Broadcasters well-represented at SC FCC meet


The FCC Quadrennial Review Road Show officially opens in Columbia SC on 2/23/10, and the lineups for the two panels are well-stocked with broadcasters from companies large (relatively) and small, representing both television and radio.

Columbia Mayor Robert Coble and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who will be returning to her home state, will kick off the proceedings at 1:30PM at Columbia’s South Carolina State Museum.

The first panel will sit at 1:45PM, co-moderated by the FCC’s Steve Waldman and P. A. Bennett, who is Director, Minority Programming for South Carolina Educational Television. The public commentary period begins at 3:15PM.

The television panelists include:

* Billy Huggins, General Manager, Barrington Broadcasting/Sagamore Hill Broadcasting, ABC WPDE/ CW WWMB-TV, Myrtle Beach-Florence, SC

* J.T. McLawhorn, President and CEO, Columbia Urban League

* Rich O’Dell, President and General Manager, Gannett, CBS WLTX-TV, Columbia, SC

* Stefanie Rein, Owner, WBHQ Columbia, MNT WKTC/ Telemuundo WNXG-TV, Elgin, SC

* Donita Todd, Vice President and General Manager, Raycom, ABC WIS Television, Columbia, SC

* Dr. Barbara Zia, President, League of Women Voters of South Carolina

Waldman will handle the moderation chores solo for the radio session beginning at 6:00PM. The public gets to chime in at 7:30PM and the session wraps at 9:00PM.

The radio panelists include:

* Jim Beard, Market Manager, Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, Charleston, SC

* Evelyn Lugo, President, South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

* Harold T. Miller, Jr., President and CEO, Miller Communications, Florence, Sumter, Orangeburg & Columbia, SC

* Jane Pigg, Owner and President, WCRE-AM, Cheraw, SC

* Alex Snipe, Owner, Glory Communications, Columbia, SC

RBR-TVBR observation: Not only are broadcasters well-represented, the watchdog community is virtually absent. We suspect there will be various suggestions as to what if anything this means, and that the watchdog community will not be pleased. However, we would point out that under the current administration, the watchdogs have a lot more sympathy from the FCC 8th Floor than they have gotten used to.

For broadcasters trying to survive under difficult conditions, it presents an opportunity to make a case rather than spend the entire session responding to criticism – at least until the general public takes center stage.

Perhaps that’s the opportunity the FCC wishes to provide – the watchdogs have ways to make their opinion known about the proceedings whether they are on the panel or not, and no doubt will put them to use. At any rate, broadcasters should make the most of this chance.