History will note that Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn took the “acting” portion of her title seriously, keeping big FCC projects moving and amassing a legacy of accomplishment during her sixth months at the helm. MMTC took it upon itself to celebrate the latter with a 12-item greatest hits list, five of which were broadcast-related.
Let’s look at the broadcast items:
* Restoring license for late-renewing AM: WHGH-AM of Thomasville GA (not far from Tallahassee FL) was one of those stations guilty of the oversight of missing a license-renewal deadline. The FCC was set to kick it off-air and delete the allotment of the only area minority-programmed station. But many organizations protested on behalf of the station and Clyburn personally intervened, giving it the chance to renew its license and stay in business.
* Deftly handling CBS-TWC retransmission impasse: MMTC said Clyburn’s application of pressure without actually intervening in the dispute was the right way to go and was part of the sequence of events that led to an agreement between the two companies.
* Studying Hispanic television: MMTC said Hispanics use over-the-air television at triple the national average, and stated that this is a study sorely needed – and thanks to Clyburn, it’s now in progress.
* AM Revitalization: Another key Clyburn initiative (with a thank you also due Clyburn’s colleague Ajit Pai) is finding ways to inject new life into the AM band, where many of MMTC’s constituents are license holders.
* Relaxing foreign ownership limits: Obtaining financing has long been a barrier to minority entrepreneurship in the broadcast space, and MMTC has long advocated opening foreign capital sources in an effort to provide release. Clyburn has opened the door to make that possible.
Other items on the list: Reducing predatory prison phone rates; making sure MWBEs are a factor in wireless competition; clarifying the USF Lifeline program; revitalizine E-rate; approving Grain Management 700 MHz Block B spectrum buy from Verizon, and the AWS C block buy from AT&T; solving the interoperability crisis; and improving rural call completion.