Media Critics Seek to Delay Pai Re-Confirmation

Media consolidation and deregulation critics are trying to prevent FCC Chairman Ajit Pai from being confirmed for a new term, tying it to what they say are continuing questions about the FCC's handling of the Sinclair/Tribune merger, plus their concerns about the merger itself.

Pai's term expired in June 2016, but he can continue to serve until the end of 2017. (The story initially said he could serve until the end of 2018, which was incorrect).

Allied Progress, IBEW Broadcasting, Latino Victory Project, and CREDO Action say Republicans are trying to "rush" reconfirmation through in the next few weeks.

Related: Pai to Dems: Sinclair/Tribune Review Has Been By the Book

Democrats in Congress stalled a reconfirmation fast-track vote for Pai last month. At the time, a September recorded vote on his re-nomination was expected.

But the groups want Democrats to continue to try and block the confirmation, linking it to the proposed Sinclair/Tribune merger and saying the reconfirmation should not come "while so many unanswered questions remain on the Sinclair-Tribune merger.

"Democrats should oppose the Republican efforts to rush Pai’s reconfirmation and continue to push for Congressional hearings to understand the impact of this proposed merger and other critical issues under the FCC’s control," they said.

Some Democrats in Congress suggested the chairman may have taken actions to aide Sinclair's merger, but Pai told them in a letter released this week that was not the case.

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.