The head-scratching inside the Beltway continues as the wait for a fifth Democratic Federal Communications Commission member — and for whoever is to be named the agency’s permanent chair — continues. Initial delays were thought to involve a decision between acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel and current commissioner Geoffrey Starks. But the name of broadband backer and one-time Public Knowledge head Gigi Sohn has surfaced as a new possible alternative — and one for whom the buzz had been growing
Why not? I’d like a cushy government job as a bridge to retirement and I’m fully qualified. I’m a winner, I can tell it like it is using old newsroom language and I’ll schlong anybody who gets in Trump’s way. Here’s my pitch.
On Tom Wheeler’s second day as chairman of the FCC, or as he called it, the “optimism agency,” Wheeler blogged. He talked about himself, the staff he appointed on Monday, the FCC’s place in history, and he began to set the framework for a Wheeler-led FCC policy. Call him the blogging chairman. No other FCC chair shared as much of himself or his point of view as quickly and as openly. Wheeler’s blog post, was based on remarks he delivered Tuesday to the FCC staff.
His staff at the commission include Ruth Milkman, chief of staff; Philip Verveer, senior counselor; Gigi Sohn, special counsel; and Maria Kirby, legal adviser for media, consumer, governmental affairs and enforcement.
Congressional reaction to Tom Wheeler’s nomination to be the next FCC chairman was sparse. But hotly anticipated was a statement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who campaigned heavily for his former staffer and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. Rockefeller’s statement finally came Friday afternoon, two days after President Obama submitted the nomination. The statement from the chairman of the Commerce Committee, which has oversight of the FCC, was gracious, but brief.
The just-nominated FCC chairman has a cable and wireless track record that may make broadcasters nervous. A look at his Mobile Musings blog shows why — as well as offering tips about the sorts of potential business opportunities that he might be amenable to helping broadcasters pursue.
The former head of NCTA and CTIA is nominated to succeed Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman. In a historic first, the president taps FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to be acting chair until Wheeler is confirmed by the Senate, making her the commission’s first African-American chair.
Tracie Powell: “Newspapers may not operate on airwaves that require FCC licenses, and journalism is certainly not a top priority for the commission, but many decisions the agency makes directly impact our industry; journalists have a far greater stake in what the FCC does than simply reporting on the commission’s actions, and we should care about who President Obama nominates next to head the agency.”
Julius Genachowski has yet to say anything officially about departing as chairman of the FCC, but Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem are already campaigning to replace him with a her. A petition drive launched by their Women’s Media Center suggests it is high time for the nation’s media agency to have its first female chairman.
President Barack Obama’s reelection means a Democrat will remain in the driver’s seat at the FCC next year. But just who that Democrat will be is an open question.