The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now operating with two commissioners and a new Acting Chairman following the inauguration of President Obama. Former Republican Chairman Kevin Martin resigned from the Commission on January 20. Martin's resignation left the FCC with three sitting commissioners—Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, and Republican Robert McDowell. Former Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, whose term expired in June 2008, was legally compelled to leave the Commission at the end of 2008, when the previous Congress adjourned.
On January 22, Obama formally designated Copps as Acting Chairman of the FCC. Copps, who was first sworn-in as a Commissioner in 2001 and is the Commission's longest serving member, will serve as Acting Chairman until a permanent Chairman is nominated and confirmed by the Senate. Copps has stated that he plans to focus the Commission's attention primarily on the Digital Television (DTV) transition during his tenure as Acting Chairman and will not act on any potentially controversial proceedings.
It has been widely reported that Obama will nominate Julius Genachowski, his former Harvard Law School classmate and lead technology and media advisor during the campaign, as FCC Chairman. Obama, however, has yet to make the nomination official, and it is unclear at this point how long the FCC will be without a permanent Chairman. Genachowski served as chief counsel to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt during the Clinton Administration and was formerly Chief of Business Operations at IAC/InterActive Corp., a media and Internet conglomerate.