There is room at the top of the Federal Communications Commission for five commissioners – but there have only been four since Republican Meredith Baker left for a gig with Comcast over the summer. On top of that, Democrat Michael Copps is expected to head out the door by year’s end. Yet there has been no official word as to possible replacement candidates.
Copps is already on borrowed time – his term expired last year but according to the rules, he is allowed to serve as long as the current Congress is in session. Copps has mentioned recently that he expects to be on his way out soon.
The current administration puts the names of candidates up for confirmation, but this is often done hand in hand with leadership in the Senate Commerce Committee.
However, the National Journal has poked around both places and has not been able to get any information whatsoever on who will be nominated when.
NJ believes that the inside tracks belong to two former FCC staffers. For the Democrats, it would be a Commerce staffer named Jessica Rosenworcel; for the Republicans, it would be attorney Ajit Pai. Both are considered well qualified for the task.
RBR-TVBR observation: Most of the recent hang-ups in the nomination process have been over matters unrelated to the candidates – Jonathan Adelstein can tell you what it feels like to be a political football.
The easiest way to expedite the nomination process, assuming there are no senators with an axe of some sort to grind, is to bring in one newbie apiece for each party. For that reason, we fully expect we’ll hear about two nominees, not just one, when they finally get around to it.
That said, wouldn’t it be nice if just once they found somebody with actual broadcast experience to serve on the FCC’s 8th Floor? The late James Quello was the last Commissioner with broadcast roots. However, we are not holding our breath – the way we figure it, we are more likely to see Ozzie Osborne nominated for a seat on the United States Supreme Court than we are to see a broadcaster nominated to the FCC.
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