President Nominates Genachowski

President Barack Obama Tuesday expressed his intent to nominate Julius Genachowski to be chairman of the FCC.

Genachowski has been a tech policy advisor to the president with a background in law, policy and the business of communications.

The administration signalled the pick several weeks ago.

“I can think of no one better than Julius Genachowski to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, " said the president. "He will bring to the job diverse and unparalleled experience in communications and technology, with two decades of accomplishment in the private sector and public service. I know him as the son of immigrants who carries a deep appreciation for this country and the American dream; and as the proud father of three children working with his wife Rachel to be responsible parents in this digital age.”

Genachowski must still be confirmed by Congress.Genachowski, a former Harvard Law School classmate of Obama's, helped draft the Obama campaign's tech policy plan, which at the time boiled down to "open government, open networks, and open markets." Only days after the election, he was tapped along with another Hundt lieutenant, Blair Levin, to draft tech policy for the new administration.

Genachowski had been thought to be a top candidate for a new tech czar post Obama is creating, so long as its powers were well-defined--and it actually had powers. That job description has remained sufficiently nebulous as the top FCC post appears the more attractive to someone looking to affect communications policy.

Genachowski has a range of experience in the law, business, politics, communications, and new media to draw from. He is co-founder of venture capital firm Rock Creek Ventures, a former adviser to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, and was a senior executive from 1997 to 2005 at Barry Diller's Internet company, IAC/InterActiveCorp. He is also former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice David Souter and retired Justice William Brennan. His congressional experience includes the staff of the Joint Select Committee on Iran-Contra and in the office of then Rep. Charles Schumer of New York.

Industry response poured in to Genachowski’s nomination.

"President Obama has made an excellent choice in announcing his intent to nominate Julius Genachowski to be the next Chairman of the FCC," said the current acting chairman, Michael Copps. "Julius has the knowledge, experience and dedication to lead this Agency forward as we tackle the many challenges confronting the country - and the Commission. I look forward to the prospect of working with him on a communications agenda focused on serving consumers and the public interest. He will find here a talented and energized team of public servants committed to precisely this goal. I wish him a successful Senate confirmation." 

“We are pleased that President Obama today announced his intent to nominate Julius Genachowski to be the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  Julius is an outstanding choice for FCC Chairman,” said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge. “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 have known Julius for over 15 years, both as a public servant and as a savvy and progressive businessman.  He worked with me to promote the public interest in communications in his role as Chief Counsel to then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and then as an aide to Barry Diller when Diller and I were members of the Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters (Gore Commission).”

“Julius Genachowski is one of the best-qualified appointees ever named to head the FCC,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, President and CEO of Media Access Project. “We look forward to having a more transparently-operating FCC which will promote the free flow of information on all electronic media.” 

"Julius Genachowski is a great pick to lead the agency at this
time.  He possesses an impressive mix of government and legal
experience, business and entrepreneurial drive, and a vision for how
the broadband era can positively impact our country," said AT&T
Senior executive VP, external and legislastive affairs, Jim Cicconi.
"I’m confident that Julius Genachowski will follow through on the
president’s goal of furthering broadband deployment by formulating a
national broadband strategy."

The president's economic stimulus
package has billions for broadband and a charter to the FCC to come up
with a plan within a year to build out the entire country.

Genachowski is an excellent choice to lead the FCC," said Josh Silver,
executive director of Free Press. "Throughout his career, he has shown
a deep understanding of the central role of technology in shaping our
21st-century economy and democracy. We urge the Senate to move
Genachowski swiftly through the confirmation process, and we look
forward to working with him to tackle America's most pressing media and
technology issues."

The Parents Television Council, which had
ally in Kevin Martin when it came to cracking down on indecency, called
on Genachowski to follow suit.

“We congratulate Mr. Genachowski
on his nomination to serve as the next chairman of the FCC. We hope the
FCC under his leadership will be committed to putting the public
interest ahead of the corporate interest,” said PTC President Tim
Winter. “Among the numerous issues that fall under FCC oversight,
broadcast decency and cable choice are of critical importance to
parents and families. We call on the FCC to focus squarely on its legal
obligation to uphold broadcast decency standards."

“The fact that Julius is a close confidant of the President is especially important, as it demonstrates the high priority that this Administration will place on developing proactive media and telecommunications policy.”

We congratulate Julius Genachowski on his nomination as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission,” said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow. “He is an excellent choice, and combines the policy savvy and real-world experience that will be necessary to confront both the challenges and opportunities presented at a time of incredible change sweeping the media, communications and technology marketplace.  We look forward to working with Julius and the entire Commission as they seek to chart a course that contributes to our economic recovery and benefits all Americans.”

"I congratulate Julius Genachowski on his nomination to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission," said FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. "He will bring a valuable perspective to the Commission with his experience not only in government but also in the private sector. I look forward to working closely with Mr. Genachowski on the many important communications challenges that lie ahead for the American people."It is actually the second round of congratulations, given that Genachoswki had been the presumptive nominee for the past six or seven weeks. The first round came in early January after sources confirmed to B&C and others that Genachowski was the one.

"The president has made a good choice to head a crucial agency like the FCC at a time of rapid technological change," said American Cable Association President CEO Matt Polka. "Under Genachowski's leadership, we hope the FCC will appreciate that small, independent cable operators have made the investment needed to provide high-speed Internet access to millions of Americans living in rural communities in all 50 states. We look forward to working with Genachowski on developing new approaches to broadband deployment following his Senate confirmation.

"The Internet has thrived due to policies of regulatory restraint initiated a decade ago by FCC Chairman William Kennard," Polka added. "We are eager to show the new chairman how broadband customers of ACA members are benefiting from a legal climate that gives network owners a fair amount of autonomy to manage their networks."

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.