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Obama Names Copps Interim FCC Chairman

Vocal critic of Bush/Martin policies takes the helm for now

The new administration has named the senior Democrat at the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Copps, as interim chairman.

Copps was a frequent vocal critic of communications policies and practices at the FCC as run by Republican Chairman Kevin Martin, who resigned.

With the earlier exit of Commissioner Deborah Tate, the FCC now only has three commissioners instead of the full complement of five: Copps, Democrat Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell, the lone Republican.

“We respect Chairman Copps for his tenacious commitment to the public interest, and we look forward to working with him and the other commissioners,” stated NAB President/CEO David Rehr.

McDowell congratulated Copps: “I am pleased that President Obama has announced that my friend and colleague, Mike Copps, will serve as acting chairman of the commission. I appreciate the sacrifices Beth, Mike and the Copps family have made during his distinguished public service career.”

Adelstein’s view: “During our six years on the commission, [Copps] has consistently worked to ensure that consumers reap the benefits of a responsive and diverse media, robust and ubiquitous broadband Internet access, and reliable public safety communications. With the transition to digital television almost upon us, he will provide urgently needed guidance to put us back on track.”

Copps will remain interim chairman until the Senate confirms President Obama’s nominee; that will reportedly be Julius Genachowski but that announcement has yet to be made. The president will also need to appoint another Republican to the commission to fill Tate’s seat and bring the agency up to a 3–2 Democratic majority.

Copps said he has a “truly gifted” team to work with and pledged to “steer the commission through its current transition to new leadership.”