Tue Jan 13, 2009 @ 02:46PM PST
By Eriq Gardner
As predicted by this humble blog after Barack Obama's election in November, the president-elect is reportedly set to name his former Harvard Law classmate, Julius Genachowski, to be the new FCC chairman. Genachowski served as the top tech advisor to Obama during the campaign, crafting a plan that included net neutrality, media-ownership rules that encourage more diversity, and the development of broadband access in rural and poorer areas of the nation. Despite some objections, the appointment should be widely hailed by many in the technology industry, who will see one of their own in a guy who served as a senior executive at Barry Diller's IAC before launching LaunchBox Digital as an arena for digital entrepreneurs to find seed funding.
As for Hollywood concerns, Genachowski's views on how the FCC should regulate indecency in broadcast television are less widely known, although they aren't expected to be a priority during the Obama administration. We imagine he'll field question or two about that during Senate confirmation hearings.
The first order of business for Genachowski may be the decision on whether to stick to the Feb. 17 date where broadcasters must switch from analog to digital television broadcasting. Late last week, Obama transition team co-chair John Podesta sent a letter to legislators urging a delay out of lack of readiness. Genachowski could give those who still own rabbit ears antennas a little reprieve.