For a good stretch of the first decade of the new millennium, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) as a leading playing when broadcasting issues splashed onto Capitol Hill, including the introduction of the Resolution of Disapproval over the Michael Powell 2003 attempt to ease media ownership rules. He chose not to run for re-election in 2010 and has joined an agency that provides speakers for various events.
In addition to battling the FCC and Powell, even roping in an unlikely ally in former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), thus proving the point that many broadcast issues tend to cut across the aisle, Dorgan was instrumental in putting the community of Minot ND on the map, bringing it up time and again since it was the site of a train wreck, a toxin spill and a radio cluster that he felt did not respond appropriately to the crisis.
The fact that the cluster was owned by radio giant Clear Channel helped fuel the backlash against allowing further media consolidation. Clear Channel and its local management have long disputed the narrative of the story.
Dorgan is now on the roster of Leading Authorities, headed by Mark French. LA says his particular areas of expertise include “…the current political environment, energy policy, and America’s economic outlook.”
Many in the communications business may not appreciate all of Dorgan’s views on the topic, but he was very much in tune with them, and was a member of the Senate Commerce Committee that was the primary venue for dealing with them. It is possible his track record could get him some gigs on the anti-consolidation watchdog circuit.
French commented, “Senator Dorgan has devoted his career to fighting for the interests of rural America. We look forward to the expertise he can bring audiences on topics such as agricultural policy, fiscal responsibility and oversight, energy security, and American industry.”
Dorgan joins three other departing senators on the Leading Authority roster, including Judd Gregg (R-NH), Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Evan Bayh (D-IN). None of the three demonstrated a particular interest in communications issues.