McDowell re-appointed to FCC; transition rules tweaked
President Barack Obama has re-nominated Robert M. McDowell to the Federal Communications Commission.
McDowell was appointed as an FCC commissioner in 2006 by former President George W. Bush. His term was set to end on June 30. Congress will still need to confirm McDowell.
Meanwhile, Congress has yet to confirm Obama’s appointee as FCC chair, Julius Genachowski. Republicans insist on having their other nominee to the Commission considered at the same time as Genachowski, and they have yet to put forward a candidate (with a Democratic administration, Republicans get two appointees, Democrats three).
Also awaiting confirmation is appointee Mignon Clyburn, selected to fill the seat being vacated by Jonathon Adelstein, who is taking over the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program.
Acting Chairman Michael Copps praised McDowell, writing: “I am truly delighted that he will continue on as a fellow Commissioner. Since becoming acting chairman several months ago, I appreciate more than ever Rob's collegiality, his openness, his creative intellect and the deep sense of purpose he brings to his work. I especially want to thank him for all the talent and energy he has brought to our work on next week's DTV transition. He has traveled near and far to help consumers prepare, and he has done an outstanding job in helping us deploy an extensive DTV Call Center operation.”
Separately, the FCC has tweaked the rules governing the ability of broadcast TV stations to time the cessation of analog signals and the beginning of digital signals during the digital transition, the deadline for which is June 12.
The decision essentially gives broadcasters some flexibility about timing their individual transitions, while potentially relieving the paperwork restrictions should they decide to alter their transition schedules.
Stations wishing to commence their authorized post-transition digital operations on June 12, the Commission said, may do so at any time on that date without prior Commission approval.
The order says, “We expect that stations taking advantage of this flexibility intend to commence their post-transition digital service without a significant gap in time following termination of the analog signal, or that they will continue providing digital service on their pre-transition digital channel until they commence operation on their post-transition digital channel.”