UCC OC Inc. Statement Upon Wheeler Confirmation

The United Church of Christ, OC Inc., the UCC's media justice advocacy ministry looks forward to working with Tom Wheeler as he begins his tenure as Chair of the Obama Administration's Federal Communications Commission.  Mr. Wheeler was confirmed by the Senate as Chairman last night, along with Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.
Mr. Wheeler brings decades of experience from all sectors of the communications industry and an expressed commitment to important public interest values such as universal service and competition.  Because of his background, Mr. Wheeler possesses a unique opportunity to make strides toward including all people in the vibrant world of media and telecommunications.  Our economies, and our telecommunications networks, create the most value when all people can participate as users, creators and entrepreneurs. 
Acting Chairwoman Clyburn's successful term positioned Mr. Wheeler well to address many issues of importance to the civil rights and social justice communities.  In particular, her initiation of the Critical Information Needs research protocol, implementing Section 257 of the Communications Act, has put the agency in a position to adequately assess the needs of the media ecosystem for the first time in more than a decade.  "Ms. Clyburn's tenure demonstrated that the only barrier to advancing the civil rights agenda at the FCC is the determination and commitment of the person leading the agency," noted Cheryl Leanza, UCC OC Inc.'s policy advisor.   "We are gratified she was able to end the 10-year process of evaluating predatory prison phone rates with a detailed and unassailable rulemaking this year."  Earl Williams, Chair of UCC OC Inc. continued, "We praise her commitment to heed every voice from every sector impacted by the agency, reaching beyond the usual suspects in industry to the people most closely linked to the ordinary Americans whose prosperity, education, and safety depends on the nation's communications infrastructure.   Mr. Wheeler will have an able hand by his side to offer counsel as he becomes more familiar with the full sweep of the agency's mandate, and will be able to draw on her inclusive vision of communications policy."
UCC OC Inc. looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Wheeler, Ms. Clyburn, Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai, and newly confirmed Commissioner O'Rielly as they address the many critical issues before the agency. 

Radio broadcasters face challenge from tech heavyweights

Radio remains the world’s most popular form of media in terms of audience, with listener figures at their highest levels in decades. But broadcasters face some of their fiercest competition for years as the world’s biggest technology companies – including Apple and Google – take aim at their business.

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What Ted Cruz Doesn’t Want You to Know

By now it seems pretty clear that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has a plan to occupy the White House. But he doesn't want people to know too much about it. And he definitely doesn't want you to know about the special interests that have already begun to bankroll his political ambitions. That's why the Texas senator's latest crusade targets the Federal Communications Commission -- and its efforts to better identify the funders of political ads.

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The Cost of Connectivity 2013

It costs more to purchase 2 GB of data in a US city than it does in any of the cities surveyed in Europe. The new data, in comparing trends from 2012 to 2013, underscores the extent to which US cities lag behind cities around the world, further emphasizing the need for policy reform. Rather than allowing American cities to fall behind, policymakers should reassess current policy approaches and implement strategies to increase competition, in turn fostering faster speeds and more affordable access.

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ACA, Others Defend Petitions to Deny Sinclair Deal

The American Cable Association told the Federal Communications Commission that allowing coordinated retranmissions negotiation are a transition specific harm and the FCC should grant its petition to deny Sinclair's purchase of Allbritton stations in Harrisburg (PA) and Charleston (SC) or condition their sale and subsequent spin-off by disallowing coordinated negotiation.

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Chairwoman Clyburn Builds FCC Knowledge Base on Critical Information Needs

Today, the FCC announced publicly that it is moving ahead with its research framework designed pursuant to Section 257, the Critical Information Needs Study.


Cheryl Leanza, the policy advisor for the United Church of Christ OC Inc., praised Chairwoman Clyburn today for her leadership in moving this effort forward.  "The Chairwoman has once again proven that she has her eye on the ball.  Even in tight fiscal times, the Chairwoman is pinching pennies to increase the FCC's knowledge base on critical policy issues facing the agency." 


The United Church of Christ, OC Inc. has been requesting the Federal Communications Commission improve its understanding of communities of color for the last 15 years, since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Adarand decision, which led the FCC to scale back its media diversity efforts.   Its most recent efforts centered on the media ownership data released by the FCC under Chairman Genachowski at the end of last year.


"The Section 257 Critical Information Needs study is at long last the kind of comprehensive analysis the FCC has lacked.  We are delighted to see Chairwoman Clyburn put the Commission on the road to understanding how the media and telecommunications ecosystem serves the critical information needs of all people in the United States." 


At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission also announced a new study examining Hispanic television viewing and ownership as part of its on-going efforts to promote diversity.  "I am excited to see the question of Hispanic ownership addressed in such detail," noted Leanza, "we look forward to learning more about it and working with the Commission where we can to ensure its success."

Updated: The Low Power FM Application Window Is Fast Approaching

In August we had our first of two webinars on how communities and non-profit organizations can apply for new low-power FM radio station licenses during the next window, October 15 – November 14, 2013. The webinar allowed viewers to ask questions directly to Bureau staff. We were delighted to answer many questions during the session and have continued to respond to your inquiries since then. The second webinar will be held on Thursday, October 24.

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House committee to debate future of FTC

The four current members of the Federal Trade Commission will testify at a hearing being held by the House Commerce subcommittee on Trade. The hearing -- entitled “The FTC at 100: Where Do We Go from Here?” -- will examine the competition and consumer protection agency’s mission, budget and authority as it enters its second century.

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Our tweets are getting shorter

Tweets have been getting shorter and shorter.

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Cheryl named one of the Top 25 Inspirational and Engaged Leaders

Cheryl Looking Capitol

Cheryl Leanza was recently named one of the Top 25 Inspirational and Engaged Leaders as part of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund, Public Policy Institute and Media & Telecommunications Project Annual Symposium.  Cheryl was honored on November 14, 2013  in Washington DC.