FCC Chairman Genachowski to exit


In a move that comes as no surprise whatsoever, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made it official – he’s leaving the Commission within weeks. The announcement comes during the same week that Commissioner Robert McDowell announced his exit.

Genachowski did not pin down an exit date, saying it would take place in the coming weeks.

Here are his full remarks, made to FCC staff Friday morning 3/22/13.

“Over the past four years, we’ve focused the FCC on broadband, wired and wireless, working to drive economic growth and improve the lives of all Americans. And thanks to you, the Commission’s employees, we’ve taken big steps to build a future where broadband is ubiquitous and bandwidth is abundant, where innovation and investment are flourishing.

“To connect all Americans to broadband, we adopted a landmark overhaul of multi-billion dollar universal service programs, modernizing them from telephone to broadband and creating the Connect America Fund and the Mobility Fund, an unprecedented commitment to broadband infrastructure.

“To unleash the enormous opportunities of mobile, we pioneered incentive auctions and other cutting-edge spectrum policies.

“To fuel America’s innovation economy, we put in place the first rules to preserve Internet freedom and openness.

“To drive competition and empower consumers, we opposed and modified transactions where necessary, deployed technology to drive transparency, and took unprecedented enforcement actions.

“We helped harness the power of digital technologies to give students a better chance, people better health care, and make Americans safer in their homes and communities, while also guarding against digital threats and strengthening cybersecurity.

“Today, America’s broadband economy is thriving, with record-setting private investment; unparalleled innovation in networks, devices and apps; and renewed U.S. leadership around the world.

“While there are challenges ahead in this fast-moving, globally competitive sector, a revitalized FCC is prepared to continue taking them on. I’m deeply grateful to President Obama for his vision, friendship, and the opportunity to serve our country.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done together to harness technology to advance the American dream for the 21st century. I know you’ll continue to fight hard to fulfill this agency’s vital mission, and I look forward to continuing to work together until my last day at the agency, and to count you as family and as an inspiration for long after that.”

RBR-TVBR observation: For the most part during the Genachowski administration, broadcasting was the forgotten stepchild. In fact, if one were to cast broadcasters in the role of Jan Brady, their celebrated exasperated quote would be “Broadband, broadband, broadband!”

Genachowski entered office just as the broadcast television transition to digital was being completed, and just before the 2010 Quadrennial Review of broadcast ownership regulation was set to begin. The Review is still pending; and the largest proceeding involving television since has found local broadcasters defending their turf from – you guessed it – encroaching wannabe broadband suppliers.

Meanwhile on the radio side, incumbent FM stations are waiting to see the effect of new LPFM and FM translators on the airwaves – the major change which has taken place in that medium under Genachowski.

Genachowski has at least indicated a willingness to consider media cross-ownership, and he has wisely steered clear of any direct intervention in retransmission consent. In fact, being largely ignored by the FCC isn’t an entirely bad thing, when you think about it.