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 […]

Pai Wants More Oversight Of Tech Firms

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is calling for greater oversight of major technology companies as Congress prepares to grill executives from Facebook and Twitter this week. Pai said in blog post published Tuesday that he’s concerned about how much power the internet platform companies wield, combined with allegations that the industry is biased against conservatives.

FCC AG Clears Pai Of Sinclair Favoritism

The FCC’s attorney general, its internal watchdog, cleared the agency’s Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, of showing any favoritism toward Sinclair Broadcasting Group in the review of its now-abandoned merger plans.

Pallone: Pai Should Have Disclosed Sinclair Call

Ranking Energy & Commerce Committee member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) has asked FCC Inspector General David Hunt to investigate what he said was FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s failure to disclose a conversation he had with White House General Counsel Don McGahn about the Sinclair-Tribune merger, suggesting it could have been a “coverup.” An FCC spokesperson says partisan Democrats are trying to beat a dead horse.

Pai Knew There Was No DDoS Attack

Ajit Pai says he doubted claims the FCC’s comment system had been taken down by a cyberattack, but was asked to keep quiet until a full report was made public.

Udall To Seek Pai Press Protection Pledge

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has signaled he will use some of his time questioning FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at a Thursday  FCC oversight hearing to make sure he has journalists’ backs. That is the same day journalist organizations are getting together to push back on President Donald Trump’s attacks on mainstream media as fake news outlets in league with his Democrat opponents to undermine his presidency and policies.

House Dems Press Pai For Cyberattack Answers

Democratic lawmakers are putting heat on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai over a recent inspector general report that found the agency falsely claimed it had suffered a cyberattack that briefly took down its electronic comment system amid the backlash over its repeal of net neutrality.

Pai: Trump Hasn’t Contacted Him About Sinclair

Donald Trump has not contacted the FCC about its lack of approval for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed deal to buy Tribune Media, which Trump has called “disgraceful” on Twitter, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says.

Wheeler Decrys Trump Meddling In Sinclair Case

With his tweet voicing support for Sinclair, says former Democratic FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, President Trump attempt to influence the FCC’s handling of the Sinclair-Tribune merger moves from “a thumb on the scale to a chain-mailed fist.”


Jessell: Winners And Losers Abound in Sinclair’s Fiasco

The imminent collapse of Sinclair’s merger makes the combative station group one of the all-time losers in FCC regulatory history, but they’re not the only ones who’ve lost. Here are some of the other losers caught up in this week’s train wreck along with some of the winners. At the top of the latter group is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has clearly signaled that he is no pushover.

Pai: Move EEO To Enforcement Bureau

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed moving oversight of its Equal Employment Opportunity rules from the Media Bureau to the Enforcement Bureau. That came on what Pai identified as the 50th anniversary of the FCC’s commitment to make sure the national policy against discrimination applied to broadcast licenses as well.

Man Arrested For Sending Death Threats To FCC’s Pai

Pai Rejects Hill Request For Sinclair Review

A dozen senators called on the FCC to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group for distorting the news, and to pause its review of the pending acquisition of Tribune Media. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai immediately shot down the request, saying it would conflict with his commitment to the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

NAB 2018

Pai Says Thanks, Reiterates Reg Philosophy

The FCC chairman says his approach to broadcast regulations is “You either believe in scrapping outdated regulations or you don’t. We do.” And he thanks broadcasters for their support, especially during the controversy over net neutrality which resulted in death threats.

FCC Stonewalls Over ‘Harlem Shake’ Video

The FCC has refused a Freedom of Information request for the emails planning a net neutrality video that features Ajit Pai dancing with a lightsaber.

FCC Sued Over Media Ownership Moves

Free Press and other groups challenge what they call the FCC’s dramatic reversal of media-ownership limits that pave way for media mergers, including Sinclair-Tribune.


Sinclair Creating Bad Optics For Pai

Sinclair’s behavior in trying to merge with Tribune is doing it — and the entire broadcasting industry — no favors. By dragging out this process, and by pressing for every advantage, Sinclair is making life difficult for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has been broadcasters’ best friend in that job in decades.

Pai Wants $1B For Networks In PR, VI

Chairman Ajit Pai steps up the FCC’s efforts to help the island territories repair and expand wireless and broadband networks devastated by last year’s hurricanes.

FCC’s Pai Receives NRA Award For Courage

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai received the National Rifle Association’s “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. The NRA-sponsored award was given to Pai in recognition of months of heavy criticism over his successful push to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules last December.

FCC Probing Changes That Benefit Sinclair

By the end of last year, in a previously undisclosed move, the FCC’s inspector general, the agency’s top internal watchdog, opened an investigation into whether FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his aides had improperly pushed for TV station ownership rule changes and whether they had timed them to benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group, according to Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey and two congressional aides.

Pai Backs SpaceX Satellite Broadband Plan

“To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said today. Pai also said the proposal would increase competition among internet service providers, and he encouraged the agency’s commissioners to approve an application from SpaceX to begin the project.

Government’s 5G Network Plan Gets Panned

A reported White House proposal to nationalize a 5G network currently being developed by the private sector drew opposition Monday from telecom regulators (including all five FCC commissioners) and industry groups.

Pai Prioritizing Economic And Data Analysis

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: “It’s one week into 2018, and thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs, my New Year’s resolution to minimize sports-related verbal outbursts is already shot. But fortunately, the FCC is poised to make good on one of my top resolutions from last year: prioritizing high-quality economic and data analysis at the agency.”

FCC’s Pai Praises Carr On Renomination

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had kind words today for fellow Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr who was nominated for a full five-year term by President Trump. “I congratulate Brendan on his nomination to serve a full five-year term at the FCC,” Pai said. “He is a distinguished public servant who has hit the ground running during his first months as a Commissioner, including by leading the FCC’s efforts to expedite the deployment of wireless infrastructure.  I look forward to continuing to work with him in the months and years to come.”

Death Threats Led Pai To Cancel CES Visit

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his scheduled appearance at the major upcoming tech industry trade show after receiving death threats, two agency sources told Recode on Thursday. It’s the second known incident in which Pai’s safety may have been at risk, after a bomb threat abruptly forced the chairman to halt his controversial vote to scrap the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules in December 2017.

FCC’s Pai Cancels CES Appearance

Following a controversial vote to end Obama-era net neutrality protections, the agency’s chairman calls off plans to be a panelist at the tech industry’s annual trade show.


Pai’s Got Strong Hand On Ownership Dereg

The FCC chairman, by restoring the UHF discount earlier this year, has for all practical purposes substantially increased the national TV ownership cap. Approving Sinclair-Tribune early next year will reaffirm that fact. The commission’s rulemaking set to launch on Dec. 14 to examine changing or eliminating the ownership limit may turn out simply to be a codification.

Pai Explains Why Net Neutrality Must Go

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Tuesday he is proposing rolling back “net neutrality” rules to where they were three years ago, a move he says will not damage online access, as critics have argued.

Pai Decries Harassment Over Net Neutrality

After proposing to dismantle net neutrality rules, and setting off a firestorm of criticism, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, said his family has become the target of harassment.

Pai Moves To Scrap Net Neutrality Rules

The chairman says his proposed order — to be released tomorrow and voted on on Dec. 14 — would mean “the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.” In addition, he said, “the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015.”

Pai Triggers Review Of National Station Cap

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulates a draft of a rulemaking to consider retaining, modifying or eliminating the cap that, with the restoration of the UHF discount earlier this year, now enables TV station groups to reach as many as 78% of TV homes. A vote on the proposal is set for Dec. 14.

Dems Want Pai-Trump-Sinclair Investigation

Senators led by Cantwell and Udall say there’s a troubling timeline and call for Pai to recuse himself from Sinclair-related business until the matter is fully investigated.

House Dems Want Pai Investigation

Top House Democrats are calling for the chairman of the FCC to be investigated over whether he has been improperly clearing regulatory hurdles for the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending acquisition of Tribune Media.


Trump Tweets Cast Cloud Over FCC, DOJ

The president’s steady stream of anti-media rants puts government officials like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and DOJ’s Makan Delrahim in a tough spot. Every time they take an action that negatively affects a news organization that Trump has targeted, they will be accused of acting as an agent for Trump. So, why is Pai making excuses for him?