FCC’s Jonathan Adelstein to Exit

Two-term Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein was nominated by President Barack Obama to be administrator for the Rural Utilities Service at the Department of Agriculture. The White House made the announcement late Friday (March 20).

With Adelstein’s exit, that leaves two vacant FCC seats. President Obama has nominated Julius Genachowski as chairman, but he has yet to be confirmed.

To fill one of the two FCC seats, Obama could select Mignon L. Clyburn, 46, who has served as a commissioner on the South Carolina Public Service Commission since 1998. She is the daughter of Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and was first suggested as a candidate for the FCC post just days after the president’s recent Nov. 4 election victory.

Obama has been focused on increasing diversity in all FCC matters – in the ownership and programming of America’s media outlets, and at the FCC’s headquarters itself.

Soon after graduating from college, Clyburn worked as a newspaper editor, GM and then publisher for the Coastal Times. She is a member of such professional organizations as the South Carolina Association of Black Journalists; Black Women Entrepreneurs; Southeastern Publishers Association; Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Adelstein, a native of Rapid City, S.D. first joined the FCC in 2002 and was confirmed to a second term in 2004. He was been instrumental in the commission’s efforts to improve rural telecommunications and expand national broadband service. Before joining the FCC,
Adelstein, a harmonica player who has been sympathetic to the performance rights cause, was a Capitol Hill staff member for 15 years including seven with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), advising him on telecommunications, financial services, housing, transportation and other key issues.