Former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera isn’t gone and is not forgotten at his former place of employment. That’s because in addition to his duties at law firm Wiley Rein and Fielding, he is chair of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age. In that capacity late last month, he fired off a letter to Chairman Kevin Martin which gives clues as to what kind of FCC he would seek to form, if he is indeed being charged with the incoming Obama administration with that task.
He recommended adopting the socially disadvantaged business (SDB) model to identify companies eligible for aid in acquiring a license, which includes many minority companies while passing legal muster. He asked the FCC to develop a system of waivers for companies in financial distress. And he seconded the proposal of Andrew Schwartzman of Media Access Project to create an S Class television licenses, giving an eligible entity the right to operate on a side-channel of a digital broadcast station.
RBR/TVBR observation: Many factors, including court precedent, limit what can be done regarding the matter of promoting minority media ownership. And the Class S proposal would seem to face a steep hurdle if the FCC was unable to get on board with cable carriage for Class A stations already in existence. Nevertheless, the Martin regime has been willing to push through as much of the MMTC agenda as it can. Such efforts going forward will likely be even more forceful.