Retransmission consent, and the legalities of carrying broadcast signals on cable and satellite systems, have become some of the most contentious current media policy issues. A panel of leading communications policy experts discussed the state of the video marketplace; the status of intellectual property in that marketplace; current retransmission consent law; the advantages and pitfalls of possible legislative changes; the potential for related action by the FCC under its new chairman, Tom Wheeler, and much, much more.
The session opened with a keynote address by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Chairman Walden spent more than two decades in Oregon, and remains a licensed amateur radio operator to this day. In November 2012, his party colleagues unanimously elected him Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
Rep. Walden’s remarks were followed by a panel discussion moderated by former FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell. Currently a visiting fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Economics of the Internet, McDowell was first appointed to the FCC in 2006 by President George W. Bush. When re-nominated in 2009, he became the first Republican appointed to an independent agency by President Barack Obama. After each nomination, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. After nearly seven years of service—and as the Commission’s then-senior member—McDowell stepped down from the FCC on May 17, 2013.