Chairman Martin yesterday announced the appointment of a new Chief of the Media Bureau, the FCC Bureau which directly regulates broadcasters. The Media Bureau processes broadcast technical applications, approves sales of stations, and takes the first draft of most policy issues which affect broadcasters. Donna Gregg, who has held that position since 2005, is moving on to become the policy adviser to the US Delegation to the World Administrative Radio Conference.
The new chief, Monica Shah Desai, is an FCC veteran, who most recently was the Chief of the FCC’s Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau, the Bureau responsible for dealing with consumers and other governmental agencies – presenting, explaining and often implementing the FCC’s positions and programs. That bureau also works to develop consumer policy to be implemented by other Commission bureaus.
What will this change in leadership mean to the broadcaster? Probably, not much. Many remember the long Media Bureau leadership of Roy Stewart, who was very visible around the country, meeting with broadcasters, and exerting a long institutional memory and strong policy position on broadcast matters. Under Chairman Powell, the Media Bureau also was very visible developing policy proposals. In one of those cyclical variations that the FCC routinely goes through, in recent years, more decision-making has been centered on "the Eighth Floor," i.e. among the FCC Commissioners. Whether a new Media Bureau chief changes that recent dynamic remains to be seen.