11/22/2011 4:00 PM
Deborah McAdams is the Executive Editor of TV Technology.
Most of the people who have a profound impact on this world do so quietly. David Fiske is one of those people. You may not know him, but much of what you know about the FCC's work is because of him. He is the commission's spokesman—until the end of the year.
Mr. Fiske is leaving the building after 16 years of service. And I do mean service. He fulfilled the role of "public servant" in the old-school sense. There are quite a few springboarders at the commission, just waiting for that juicy lobby gig to come along. Then there are those who never forget they work for the people of the United States. Mr. Fiske is one of those.
When I first moved to D.C. and started reporting on the commission, he called and invited me to lunch. He was warm but totally no-nonsense. We ate at the commissary while he told me the basics of navigating the vast FCC information machine. It probably saved him a lot of time in the long run, but he didn't have to do it. He could have ignored me the way some media relations folks are wont to do these days. They behave as if questions from the press are some sort of personal irritant. Mr. Fiske behaved as if it was his duty to do everything humanly possible and a bit beyond to provide answers.
It may seem overwrought to describe his impact as "profound," but I don't think so. Though we've mostly forgotten it, much of our way of life is possible because of the press, and the FCC has more influence on it than all other agencies combined. In many ways, the commission determines how information is disseminated. Mr. Fiske has been a constant, unbiased, and reliable conduit for those seeking information from the commission. He will be missed.