Friend, leader, harmonica player


Soon-to-be ex-FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein received a warm send-off from his two remaining colleagues and the top communications officer at the NAB, all of whom thanked him for his friendship and leadership, and one of whom – NAB’s Dennis Wharton – cited the one special talent least likely to be replaced by his successor, that being his ability to sit in with almost any musical group at almost any function with his trusty harmonica. Full statements are under the headline.

RBR/TVBR observation: Copps was the go-to commissioner on payola-related matters, including unattributed VNRs generated by both the government and private companies; sneaky product demonstrations with undisclosed valuable consideration exchanged behind the scenes, and product placement issues. He advocated against broadcast indecency early on but seemed to balance his views on the topic with time, looking for a middle ground between anything goes and outright government censorship. We’ll have to see what kind of priorities his replacement brings. We suspect there will be a little less focus on broadcasters, for better or worse.


* FCC’s Michael Copps: I congratulate my friend and colleague Jonathan Adelstein on the announcement that President Obama intends to nominate him for the critically important post of Administrator for the Rural Utilities Service.  Jonathan will, upon his confirmation, bring a depth of knowledge, experience and commitment to the job that will enable him to make a huge contribution to advancing the well-being of rural America.  He knows the issues and challenges inside-out and will be able to hit the ground running, which is exactly what’s needed since RUS has been given such extraordinary responsibilities by the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Simply put, Jonathan’s years at the FCC have been dedicated to advancing the public interest across the wide gamut of telecommunications and media issues.  He’s been a true leader, an eloquent spokesman, and a delight to work with.  I look forward to continuing to work with him on the issues we both believe in and to continuing the friendship that we and our families share.

* FCC’s Robert McDowell: I congratulate my friend and colleague, Jonathan Adelstein, on President Obama’s announcement that he intends to nominate him to be administrator of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.  RUS will benefit greatly from his leadership and decades of experience in public service.  Although I will miss having Jonathan as a colleague on the Commission, I wish him the best as he transitions into this new opportunity.  I am confident that rural America will be well served by his commitment to service.

* NAB’s Dennis Wharton: NAB appreciated Commissioner Adelstein’s South Dakota values during his tenure at the FCC. We will miss his good humor, his understanding of the lifeline role played by local broadcasters, and his harmonica playing at the NAB Radio Show. We wish him well as he takes his public service passion to the Rural Utilities Service.