The President-elect Barack Obama is starting to assign a list of cabinet positions to fill, along with his transition team advisors to make sure the most qualified people are selected. As a current student of Digital Media and reading a post about Obama nicknamed the first “social media President” I was curious to find out who will be selected the next chairman or woman for the Federal Communications Commission. Spearheading this task at a defining time in communications is Henry Rivera who was the first Hispanic FCC commissioner and now chair of the Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age has proposed his recommendations.
Considered to be an advocate for local telecoms, wireless companies and cable TV providers Riverahas proposed a short list of candidates that include two African American women. One is Julia Johnson, who is currently the chair of Video Access Alliance, which is an advocacy group for minority networks and Internet content providers. The other is the daughter of South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn who worked as a newspaper editor and publisher of the local Coastal Times. Rivera recently sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission recommending three ways to enhance “the ability of minorities and women to participate in telecommunications and related industries.” The challenge that many regulators have met with this proposal to make it easier for women and minorities to own more telecom businesses is how to create programs that don’t clash with judicial hostility towards diversity plans. One of the reforms that various groups have been lobbying for is a “socially and economically disadvantaged businesses” (SDB) classification, in which minority-led “eligible entities” would receive various preferences and breaks during media sales among other transactions.
The selection for the next person to head the FCC may not be on the top priority when compared to the new Treasury Secretary but the shift of power in the ongoing battles with telecommunication cable companies and Internet giants like Google and Microsoft is a job that will determine who should pay for high-bandwidth usage. As the first social media President-elect Barack Obama is in a position to appoint the next commissioner who will over see the many new forms of communications we are currently learning throughout the MCDM program.