While journalists were still awaiting the official work on the naming of tech policy adviser Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman, industry players were not waiting to weigh in on the choice, most with either cautious plaudits or unalloyed praise.
"Mr. Genachowski’s record of accomplishments and reputation within the industry make him a good choice as Chairman, and we congratulate him,” said American Cable Association President/CEO Matt Polka Tuesday. ACA represents small and mid-sized cable companies.
Public Knowledge, which advocates for public access to technology and content, was fairly giddy. “Julius Genachowski is an outstanding choice for FCC Chairman," said PK President Gigi Sohn. "As the architect of President-elect Obama’s Technology and Innovation Plan, it is clear that he understands the importance of open networks and a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and competition to a robust democracy and a health economy.
“I believe that in his new role, Julius will work to ensure that the FCC meets its legal obligation to protect the ‘public interest, convenience and necessity’ and will develop a principled, strategic policy agenda that promotes openness, free speech, competition, innovation, access, economic growth and consumer welfare.
Sohn also said she thought he would run a transparent commission of "data-driven" policymaking, something PK, and many others, have criticized the current FCC as lacking. "His collegial management style will also help rebuild morale at the agency.”
Ken Ferree, president of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, and former FCC Media Bureau Chief under Republican Chairman Kevin Martin, called Genachowski an "outstanding choice."
"He is knowledgeable, experienced, and presumably will have the ear of the most influential people within the Administration," Feree said in a statement. "PFF looks forward to working with Mr. Genachowski and the agency under his leadership."
Tom Tauke, Verizon's top lobbyist, praised Genchowski's tech policy savvy.
“The selection of Julius Genachowski is a great boost for the nation’s drive to be the world leader in all things broadband," he said in a statement. "He understands the importance of deploying next- generation networks that open the doors to a new world of life-enhancing applications and services. He also understands the appropriate role of government in establishing the right policies to achieve the promise of broadband. We look forward to working with him.”
One voice tempering his praise with a warning was former acting FCC Chairman James Quello, the longest-serving Democratic FCC commissioner and still an industry consultant/force in his mid-90's.
"He is bright, practical, open-minded and has business experience," said Quello, but leavened that with the following: "In these trying times, this is no time to subject broadcasting and particularly TV, which is the most influential and pervasive news and information media, to burdensome, costly and even punative regulation."
Quello said that with Internet is seriously eating into broadcasters' revenues, "we don't need government regulations and restrictions forcing media industries to seek government bailouts."
A transition team spokesperson was still not confirming the Genachowski appointment at press time, but at least two Democratic sources with knowledge of the transition team said it was a done deal.
Genachowski has FCC experience as a former aide to Chairman Reed Hundt, and was a law clerk to two Supreme Court Justices, a Hill staffer. More recently he has been a venture capitalist and an e-media executive who worked with Barry Diller at IAC.
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