D.C. Insider on Track to Become Trump’s FCC Chair — What It Would Mean for the Broadcast Industry

Nov 21, 2016  •  Post A Comment

After emerging as the head of President-elect Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Commission transition team, longtime Washington, D.C., telecom policy insider and economist Jeffrey A. Eisenach is now a leading candidate to chair the regulatory agency, TVNewsCheck reports.

The prospect of an FCC chairmanship for Eisenach, a staunch free market advocate, “has raised broadcast industry hopes that the agency will shift onto a more deregulatory course,” the story reports.

Other candidates for the position include the two sitting Republican FCC commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O’Reilly.

“Eisenach, 58, is well known in communications policy circles,” TVNewsCheck notes. “He has served as a consultant to NAB and The Walt Disney Co., writing detailed economic reports supporting their positions on the incentive auction, retransmission consent and ownership deregulation.”

While NAB President Gordon Smith is quoted calling Eisenach a “smart choice” for the Trump transition, not everyone is enthused about the outlook for an Eisenach FCC.

“If Eisenach were given free rein to call the shots at the FCC, ‘It would betoken a radical change’ at the agency, said Andrew Schwartzman, a longtime public interest group advocate who is currently a professor at Georgetown University law school,” the story reports. Schwartzman adds that Eisenach “believes there’s very little role for the FCC and that much of the job of the FCC can be legislated away.”

Matt Wood, policy director of the watchdog Free Press, said Eisenach “opposes safeguards for competition and the communications rights of real people, always prioritizing the views of incumbents and monopolists.”

Wood also notes: “How that will square with his new boss Donald Trump’s statements about undue media consolidation and the AT&T-Time Warner merger is anybody’s guess.”

Please click on the link to TVNewsCheck near the top of this story for further background on Eisenach and comments on his potential impact on the FCC.

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