Michael K. Powell, 41, will step down in March as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission after almost four years as the government's top media and telecommunications regulator, he announced today.
Poor Michael Powell, the son of Colin Powell, was in over his head as major domo of the FCC. If he had stuck to the "geek gadget" stuff, like VoIP and broadband Internet access, both of which he understood and championed, he would have done fine. But the expansion of corporate media ownership, which he was exactly and naively on the wrong side of, and a confused and arbitrary approach to broadcast rule implementation left him the most reviled chairman in FCC history.
Frank Ahrens talks about his tenure:
- Powell was appointed to the FCC by President Clinton in 1997. After George W. Bush was elected president in 2000, Powell was elevated to chairmanship of the commission, which oversees land-based and wireless telecommunication, satellite services and media ownership and patrols the nation's airwaves for indecency.
It was these past two areas that proved toughest for Powell, a former Army officer who left the service after suffering a near-fatal injury in a 1987 training exercise in West Germany that left him bedridden for a year.
In June 2003, Powell and the two other Republicans on the FCC pushed through new media ownership rules that would have allowed the television networks to own a few more stations, tightened national radio ownership rules and let one company own the biggest newspaper and television station in almost every city.
....More fines for indecency were proposed under Powell than by all previous chairman combined. In 2004 alone, the FCC proposed nearly $8 million in indecency fines.
A self-admitted gadget geek, Powell pushed for the rapid rollout of cell phone and wireless communications networks, calling them tools of democracy. Ironically, it was grass roots e-mail campaigns during the media ownership controversy that poured the most heat on Powell. [Washington Post]
We have been following Powell's tenure rather closely since Blogcritics' inception in August of '02 - here are some of the key stories:
Dumpster Bust Keeping It Real Politik: Hey FCC, Who’s Really Complaining?
There’s a lot of Values Talk in America right now. From Janet Jackson’s nipple accoutrements to gay marriage to John Kerry’s decision to put on cammo pants and walk in a field, Values Talk has dominated much of the political...
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on December 31, 2004 05:05 AM
Radio Free Satellite
Despite the clear legal grounds the religious right wanted to extend government reach further into private business.
Posted in Blogcritics Archives on December 28, 2004 09:49 AM