FCC Commissioners Talk To House Subcommittee
September 18, 2009 at 3:32 AM (PT)
In his statement to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI touted his attempts to "hit the ground running, seeking to revitalize and retool the agency" since his arrival. GENACHOWSKI outlined the Commission's progress on a broadband policy, its inquiries into wireless innovation and investment, the recently released report on the Commission's public safety procedures, and reforming the Commission through a "top-to-bottom review."
I have learned a few things during my brief tenure as Chairman ... repeating relentlessly is sometimes necessary. I do not support reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine either through a front door or a back door.
Nodding towards critics fearful of possible attempts by the Commission to establish content regulation, GENACHOWSKI told the panel, "I have also learned a few things during my brief tenure as Chairman. For one, repeating relentlessly is sometimes necessary. I do not support reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine either through a front door or a back door. I believe deeply in the First Amendment and oppose any effort to censor or impose speech on the basis of political viewpoint or opinion."
Copps: More Public Service Programming Needed
Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS lauded the Commission's recent work on the pending broadband plan and the DTV transition, but said that the Commission has "not been sufficiently attentive" to enforcing public service programming requirements on broadcasters, saying, "We rely on our broadcast media for so much of the news we must have, for emergency and public safety information, for public affairs programming essential to our civic dialogue, and for programming that supports the health and welfare of our children and reflects the social and cultural diversity that comprises the great tapestry that is AMERICA." He also called for attention to be paid to the "crisis in journalism," decrying the budget cuts that have endangered "the vibrancy of the civic dialogue on which our democracy depends."
McDowell: More Innovation, Less Regulation
Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL focused his remarks on the growth of wireless and broadband, but added, "it is my hope that the plan not take a heavy-handed, top-down, command-and-control industrial policy approach in an attempt to promote more broadband access and usage. Instead, I hope that it will be imaginative, pragmatic, flexible and the next step in an open and iterative process that will make helping unserved AMERICA its top priority. Our policies should encourage abundance and competition to give consumers more choices, life-changing innovations and lower prices, all while obviating the need for regulation and rationing."
Clyburn: Ownership Diversity Data Needed
Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN decried "the unfortunate state of minority media ownership in the broadcasting industry," citing the "shamefully low" percentages of minorIty and female ownership of stations and calling for "credible, reliable, and complete data" to help diagnose and address the problem.
Baker: Spectrum Policy Reform Needed
And Commissioner MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER focused her remarks on the broadband plan and voiced her support for "a more efficient, transparent, and flexible spectrum policy."
All five commissioners noted their support for dropping the third-adjacent interference protection for full-power stations against LPFMs, thus allowing the creation of more low-power operations.