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Wheeler Nomination Hearing Set

Nominee has pledged to divest media, tech, telecom holdings if confirmed

The road to getting a new FCC chair has taken another step.

Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has set a date for a nomination hearing date for Tom Wheeler, the president’s choice for a new agency chairman.

Wheeler is a former telecom and cable industry group executive. The former National Cable & Telecommunications Association chief ran NCTA from 1979 to 1984. Wheeler later became head of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association from 1992 to 2003.

Wheeler was named managing director of Washington-based investment firm Core Capital in 2005. He also chairs the FCC’s Technology Advisory Council. He’s pledged to divest his telecom holdings, such as shares of AT&T Inc., Dish Network Corp., Google Inc. as well as shares of other tech companies like Microsoft, Apple and Harris Corp. — and media companies like Liberty Media Corp. and News Corp. — if he’s confirmed.

The nomination hearing is June 18. The committee and then the full Senate would need to approve the choice.

The president has not yet nominated anyone for the open GOP seat on the commission because congressional Republicans reportedly haven’t agreed on a candidate.