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FCC Names Levine Special Counsel to the Chairman

Broadcasters will want to put Amy Levine's number on speed-dial.

The FCC announced Thursday that Levine, who had been reported to be joining the staff of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, would be coming aboard as a special counsel to the chairman specializing in public safety and other spectrum issues.

In addition to working on creating an interoperable emergency communications network, Levine "will coordinate with the Wireless Bureau and the Office of Engineering and Technology regarding the Commission's efforts to make available and ensure more efficient use of spectrum, including through the innovative concept of voluntary incentive auctions," said the FCC in announcing the hire.

That auction will be key to getting broadcasters, at least some of them, to willingly give up spectrum for wireless broadband, since the incentive part would be using some of the proceeds from spectrum auctions to compensate broadcasters for moving off that spectrum so it could be sold. The FCC still needs congressional approval to pay them.

"NAB has always had a great working relationship with Amy," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton. "She has one of the sharpest minds in Washington and we wish her well in her new role at the FCC."
Levine knows all about working with the Hill, having served most recently as communications advisor to former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who had been chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee before being defeated for re-election. Boucher had argued for insuring any spectrum reclamation was voluntary and broadcasters were compensated.

Levine is also a former communications advisor to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and legislative counsel to Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). Before that she was an attorney at D.C. law firm Covington & Burling.