Julius Genachowski Said to Be FCC Choice
January 13, 2009 at 5:12 AM (PT)
JULIUS GENACHOWSKI, a technology executive and former FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION official who worked for BARACK OBAMA’s campaign, is the president-elect’s choice to lead the agency, a Democratic official told BLOOMBERG NEWS. As head of the body that regulates telephone, cable and broadcast companies, GENACHOWSKI will face pressure for action to expand Internet access and improve emergency wireless communications.
He also will deal with the national switch to digital television, when major stations must stop sending traditional analog signals. Congress set the transition for FEBRUARY 17th. The OBAMA transition team has asked lawmakers to delay the change, citing confusion among consumers and a funding shortfall in the program subsidizing digital equipment some viewers will need.
Senate confirmation would be required before GENACHOWSKI can follow Republican KEVIN MARTIN as FCC Chairman. MARTIN, who hasn’t disclosed his plans, can stay on as a commission member until his term expires in 2011.
GENACHOWSKI, 46, was chief counsel at the FCC in the 1990s. He later worked at BARRY DILLER’s IAC/INTERACTIVECORP and helped found ROCK CREEK VENTURES, which provides funding for Web startups.
He has known OBAMA since they attended HARVARD LAW SCHOOL. He raised at least $500,000 for OBAMA during the presidential election campaign, according to the president-elect’s website.
Upon learning that President-elect BARACK OBAMA is expected to name GENACHOWSKI to chair the FCC, NAB Pres./CEO DAVID K. REHR issued the following statement:
"JULIUS GENACHOWSKI has a keen intellect, a passion for public service, and a deep understanding of the important role that free and local broadcasting plays in American life. NAB salutes President-elect OBAMA on this superb choice to lead the FCC."