Michael Powell Joins Providence Equity

Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell has joined venture capital firm Providence Equity Partners as a senior adviser on topics including "regulatory issues in the media," something Powell is obviously well-versed in.

The company cited Powell's regulatory and technical expertise in the sectors where Providence invests.

The firm was part of a Sony-led consortium that bought studio MGM last year. It is also a major backer of cable operator Bresnan Communications.

Providence helped the New York Yankees launch the YES network and gave money to Edgar Bronfman Jr. when he bought Warner Music from Time Warner Inc.
Its holdings also include The Hallmark Channel and American Cellular.
Powell left the commission in March after seven years as a commissioner and chairman, professing no immediate plans after some R&R.
Jeff Chester, executive director, of the Center for Digital Democracy, which often butted up against Powell on media deregulation issues, saw it as an example of a revolving door that needs to be closed.

"Chairs and Commissioners should pledge that they will work in the non-profit sector for a reasonable period after the serve in office," he said.  "Otherwise, there will always be the concern that-like Michael K. Powell-his so-called high-minded pro-Big Media philosophy was simply part of his resume for a highly-paid post-Chairman's gig."

It is certainly nothing new for a former FCC Chairman, or many other goverment officials for that matter, to capitalize on their experience in the public sector with related jobs in private business when their terms of service are up.
Former FCC Chairman Dick Wiley became one of the most powerful and successful communications attorneys in the country, while later chairmen Dennis Patrick and Bill Kennard turned their experience into gold in the telecommunications businesses, though chairmen have lives before the FCC that often included media-related work as well.
--John M. Higgins contributed to this report.

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.