Skip to main content

FCC's McDowell Proposes Larger Role for Engineers

Commissioner Robert McDowell has some ideas on how to reform the FCC to better serve the public. In his July 20 letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski he recommends "a thorough operational, financial and ethics audit of the Commission and its related entities...."

He's also seeking an updating of FCC strategic planning, a possible agency restructuring, improvements in both internal and external communications and more collaboration with other government entities.

One of his recommendations is to consolidate licenses into a single database. This should benefit broadcasters who have their broadcast licenses in CDBS, their broadcast auxiliary and microwave licenses in ULS, their satellite uplinks and SNG trucks in IBFS, and their towers in the antenna structure registration database.

"I would encourage consideration of filling many of the numerous open positions with highly qualified applicants and making more efficient use of non-attorney professionals," McDowell stated in his letter to Genachowski. "For example, there is no reason why we cannot use engineers to help investigate complaints and petitions that involve technical and engineering questions. This would be especially useful as we continue to consider matters pertaining to network management."

I think most readers would welcome giving FCC engineers more say in FCC decisions.

In Chairman Genachowski's reply to Commissioner McDowell, he announced a new Web site – Reboot.FCC.gov--to solicit reform proposals from every FCC employee and an ongoing review process "to address the important areas you identify in your letter--operational, financial, and ethical; the FCC's strategic plan; potential restructuring; ways to improve external and internal communications, and coordination with other facets of government--as well as others that agency staff, the public and interested parties, and our fellow Commissioners may suggest."

He concluded by stating that he was looking forward to receiving recommendations on specific proposals made by McDowell and others within the organization.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.