Wanted: FCC Chairman Not Named 'Kevin Martin'

As the incoming Obama administration mulls its pick for FCC chairman, Free Press is conducting its own search.

Last week, the media reform group took out a "Wanted" ad in the Washington Post, Washington Times and other D.C. papers that listed the qualities it would like to see in the next chairman—and took some parting shots at lame duck Kevin Martin.

"This job requires a strong commitment to protecting the open Internet, ensuring fast and affordable Internet access for all Americans, and diversifying media ownership," the ad reads, before listing some of Martin’s well-known preoccupations: "Wardrobe malfunctions, NASCAR wreckage and fleeting expletives are discouraged."

Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver says the ad was meant to remind the President-elect to appoint someone who reflects "his campaign promises on media issues and…his commitment to the public interest."

The ad actually prompted some 20 responses by Thursday—including resumes, which Silver intends to forward to Obama’s transition team.

Our favorite responses: "In the event that Al Franken does not win the MN Senate race, I think he would be perfect for the new FCC chairmanship" and "Too bad George Carlin’s dead."

The ad also asked readers to log on to www.FreePress.net/wanted to check off a list of priorities for the new chairman.

As of Thursday, they had gotten more than 8,800 responses. Topping the list of priorities with the most check marks for the following items as framed by Free Press:

- Protect an open Internet by enforcing Net Neutrality (7014)

- Break up media conglomerates… (6257)

- Stop propaganda, fake news and radio payola (3,987)

Interestingly, the least-checked box where there was any response was "Offer more radio and TV licenses to women and minorities," with 550 checks. Click here to see an updated tally.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.