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

March 16, 2011|Jim Puzzanghera, reporting from washington

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell is taking over as head of the leading cable TV trade association.

Powell will become president and chief executive of the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn., effective April 25. He succeeds Kyle McSlarrow, who left this month to head Comcast Corp.'s Washington office for government affairs.

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.

NCTA said he would become the cable industry's "leading advocate, spokesman and representative" in dealings with federal lawmakers, agencies and the White House.

The trade group represents dozens of cable and Internet providers, such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc., and top programming networks, including Discovery Communications Inc. and Disney Media Networks. The group's cable providers reach more than 90% of the nation's cable-TV households.

"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.

jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

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