Senate OKs 2nd term for FCC's Martin


WASHINGTON -- The Senate without dissent has given the thumbs up to FCC chairman Kevin Martin, reconfirming him for a full term at the helm of the agency.

"I look forward to working with the administration and Congress, as well as with my fellow commissioners and the incredibly able staff at the FCC to ensure that all Americans share in the benefits and opportunities offered by the best communications system in the world," Martin said. "I will continue to work to provide a regulatory environment that promotes competition and drives investment and innovation while protecting consumers and promoting public safety."

Martin's reconfirmation late Thursday was expected, but there had been some speculation among telecommunications industry executives that Democrats might hold it up in order to extract some concessions. The nomination had languished in the Senate since the Commerce Committee reported it to the floor in September.

While Martin has been criticized by some in the media for his crackdown on indecent speech and has had trouble gaining the votes necessary to approve the AT&T-BellSouth merger, he has maintained support among key Republicans and businesses.

"I'm pleased that we were finally able to clear Chairman Martin," said committee chairman Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. "He is a fine chairman, and I am delighted that he will have another term to continue his work at the FCC."

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Assn., said he was pleased to see Martin reconfirmed.

"I congratulate Chairman Martin on his confirmation," he said. "During his tenure at the commission, Chairman Martin has consistently supported competition, deregulation and the advancement of new technologies. This philosophy makes him well suited to lead the commission as it continues to address the regulatory issues of the digital age."

David K. Rehr, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, echoed that sentiment.

"NAB has great respect for Chairman Martin and strongly supported his renomination," he said. "We look forward to working with him and the other FCC commissioners going forward."