Editors’ Note: Let’s be honest. The first day on a new job usually stinks. Everything’s new and different. Everybody’s trying to weasel up to your good side. Big and Important Stuff definitely needs to get done, but right out of the box it can be hard to tell the Big and Important Stuff from the Totally Unnecessary and Possibly Counterproductive Stuff.
As a public service, we here at CommLawBlog have put together a “To Do” List for Julius Genachowski when he arrives on the Eighth Floor of the FCC. (We know he hasn’t been confirmed yet, but who really believes that that’s going to be a problem?)
But what do we know? The Chairman-Designate would probably benefit even more from suggestions from CommLawBlog readers. We down here in the CommLawBlog bunker merely have our fingers on the pulse of the Regulated Nation; you ARE the pulse of the Regulated Nation.
We’re sure Mr. Genachowski would welcome additional input from the blogosphere for his To Do list. Check out our initial thoughts below, then post your own using the comment box at the end of our list.
- Move things along faster. Accelerate technical rulemakings and waivers so innovations can reach the market quickly. Require Bureaus to resolve all contested cases within two years, max. Draw a time line – say, maybe, three years – and assign staff to resolve, within six months, all non-rulemaking cases older than that.
- Come up with a workable distinction between “telecommunications service” and “information service”.
- Authorize pocket-size cell phone jammers for use on the Washington Metro. Either that, or fast-acting anesthetic spray.
- Stop wasting time chasing the chimera of broadcast indecency. And stop holding license renewal applications hostage for years just because of an occasional, possibly unsupported, indecency allegation. And speaking of hostage applications, put an end to the Enforcement Bureau’s practice of insisting that broadcasters fund escrow agreements in connection with “tolling agreements”. (Of course, if all cases are resolved within two years – see No. 1, above – there will be no need for “tolling agreements” in the first place.)
- Devise a fair and workable intercarrier compensation scheme.
- Remove autographed David Gilliland NASCAR poster from wall and return authentic David Gilliland racing suit to former Chairman. (Keep radio-controlled model of the Number 38 car for review and analysis by staff.)
- Resolve the international coordination impasse with Mexico, which hurts broadcasters and others on both sides of the border.
- Go back to letting FCC visitors check in at the Portals’ courtyard entrance.
- Reform the universal service program so that subsidies go where they are needed, to the extent needed.
- Forget trying to foist some governmental “localism” obligation on broadcasters. They, like all other businesspeople, must address the needs of their local communities in order to survive. Neither broadcasters nor the public need the government to tell them what is important, especially in these troubled economic times.
- Issue a public notice whenever someone challenges the FCC in court, so interested parties can follow the case.
- Abolish the broadcast public file rules. (If you harbor any notion that the rules serve any useful purpose, conduct a reliable survey of exactly how often any public files have ever been inspected.)
- Fix the regulatory problems that threaten the Class A/LPTV industry. If this industry – which includes significant minority and female ownership and which provides considerable “local” programming – is worth saving, take immediate steps before it’s too late.
- Provide permanent (i.e., not merely STA) relief for AM daytimers who need FM translators. The Commission supposedly had a report and order taking care of this teed up months ago, but it seems to have disappeared with no explanation.
- Cut the volume of congratulatory press releases issued by Commissioners in favor of real work.
- Publish and update a list of the personnel working on each pending proceeding, so interested parties know whom to talk to.
- Following consolidation of the FCC’s cafeteria duopoly, investigate monopoly pricing at the salad bar.