Wheeler Meets with Trade Association Chiefs

Details were filtering out about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's meeting with trade association chiefs earlier this week, which B&C noted in a story Nov. 20. Wheeler divided his day among public interest groups and lobbyists on Tuesday (Nov. 19), continuing his efforts to outline his agenda to stakeholders and the communications press.

Sen. Gordon Smith Thursday said that at that meeting, Wheeler signaled he could be open to gathering more info on ways to promote investment and innovation in the broadcasting business. Wheeler told public interest groups that he recognized that the FCC needs to collect more data to know what was going on in the industry.

Among those at the meeting, according to sources included National Cable & Telecommunications Association Michael Powell, CTIA: Wireless Association President Steve Largent, and Walter McCormick, president of US Telecom and Matt Polka, president of the American Cable Association.

Smith called the meeting "wonderful" and said Wheeler was "warm, friendly and engaging." He made clear that his door was open, he said. Smith said a representative of rural wireless interests told Wheeler he had to give them some spectrum in rural America. Smith said he "piped up" and said: "We can help you with that." He said that there was no shortage of spectrum in rural America, and if the FCC gave broadcasters some flexibility to lease spectrum broadcasters could help. He said Wheeler then said: Hey, we've already got a solution. "So, maybe [that is] some progress."

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.