This week, the appointment of Commissioner Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC became official. Since his appointment on Monday, he has released a list of acting bureau chiefs at the FCC (here), including naming Michelle Carey, a long-time FCC employee, as Acting Chief of the Media Bureau upon the departure of Bill Lake who held that position through Chairman Wheeler’s administration. Chairman Pai also addressed the Commission staff, among other things talking about how much he loves working at the FCC and how important the staff is in accomplishing changes in regulations at the Commission (the speech is available here).
What can broadcasters expect from Chairman Pai? We’ll be summarizing some of the issues now facing the Commission in the next few days. But in the past, Commissioner Pai has been a big advocate of AM improvement, even moderating panels at NAB and other conventions to discuss ways to resolve AM issues. He also has spoken out against restrictive ownership rules (a review of which are likely to be on the agenda shortly, see our articles here and here), and against many of the nitty-gritty regulations that broadcasters face – most recently about the noncommercial ownership reporting rules for Biennial Ownership Reports (see our post here). So we are likely in for a deregulatory ride – how far and how fast remain to be seen. Look for our upcoming posts on specific issues that may be on the table for the FCC.