Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has decided it’s time to get up close and personal with the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and his four colleagues as his committee exercises its oversight function of the federal agency.
The hearing, entitled “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission,” will take place Tuesday 3/12/13 at 2:30 Eastern. Rockefeller will have the gavel.
The only witnesses are:
Chairman Julius Genachowski (D)
Commissioner Robert McDowell (R)
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (D)
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (D)
Commissioner Ajit Pai (R)
RBR-TVBR observation: Since there is no announced specific focus for this hearing the questioning can spin off in any direction. Rockefeller in particular has already expressed an interest in examining the FCC’s role in policing violent content in the media, and taking on a look at indecency while he’s at it. Get ready to strap in!
On the plus side, the lack of specific focus means that there will be no direct threat of potentially onerous legislation involved in the hearing, and that’s always a good thing.
Finally, we note one of the most interesting things about the conjunction of broadcasting and Capitol Hill. While broadcast issues never ever seem to come up as the focus of an election campaign, they nonetheless have a high level of interest among legislators. This is partly because all of the legislators not only watch TV and listen to the radio, they also advertise on them.
Beyond that, whereas constituents don’t have the foggiest notion about arcane issues such as satellite radio companies trying to blanket the planet with terrestrial repeaters or the ins and outs of retransmission consent, they too all watch TV and listen to the radio, and nobody better mess with either!
Suffice it to say that this hearing, which you might think would go to the Communications Subcommittee, is going to the full committee instead.
Not that there’s really any difference. There are 24 members on the full committee, and 22 on the subcommittee. The only two not on the subcommittee? The chairman and ranking member.
In other words, Commerce operated for years without a Communications Subcommittee, and for all intents and purposes, they still are.