FCC, short a member, in summer stall

July 29, 2005

It’s been quiet at the FCC this summer. By now, many had expected the commission to be debating its media ownership rules. However, as the Associated Press reports, the FCC’s members got stalled when they couldn’t agree on how to get started.

Currently, the five-member FCC has only four seats filled, leaving an even division between Republicans and Democrats. That’s exactly what happened on the media ownership issue, which was shelved.

The FCC’s new chairman, Kevin Martin, has been trying to set his regulatory agenda with only one other Republican ally on the commission. So far, he has accomplished little beyond non-controversial matters.

Few believe the FCC will get a fifth member before the fall, leaving the possibility that contentious issues will remain on the sidelines for a while longer.

The current vacancy was created by the elevation of Martin from commissioner to FCC chairman to replace Michael Powell, who left the agency in the spring after four years in the top post.

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