FCC lands in the CommComm frying pan


The Senate Commerce Committee has just put an item on the calendar for all five FCC Commissioners. It has scheduled an oversight hearing for 12/13/07 at 10AM in which it will grill the residents of the FCC’s 8th Floor on "current proceedings involving media and telocommunications policy." That includes Chairman Kevin Martin (R), Michael Copps (D), Jonathan Adelstein (D), Deborah Taylor Tate (R) and Robert McDowell (R). No other guests are invited to testify.

Committee member and Senate communications point man Byron Dorgan (D-ND) may have a special treat for Martin. He has managed to fast track his bill S.2332 Media Ownership Act of 2007 onto a 12/4/07 mark-up session for a full committee vote. The measure would prevent Martin’s desire to bring up the elimination of cross-ownership restrictions in the top 20 markets at the Commission’s 12/18/07 open meeting. It would require 90 days for comment and reply (Martin’s schedule allows for about a month), and would also require completion of proceedings on localism and minority/female/socially-disadvantaged businesses, with another 90-day comment period, pushing any vote back to May 2008 at the earliest.

TVBR/RBR observation: If they were to build an automobile in Washington at this point in time, in this particular media regulatory climate, the car would have two brake pedals and no accelerator.