And then there were four
With an early January vote to approve the AOL-Time Warner merger behind it, the FCC lost its chairman when William E. Kennard resigned effective Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration.
It is common for FCC chairmen to exit the commission rather than face demotion to commissioner when control of the White House changes from one political party to another. The president has the prerogative to name the chairman, and President Bush will name a Republican. If Kennard had stayed, as at one time it appeared he might, he would have surrendered the chairman’s power to set the commission’s agenda. Kennard’s seat at the commission would have expired June 30, 2001. If the next chairman is appointed to that seat, the new chairman’s term will extend to June 30, 2006.
As the Bush Administration begins, the FCC has four members instead of five. Maybe the president will have designated either Michael Powell or Harold Furchtgott-Roth, both Republicans, as acting chairman by the time you read this.
Unless President Bush reappoints him, Furchtgott-Roth is a short-timer. The term that corresponds with his seat on the commission expired June 30, 2000. He is likely to exit the commission sometime this year. Unless he chooses to resign, he may continue in office until a successor is sworn in or until Congress adjourns near the end of the year, whichever comes first.
Powell’s term ends June 30, 2002, but if President Bush nominates him for chairman (instead of designating him as acting chairman to serve until another nominee for chairman is confirmed), the president could give him Kennard’s seat and extend Powell’s term to June 30, 2006.
Who the president will choose for chairman is anyone’s guess. The chairman more often comes from the ranks of loyalists with names not widely known outside the party prior to nomination. In previous years, a few souls have campaigned for the job. The exercise may bring them some brief notoriety, but it never brings a nomination. That’s reserved for the faithful.
Who should the president nominate?
The last engineer to serve as a commissioner was George Sterling, during World War II.
Who else should the president nominate?
An advocate for private radio.
Who will the president nominate?
An attorney who has been active in Republican politics. (Sorry, Robert. You only have one out of two.)
Room full of rain My old buddy, Jim Stricklan, has recorded his own composition, “Room Full of Rain,” a song about his experience as a call-taker in a public safety answering point in Austin, TX.
Jim and I worked together as disk jockeys at KBRQ AM-FM radio station in Denver in the 1980s. His career in broadcasting spanned 30 years; mine, 20.
Jim has been a songwriter, recording artist and live performance artist for most of his adult life. After he retired from broadcasting a few years ago, he spent two years with the city government working in the 911/Austin Police Department Communications dispatch center.
You can hear a sample of the song, which is included in Jim’s most recent album, No. 12, by logging on to www.frontroommusic.com and following the steps for listening to samples.
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Could two-way radio communications be “the last man standing?” Wireless telephone stocks have been crashing; large companies have announced some layoffs; and growth for wireless carriers is slowing. Sometimes the grass doesn’t look so much greener on the other side of the fence. More next month.