US Media Regulator Waits For New Chief to be Named

11 March 2005

The US media watchdog, the Federal Communications Agency, is waiting to hear who will take on the mantle of chairman.

Outgoing head Michael Powell presided over his last meeting yesterday (Thursday, March 10). The two front runners for the role are Michael Gallagher, a senior official in the Commerce Department and Kevin Martin, currently an FCC commissioner.

Whoever succeeds Powell will have their agenda dominated by big phone company mergers [WAMN: 16-Feb-2005] and increasingly vociferous calls for legislation to clamp down on alleged indecency by broadcast TV and radio stations.

Last month both houses of Congress reintroduced a stalled bill to allow the FCC to increase indecency fines, with one proposal raising them to $500,000 (€373k, £260k). Several key Republican senators have lobbied for an extension to the rules to cover satellite and cable channels.

Presently Gallagher is the people's choice among Powell's aides while Martin's promotion to the top job would be easier as it would not require Senate approval.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff