FCC Chairman Martin ended speculation today about whether he will remain at the FCC as a commissioner after he’s replaced as chairman. He announced he will leave the commission effective Jan. 20 to become a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Earlier, in a one-on-one interview with CEA President/CEO Gary Shapiro at last week’s CES show, Martin acknowledged that he probably didn’t fully appreciate the amount of time the DTV transition was going to take as far as attention from the agency. He believes there’s ways to fix the converter coupon box program without delaying the Feb. 17 date, such as eliminating the 90-day coupon limit.
The concern about delaying the date, Martin said, is that consumers then might not believe any date the government picks and won’t prepare.
Asked whether he had regrets about his four-year tenure as chairman, such as whether approval of the satellite radio merger took too long, Martin said no. “One of the reasons we allowed them to merge, are the [financial] difficulties they face today.”
The commission had rejected an earlier, similar deal between Echostar and DirecTV, however in the sat rad approval decision the commission said it no longer agreed with the reasons behind denying that merger, Martin said.
Here’s what NAB President/CEO David Rehr had to say officially after today’s announcement: “The FCC chairman’s job is one of the most difficult in Washington. On behalf of the broadcast industry, I want to express our thanks to Kevin Martin for his public service. NAB respects Kevin Martin’s intellect and his belief in the lifeline role played by local broadcasters. We wish him well.”