Updated: Biden Nominates Rosenworcel as FCC Chairman

Jessica Rosenworcel
(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The White House has confirmed that President Biden will nominate FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcal as chairman of the commission and Gigi Sohn, as a Commissioner of the FCC. 

The move ends months of speculation over what has been holding the nominations. Rosenworcel has been the acting chairman of the FCC since January. 

If approved, Rosenworcel would be the first woman to head the agency. 

If Sohn is confirmed, Sohn would be the first openly LGBTIQ+ Commissioner in the history of the FCC.

Currently there are four commissioners on the five person agency, two Republicans and two Democrats. This split has prevented the commission to take action on a number of contentious issues, including a possible return to implementing some form of net neutrality. 

Last month, 25 Democratic senators sent a letter to the president, urging him to nominate Rosenworcel, saying that "further delay simply puts at risk the major broadband goals that we share and that Congress has worked hard to advance as part of your administration’s agenda."

Prior to being the acting Chair of the FCC, Rosenworcal served as a Commissioner since 2012.

Before joining the FCC, she served as Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV and Senator Daniel Inouye. Before entering public service, Rosenworcal practiced communications law. She is a native of Hartford, Connecticut and a graduate of Wesleyan University and New York University School of Law. She lives with her family in Washington, DC.

Gigi B. Sohn is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. If she is confirmed, Sohn would be the first openly LGBTIQ+ Commissioner in the history of the FCC.

From 2013-2016, Sohn served as Counselor to Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and from 2001-2013 was Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading communications and technology policy advocacy organization serving the interests of consumers. 

She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a communications public interest law firm. Sohn holds a B.S. in Broadcasting and Film, Summa Cum Laude, from the Boston University College of Communication and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She resides with her family in Washington, DC.

In response to the nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as commissioner, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith issued a statement saying, "NAB congratulates Jessica Rosenworcel on her nomination as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission. As the first woman nominated as permanent chair, this marks a significant milestone at the Commission and a fitting progression in her long and distinguished career in public service. NAB also extends congratulations to Gigi Sohn on her nomination to the Commission. We look forward to working with the full Commission on how the FCC can ensure a thriving local broadcast industry.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.