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Commissioner Adelstein sworn in

Commissioner Adelstein sworn in

Mar 1, 2003 12:00 PM, By Harry Martin

Jonathan Adelstein (pronounced �ADD-dull-steen�), aDemocrat, joins Republican Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy, KevinMartin, Chairman Michael Powell and Democrat Michael Copps on the FCC.Although the White House nominated Adelstein for the position inNovember 2001, he sat in the wings for a year waiting for Congress toconfirm his nomination, which occurred in November 2002. The40-year-old former senior legislative aide and history professor wassworn in on Dec. 3, 2002. He will complete the term of departedCommissioner Gloria Tristani, which expires June 30 of this year. It isassumed that he will then be reappointed for a full term.

Adelstein made his debut speech as a Commissioner at the Future ofMusic Coalition Policy Summit 2003 in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. Heaccompanied R&B legend Lester Chambers on the harmonica and, as amusician and a Commissioner, spoke of his soft-spot forcommunity-oriented broadcasters, his cautious approach toward mediaownership and his fear of the impact over-consolidation could have ondiversity and localism. He also said in a statement on the date of hisswearing-in that his goals include enhancing competition andefficiently managing the public spectrum. Additionally, he hasemphasized the need for broadcasters to take advantage of technologicaladvances such as broadband, wi-fi, satellite radio and digital cable totake their programming to more people and allow the marketplace ofideas to flourish.

For the seven years immediately preceding his Commissionswearing-in, Adelstein was senior legislative aide to Senator TomDaschle (D-SD), who was majority leader of the Senate for much of thattime. Unfortunately, since Daschle has not focused his attention onbroadcast issues, we do not know where his former aide may stand onbroadcast matters. It is noteworthy, though, that Adelstein had thestrong support of the National Association of Broadcasters, whosepresident said in a published statement that Adelstein has �afirm grasp of broadcasting and telecommunications issues and a�commitment to public service.�

EEO rules in place

The FCC’s new EEO rules will become effective March 10, 2003. Thenew rules require the filing of a number of reports and the routinemaintenance of a considerable number of records concerning recruitmentefforts. In particular, a broadcast station must file a Broadcast EqualEmployment Opportunity Program Report (FCC Form 396) with its renewalapplication. And annually on the anniversary date of its renewalapplication deadline, the station must place in its public file �and on its website, if it has one � an EEO public filereport.

Spring thaw for MX applications?

There appears to be a proposal before the Commissioners to resolvethe issue that has brought processing of mutually exclusiveapplications between commercial and noncommercial applicants to ascreeching halt. No sooner had the FCC started to implement its auctionprocesses for broadcast permits than the U.S. Court of Appeals inWashington D.C. slammed the door on those processes, as long as theycontemplated that noncommercial applicants might have to participate inauctions. The court found that the FCC could not force noncommercialapplicants to participate in auctions, even when the facilities up forbidding are commercial licenses. The Media Bureau staff has presentedto the full Commission a draft, which, if adopted, could end the freezeand start applications moving through the process again.

On a different topic, the Commission has launched a simplifiedversion of its Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The new ECFSExpress is supposedly easy to use, requiring minimal input fromconsumers. It’s participation made easy. The Commission hopes the newsystem will make the rulemaking process accessible to anyone with acomputer.

This initiative is a part of the Commission’s on-going efforts tomake its processes available to the public.

Martin is an attorney with Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC.,Arlington, VA. E-mail[email protected].


April 1 is the deadline for biennial ownership reports for stationsin Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Renewal applications are due June 1 for radio stations in theDistrict of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. TheCommission plans to make form instructions available on its websitebefore the deadline.