As expected, Democrat FCC Commmissoner Michael Copps has been named acting chairman of the FCC.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin resigned that post as of Jan. 20.
“I am honored to be designated today as Acting Chairman of the FCC,” said Copps
“I thank President Obama for his confidence in me and for this opportunity to serve. I know that I have a truly gifted and terrific team to work with. I pledge every effort I am capable of to help steer the Commission through its current transition to new leadership.”
Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell issued a statement congratulating Copps.
"I am pleased that President Obama has announced that my friend and colleague, Mike Copps, will serve as acting chairman of the Commission," said McDowell. "I appreciate the sacrifices Beth, Mike and the Copps' family have made during his distinguished public service career. I look forward to continuing to work with him at this unique time."
The Obama administration is expected to name tech adviser Julius Genachowski to be full-time chairman shortly, but it has not yet made that announcement.
“I am thrilled to congratulate my good friend and trusted colleague, Michael Copps, on his designation as Acting Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “ said Copps’ fellow Democrat, Jonathan Adelstein. “The FCC will benefit from his leadership, experience, and abiding commitment to the public interest.
“He understands that public service is a sacred trust with the American people, and he has repeatedly demonstrated his sterling character, willingness to build consensus, and deep commitment to serve all Americans. During our six years on the Commission, he has consistently worked to ensure that consumers reap the benefits of a responsive and diverse media, robust and ubiquitous broadband Internet access, and reliable public safety communications. With the transition to digital television almost upon us, he will provide urgently needed guidance to put us back on track….”
Copps signaled at the FCC's most recent public meeting Jan. 15 week that he expected the Media Bureau would be pretty busy over the next few weeks or months.
The FCC commission faces a DTV transition in four weeks, unless the date is changed, for example, including helping broadcasters fill in coverage gaps and inplementing the so-called analog nightlight bill that allows broadcasters to continue an analog signal 30 says past the transition date for emergency and DTV education information.
"We congratulate Commissioner Copps on being named Acting Chairman of the FCC,” said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow in a statement. “This is a well-deserved recognition of a distinguished record of public service, and we look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Copps and the FCC."
“NAB salutes Michael Copps for being selected Acting Chairman of the FCC,” said National Association of Broadcasters President David Rehr. “We respect Chairman Copps for his tenacious commitment to the public interest, and we look forward to working with him and the other Commissioners."
Copps has been at the commission since May 2001, having been an assistant secretary of commerce in the Clinton administration and, before that, a professor, businessman, and Hill staffer (Sen. Ernest Hollings).
He has been a vocal critic of the FCC's attempts to loosen some media ownership rules and has criticized the pace of the DTV transition, last week saying the country was not yet ready. But he also found common ground with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin on some issues, including indecency and cable ownership caps.