New Acting FCC Chair Copps Pushes for Better Communication, Says Every Citizen is Stakeholder

[Source: Broadcasting & Cable; By John Eggerton -  Jan. 26, 2009]

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps told staffers Monday that things were going to have to change so that the commission, whose business is overseeing communications, can be better at communicating itself.

For openers, he said, FCC offices and bureaus need to change how they work with each other, FCC commissioners need to change how they communicate with each other, and the FCC needs to change how it interacts with the public. "If we can't communicate with ourselves, we shouldn't have the word ‘Communications' in our title," Copps told staffers.

Copps was named by the Obama administration to be acting chairman until a replacement for Republican Chairman Kevin Martin can be nominated and confirmed. Martin was criticized for lack of transparency and lines of communication that sometimes bypassed fellow commissioners and staffers.

Copps said that the commission must welcome input from all stakeholders, saying that definitely includes the public. "Regardless of whether a person is rich or poor, lives in a rural or urban area or on tribal lands, in affluence or is struggling just to get by, whether they have a disability or are senior citizens or college students, they are-each and every one of them-a stakeholder," he said.

Copps recommended regular FCC reports to Congress, plus "white papers" for public consumption.

Copps also said the FCC's Web site would be revised, starting with the DTV section.

Copps said he recognized he would only be chairman long enough to begin making those changes. "[C]ertainly my role as Chairman for an interim period allows me only to begin this process," he said. He also said some of the suggestions for change had come from fellow commissioners Robert McDowell and Jonathan Adelstein, currently the only other commissioners on the panel.