After four years of participating on panels at the annual NAB Show, newly minted commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, used TV terms to describe being asked to give this morning’s keynote speech. “It’s like going from a morning show to prime time,” Pai said to the standing-room-only crowd at the broadcasting, media and tech conference.
Appointed to the commission by President Obama in 2012, Pai was nominated to be chairman of the FCC by President Trump, and he has already started reshaping how the FCC works with America’s broadcasters.
“Our job, as I see it, is to make sure our regulations keep up with the times,” Pai said. “The last thing the broadcasting industry needs is outdated regulations standing in the way.”
Pai will call for one such regulation, the main studio rule, to be eliminated. The pre-World War II rule mandated that radio and TV broadcasters maintain a studio in the main community they serve. “It seems to me the technological innovations have rendered local studios unnecessary,” Pai said.
Pai will also advocate for a loosening of the 1975 media ownership rule banning cross-ownership by a single entity of a daily newspaper and a television or radio station operating in the same local market.
“I will work aggressively to modernize the FCC’s rules,” Pai said to applause from the crowd of broadcasters who see too much regulation getting in the way of growth.
“I hope that there will be a new spirit of cooperation among us and between us,” Pai said, concluding his remarks. He did not sit for a Q&A in which more of his goals might have better been explored.