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Ending weeks of speculation over more than a dozen possible candidates, the White House announced Friday that President Bush would nominate three experienced Washington players to the Federal Communications Commission. The nominations will give Republicans a majority on the commission for the first time in nearly a decade, meaning that FCC Chairman Michael Powell will have the votes he needs to relax or eliminate limits on broadcasters, cable companies and telecommunications carriers. Currently, the FCC is split 2-2, following the January resignation of former Chairman William Kennard, a Democrat. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president’s three nominees would be former FCC staffers Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin, who are both Republicans, and former Capitol Hill staffer Michael Copps, a Democrat. Abernathy worked for former FCC commissioner Jim Quello and later for Virginia communications provider Broadband Office. Martin worked for current FCC commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth before leaving to join the Bush campaign. Copps worked for Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. The three will fill the spots of Kennard; Susan Ness, a Democrat who is serving under a last-minute Clinton recess appointment; and Furchtgott-Roth, a Republican who has announced his intention to resign shortly. Another current member of the agency, Democrat Gloria Tristani, has said she plans to resign at the end of the year. The FCC is poised to undo years of legacy regulations that limit the size and reach of media and communications companies. Currently, the agency is reviewing a limit on the amount of spectrum that a single wireless telecommunications carrier may own. Later this year, the FCC plans to review several limits on television station owners. And because of a federal appeals court ruling last month, the agency must review its limit on cable subscribers. Powell issued a brief statement Friday saying that the nominations pleased him. “I welcome the opportunity to carry out the responsibilities of the FCC with them.” Supporters of the current media limits said the two nominated Republicans were likely to side with Powell in favor of deregulation. Andrew Schwartzman, president of the public-interest law firm Media Access Project in Washington, D.C., praised Abernathy and Martin as talented attorneys but warned them not to trash the limits required by Congress. “The question is whether they are going to follow the path of some deregulators and push their policy goals ahead of the law as written,” Schwartzman said. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: The FCC’s New Approach Damn It, I’m the FCC Chairman, Not a Magician Another Powell for Bush Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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