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No FCC in Kevin Martin’s Future?

NEW ORLEANS — FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin’s term runs to 2011, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be a welcomed presence beyond January 2009.

Speaking at the annual cable television confab on Sunday, reps from the three leading presidential candidates were either noncommittal or diplomatically evasive when asked if Martin would continue to serve in any of the administrations that might result from the coming November election.

Martin became chairman in March 2005, when his predecessor Michael Powell resigned. Martin was eventually appointed and confirmed for a term lasting through 2011.

“The protocol is typically with a new president, the incumbent chairman resigns,” said former FCC chairman Bill Kennard, who was representing the Barack Obama campaign at the cable convention. “But that’s not a requirement. He could stay the remainder of his term, but the new president could also immediately appoint a chairman,” who would take over when Martin leaves. The desire that Martin leave soon would thus be communicated.

Susan Ness, a former FCC commissioner who was representing the Hillary Clinton campaign, said of Martin, “He would not be someone she would” have nominated herself, and if he resigned, “she would replace him immediately.”

Powell, who was representing the John McCain campain, said, “The question is premature. I don’t think any of the campaigns have really gotten to the point of deciding anything on the FCC. But I can say this — Sen. McCain has often said the FCC is not a permanent job.”

—William Triplett

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