Critics, Defenders Speak Out on Powell

Comments in reaction to news of FCC Chairman Michael Powell's pending departure varied. A few:

From NAB President/CEO Eddie Fritts:
"While we have shared occasional policy differences, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the intellect, passion, and good humor that he brings to the job. Michael will succeed in whatever endeavors are ahead, and we look forward to working with him as he transitions to his next challenge."

Henry Rivera, chair of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and former FCC commissioner: "Powell carefully considered the views of civil rights advocates, and encouraged minority ownership of telecommunications businesses. Powell's greatest legacy may be his founding of the federal Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age, which is fostering minority ownership and career development in the media and telecommunications industries."

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska: "I am saddened that Mike Powell will not be FCC Chair as we start the review of the '96 Act. He always had an open mind to views expressed by oversight committees, and, he often invited me to attend sessions held at the FCC."

Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge: "Michael Powell ... was among the smartest and most pro-technology chairs the agency has ever had. However, as in the case of the hyper-regulatory 'broadcast flag,' he sometimes allowed politics to get in the way of his pro-tech and deregulatory philosophy. To the extent that we expect the next chair to share Mr. Powell's philosophy, we hope that he or she will apply that philosophy consistently, even at the risk of angering large, powerful media companies."

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y.: "The resignation of FCC Chairman Michael Powell presents a fresh opportunity to reexamine the direction of media ownership policy. Since Chairman Powell became head of the FCC, ...the agency has continuously sought ways to consolidate media ownership and thus limit the American people's access to a variety of reporting. ...I urge President Bush to nominate a new FCC Chair who will value diverse media ownership so that all sides of a story can be told."
(Radio World)