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B&C: Spectrum Auction Guru Gary Epstein Exiting FCC

WASHINGTON—With the close of the FCC broadcast incentive auction last week, FCC Incentive Auction Task Force chairman Gary Epstein will be exiting at the end of the month, Epstein confirmed to B&C. (Also see...“FCC Auction Task Force to Oversee Aftermath,” March 3, 2016)

Epstein is the luncheon speaker at the Media Institute Wednesday, where he is expected to announce what will be his fourth “retirement” following years of government service and private practice in the communications space.

Epstein, a prominent telecommunications attorney, joined the FCC in April 2012 as lead on the incentive auction.

Epstein retired from private practice in 2009 as a partner in Latham & Watkins and head of its communications group before being wooed to the FCC by then-FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to tackle the incentive auction, which had been likened to a Rubik’s cube wrapped in duct tape for its level of complexity.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Epstein, who had been chief of the Common Carrier Bureau at the FCC in the early 1980s.

The FCC last week issued its public notice on the final auction tally, identifying the who, where and how much of winning bids in both the reverse and forward portions of the auction. “The incentive auction is officially closed,” Epstein said last week at the announcement of that notice, “and the 39-month post-auction transition period has begun.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio WorldTV TechTV FaxThis Week in Consumer ElectronicsVariety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.