The White House last week named Kevin Martin to succeed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell in overseeing the countrys communications and media industries. An FCC commissioner since 2001, Martin does not require Senate confirmation.
A Republican with strong ties to the administration, Martin worked on George W. Bushs first presidential campaign. Martins wife, Catherine, is a White House adviser. He typically sided with his predecessors deregulatory policies but voted against Powell on rules governing the extent to which incumbent local telephone carriers must lease access to rivals.
Martins immediate challenges include sustaining social policies, such as emergency dialing, affordable services for all, disabilities access and law enforcement access, without hampering emerging technologies. He will be watched closely by the general public for his attention to broadcast decency issues and media ownership.
Powell announced last week that his last day at the agency will be March 18.