FCC announces open meeting schedule for 2011


Ladies and gentlemen, get set to mark your calendars. The FCC conducts most of its important business during its once-a-month open meetings, when the five commissioners get to wax eloquent on FCC issues of the day and then cast a vote. However, the calendar we’d really like to see – the days FCC commissioners will be summoned to Capitol Hill and the topics they will be grilled on – is not yet known.

The incoming Republican leadership of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its key Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet have already expressed their fervent desire to undo the FCC’s kitchen-fresh order on preserving a free and open internet. The presence of Democrats in control on the Senate side, plus a veto pen in the White House, casts their prospects for success into doubt, but that won’t stop them from grilling the three Democrats on the Commission who voted for the proposal while praising the votes against cast by the two Republicans.

After having spent the first half of 2009 on the digital transition, and much of the time since on broadband, perhaps 2011 will finally present a chance to take a look at the overdue quadrennial review. That has traditionally been a noisy, raucous affair and as yet has led to few tangible results going back to September 2002 when Michael Powell kicked off his attempt to relax media ownership rules.

* Tuesday, January 25

* Tuesday, February 8

* Thursday, March 3

* Thursday, April 7

* Thursday, May 12

* Thursday, June 9

* Tuesday, July 12

* Tuesday, August 9

* Thursday, September 22

* Wednesday, October 19

* Thursday, November 17

* Tuesday, December 13

RBR-TVBR observation: The FCC could have an interesting year on Capitol Hill, with the Senate commerce and judiciary committees tugging them one way and the House commerce and judiciary committees tugging the other. The commissioners, depending on party affiliation, may transition from hero to villain quickly, depending on which side of the Capitol is beckoning on a particular day.