Kevin Martin Named to Run The FCC


Kevin Martin, New FCC Chairman

USATODAY.com – Bush names Kevin Martin new FCC chairman Kevin Martin, an existing member of the Federal Communications Commission, has been named to as the new FCC Chairman replacing Michael Powell, according to USA Today.

Martin has been an FCC commissioner since 2001 and at 38 is the youngest of the current commissioners. AP has a brief bio on the new Chairman who has been described in the past as looking like “boyish” with sandy-blond hair and Harry Potter-style glasses. Although a Republican, Martin has also been described as a “swing vote” on the current FCC which is divided between both Democrats and Republicans.

Martin had been rummored to be at odds with outgoing Chair Michael Powell and had indeed defected on some key votes joining the two current Democratic members on the influential committee.

Back in 2002 Martin dissented on a key rulling by the FCC that all new television sets be capable of pulling in over the air (OTA) HDTV signals. Martin maintained that as the number of people who get their television via OTA remained less significant than satellite and cable that the regulation was not necessary. I hope that Martin does see on the other hand the significance of forcing regulation on the cable and satellite providers via the CableCARD and other technology advancements to push forward the cause of HDTV.

Last month the FCC voted to reject a proposal from the nation’s television broadcasters that cable providers be required to broadcast in HDTV all of the television programming that the television broadcasters produce instead of only their primary broadcast. The National Association of Broadcasters had lobbied heavily for this multiple broadcast and it was defeated by a vote of 4 to 1 at the FCC. Kevin Martin had been the sole vote dissenting.

For some of Martin’s thoughts on indecency I’d point you to remarks he made in December 2003 at the 21st Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation. Dave Pell adds, “This comes as a mighty blow to those Howard Stern fans who held onto the slim hope that Bush was planning to tap Bababooey for the gig.

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