Policy

Groups Want FCC Commissioners Focused on Boosting Minority Ownership

Asks President to Make That Priority of His Selections to Fill to Soon-to-Be Open Seats 4/23/2013 2:05 PM Eastern

 

Fifty organizations, most representing minority constituencies, have asked the White House to nominate two new FCC commissioners -- including a replacement chairman -- who will make minority and women participation in media a priority.

They did not suggest any candidate by name.

In a letter to the President, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, NAACP, the Benton Foundation and a veritable host of others, put in a plug for a laundry list of proposals, some pending for more than a decade.

"In the next three years, FCC will be called upon to modernize our telephone systems, rationalize our spectrum policy, and achieve your administration’s goals of universal broadband access, adoption and informed use," they wrote. "As part of the unprecedented transformation of our economy from the industrial to the digital age, it is imperative that the FCC has leaders firmly committed to delivering first class digital citizenship to all Americans, including historically marginalized populations."

The White House is said by various sources to be vetting the current nominee for chairman -- former cable and telecom association exec Tom Wheeler is said to be the leading candidate -- and could announce a nominee, and a Republican to be paired with him or her within the next couple of weeks.

If Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is named interim chair -- she is the senior Dem after Genachowski -- she could be in that post for several months and have an opportunity to put her imprint on the issue as the first African American woman chair.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and senior Republican Robert McDowell plan to leave the FCC within the next several weeks. If past is prologue, it could take several months to seat their replacements.