Expectations are FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai will be named interim chairman of the agency later this week when Tom Wheeler steps down on Inauguration Day. The clearest signal that’s likely to happen came when incoming White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed on a call with reporters that Pai met with the president-elect in Trump Tower on Monday.
The two Republicans on the FCC — Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly — say they plan to overturn the commission’s net neutrality rules after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Phil Kurz, TVNewsCheck’s technology editor, urges FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to advocate to the incoming Trump Administration for ATSC 3.0 receivers in mobile phones at some future date as a way to promote public safety for all Americans — not just those in front of their next-generation TVs.
As one of two Republican commissioners who voted to end the FCC’s ban on television-newspaper crossownership only to come up short, Ajit Pai summed up his — and the industry’s — frustration: “We end[ed] up keeping a rule on the books that almost no one at the FCC actually believes make sense any longer. This is a shame because our regulations should always be shaped only by the facts and law — not crass political considerations.”
The FCC’s Republican commissioners release a terse statement, lashing out at a decision to not include their input in the agency’s latest Video Competition Report. “Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this move to sneak out the door on a Friday afternoon 117 pages of rationalizations for the commission’s various ill-advised attempts to micromanage a market that is objectively more vibrant and competitive than at any time in history.”
When the FCC Incentive Auction task force released data on a simulation of the upcoming broadcast incentive spectrum auction Wednesday, GOP commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly promptly took the results and the process to task. Wheeler then pushed back in a press conference following the FCC’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday.
GOP FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is taking the lead in crafting and articulating the conservative argument against Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan, which represents one of the most sweeping efforts to regulate communications in the agency’s history.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai called on the agency to dismiss petitions that would prevent broadcasters from using the Washington Redskins team name on the air. He said the move would squelch debate and burden legitimate news reporting.
During a speech in Buffalo, N.Y., FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai called on the agency to hold a vote to remove the sports blackout rules, which keep cable and satellite companies from airing games if those games are blacked out on local broadcast stations. “I hope my fellow FCC commissioners will join me in voting to eliminate” the sports blackout rule, he said.
Tensions between broadcasters and the FCC have gotten so high that FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wonders “if it’s time to call Dr. Phil and see if he is available to mediate.” In a speech to the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters today, Pai extended an olive branch to the industry, saying: “Every segment of the industry we regulate should have confidence that the Commission will give them a fair hearing, and none should be under the impression that the FCC is out to get them.”
At the meeting in Las Vegas the board tells the FCC commissioners its March 31 decision to crack down on joint sales agreements appeared to be “arbitrary and capricious.”
After Free Press’s Lauren Wilson suggests in Tweet that FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s concern for people of color is insincere, Pai Tweets back that he is proud of his “Indian heritage and I am never going to apologize for standing for what I believe is right.” Wilson then Tweeted an apology. The exchange came in the context of the controversy surrounding FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to ban joint sales agreements, which Free Press supports and Pai opposes.
The commissioners will take part in the Inside the Beltway Style” on Tuesday, April 8, at 2:30 p.m. at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.
The Republican FCC commissioner says the agency should consider raising the cap that limits the reach of TV station groups to 39% of TV homes at the same time it decides what to do about the UHF discount, one factor in calculating that reach.The effect of eliminating the discount, he says, would only be to “substantially tighten the national ownership limit.”
If the FCC ultimately chooses to set the prices in the reverse auction for broadcasters’ spectrum, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says, they need to be high enough to get broadcasters to offer up their spectrum. “My preference is for prices to be determined by the market, rather than set by fiat,”
Since joining the commission last May, Ajit Pai has has been scoring major points with broadcasters with a number of his positions, including his spirited defense of joint sales and shared services agreements that have allowed TV stations to operate two stations in small markets. Says NAB’s Dennis Wharton: “From Day 1 at the FCC, it was clear that Commissioner Pai is sincere, engaging and razor-sharp smart. He’s also unafraid to challenge false claims about broadcasting, as his support for JSAs and SSAs demonstrates.”
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says that despite the temporary hold on the commission’s review of its ownership rules, the proposal to stop broadcasters from using joint sales agreements to operate two stations in small markets “is very much on the table.”
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on a proposal to tighten up on the use of joint sales agreements and shared services agreements: “If the FCC effectively prohibits these agreements, fewer stations in small-town America will offer news programming, and they will invest less in newsgathering. And the economics suggest that there likely will be fewer television stations, period.”
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, the newest Republican on the panel, is proving anything but shy about establishing his conservative credentials from the get-go. In a speech in Pennsylvania and in his first dissenting vote opposing the Democratic majority, Pai is making it clear that he isn’t just going to be a go-along-to-get-along commissioner.
A bipartisan pair of FCC commissioners were sworn into office today, making the commission complete for the first time in nearly a year. Jessica Rosenworcel, a former Senate Commerce Committee senior communications counsel, will fill a Democratic seat on the FCC and Ajit Pai, a former FCC aide, will fill a Republican seat.
The Senate confirmed GOP nominee Ajit Pai and former Senate Commerce Committee aide Jessica Rosenworcel, the Democratic nominee today.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Friday released holds he had placed on two nominees to the FCC. Grassley had placed the holds on Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel months ago and had demanded FCC documents on the agency’s decision to grant a waiver to LightSquared, the politically connected telecommunications firm that wanted to set up a new 4G wireless network.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) strongly denied suggestions by Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that any sort of settlement in the impasse over Grassley’s hold on FCC nominees Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel in the near future.
Late last year, President Obama nominated Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai to fill two vacancies on the five-person commission. Both nominations are hung up in the Senate for reasons that have nothing to do with the nominees themselves. They are pawns in a couple of fights with the FCC by some Senate Republicans. However, both nominees have strong credentials for the FCC jobs, according to FCC watchers. Here’s a look at their backgrounds.
For the second time this year, the FCC Wednesday held its monthly meeting short of two commissioners. It may stay that way for a while longer. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has no intentions of lifting his hold on FCC nominees Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, who are caught in the middle of Grassley’s beef with how the FCC has handled LightSquared’s requests to build out a wireless network.