vote on an item that would set the precedent that streaming services qualify as “effective competition” to MVPDs sufficient to trigger basic rate deregulation of those MVPDs.

FCC Dismisses Warren’s Attacks As ‘Hot Air’

The FCC dismissed Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) criticism of the agency’s chairman as “hot air,” after the Democratic presidential candidate accused him of advancing the interests of the telecom industry. The pushback comes in response to an op-ed the senator published in The Washington Post on Tuesday arguing for renewed federal efforts to expand internet access to areas that lack it.

Man Sentenced To Prison For Death Threats To FCC’s Pai Over Net Neutrality repeal

Pai: White Spaces Await TV/Microsoft Consensus

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai suggested this week that the FCC is awaiting consensus among broadcasters and Microsoft before moving ahead with a proposal on freeing up the “white spaces” between and around post-incentive auction repacked TV channels for wireless broadband. That came in an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee, where he said he hoped to bring the new white spaces regime to reality soon.

FCC Delays Review Of Vehicle Comm. Spectrum

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday delayed plans to begin in June a comprehensive review of a valuable band of spectrum reserved for vehicles to communicate with one another. The delay complied with a request from U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for more time before the commission takes up the 5.9 GHz matter.

Pai Wants Easier Path To Change Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai put in a plug Wednesday for giving the FCC some fast track broadcast deregulatory authority. In a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing, Pai said that the disconnect between a moving marketplace and the “stasis” of FCC rules was the fundamental issue the FCC had with its media ownership rules.

Nexstar’s Sook To FCC: Set Cap At 78% ASAP

The Nexstar CEO says while the FCC’s ownership coverage cap is effectively at 78% now, broadcasters would like the Pai FCC to lock it in at that level so that some future FCC with a Democratic majority cannot easily reset it at 39% by once again repealing the UHF discount.


Pai: More Relaxed Ownership Rules Coming

The FCC chairman tells the NAB Show that when it comes to the commission’s review, “we will not be deterred by those whose regulatory views are not guided by facts and reasons, but instead were set in stone in the era of Laverne & Shirley, Starsky & Hutch and The Captain and Tennille.”


Jessell | Pai Needs To Take Final Shot At Duopoly Reform

FCC chief Ajit Pai should finish what he started on local TV ownership reform by approving the precedent-setting station sale in Sioux Fall, S.D. Action is long overdue.


NAB Show To Feature FCC’s Pai, O’Rielly, Carr, Starks

The chairman and commissioners will appear at two different sessions at next month’s  Las Vegas gathering.

Calculating The Value Of Pai

Chairman Ajit Pai reflects on an impactful — and contentious — two years at the helm of the FCC.

Pai: FCC Working On New 3.0 Orders

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai signaled Friday that the FCC is preparing to start accepting next-gen TV (ATSC 3.0) license applications and that the Media Bureau is even now working on an order to wrap up some open issues, including the local simulcasting requirement for stations without a viable partner, and a second order to resolve various petitions for reconsideration (filed by cable operators).

FCC’s Pai To Be Keynoter At ACA Summit

Pai Cancels CES Trip Due To Shutdown

For the second year in a row, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has pulled out of his appearance at the Consumer Technology Association’s CES in Las Vegas next week. Pai was to have been interviewed in a “Fireside Chat” with CES President Gary Shapiro, which has become something of a tradition. But Pai’s office said the government shutdown — and uncertainty about how long it would last — precipitated the decision.

Pai: Russia Interfered In Net Neutrality Comments

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is acknowledging that Russia-linked email addresses weighed in during the public comment process ahead of the FCC’s net neutrality repeal last year. Pai wrote in a court filing this week that it is a “fact” that a half-million comments were submitted from Russian email addresses during the public comment period, adding that most of those comments were in favor of net neutrality.

FCC Watchdog: Pai Didn’t Act Improperly On Sinclair Disclosures

The FCC’s internal watchdog found no evidence of a “concealment or cover-up” by Chairman Ajit Pai on interactions with the White House related to the failed Sinclair-Tribune merger.

Update: FCC To Kick Off Broadcast Review

As expected, the FCC on Dec. 12 will officially launch its latest congressionally mandated “Quadrennial” review of broadcast ownership rules. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai did the unveiling Tuesday in his monthly blog post on the items the FCC plans to vote on at its next public meeting, which he does when the tentative agenda is released 21 days before the meeting.

FCC’s Pai Says He Is Sticking Around

FCC chair Ajit Pai says he has every intention of staying atop the FCC at least through the end of the president’s first term. That came in a press conference following the FCC’s monthly meeting Thursday.

Trump Chides Pai At White House Event

Politico Pro is reporting that President Trump on Tuesday needled FCC Chairman Ajit Pai over “one decision” he didn’t like, an apparent reference to Pai’s move to doom the Sinclair-Tribune merger. Trump made the comment during a White House Diwali ceremony as he introduced Pai and turned to shake his hand. “I just didn’t like one decision he made, but that’s alright,” Trump said to laughs. “Not even a little bit. But he’s independent.” Politico Pro subscribers can read the full story here.

Jessell | On TV Station Cap, Nothing May Be Something

Pai is a classic free-market deregulator. The fewer rules governing business the better he likes it. That’s why it makes some sense that he will do nothing regarding proposals to raise the FCC’s station ownership cap. Why should he? The cap is plenty high now and any change is almost certain to end up challenged in court. Doing nothing also avoids any political blowback in Washington.

FCC Chair Pai Staying For ‘Foreseeable Future’

A spokesman for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says that the chairman, who took over the post in January 2017, “plans to lead the FCC for the foreseeable future.” Pai — a Republican appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in 2012, then named chair by President Donald Trump — was asked after the FCC’s Oct. 23 public meeting whether he planned to remain in that post if the Democrats took over the House in the midterm elections, as many are predicting.

Dielectric Welcomes FCC’s Pai To Antenna Facility

Dielectric, a manufacturer of TV and FM broadcast antenna systems, recently welcomed Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, to its repack antenna facility in Lewiston, Maine. Chairman Pai was greeted by Andy Whiteside, president, and Keith Pelletier, VP and general manager with a brief discussion of Dielectric’s 75-year history. The chairman than met with key Dielectric executives, followed by a guided tour of the facility and […]