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Positive Reaction to New FCC Audio Chief

Shuldiner is a “win” for the radio broadcast industry, many say

The FCC’s hiring of a familiar name from within radio tech circles to lead the Media Bureau’s Audio Division is a win for the radio industry, say several observers.

Albert Shuldiner begins his gig this week as chief of the FCC’s Audio Division and he should already be familiar with many of the issues facing radio broadcasters, observers say. The legal veteran joins the commission after spending 14 years as general counsel at iBiquity Digital, the developer of HD Radio technology. Most recently he ran his own legal firm advising clients on regulatory matters.

Shuldiner, who follows Peter Doyle in the position, was picked by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in part for his “extensive knowledge of the radio business and FCC regulatory issues,” according to a news release.

HD Radio developer and former iBiquity colleague Glynn Walden described Shuldiner as “extremely smart and articulate” with a “great understanding of radio allocations and real interference conditions” that exist in the world. “I think that Al will be a big supporter of Chairman Pai’s initiatives to reduce unnecessary burdens on broadcasters and modernize the FCC,” Walden told Radio World.

David Layer, vice president of advanced engineering for NAB, says he “heavily endorses” the hire of Shuldiner as new FCC audio chief. “I’m very excited for Al, for the FCC and for broadcasters. He’s a great lawyer who is more technically-inclined than most. Al is super-knowledgeable about all facets of broadcast radio, and in addition, has significant management experience from his years with iBiquity,” Layer said.

Layer, who served with Shuldiner for many years on the National Radio Systems Committee, a technical standards-setting body, says Shuldiner has been close to radio broadcasters for most his entire career, is well-connected in the broadcast world and well-liked. “I think he is well-positioned to understand what radio needs in the 21st century and will fairly and honestly deal with broadcasters,” Layer said.

Radio tech veteran Mike Starling, the former director of NPR Labs, says was “surprised and impressed that such a great choice would be named to succeed Doyle” in such a timely fashion.

Starling says he doesn’t expect any controversy to arise out of Shuldiner’s previous employment with HD Radio developer iBiquity (now owned by Xperi). “HD Radio has been fully authorized by the FCC for over a decade. And there is nothing pending at the FCC to my knowledge of any consequence on that front.”

Layer believes the same. “If there is any controversy along those lines it will only be among uninformed people who aren’t fortunate enough to know Al. I have the utmost confidence in Al’s ability to act fairly and impartially in all matter which come before the Audio Division,” Layer told Radio World in an email reply.