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Weekly News From the President: Ajit Pai as new FCC Chair?

Ajit Pai as new FCC Chair?
Press reports this weekend claim that Commissioner Ajit Pai may soon be named Chair of the FCC. If he is named by the Trump Administration, he would not need Senate confirmation as he already is on the Commission, and he would immediately lead a 2-1 Republican majority.

What are Commissioner Pai’s priorities? You can get a sense by looking at his profile on the FCC’s website. He wants less regulation and market solutions for problems, and most observers think that dismantling Net Neutrality protections will be a top priority for him. He has also expressed support for small towns, rural communities and public safety – and the wireless industry for which he once worked.    

What’s his relationship with Public, Educational and Government Access? It’s not clear, but he was generally impressed with the provided services during Arlington Independent Media a little over a year ago and has been a supporter of community radio.

Paul LeValley, Ajit Pai and Mike Wassenaar at the AIM Studios in Arlington, VA

We’ll keep you updated on changes at the FCC in the new Administration – and there may be many!  

Good News from Vermont!
Congratulations to the Vermont Access Network and our members in Vermont who scored a major victory at the Public Service Board.

The Board renewed Comcast’s Certificate of Public Good for the next 11 years, but found that Comcast had an obligation to help bring PEG access services into the digital age and that “community needs and interests related to PEG access” should be served as the company introduces and expands new technologies in the state.

Significantly the Board required the company to provide Interactive Program Guide access to access organizations within one year at Comcast’s expense.   The Board agreed with VAN that the program guide is desired by the public and is fundamental to the value and success of PEG in Vermont.  

The Board also agreed that Comcast had not complied with provisions to assist with live local origination, and opened the question of requiring High Definition channels for PEG in a separate proceeding in two years.

Lauren Glenn Davitian has provided a summary of the ruling available online.

It’s not clear if Comcast will appeal the ruling in court, but the ACM will continue to work with the Vermont stations to help them better serve their communities.

Do you have ideas for ACM 2017 Conference?
If you have suggestions for speakers, workshops or presentations you’d like to see at the ACM Conference and Trade Show in Minneapolis MN in July, I would love to hear them!

Please give me suggestions by February 1.  And don’t be shy: If you want to present an idea or demonstrate a successful part of your work, we want to share it with others!

Send your suggestions by email to me at and I will share them with our conference committees.
See you in Minneapolis!

Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO