According to a committee source, the House Judiciary Committee witness list for its June 7 hearing on the proposed Comcast-NBC Universal merger in Los Angeles contains a familiar name. Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, whom the cable industry once accused of having a vendetta against it, will join the first of two panels scheduled.
Martin is listed as representing Bloomberg L.P. and cited as a former FCC chairman. He is an attorney with Patton Boggs in Washington, which is listed as the attorney of record on Bloomberg filings at the FCC seeking access to confidential documents filed by Comcast and NBCU as part of the deal. Bloomberg says it has a "substantial interest in the outcome of this matter."
Patton Boggs also represents the Communications Workers of America, which has been critical of the deal, saying it would likely mean "the loss of good jobs, the erosion of employee rights, and [would] undermine living standards in the communications and media industries."
According to a committee source, legislators making the road trip from the committee include Chairman John Conyers and Reps. Maxine Waters, who has registered her concerns about diversity issues and the need for more public input on the deal; Linda Sanchez and, possibly, Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Stephen Cohen.
According to the same source, the panel, which includes representatives of the entertainment industry, civil rights organizations and consumer groups, will comprise as-yet-unnamed NBCU and Comcast execs, as well as Martin; Samuel Kang, Greenlining Institute; Stan Washington, National Coalition of African American Owned Media; Jim Weitkamp, Communications Workers of America; Alex Nogales, National Hispanic Media Coalition; and Allen Hammond IV, Broadband Institute of California, Santa Clara University.
The second panel will comprise: TV writer-producer Suzanne de Passe; former BET President Reginald Hudlin; Dr. Darnell Hunt, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA; Kathryn Galan, National Association of Latino Independent Producers; Phillip Rodriguez, television producer; Frank Washington, Tower of Babel; Will Griffin, music/cable entrepreneur; and Alfred Liggins of TV One/Radio One.
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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.