Clyburn and Attwell Baker Confirmed, FCC Now Fully Staffed

By Andrew Gauthier 

Last Friday, the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nominations of Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, and Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican, for the remaining two seats on the Federal Communications Commission. Clyburn is the daughter of House majority whip James Clyburn, and the former publisher and editor of the Charleston weekly newspaper, the Coastal Times. She currently serves on the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Baker, the daughter of former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, is a former Commerce Department official who oversaw the $40 coupon program for converter boxes this June, during the digital television transition.

“In what might not bode well for fans of newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, both Baker and Clyburn said they had concerns about concentration of control of broadcast ownership, though the former did point to a changing marketplace of increasing competition,” Multichannel reports.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller urged the agency Friday to ensure “that the American people can have access to first-class communications, no matter who they are or where they live,” reports McClatchy. A national broadband plan may be one of the top priorities for the FCC, as the Obama administration seeks to extend high-speed Internet access to Americans in rural parts of the country. The proposed plan is due before Congress in February.