FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, said today that he will be stepping down from his post once the new administration takes over next week, Reuters reports. Martin will be joining The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, the AP reports. Aspen spokesman James Spiegelman told the AP that Martin will be joining the institute as a senior fellow with its Communications and Society Program.
Martin’s departure means that three of the FCC’s five commissioners will be new this year. Because that change is still unfolding, it’s too early to know how it will ultimately affect the commission’s leaning on particular issues. Although it was assumed that Martin would be leaving with the new administration, his term with the FCC was not expiring until 2011. However, at an FCC meeting today, Martin said he plans to leave the commission. Martin, who has been on the commission for eight years, has been considered a controversial figure for his leadership on such issues as cable regulation and open networks. The announcement follows reports that President-elect Barack Obama is likely to nominate Julius Genachowski, one of his key technology advisors, to the position of FCC Chairman.
Update: In a statement, filed on the FCC site, Martin said his philosophy during his tenure at the FCC