In his last appearance at NAB as chairman of the Federal
Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski cited the upcoming spectrum
auctions and his work to free up spectrum for mobile applications as one of the
things he was most proud of having accomplished in his term at the FCC.
"When we started to talk in 2009 about spectrum crunch...many
said there was no spectrum crunch," he said. He added that the legislation
authorizing the auctions "was one of the major pieces of legislation passed by
Congress" and "it took a lot of work."
Genachowski made the comments in a wide-ranging session at
the 2013 NAB Conference on the morning of April 10 that was moderated Paul
Karpowicz, president of Meredith Corp.'s Local Media Group.
Genachowski also highlighted the FCC's work on overhauling
Universal Service Fund, the FCC's work on the Open Internet and the way they
handled a number of major deals as major accomplishments.
The chairman acknowledged that the upcoming spectrum
auctions and reallocations would pose challenges. "This will be the first major
band plan that the FCC will do in the data world" and it will be different than
"anything the FCC has done."
Genachowski also discussed how he'd seen broadcast change
over the years, noting that many important things had remained the same. "The
hunger that people have for what broadcast provides is basically the same" but
that digital media and mobile had transformed it into a multiplatform world.
"I have always believed that broadcasters will thrive if
they think of themselves as multiplatform content creators and take advantage
of the new platforms," he said.
The chairman also argued that broadcasters should not see
issues with spectrum and mobile as "a zero sum game," where a victory for
mobile would be a loss for broadcasters.
He stated that broadcasters who agreed to sell their
spectrum would exit the business with a "significant financial" payment and
that those who stayed would benefit from a much stronger mobile business, just
as they had benefited from the rise of cable.
"Mobile is an exciting new platform for exactly
what broadcasters produce, which is great local content," he said, later adding
that mobile "could be the greatest opportunity to grow the content pie for