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Bush Taps Martin for FCC Chairman

Mar 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Ending weeks of speculation, President Bush on Wednesday afternoon announced his intention to name Kevin Martin chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Mr. Martin, a Republican commissioner at the agency, succeeds Michael Powell, who departs this week. Because Mr. Martin is already a commissioner, his appointment as chairman can take effect immediately. An external candidate would have had to win Senate confirmation.

Before joining the FCC as a commissioner in July 2001, Mr. Martin, 38, was co-chairman of President Bush’s transition team for the agency. He also was a deputy general counsel of the 2000 Bush presidential campaign.

Mr. Martin’s campaign for the chairmanship received an enthusiastic endorsement from the watchdog Parents Television Council due to his role as a leading behind-the-scenes advocate of the FCC’s crackdown on off-color broadcasting. He also distinguished himself recently as the sole agency supporter of the broadcast industry’s effort to require cable operators to carry all of the programming streams that broadcasters multicast on their digital channels.

Mr. Martin’s key competitor for the agency’s top slot was said to be Michael Gallagher, the 41-year-old chief of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.