Adelstein: FCC Not 'KGB-Like' Anymore, Will Probe PPM
April 21, 2009 at 3:36 PM (PT)
In what may be his final appearance at the NAB as a member of the FCC, departing Commissioner JONATHAN ADELSTEIN predicted that the imminent Democratic-led Commission will not act like the KGB and that a PPM probe is in the offing.
ADELSTEIN and NTIA Acting Assistant Secretary ANNA GOMEZ participated in a panel billed as a discussion of "A New Day In WASHINGTON Regulation," keyed to the change in administration and moderated by attorney ANTOINETTE COOK BUSH, held in LAS VEGAS TUESDAY afternoon.
He asserted that the PPM inquiry would not necessarily be adversarial but, 'We need to find out the answers, We need to find out the facts.
Although ADELSTEIN is scheduled to leave the Commission later this year to take over the RURAL UTILITY SERVICE of the DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, he nonetheless predicted, "We will not have a KGB-like atmosphere at the FCC any more," which drew a reaction from the crowd. He mentioned that he also didn't expect more "blue box" incidents, explaining that staffers would sometimes come to work and discover their belongings in a blue box to be moved to another department.
Leading issues that ADELSTEIN expects to be dealt with in the coming period include an investigation into PPMs. He asserted that the PPM inquiry would not necessarily be adversarial but, "We need to find out the answers, We need to find out the facts," noting that the meters work by sending codes over the air and asking "should we allow it" if it is not accredited. He also said that he is looking forward to action on ownership diversity and parental control technology to be placed on media (pursuant to the Congressional act mandating the inquiry).
Both ADELSTEIN and GOMEZ expect continued focus on the DTV transition and expansion of broadband. GOMEZ said that her department is looking towards diversity of media ownership as well, plus broadband deployment.
On the NAB's push to put FM chips into cell phones, ADELSTEIN said that while he could not speak for the Commission, he personally thinks that the idea is "very good," being inexpensive and quick to implement, and would allow more information to be imparted through the Emergency Alert System than can be sent through alternate means like text messaging.
ADELSTEIN also approvingly mentioned CLEAR CHANNEL's proposed "localism" initiative, saying "here's what I'm talking about" in forming local advisory boards and adding PSAs without undue financial burdens on the broadcaster. "It's our job to push you along a little ways" on localism, ADELSTEIN said, but he added that "a lot of this can be done on your own."
GOMEZ called the OBAMA administration "clearly ... the administration of technology and innovation.... (OBAMA) understands the importance of technology in this country. .. for the benefit of all Americans." Apologizing for "sounding too campaigny," she nevertheless touted the administration's "transparency" and used the stimulus bill as an example. ADELSTEIN, also a Democrat, joined in the praise for OBAMA's administration, noting the announcement of a new federal CTO and predicted "a level of coordination like we've never seen."