The FCC of Julius Genachowski has been cooking with gas when it comes to broadband issues, but when it comes to broadcasting the action has pretty much been on the back burner. And that’s how it’s going to be on Tuesday 1/31/12 when the Commission holds the first of its 12 monthly meetings for this new year.
The only agenda item for the session, scheduled to kick off at 10:30AM eastern, is entitled “Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization.” As broadcast journalists with a full plate, all we know about this issue is that we don’t want to spend the time to know very much.
However, that does not mean that the session will be completely without interest to broadcasters. The January meeting usually serves as a platform for each FCC Bureau and other organizational segment to comment on their achievements of 2011 and their goals for 2012. Although these reports include many topics out of our area of interest, and they all tend to consist of a lot of empty rhetorical calories, every now and then a newsworthy piece of information happens to sneak into the public domain.
Broadcasters will make it to the front burner when the FCC finally gets around to the quadrennial review of media ownership rules. The issue was boiling over when Michael Powell got the ball rolling on a deregulatory approach back in the Fall of 2002; it figures to be on more of a simmer this time, and many of the elements of the Powell proposal are still kicking around.
Television broadcasters will have extreme interest in any FCC proceeding on incentive auctions of television spectrum – however, it will take an act of Congress to get that issue on the stove. If it does get there, it will be very, very hot.