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FCC's Clyburn: I Still Have Work to Do

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn signaled she was not heading for the exit in June.

That came in a post-FCC meeting interview in which she sang her answer to the question of whether she would be leaving after June 30. "I've got work to do. I've got a job, baby," she warbled, attempting to channel the Isley Brothers. She was following the lead of protestors who broke into song during chairman Ajit Pai's meeting statement and the chairman's own crooning in response in a moment that alternated between light and somewhat surreal.

Her term expires, but she could serve a couple more years because FCC commissioners don't have to leave until the end of the Congress after the one in which their term expires.

There have been rumblings that she could decide to call it quits given the Republican-majority commission she was not anticipating and clearly has major issues with given her ringing dissents to a couple of votes at the FCC's April meeting Thursday.

If she did leave, the FCC would lack a quorum and could not approve any more of the chairman's efforts to weed whack what he sees as unnecessary and counterproductive regulations and many Democrats see as necessary governor's on industry power. That would mean President Donald Trump would have to move more swiftly to fill the two empty FCC seats.

But Clyburn signaled that she did not shrink from the role of loyal opposition. "I still have a job," she said. "I don’t have a voice, but I've still got a job."

She said the seven items on the agenda, on some of which her dissents were almost visceral, indicated how important her job is. "I think sitting up on this platform should be at least one voice that puts consumers first."

She may have left the door open a crack, however, saying her voice for consumers did not depend on what title she held.

Not doing so had been her criticisms of the Republican majority's vote to reinstate the UHF discount and deregulate business data services.

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.