Federal Communications Commission

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is "an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions." [1]


As of May 2009: [1]


On April 29, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Mignon L. Clyburn as an FCC Commissioner. Clyburn has served on South Carolina's Public Service Commission since 1998. She also chairs the Washington Action Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and formerly worked as the Publisher and General Manager of The Coastal Times, a weekly newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina. [2]

On March 3, 2009, President Obama nominated Julius Genachowski to Chair the FCC. [3] Genachowski is a business executive with experience in telecommunications and technology issues. [4] As of early May 2009, "Genachowski's nomination remains on hold in the Senate. Republican senators indicating they want him paired with a Republican nominee, but have yet to settle on a choice." [5]

Former Commissioners

FCC and tobacco

In the late 1960s, the FCC, prodded by the legal action of antismoking activist John F. Banzhaf, III, applied the Fairness Doctrine to cigarette promotion, requiring that equal time be provided on television and radio for anti-smoking commercials, as a counterbalance to ads promoting cigarettes. In 1970, Congress banned cigarette advertising from radio and television, effective January 1971. (L. White Merchants of Death, 1988) (See Banzhaf v. FCC, 405 F. 2d 1082 (D.C. Cir. 1968) affirming FCC ruling that radio and television stations must devote a significant amount of broadcast time to the case against smoking.)

2008 House investigation

In early 2008, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation of the FCC and Chair Kevin Martin's leadership of the agency. In addition to looking at "FCC regulatory procedures to determine if they are being conducted in a fair, open, efficient, and transparent manner," the investigation will "address a growing number of allegations received by the committee relating to management practices that may adversely affect the agency's operation," stated a letter from the committee. According to Reuters, one reason for the inquiry into Martin's leadership was that he had been "sharply criticized by lawmakers from both political parties for insisting that the agency hold a vote to change media ownership restrictions, particularly heading into the final full year of the Bush administration." [6]

Contact details

Website: http://www.fcc.gov/

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. "Commissioners," FCC website, accessed May 2009.
  2. Press release, "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts," White House Office of the Press Secretary, April 29, 2009.
  3. Press release, "President Obama Announces More Key Appointments," White House Press Office, March 3, 2009.
  4. Todd Shields and Julianna Goldman, "Julius Genachowski Said to Be Obama’s Choice for FCC Chairman", Blooomberg, January 12, 2009.
  5. Amy Schatz, "[SB124105025793571073 Mignon Clyburn Nominated to FCC]," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), April 29, 2009.
  6. Julie Vorman, "House panel launches probe of FCC practices," Reuters, January 8, 2008.

External resources

External articles

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