Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell won't be at the media ownership hearing in Nashville Monday.
His office released the following statement about a half hour before the hearing was slated to begin.
"I regret that I am unable to attend the Commission’s media ownership field hearing in Nashville.
"The debate over our broadcast ownership rules elicits the opinions and passions of people from all walks of life from all over the country. I value those viewpoints and look forward to hearing more from the perspectives of all interested parties."
I thank Commissioner [Deborah Taylor] Tate, her staff and the staff of the Media Bureau for all of their efforts to organize the hearing. I am sorry that I will miss the event, as the comments from the panelists and members of the public surely will make a great contribution to the Commission’s ownership inquiry."
McDowell has been expecting to go and had his plane ticket, but his media advisor made the trip while he stayed back, likely to continue to review the AT&T/Bell South case, which he has been cleared to vote on by the FCC's general counsel's office. He has not yet announced whether he will vote or not.
As late as Sunday night fellow commissioner Jonathan Adelstein was still expecting all the commissioners to be flying down together Monday morning, and the prepared testimony of at least one of the music industry witnessess included McDowell's name in his introduction.