Churn at the FCC

Mikey Powell’s giving up the ghost (don’t look back, buddy); Kathleen Abernathy may follow; and W. Kenneth Ferree, head of the FCC’s Media Bureau, is also done. Also, Michael Copps’ term expires in the summer. It’s unusual to have such turnover in a short time. Can we expect substantive change in the agency’s direction?

Probably not. The replacements will not be reformists: they’re straight from the farm team that breeds regulators. These being three primary sources: campaign contributors, congressional staffers, and those already in administrative positions. All of the (speculative) candidates for a Commissioner’s post hail from one of these places. Congressional staff are an especially fertile ground, seeing as it sometimes seems easiest for the two major parties to agree on the appointment of folks already within the family, so to speak. Read More

FCC as Sketch Troupe

Shamelessly lifted from the trade rag Radio & Records, this is not the work of beings in the reality-based community:

In a taped performance shown [Dec. 3] at the Federal Communications Bar Association FCC Chairman’s Dinner… [Mikey] Powell donned a wig that looked only slightly worse than [Donald Trump’s] actual hair and faced down Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree and Powell Chief of Staff Bryan Tramont at a large table in a spoof of the boardroom scenes from the NBC TV show The Apprentice. Dutifully filling in for real-life Trump assistants Carolyn and George were Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy and Michael Copps. Read More

Powell AWOL at South Dakota Localism Hearing

The FCC’s ongoing “Localism Task Force” tour stopped yesterday in Rapid City, South Dakota – the hometown of Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. Only the two Democrats on the Commission (Adelstein and Michael Copps) bothered to show up. Chairman Mikey Powell was supposed to be there but backed out due to a last-minute “scheduling conflict.”

Funny thing, though: Powell managed to be in South Dakota the day before for a meeting with governor Mike Rounds on issues dealing with wireless technology. But I digress. Read More

Unlikely Mikey

Unabashedly stolen from Free Radio Santa Cruz, which is fleshing out a site redesign post-move. Its online home is now being maintained by Corporate Swine.

I really liked the animated banner about “PROVING FCC INCOMPETENCE” and was sorry to see it go, but bits like this more than make up for it.

(Clicking on the pic at right takes you to the station’s donate page, which contains the larger original.)

Mad props on the Photoshop! Read More

Mikey Powell Floats Trial Balloon on Departure

First came the rumor, then the call from a member of the “business press” – now FCC Chairman Mikey Powell himself appears to be floating the notion of stepping aside. In Sunday’s business section (naturally) of the New York Times, Powell got to bitch about his job: “I have a tired family, tired children and a tired spouse. Candidly, I once said I would be in this job for three years and then leave. That was three years ago.”

The entire article is quite long but worth a read. The basic synopsis is that he’s a nice guy who is politically ham-handed. It’s not that he’s a bad regulator; he’s just not good at greasing the political wheels of D.C. with enough finesse. It’s analogous to praising a thief for his line of work but lamenting the time he gets caught.

There are, however, a few doozies which deserve highlight: Read More