Former radio owner Greg Walden gets Communications Subcom chair


Incoming Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) has named his slate of committee leaders, and the coveted Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet is going to radio’s own Greg Walden (R-OR), the former owner of Columbia Gorge Broadcasting. Lee Terry (R-NE) will be vice-chair.

Prior to Upton getting word out about his selections, Walden put his communications geek chops in full view, tweeting about his chairmanship victory to his Twitter followers – in Morse Code.

NAB’s Gordon Smith welcomed the new Chairman to the job. “NAB congratulates Rep. Walden on being picked to serve as chair of the House Communications Subcommittee. Greg Walden is a remarkably gifted public servant steeped in the nuances of communications policy and broadcast-related issues. NAB welcomes the opportunity to work closely with incoming Subcommittee Chairman Walden, Vice Chair Lee Terry and House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton in the new year and beyond.”

Walden got the nod for this committee over the current Ranking Member, Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who Hillicon Valley says was interested in remaining there. Instead, he’ll be heading over to the chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Stearns had been one of those vying for the chair of the full committee.
Terry, a co-sponsor of the Local Community Radio Act, which would make it easier to build LPFMs in urban areas, had announced his desire to chair Communications as well.

John Shimkus (R-IL), who had also challenged Upton for the full committee chair, winds up atop the Subcommittee on Environment and Economy.

Current full committee ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) will give Republicans a counterweight to John Dingell (D-MI), who has remained at the committee as Chairman Emeritus (of course, that will downgrade to Ranking Member Emeritus in January). Barton will take a similar title with Energy and Commerce for the Republicans.

RBR-TVBR observation: You can’t ask for much more than this. Any broadcast business coming before this subcommittee will be heard by the member of Congress who has by far the best sense of what it will mean in terms of dollars and cents. There is no doubt that broadcasters will get a fair hearing whenever they are invited to appear before this subcommittee.