Media Hearing Dates Eyed By Sen. Stevens

Washington — The Senate Commerce Committee said Nov. 21 that it will hold hearings over 10 days in the first quarter of 2006 on a wide range of media and telecommunications issues, including content issues such as TV indecency and Internet pornography.

The committee released an aggressive schedule that included hearings on Jan. 19, 24, 26 and 31; Feb. 7, 14 and 28; and March 2, 7 and 14.

On Jan. 24, the panel intends to devote the morning session to video franchising. The Feb. 7 hearing is slated to be about “net neutrality,” or whether MSOs should be banned from discriminating against unaffiliated Web-content and service providers.

DTV Expert Chessen Leaving FCC Post

Washington — Digital-television transition architect Rick Chessen is leaving theFederal Communications Commission to join Ken Ferree’s budding communications practice at the law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Chessen was chairman of the FCC’s DTV Task Force when Ferree was chief of the FCC Media Bureau. The two created the plan ending analog-TV broadcasting Dec. 31, 2008, which is close to becoming a reality on Capitol Hill.

Chessen, at the FCC for more than a decade, starts his new position Nov. 28.

Andrew Long Elevated In FCC Media Bureau

Washington — Andrew Long, a 35-year-old attorney who joined the Federal Communications Commission in May, was named associate chief of the agency’s Media Bureau, which oversees the cable and broadcasting industries.

Long comes from Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP, a communications law firm headed by former FCC chairman Richard Wiley. Other current FCC officials once associated with Wiley Rein include chairman Kevin Martin; Heather Dixon, Martin’s top media adviser; Catherine Bohigian, chief of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis and Media Bureau chief Donna Gregg.