FCC Nearing Creation of Media Bureau


The Federal Communications Commission is advancing its plan to overhaul the
organizational structure of the agency to make it more efficient without causing
any employee layoffs.

'It's time to move forward with some remodeling of the agency,' said Mary
Beth Richards, the FCC official who is drafting the reorganization plan for
chairman Michael Powell.

Richards reported to the four FCC commissioners Thursday that she supports
eliminating the Mass Media Bureau and folding many of its operations into the
Cable Services Bureau, which would tentatively be renamed the Media Bureau.

The Media Bureau -- projected to be headed by current CSB chief W. Kenneth
Ferree -- would also take direct control over major aspects of the regulation of
the direct-broadcast satellite industry.

Within the Media Bureau, the FCC plans to create an Office of Broadcast
License Policy. Roy Stewart -- a longtime FCC official who would lose his job as
chief of the Mass Media Bureau -- is slated to head the Media Bureau's
broadcast-license division.

'This is a substantial effort at reorganization, but it's not radical. It's
not intended to be at this stage,' said Powell, who wants to beef up the
agency's ability to deal with complex engineering and economic issues in order
to reflect the sophistication of the industries regulated by the FCC.

Richards' plans calls for reshuffling the duties within various offices,
bureaus and divisions, but none of the changes would led to the kind of
work-force reduction going on in the telecommunications sector. The FCC has
about 2,000 workers.

'I want to note that under the plan, no staff will be eliminated,' Richards

The plan requires the approval of the National Treasury Employees Union
Chapter 209, which represent FCC workers, and the 'concurrence' of House and
Senate committees that approve and fund FCC operations, she