FCC Chairman Defends Budget, Political File Proposal Before House Panel
March 21, 2012 at 4:02 AM (PT)
Defending his agency's budget proposal, FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI told the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on MONDAY that "few, if any, federal agencies deliver a higher return on investment than the FCC." The agency is asking for a 2% increase in its budget to $346,782,000.
GENACHOWSKI focused his presentation on the proposed incentive auctions of television spectrum, saying that the auctions are "an opportunity to unleash vitally needed additional spectrum for mobile broadband and create tremendous value for American consumers, while raising billions of dollars for deficit reduction."
But the issue of requiring television stations to post their political advertising files online was raised at the hearing, with Rep. JO ANNE EMERSON (R-MO) asking "why do you care about this? ... Why in the world is this a big priority?" GENACHOWSKI said that with today's technology, "The question is if common sense says to put that information online." As to why radio is not included in the proposal, GENACHOWSKI said that the agency has not proposed expanding the requirement to the medium, while Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL voiced concern in his testimony that the proposed rules "would require broadcasters to reveal proprietary and competitively sensitive advertising and rate information online." GENACHOWSKI also once again said that the Fairness Doctrine ("a bad First Amendment idea") is not returning, with MCDOWELL warning against the use of license renewal hearings and shorter terms to indirectly regulate content.
And two Committee members followed up the hearing with a letter to GENACHOWSKI asking about the proposed political file rule. Reps. JOHN DINGELL (D-MI) and GENE GREEN (D-TX) said that they are "skeptical" of the rule because they think radio stations and cable and satellite channels should be included.