House Subcommittee to Grill FCC Commissioners

Look for FCC chair Ajit Pai to have to at least face questions about his decision to propose holding an evidentiary hearing on problematic parts of the Sinclair-Tribune deal, though the questions could come from Democrats who back the move.

The House Communications Subcommittee, whose members include critics of the deal buoyed by the Pai's decision, has rescheduled an FCC oversight hearing for July 25, which will be exactly a year since the committee held its FCC re-authorization hearing.

Pai and the other commissioners are scheduled to appear, according to the subcommittee.

Also on the agenda, according to the subcommittee majority, will be closing the digital divide, promoting 5G, national security and more.

The subcommittee had planned to hold the hearing Feb. 16, but it was postponed, with a committee source saying that was because the calendar had changed and the House was no longer scheduled to be in session that day.

In a bit of synergy, the same day the Feb. 16 hearing was postponed, the full committee marked up the FCC re-authorization bill.

Democratic members last month pushed the majority to hold the hearing ASAP so they could grill Pai on questions on various topics they said he had not responded to.

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.