Twelve years after he left the general counsel’s post at the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski is back, and this time he’s running the place.
President Obama’s hand-picked FCC chairman — the two are old pals from their Harvard Law School days — is settling in to his new gig this week. Genachowski gave a lengthy pep talk to FCC staffers on Tuesday, his first full day on the job, that gave some insights into his policy priorities. It’s also interesting to note what he didn’t say — no culture-vulture talk of policing the airwaves for the sake of children, just a mild reference to “protecting and empowering consumers and families.”
He’s clearly a tech-savvy guy with lofty ambitions. His resume by now is well known — he chief counsel to FCC chairman Reed Hundt from 1994-97, then moved on to working for Barry Diller at InterActiveCorp and its predecessors. He clerked for Supreme Court justices David Souter and William Brennan, and way back when he worked for Sen. Charles Schumer (Rep. Schumer at the time) on the staff of the House committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. So he’s got a few good Oliver North stories, no doubt.
Although he obviously wasn’t making a big policy speech, the goals he outlined to the FCC staff are still telling. Job one is helping Obama fulfill a campaign promise to dramatically improve the nation’s broadband infrastructure.
Or as Genachowski put it in bullet-point style in his address: