Where's the Beef.

During a hearing in the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee on access to sports programming, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), was late to the hearing, saying he was busy issuing a subpoena.

Stupak is chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and one of the investigations he is overseeing is into the processes of the FCC. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has taken heat over how and when the agency notifies the other commissioners and the rest of the world about what items the FCC is mulling or preparing for a vote.

But Stupak isn’t the only one looking into the process. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has begun telling reporters several weeks in advance what he plans to put on the upcoming public meeting agenda, though the first time he did that none of the items were on the agenda, and even the meeting date was moved and the venue changed to Boston. So much for getting the lowdown, but at least the spirit was willing.

Martin has also circulated an order that would create a list of upcoming items for all to see–some commissioners complained they were learning what would be on the agenda when the reporters getting the briefing reported it. He is also proposing that commissioners publicly reveal how they have voted on items on circulation after they have done so.

But I digress, big time.

Anyway, it got me to wondering whether this subpoena (not an easy word to spell, by the way) might be the first subpoena in that Stupak FCC investigation.

It wasn’t. A staffer told me it was about food safety and was a subpoena to the head of that beef company with the recent, and record, recall. Apparently he didn’t show up to a hearing last week. So now you know.

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.