Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell named to lead cable TV’s top lobbying group


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Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell has been named the new head of the leading cable TV trade association.

Powell will become president and chief executive officer of the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn., taking on the role of ‘the cable industry’s leading advocate, spokesman, and representative in its relationship with the U.S. Congress, the administration, the FCC, and other federal agencies,’ the group said Tuesday in a news release.


‘Michael Powell is one of the most well respected and influential visionaries in all of telecommunications, and we’re so proud to have him join the cable team,’ said NCTA board Chairman Patrick J. Esser, the president of Cox Communications.

The NCTA represents dozens of companies, including leading cable and Internet providers such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable and top programming networks, including Discovery Communications Inc. and Disney Media Networks. The association’s companies provide service to more than 90% of the nation’s cable TV households.

Powell, the son of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, has been a senior advisor with Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on media and communications.

“Cable is a dynamic and highly innovative industry, providing cutting-edge services and content that Americans love,” Powell said.

He left the FCC in 2005 after more than seven years as a commissioner, including a controversial four-year tenure as chairman. Powell led an aggressive crackdown on over-the-air obscenities while at the same time pushing to scale back the government’s role in the telecommunications industry. He championed a loosening of media ownership rules that was later struck down by the courts.

At the NCTA, Powell replaces Kyle McSlarrow, who left this month to head Comcast’s Washington office.



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-- Jim Puzzanghera