FCC Chairman Kevin Martin met with reporters to discuss kicking off 2009. There will be only one matter up for consideration at the January Open Meeting, that being the analog night light rulemaking just put for in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as ordered by Congress. It has an expedited comment period and is due to be on the books by 1/15/09. Otherwise, the meeting will be the traditional January dog and pony show from each bureau, consisting of a look back and another look forward.
Regarding his own future, Martin continues to play his cards close to his vest. He said that his term runs through 2011 and that he has made no announcement regarding his plans. He certainly made no further announcement today.
He said the FCC has $7M to spend on a call center, which will likely involve an outside contractor to handle expected massive phone traffic from viewers left behind the DTV transition 2/17/09. He estimates that should be enough to handle roughly 200K calls. However, 1M calls are expected in the early going, so the FCC is counting on serious support from NAB and local organizations.
Discussing the possibility of an FCC investigation into Arbitron’s PPM technology, Martin says he’s talked to a number of minority radio broadcasters, some of whom support an investigation and some of whom think it unnecessary. The upshot is the FCC still isn’t sure if it should get involved or not.
RBR/TVBR observation: Tate will leave the FCC with the 110th Congress is gaveled to a close. That means that 2009 will open with a built-in two-two stalemate on party-line issues. It’s a good thing that bringing the DTV transition with a minimum of difficulty is a universal goal.