Adelstein Confirmed for FCC Seat

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Media and telecommunications policy battles could take on a new look now
that Jonathan Adelstein has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the
Federal Communications Commission.

Adelstein, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), was confirmed Thursday night by voice vote.

His nomination had been held up for months as a result of partisan tension
over some of President Bush's nominees for the federal judiciary.

Because the FCC has three Republicans and one Democrat, the arrival of Democrat Adelstein won't represent a formal shift in power.

But because the Republican majority has been less than cohesive on a number
of issues, Adelstein could cast a number of tie-breaking votes.

For example, the FCC has been deadlocked on a number of digital-TV fronts, including whether cable operators in some instances should be required to carry multiple digital-programming streams provided free-of-charge by local TV stations.

FCC chairman Michael Powell has opposed a multicasting-carriage mandate on
cable.

Adelstein was named to fill the seat vacated by Gloria Tristani, who returned to New Mexico to run for the U.S. Senate. She lost the race Nov. 5 to longtime incumbent Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.).

Adelstein's FCC term expires June 30,
2003.

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