President-elect Joe Biden has tapped his FCC transition team and it includes several FCC vets including one of the leading candidates for the chairmanship, former commissioner and acting chair Mignon Clyburn. Leading the Biden FCC transition team is John Williams, senior counsel at House Judiciary.
Former FCC Commissioner and acting chair Mignon Clyburn made a case for the “public-private” partnership of regulator-industry as the blueprint for advancing a more diverse and inclusive media landscape. Clyburn was delivering her virtual acceptance speech at the Media Institute’s First Amendment awards ceremony.
Former Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn is advising T-Mobile and Sprint on their proposed $26 billion merger as the two companies seek regulatory approval from her former agency. She said that she sees the work as a continuation of her efforts in government to expand internet access to hard-to-reach and overlooked communities.
The commissioner adds NeÃ…Å¸e Guendelsberger as wireline legal adviser and Michael Scurato as media legal adviser, while saying goodbye to J. David Grossman, her chief of staff, and Claude Aiken, the commissioner’s wireline legal adviser.
Sources say Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has settled on FCC official Geoffrey Starks as his pick to take over the seat of Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn upon her expected departure. Starks is an assistant chief in the agency’s Enforcement Bureau.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Sen. Richard Blumenthal argue that seven years after merging with NBCUniversal, the cable giant could still undermine competition.
In separate dissenting statements, Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn says the FCC majority erred in completely eliminating the rule. Instead of taking a “sledge hammer” to it, the three Republicans should have agreed to a compromise, like a more lenient waiver policy. And Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says the action will “hollow out” broadcasting’s tradition of local service.
I can almost understand Republican Chairman Ajit Pai’s muted response to Trump’s tweeted threats against NBC’s TV station licenses, but not those of Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn. If what they’ve said so far reflects their passion for protecting media from Trump at the FCC, the networks and their licensed stations may be in a little trouble.
Chairman Pai says the Media Bureau is immediately ending the heightened scrutiny of joint sales and shared services agreements.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn really wants you to know she’s not one of those “inside the Beltway” types. “I am very different if you to compare me to my colleagues,” she says. Referring several times to her “Southern accent,” she adds, “I am very much outside of the Beltway.”
The 56th annual conference for MFM and BCCA will be held May 23-25 in Denver with the theme “An Avalanche of Knowledge, Networking, and New Ideas.”
Mignon Clyburn, one of three Democrats on the FCC, wants to narrow the scope of new Net neutrality rules that are set for a vote on Thursday. She has asked Chairman Tom Wheeler to roll back some of the restrictions before the full commission votes on them, FCC officials say.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn say the commission’s revised JSA policy is working to protect competition and diversity in local TV markets, resulting in “real and replicable progress of which the broadcast industry should take note.”
Comcast and Time Warner Cable are sponsoring a dinner honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at a time when the agency is weighing whether to approve a multibillion-dollar merger between the two companies. Comcast will pay $110,000 to be a top-level “presenting sponsor” at the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner in September, at which Clyburn is receiving the “diversity advocate” award, according to a foundation spokeswoman.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn blogs that as a result of her meeting last week at the NAB Show with a group of network affiliates, she came away with “the realization that today’s media universe can no longer be viewed through myopic lenses and historic silos, and that the demarcation between over-the-air, cable, Internet and satellite broadcasting makes erstwhile legacy distinctions much harder to maintain.”
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.”
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who designed the initial study as acting FCC chairman last year, said the study of newsroom practices was an attempt by the agency to better understand, not control, the industries it regulates, including the news industry. The study has seen backlash from Republicans concerned about the chilling affect it could have on the country’s newsrooms, prompting current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to scale it back.
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 FCC’s sports blackout rule is, in essence, one of three FCC bulwarks that help preserve broadcasters’ local exclusivity to their programming. Any loss in stations’ exclusivity leads to a loss of advertising income, and more important, a loss of muscle in their retransmission consent negotiations with cable and satellite. Local exclusivity, like the sports blackout rule, is fundamental to both of broadcasters’ revenue streams.
In what may have been her last move as Acting FCC chairwoman, Mignon Clyburn on Friday proposed to end the sports blackout rule, which would clear the way for NFL teams to blackout local broadcasts of their NFL games when they fail to sell out their stadiums.Tom Wheeler is expected to take over the chairmanship on Monday.
Former cable and wireless phone lobbyist Tom Wheeler will take the helm of the FCC as chairman on Nov. 4 following his requisite swearing in. No word yet on his staff, but Diane Cornell, Ruth Milkman and Phil Verveer could play roles. Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt concedes that Wheeler was not his first choice. Out of loyalty, he says, he actively backed former aide Karen Kornbluh.
It’s still a vague threat, but FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn told reporters today that she’s “ready to consider appropriate action” if CBS and Time Warner Cable don’t settle the week-long contract dispute that has left millions of TWC subscribers unable to watch CBS and Showtime.
FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn showed during the agency’s monthly meeting Thursday that she isn’t just going to be a bench-warmer for nominee Tom Wheeler. With Wheeler’s Senate confirmation perhaps weeks — if not months — away, Clyburn presided over a full agenda in her first meeting, which included an update on the FCC’s progress in holding the all-important auction of wireless spectrum.
Mignon Clyburn, the FCC’s acting chairwoman, named her top aides on Thursday. P. Michele Ellison, currently the chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, will serve as Clyburn’s chief of staff. Dave Grimaldi, who was Clyburn’s chief of staff when she was a commissioner, will be her chief counsel and legal adviser.
Democrat Mignon Clyburn makes history today as the first woman to head the FCC. That history, however, will be short-lived. Clyburn is only keeping the seat warm until the Senate approves President Obama’s nominee of Tom Wheeler as chairman. Clyburn’s first meeting as acting chairwoman will be June 27.
First, there will be little or no change in the incentive auction policy. Look for Wheeler to push the auction with all the zeal of the outgoing Genachowski. What’s near impossible to divine is where Wheeler will go on two issues that should be of more immediate concern to broadcasters: ownership and retransmission consent.
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.
The FCC wants to do it in 2014 and some involved say that’s possible, but others claim there are too many complications and details that must be worked out to make sure the very complicated process goes smoothly. FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell told a CES audience: “So, while I hope it’s 2014 … folks just need to realistically understand that history tells us that these things can take longer than you hope or expect, especially when you have literally the most complicated spectrum auction in world history.”
The fiscal cliff wasn’t the only piece of business that went down to the wire in the Senate. On New Year’s Day, the upper chamber confirmed Joshua Wright (R) to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission and approved the renomination of Mignon Clyburn (D) to the FCC. The last-minute confirmations mean that both agencies will begin the year with the requisite five commissioners. Clyburn was a slam dunk for approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The FCC’s vote is a setback for broadcasters who were asking for a three-year extension of the rule that requires cable systems to offer analog versions of must-carry channels. Once the rule is gone, viewers with analog TV sets will need a set-top box to continue to receive them.
Fierce opposition to FCC Chairman Genachowski’s plan to sunset cable carriage of analog signals is being led by independent stations, especially those with religious and foreign-language formats. Key to their efforts is convincing Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to oppose the plan.
President Obama nominated Mignon Clyburn on Wednesday to serve a second term as a commissioner on the FCC. Clyburn is known as a liberal on the five-member commission and is a vocal advocate for media diversity.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell says that rather than adopting Chairman Genachowski’s plan, he would prefer that stations “aggregate” the spending of individual candidates and PACs and report that on a weekly or daily basis rather than requiring them to put the rates of all political buys on the Web. And colleague Mignon Clyburn says she’s open to persuasion on the matter. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.
Veteran telecom regulator Mignon Clyburn championed conditions for the Comcast-NBCU license transfers. She will speak at the American Cable Association’s 18th annual gathering in Washington on April 12.