“What a difference a year makes,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said to a packed room during his speech at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday. That quip garnered applause and chuckles from the broadcaster-heavy audience who seemed quite pleased to hear a review of Pai’s differing regulatory philosophy as opposed to that of former Chairman Tom Wheeler’s approach. Pai underlined his well-known ideas that many of the FCC’s existing regulations are outdated, overabundant, and overreaching, and he reiterated as he has several times since taking the lead at the Commission that future changes at the agency were in the works for not only broadcasters, but cable and satellite operators as well.
“Given the realities of today’s media marketplace, we need to see which rules are still necessary and which should be relaxed or repealed,” he said. “So at the FCC’s next public meeting on May 18, we will vote on a proposal to start a comprehensive review of the FCC’s media regulations.”
The Chairman noted that he had already circulated the Public Notice to FCC Commissioners that would kick off the review, and called for industry participation about which rules should be modified or repealed as part of that process, and why. “Our goal is simple: to have rules that reflect the world of 2017, not 2007, 1997, 1987, or 1977,” Pai observed.
The FCC chair also touched on the recent close of the broadcast incentive auction, and acknowledged that not everyone in the audience approved of all the policy choices the Commission made around it, and he didn’t agree with everything as well. Nevertheless, the post-auction transition process is moving forward including the repacking process, and Pai acknowledged that involves making sure that no protected TV broadcaster is forced to “go dark due to circumstances outside its control.”
Pai concluded his talk with a final deregulatory salvo that wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention to topics that have involved the FCC in the last few months, but elicited big cheers from the audience.
“To me, there’s nothing better than the roar of America’s communications engine,” Pai said. “So long as I have the privilege of serving as FCC Chairman, you can be sure that I’ll do my best to get unnecessary rules out of the way so that broadcasters can rev that engine.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations, Cables + cable management