CWA’s Christopher Shelton Calls for Gigi Sohn’s FCC Confirmation

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Communications Workers of America president Christopher Shelton is blaming Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for the failure, so far, of Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn to get a vote in the Senate Commerce Committee.

Wicker is ranking member of the committee, but does not control the timing of a vote, which is in the purview of chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

In an op-ed endorsing Sohn, Shelton likened Republican obstruction of the Sohn nomination to the Capitol insurrection, calling it “yet another Republican attempt to undermine our democratic system and the functioning of the federal government.”

Wicker has called for a second hearing on Sohn’s nomination. She already had one, but President Joe Biden had to resubmit the nomination earlier this month after the committee did not vote on it before the end of last year.

Wicker is concerned about, among other things, the potential ongoing conflict of interest related to Sohn's association with Locast, the TV-station streaming service that shuttered after a court ruled it was illegally streaming network content. That issue appears to have resolved itself with a settlement that relieved Sohn, a former Locast board member, of any liability.

Shelton called on Democrats to get moving and approve Sohn, saying: “She is known as a long-time, tireless advocate for the expansion of affordable internet access — one of the key issues on the Democrats’ agenda. There is currently a vacant seat on the FCC, and without a full commission it will be difficult to advance the policies necessary to expand affordable broadband service to the millions of American families left on the wrong side of the digital divide.” ■

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.