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BC Beat

With John Eggerton, Marisa Guthrie, Alex Weprin and Mariel Bird

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Wanted: FCC Chairman Not Named '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."


Call it C-SPAN Cribs. For its upcoming "White House Week," beginning Dec. 14 with the 90-minute documentary The White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home, the public-affairs network will take viewers inside the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Mark Farkas, a 24-year C-SPAN veteran, and his production team spent a year and a half filming there guided by outgoing First Lady Laura Bush. On the first walk-through, the crew of three was outnumbered 6-to-1 by a phalanx of administration personnel, including electricians, West Wing staff, the First Lady's staff and, of course, the ever-present Secret Service.

Not only did Secret Service accompany Farkas' team on every shoot, it had final approval on all material, a privilege it exercised only once—when C-SPAN CEO and on-air host Brian Lamb asked Mrs. Bush where in the White House the detail is stationed.

"She was more than willing to tell us exactly where they were," Farkas recalls. "At that moment, I looked at the Secret Service guy who was with us, and he just shook his head. We knew that that would not make the final cut."

Although Mrs. Bush granted C-SPAN cameras unprecedented access to the private residence, two spots were off-limits: the master bedroom and the pool.

"I guess Laura didn't want to be seen in her swimming suit!" Farkas jokes. "I was never given a clear reason by the First Lady's office. I asked them to reconsider, but no go."

RIP Rickroll

Rickrolling is officially over.

For those of you who haven't used the Internet during the past year, "Rickrolling" refers to the practice of enticing unsuspecting Web surfers to click on a link to a video for the 1987 pop hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley.

After the prank snowballed online, eventually mutating into a stunt at live events, Cartoon Network pulled off what we hope was the ultimate (as in final) Rickroll at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What's more, the network managed to enlist Astley himself to emerge from its float (based on the show Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends) and interrupt a rousing puppet chorus.

Joe Swaney, director of publicity for Cartoon/Adult Swim, credited marketing manager Michael Grover, who had been Rickrolled himself and "thought, 'Wouldn't it be hilarious to Rickroll ourselves?'"

Says Swaney, "The neat thing is how there are a bunch of people online commenting on how great it is that something from the Internet world has finally made it into something as mainstream as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."

But some people sniffed at the whole affair, including a commenter on the tech blog Gizmodo who asked, "Was there a shark on that float? Did he jump it?"