New FCC chair not expected until New Year
President-elect Barack Obama, spending the holidays with his family in Hawaii, is not expected to announce a new FCC chairman until 2009. But the list of candidates and industry speculation isn't taking a break.
FCC sources originally said the replacement for current Republican Chairman Kevin Martin – recently accused of abusing his power (story here), but whose role as chairman would almost certainly end under Obama, regardless – would probably be Jonathan Adelstein or Michael Copps, who are the existing Democratic commissioners.
Most insiders agree that Copps will get the nod as interim chairman until a decision is made, which may not happen for several weeks, or even months, into Obama's administration. Meanwhile, Martin could potentially remain as a commissioner until his term ends June 30, 2011, although that is unlikely.
More recently, Julius Genachowski's name surfaced in the Washington Post. Genechowski, a venture capitalist, attended Harvard Law School with Obama. He was chief counsel to FCC chairman Reed Hundt in the mid-1990s and currently is technology adviser to the presidential transition team, for which he also blogs (available here).
Business Week reported last month that other possibilities are Julia Johnson, a consultant who advocates for independent and minority content, along with Mignon Clyburn, a current commissioner for the South Carolina Public Service Commission and daughter of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. The magazine also named Don Gips, Scott Blake Harris, Blair Levin, Larry Strickling – all industry veterans with close ties to former FCC chairmen or to Obama.
A variety of academics and current transition team members also have been suggested.
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