According to reports, President Barack Obama is set to name Tom Wheeler to take the place of Julius Genachowski as Chair of the FCC. Mignon Clyburn is expected to take the role of Acting Chair while Wheeler is going through the Senate confirmation process.
The official announcement is expected Wednesday 5/1/13.
The selection of Wheeler is a victory for the Washington bureaucracy oddsmakers, who have been touting him as the front-runner for the post for some time.
Wheeler, now described as a venture capitalist, was an Obama fund-raiser during the President’s first run for the White House.
He also has relevant experience on his resume. In the somewhat distant past, Wheeler has been head of both NCTA and CTIA, two organizations that frequently find themselves in contention with the NAB.
The Wheeler nomination will come as a disappointment to public interest groups that have been pushing for the nomination of a woman or minority to the chair, and it will also come as a disappointment to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the chair of the Commerce Committee that will vet Wheeler. Rockefeller had been promiting his former protégé and current Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for the post.
NAB’s Gordon Smith was the first we noticed to comment on the nomination to be. Smith said, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
RBR-TVBR observation: We would expect the President to come up with a Republican to replace Genachowski’s outgoing colleague Robert McDowell in very short order. It is much easier to get a matched pair of FCC nominees through the Commerce Committee than it is when they go through one at a time.