Washington

Adelstein Takes Aim at Martin Over Time Warner Cable Spin-Off Hold Up

Says new spirit of cooperation has infused commission, staff no longer "intimidated" 2/20/2009 05:43:44 PM Eastern

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein took aim at former Chairman Kevin Martin over what Adelstein called the "no brainer" approval of the spin-off of Time Warner's cable assets.

In an interview for C-SPAN's The Communicators series, Adelstein pointed out that it had taken the FCC over 220 days to hold up what he said should have essentially been a "rubber stamp" approval of a routine spin-off, calling its hold-up an abuse of power.

"That was being held up over an unrelated issue," he said. "The previous chairman felt he was going to take unrelated issues like a la carte and try to force them into what would otherwise be a rubber stamp. Now, I'm not one to rubber stamp media transactions, but this was deconsolidation. This was a cable company dealing with a lot of the problems Congress was concerned about with integrated cable companies that had programming and distribution."

He also pointed out that it had been difficult for "marketplace participants to do their business with that kind of abuse of power," which he said "is not going to happen under this watch," referring to that of FCC Chairman Michael Copps, who he praised for his handling of the commission as interim chairman.

In fact, Adelstein fairly gushed about the new spirit of cooperation he suggested had infused the commission. "It's really a fabulous working environment for all of us," he said. "We're working together extraordinarily well. Even if we don't agree on everything, the communication is much better than it used to be. The new chairman has undertaken what I call glasnost." He said they got along well under Martin, but that the way he ran the operation prevented a free flow of information.

"Our staff no longer feels that they are being intimidated from communicating directly with us about their concerns. I can't tell you how many staff have come up to me and said what a relief it is."

 

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