Michael Powell will step down as chairman and commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March. Powell said he is leaving “with a mixture of pride and regret.”
“Having completed a bold and aggressive agenda, it is time for me to pursue other opportunities and let someone else take the reins of the agency,” Powell said of his four-year tenure as chairman. He said he looks forward “to spending some time off with his wife and two boys, before taking up my next challenge.”
Powell, the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is also resigning, rose from commissioner to chairman when Bush took office in 2001. His term was to run until 2007.
He led the FCC in attempting to ease decades-old rules governing ownership of newspapers, television and radio stations. The commission approved changes in 2003 that allowed individual companies to own TV stations reaching nearly half the nation’s viewers and combinations of newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same community.
But lawmakers from both parties and a broad range of groups criticized the changes, saying the FCC regulations give large media companies too much control over what people see, hear and read. Congress and the courts are considering several efforts to modify or repeal the rules.
Most recently, the FCC under Powell has gone after what it calls indecent language and acts on television and radio. The controversy began after singer Janet Jackson exposed her bare breast during the Super Bowl in 2004.