FCC out of business


FCCIf somebody at the FCC answers your phone call, odds are you will be talking to Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel or Ajit Pai. By lunch time 10/1/13, there will be few others on duty at the Commission due to the government shutdown.

Employees are reporting in to secure and close down their offices, a task expected to take four hours. After that, staffing will consist mainly of the commissioners and those few employees necessary “…for the protection of life or property.”

Here’s the upshot of the shutdown:

“Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines cannot be answered; consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease; licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease; management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the American public must be suspended; and equipment authorizations, including those bringing new electronic devices to American consumers, cannot be provided.”

Among the closing down activities, besides securing work areas, is the cancellation of travel plans, scheduled training, meetings both internal and external, and FCC-sponsored events. Finally, the employees will be leaving out-of-office messages on both their email and voicemail.

A small number of employees fall into the life and property category. 1,716 staffers will be furloughed out of a total of 1,754. That’s a drop of 98%.

The FCC’s shutdown plan provides for calling in designated staff from various departments on an as-needed basis. The Media Bureau will have one such employee at the senior management level.

RBR-TVBR observation: Everything is on ice. No call letter changes, no construction permits, no new deals, no progress on pending deals. If it goes on long enough, no LPFM filing window, at least not as currently scheduled.

The silver lining? No fines! But just like with LPFM, we suspect they’ll bring that up to date when the shutdown crisis is resolved and everybody gets back to work.

On a somewhat sardonic note, we would point out that for the time being, there will be no enforcement of indecency regulations, but we are sure there are certain organizations out there that would argue that there already isn’t any.