Though it’s late in the Bush administration, it’s still a bit too soon to discount Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and cable-industry nemesis for the past three years. Chairman Martin, who probably exits office in early 2009, can't be called a lame duck just yet. That’s because his agency still has some big issues to decide, including some worth hundreds of millions of dollars to cable. Presidential election years have a tendency to slow activity at the FCC, which is run by five White House political appointees confirmed by the Senate. But this year could be different. Chairman Martin's agenda includes the merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, re-auction of public-safety spectrum and the smooth execution of the digital TV transition test in Wilmington (NC) on Sept. 8. And no one in cable can ignore the possibility that Martin might try to force cable operators to make more of their video channels available to competitors, or require cable operators to carry multiple digital-programming services beamed by local TV stations. Predicting Martin’s departure date has become something of a parlor game among the telecommunications elite inside the Beltway. If Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) or Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is elected president in November, the new Democratic president could replace Martin immediately after taking office in January. A victory by prospective GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) could give Martin a few extra months in the job to allow the McCain administration to line up its appointees and get them confirmed by the Senate. A McCain campaign insider — who declined to be named — said to expect a new FCC chairman in a McCain administration.
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- Martin's Fall Offensive
- Shield Law Is Dead Duck In Lame Duck
- FCC Still Sitting on Adelphia Deal
- From Political Operative to TV Analyst
- McCain: Telecom Bill Not Dead Yet
- What if it's President McCain in 2009?
- FCC chief hasn't lost focus on cable
- Bush's controversial FCC chief loses power already
- A Lame Plan from a Likely Lame Duck
- Cable Doesn't Face Easy Choice With McCain Or Obama
- Cable USF Payments May Soar
- House Passes Amended Pryor Bill
- McCain and the Telecom Lobbyist
- DTV Views Of Martin, Lawmakers Clash