01.21.2005 12:00 AM
Reports of Powell’s Departure NOT Premature
FCC Chairman Michael Powell will resign in March.
The chairman, who has repeatedly denied his status as a short-timer, was apparently more candid with the editorial page staff of the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.
The son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, the younger Powell was appointed to the commission in 1997 and elevated to chairman in 2001. He was immediately dealt a rewrite of media ownership rules by a D.C. Circuit Court judge for whom Powell had once worked. The subsequent rewrite, which eased ownership limitations, caused apoplexy across Capitol Hill that reached as far as Philadelphia, where the Third Circuit Court of Appeals pronounced several swathes of the new rules null and void.
Powell purported to support free-market principles, and indeed he did when it came to rubber-stamping the merger of the nation’s two largest cable companies. However, when it came to certain tawdry activity and vulgar language on the airwaves, his Regulator personality emerged.
Top candidates for the post of chief include Gulf War veteran Rebecca Klein, a former head of the Texas Public Utility Commission and staffer of then Gov. George Bush. FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin remains on the list, as do former Bush telecommunications policy advisers Janice Obuchowski and Michael Gallagher.