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Genachowski May be in Line for FCC Post

By Cecila Kang
Speculation is rife in the telecom industry that President-elect Barack Obama could name Julius Genachowski, a local venture capitalist, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission as early as Friday, although sources close to the transition declined to confirm the move.

Obama, who famously used social networking and online fundraising to fuel his campaign success, is expected to begin announcing members of his team to lead his "Innovation Agenda." Those position would include Chief Technology Officer, chair of the FCC, chair of the FTC and head of the White House's telecom policy arm, the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Genachowski, who attended law school at Harvard with Obama and spearheaded the president-elect's technology and innovation agenda, was widely seen a leading contender for the positions of CTO or FCC Chair. Many telecom industry leaders and regulators said they believed Genachowski had first pick on any of the roles in Obama's
administration that would oversee technology policy.

Sources close to transition officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Genachowski had been recently meeting with key Democratic lawmakers to see if the role of CTO would have policy-making authority and decided against taking the job when he realized the definition of CTO would not include a strong regulatory role. Instead, Genachowski expressed interest in the FCC post. He previously served as chief counsel to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt.

Obama has highlighted his goal to bring universal broadband Internet access to all Americans and promote "net neutrality," which would prevent network operators from blocking or slowing content on their networks.

With today's appointment of the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, telecom industry business leaders, lobbyists and regulators have speculated the president-elect will begin announcing his "Innovation Agenda" team and would want to do so before the Holidays.

By Post Editor  |  December 18, 2008; 8:40 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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All the appointments so far have been interesting, but the next person to head the FCC is of particular interest. Why? Those of us with a background in broadcasting and are not connected to the major networks, understood fully that we have been 'forced' out of the market as small business persons in recent years. We could not 'pay to play (lol)'

The airways belong to all the people of the US, but only some are being given a chance to enjoy whatever benefits that brings.

Consequently, The Fairness Doctrine should be addressed again under an Obama administration, and whether its Mr. Genachowski or whomever, is chosen, on this one- I hope to take notes and keep watch on what comes out of this office.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Posted by: Victoria5 | December 21, 2008 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Interesting since McCain was Chairman of the Commerce Committee that regulates the FCC.

More interesting to see where an Obama Administration takes the Communications Act of 1996 which is already a mess.

Obstructionism has been a hallmark of the FCC since the step-down of Chairman Powell who was decidedly pro-industry.

Net Neutral will be the watchwords open to interpretation. And I wonder if we'll see an end to the "relaxation" of ownership regulation.

Oddly enough, the Reagan White House used the FCC to end the Fairness Doctrine and de-regulate ownership rules under the premise of minority ownership and broader opinion on the public airwaves.

There is little or no chance that a "Fairness Doctrine" could be revived in the internet era but it will be interesting to see how a new FCC will define broadcast/print ownership and the internet.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | December 19, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

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