Still regaining his strength (he lost 12 pounds during the ordeal) and with a slight cough and what he calls a “shipwreck survivor” beard, the former FCC commissioner details his harrowing medical journey.
The former commissioner begins work in the law firm’s communications practice in Washington today. After his seven years at the FCC, he has been a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for the Economics of the Internet.
As he packed up his office, outgoing FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell reflected: “It’s a little sad. I love these issues. I love the way the FCC is independent,” he said. “I’ll never have another job like this. It really empowers you to do what you think is best.”
FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell announced Tuesday that, “after departing the commission on May 17, I will join the Hudson Institute’s Center for Economics of the Internet as a visiting fellow. As its mission statement articulates, the Hudson Institute is a nonpartisan policy organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom. Ensuring that the Internet marketplace remains free from unnecessary government and multilateral intervention will help achieve those noble goals. I have long admired the work of the Hudson Institute, especially its focus on how international trade can help spread liberty and improve the human condition. I look forward to joining such a distinguished group of scholars.”
Julius Genachowski is expected to announce Friday that he will be stepping down as FCC chairman after three-and-a-half years in the job. If so, the news will come two days after fellow commissioner Robert McDowell announced he was quitting and Genchowski told reporters that he had “no news” on rampant reports that he would be next.
While in the works for a while, Wednesday’s formal announcement by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell that he will be leaving the commission leaves a hole in the FCC’s ranks that will be difficult to fill. In many regards, Commissioner McDowell was a throwback to an earlier time, both at the FCC and in Washington, in that his tenure was distinguished not just by his congenial nature, but by an abiding adherence to his regulatory principles, rather than to reaching a particular result.
Republican commissioner Robert McDowell, who has served since 2006, announced today that he is leaving the FCC. He said that he has no plans “other than to take my family on a much-needed vacation starting this weekend.”
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.”
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.
During a congressional hearing on the FCC budget, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell broached the topic of putting TV political advertising files online, and noted that while transparency was a laudable goal, there are a lot more issues involved, not the least of which is loading broadcasters with up to $140,000 in annual compliance costs.
The FCC has quietly dismissed indecency complaints against TV stations and more than 6,000 programs, which should clear the way for some of the 315 pending TV license renewals, most of which are being held up by the complaints, to be processed, said Robert McDowell, FCC commissioner.