WASHINGTON, June 2, 2009 –The Federal Communications Commission hosted the first open meeting with Julius Genachowski as chairman, having been confirmed by the Senate earlier last week.
Genachowski said it was the first meeting of the agency he had attended since 1997, when he was the FCC’s general council under Chairman Reed Hundt.
Before presentations concerning the digital television transition and the FCC’s federally-mandated national broadband plan, Commissioner Robert McDowell was sworn in to a new five-year term.
Commissioner McDowell joked that his swearing in was a “terrific way to launch the Genachowski era” and said that Genechowski’s term had been “great, so far.” McDowell also said that he was “extremely excited and heartened to continue to work with you ,” referring to the approximately 1800 FCC employees.
In addition, McDowell thanked Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who is departing the agency to head up the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service – pending Senate confirmation – for his “hard work, sense of humor, and his harmonic playing [of the harmonica.]”
Commissioner Michael Copps, who had been the acting chairman, also thanked his fellow commissioners and Adelstein. He remarked to Genachowski that he “looked forward to your chairmanship,” and that Genachowski brought the “right combination of vision and practicality” to the agency.
Genachowski reiterated his “great respect and admiration" for his fellow commissioners, and said he was grateful to his new staff, who bring “a real mix of talents and background to bear on all issues we will face.”
The pace of the first week Genachowski has faced was apparent at the meeting, when he had to consult his fellow commissioners on when to invite other panelists to begin speaking.