US media gets a new guardian at FCC

January 13, 2009

After much speculation and guess-work, President-elect Barack Obama has chosen his former Harvard Law classmate Julian Genachoswski as nominee for chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Genachowski, who has been Obama’s technology advisor, had been on most people’s guess-list for a new “chief technology officer” post with the incoming administration — though some outlets had called it last week on his FCC appointment.

So who is Genachowski? Well, most outlets believe he should understand the future of media as he’s held several posts at Barry Diller’s Internet media business IACI and he’s previously been a chief counsel for former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, the chairman under former President Bill Clinton.

That experience will help with two big upcoming Internet-related issues. The first is Obama’s ambitious plan to invest in broadband technology expansion as part of his economic stimulus package.

The second more challenging issue is Net neutrality, the idea of an open and level Internet for all players regardless of their size. The FCC chair will be trying to manage the expectations of Internet service providers, content companies and everyday consumers.

But top of the list of his Genachowski’s to-do list will be ensuring the congressionally mandated conversion to digital television on Feb. 17 goes smoothly. Obama aides have backed an idea to delay the planned transition to avoid millions of televisions going blank.

(Photo: Reuters)

Keep an eye:

  • Warner Bros. seeks 10 percent cost cut, could mean layoffs – (AP)
  • is taking a humorous approach in a new ad campaign (NY Times)
  • Golden Globes gets smallest TV audience in years – (Reuters)
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