Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said the commission has “done terrific work” with the public, education and government channels during his tenure, but not in the area of state franchising of cable companies, which in some states, has lead to the elimination of funding for PEG channels.
Rather, the FCC’s work with PEG channels has been in broad areas, such as ensuring PEG programming can reach viewers wherever the viewer is located, said Genachowski, who is leaving the FCC on May 17. The FCC chairman was responding to a Government Video question that he rate the commission’s performance in regards to PEG channels during his tenure.
It was pointed out to Genachowski that Arkansas is the latest state to impose state franchising of cable operators, and the legislation—Act 276, which becomes effective in June—provides cable companies with the authority to deny any new PEG channels that a municipality would like to start. In addition to Arkansas, such franchising has occurred in 20 other states, and all funding for PEG channels has been eliminated in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
The FCC has not helped PEG channels “with that specific issue but more broadly,” Genachowski said following the commission’s open meeting on May 9. “There’s programming content that the PEG community has been developing, and we worked to ensure that programming can reach viewers, consumers wherever they are,” he said.
“I had a chance, over the [his] tenure, to meet with different programmers with PEG channels who have been doing very creative things to reach people, but not only through that channel, but also through others. That has been consistent with our broad effort to promote more platform access and digital programs,” he said.
On March 22, Genachowski announced he was leaving the FCC after serving as chairman since June 2009. On May 1, President Obama nominated Tom Wheeler, the managing director of Core Capital Partners and the head of the FCC panel that advises on technology issues, to lead the FCC as its permanent chairman.
In addition, Obama designated Mignon Clyburn, who has been serving as a commissioner since Aug. 3, 2009, to be the acting chairwoman of the FCC—the first woman to head the commission—when Genachowski leaves.