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Martin Renomination Hearing Scheduled

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a renomination hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Martin was renominated April 25 for a term that expired June 30. Martin took over as chairman when Michael Powell exited in March 2005.

Martin’s renomination will almost certainly pass the committee, but he could face some tough questions from Democrats on a variety of topics, including the network neutrality issue that was initially triggered by the FCC's decision to change the definition of broadband service and exclude networks from mandatory Internet access requirements.

If Martin's nomination is approved, the full Senate would still have to vote it, which is usually essentially a rubber stamp on the committee’s vote.

The Tuesday hearing will actually be a communications double-header, with the nomination of John Kneuer to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) also slated for consideration. Kneuer was nominated in May.

NTIA is charged with overseeing the digital-to-analog converter-box program. Republicans tried to add Kneuer to a nomination hearing for other appointments last month, but the Democrats said they hadn't been given enough time to come up with questions.

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.