FCC Comes Into Focus

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As a very busy, eventful and troubling day drew to a close Friday, the FCC picture grew much clearer.

Julius Genachowski is the new chairman after the president signs a commissioning document and he is sworn in, either ceremonially of on the fly.

Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell, who would have made a crackerjack NAB president were it not for a couple of issues on which he parted company and the fact that he got renominated to the FCC, has gotten his first full term. And acting Chairman Michael Copps goes back to being a commissioner, though one whose status is burnished by a crackerjack job with the DTV transition–candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize, the prize being, by all accounts, a less stressful commission under what should have been more stressful circumstances.

Genachowski’s arrival will mean that Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein needs to quickly get his nomination hearing and confirmation as new head of the Rural Utilities Service at the Department of Agriculture.

That is because his, the longest term at four years left, is the one Genachowski is filling, so once Julius G. is in the house, Adelstein is no longer a commissioner. That could be as early as next week’s July 2 public meeting.

Also somewhat clearer are the other two vacancies.

In a flurry of activity not seen since the last flurry of activity, the nominations of Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn were sent to the Senate, which means they can now get their own nomination hearings and Senate votes. though hopefully more expeditiously.

Baker’s was a whirlwind courtship, going from rumored “intention to nominate” to official nominee in the space of only a few hours.

So, perhaps within a few days, the new FCC will be Genachowski, Copps and McDowell, with Clyburn and Baker the players to (officially) be named later.

Troubling, of course, because of the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, two cultural touchstones for boomers not ready to be reminded that Farrah was in her 60’s and Jackson would not get to attempt his comeback from a very strange and sad place.

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