New FCC and Chairman Pai Moving Forward

Posted on January 31st, 2017 by

In only a few weeks, much has changed at the FCC. Most notably, Ajit Pai, a sitting FCC Commissioner, has been named Chairman by President Trump. Broadcasters have a rare advocate in Chairman Pai, whose efforts to revitalize AM radio and lessen broadcast regulatory burdens have been laudable in his last 3 years as a sitting Commissioner. He frequently railed against FCC internal procedures that left the two Republican Commissioners on the sidelines without meaningful input on major FCC actions. From all indications, he will be an inclusive Chairman, one who openly solicits input even from those that do not agree with his position.

From his speech to the FCC staff as new Chairman, it is evident that he loves the agency and all of its people, all the way down to the parking attendants. His last ten years at the commission have been spent getting to know the agency and its people, and that should pay dividends as he works to make the best telecommunications policies for America. He has wasted no time using that knowledge, having already named eight new interim Bureau and Office chiefs. The Acting Chief of the Media Bureau will be Michelle Carey. She’s been deputy chief of the Media Bureau for six years, and that experience will be invaluable.

While broadcasters won’t suddenly get a free pass from regulatory oversight, it is clear that where a regulation is meaningless (we would say stupid), those will be targeted for extinction.  Chairman Pai presides over his first meeting of the Commission today, January 31st, and as this agenda makes clear, deregulation is on the horizon.