All five FCC Commissioners appeared before a Senate oversight hearing on Tuesday, discussing a wide range of issues. When asked why progress has not been made on media ownership rule changes, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel noted that news is still primarily consumed through traditional media outlets, such as radio, TV and newspapers.
Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed with Rosenworcel, noting that a vast amount of the country is still without access to broadband and that we are currently in "an interim period" when it comes to the concerns surrounding media consolidation. Much of Genachowski's testimony also focused on expanding broadband Internet access across the U.S.
Commissioners Robert McDowell said that the rules are due for an update, as advertising dollars and the public are moving towards digital and new media. He added that the rules should "to reflect the current economic realities of the marketplace and eliminate any and all unnecessary mandates." Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mignon Clyburn both noted they need to be careful about the effects of such rule changes.
In February, Genachowski announced he would be delaying the Commission's vote on potential changes to the media ownership rules, allowing for further study of the rules' impact on minorities and women.
It was a busy day for the FCC, which also approved the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger. Transcripts of all five Commissioners' testimonies are available on www.FCC.gov.