Indications are that the addition of a new chairman isn’t the only change coming at the FCC commissioner level. One current Democrat may be on the way out, and a nomination for a second Republican may be made soon. The theory, put forth by National Journal/Congress Daily, is that Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, who is already serving under an extension of his FCC term, is in fact headed to a rural project over at the Department of Agriculture, which would pave a path to the 8th Floor for Mignon Clyburn, a Public Service Commission veteran in the state of South Carolina, and daughter of Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). It’s expected that Commerce Committee Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will soon offer a suggestion for the remaining Republican 8th Floor office to enter into service with Clyburn. Adelstein is expected to remain aboard until successors are nominated and confirmed by the Senate.
RBR/TVBR observation: Clyburn is an attractive nominee because she combines regulatory experience with both minority and female credentials, helping the diversity profile of the 8th Floor. As for the eventual Hutchison nominee, she has occasionally sided with former Commerce chair John McCain (R-AZ), who was often openly hostile to broadcasters; but she also sided with McCain successor Ted Stevens (R-AK), who was generally friendly to the industry. We expect she’ll come with a competent, knowledgeable and thoroughly acceptable nominee – and hey, perhaps it’ll even be some one with broadcast experience for once, if only to balance out the techie headed to the chair.