Commissioners will have company on Capitol Hill


As expected, all five FCC Commissioners have an invite to the oversight hearing pegged for the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet this Wednesday morning. They’ll be followed by a second panel with an interesting cross-section of guests, to say the least.
The commissioner’s visit will come less than two weeks before the FCC Open Meeting during which Chairman Kevin Martin intends to introduce a rulemaking which would legalize broadcast/print cross-ownership in the top 20 markets, a plan which has been widely criticized on Capitol Hill and in the watchdog community. The five commissioners will be back on the Hill again in a little over a week on Thursday 12/13/07 for an encore with the Senate Commerce Committee.
The Subcommittee hearing also features a seven-member second panel. The top item on the menu for anti-consolidation legislators figures to be Andrew Levin, representing Clear Channel Communications. Two other broadcast companies are represented, including Sidney Bliss of Bliss Communications and Jerald N. Fritz of Albritton Communications. Prominent watchdog Andrew Jay Schwartzman of Media Access Project will be on hand. Rounding out the panel will be John F. Sturm of the Newspaper Association of America, Juan D. Gonzalez of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and E. Faye Williams from the National Congress of Black Women.
RBR observation: Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) once sentenced former FCC Chairman Michael Powell and his fellow Republican commissioners "…to watch the movie ‘Citizen Kane’ over and over again until they flinch at the word ‘rosebud.’" So Markey v. Martin figures to have plenty of entertainment value. Perhaps the proper venue for Markey v. CCU would be a three-ring circus. Stay tuned.