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NAB President Seeks Swift Action on FCC Nominees

National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith has urged the Senate to swiftly confirm the President's nominees for FCC commissioner.

The White House last week nominated Senate Commerce Committee Telecom adviser Jessica Rosenworcel and communications attorney and former FCC lawyer Ajit Pai for the Democratic and Republican seats, respectively.

In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx.), Smith said that it was important to have a full complement of commissioners next year and beyond, a time during which the agency will be making major decisions that will impact radio and television broadcasters and the entire telecommunications industry.

Those include weighing in on potential media ownership rule changes, retransmission consent rule tweaks and the possible re-making of the TV broadcast band for spectrum incentive auctions. There is currently only one vacancy, the Republican seat that had been held by Meredith Attwell Baker before she resigned last spring to join Comcast. The other vacancy will open up at the end of the year when Democratic Commissioner and former acting chairman Michael Copps exits.

He pointed out that the senators worked closely with both nominees and knew that they were "highly qualified. knowledgeable and thoughtful public servants."

He said he was looking forward to working with Rosenworcel and Pai for "many years to come," provided they are confirmed.

Rockefeller has signaled he will hold a confirmation hearing as soon as possible.