Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), former chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and a longtime supporter of broadcasters, is retiring at the end of the current session, his office confirmed.
He is the longest-serving member of Congress in history, having been elected in 1955.
"John Dingell has been a force of nature on Capitol Hill for more than a half a century, and his legislative accomplishments will stand the test of time," said National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith, himself a former Senator. Upon his retirement, broadcasters will be losing a great friend, but Congress and the American people will be losing a patriot and living legend."
Dingell's service in Congress goes back even longer than 1955. He started as a page in 1937.
The congressman has been notable for his "Dingellgrams" (a request for info from an agency), and for asking questions in hearings that can be answered with a yes or no.
He pushed to insure broadcasters were treated fairly in the first DTV transition and had taken up the same standard for what will essentially be the second transition following FCC incentive spectrum auctions.
Dingell had been pushing the FCC to resolve Canadian border issues with TV station repacking after the auctions, concerned about Michigan viewers losing TV service. He also warned against limiting bidders in those spectrum auctions.