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#13 minutes

There's a lot more to the FCC than the headlines might suggest

How did you first learn about the FCC? Maybe it was the court fight over George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words." Or maybe it was the fallout from the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Or maybe it some other controversy. Whatever it was, there's a lot more to the FCC than the headlines might suggest. This agency has over 1,400 employees and 80 years of history. There's countless untold stories and unsung heroes, and this podcast will bring you those stories. Maybe we'll even achieve the impossible: make telecom interesting. So sit back, relax, and get to know the FCC. (Disclaimer)

Transcript: 

Evan Swarztrauber: Welcome to 'More than Seven Dirty Words,' the official FCC podcast. I'm your host, Evan Swarztrauber. Now, for those of you listeners who haven't had the pleasure of taking a telecom law class, or if you weren't following the news in 1972, the name of this podcast hearkens back to an infamous court battle involving legendary comedian George Carlin, some dirty words that he said, and those dirty words finding their way to broadcast radio. A listener complaint led to a famous Supreme Court case, which might be how many people first learned about the FCC. Or maybe it was the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Or maybe it was some other headline-grabbing controversy. The point is there's a lot more to the FCC than seven dirty words. It's at least eight, if not nine. But seriously, this agency has over 1,400 employees and 80 years of history. And it's full of untold stories and unsung heroes. So this podcast will bring you some of the stories and maybe even achieve the impossible: make telecom policy interesting. With that, I want to introduce you to the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai who has a very long list of dirty words to share with you.

Chairman Pai: Thanks Evan for the intro and thanks to the FCC's web and media and audio video folks for the hard work they've put in setting up this podcast. One of the great things about the digital age is that there's so many unique ways to communicate information compared to 10 or 20 or certainly 50 years ago. Whether it's a YouTube video or FaceTime or whatnot, there are a lot of ways of getting the message out, and I think podcast is an interesting one that we are finally adopting. Podcasts, of course, have been around for a long time but for the FCC I'd say a decade-plus counts as early adoption. We're getting ahead of the curve here. And you're right, I think many people may have learned from the FCC from certain controversies they might have seen in the news but what really strikes me is the dedication and commitment that the folks here have for the mission. And I've seen that firsthand on the ground in Puerto Rico and other places around the country where our folks just go the extra mile—sometimes quite literally—to make sure that Americans have what I call digital opportunity. So I'm glad we're able to shine the light on them and their efforts and let the American people know what they're doing to make the country a better, stronger place. And all I ask of you, Evan, is just please stay away from… And if we have a deal, I think we can go forward.

Evan Swarztrauber: Well, I can't say we have a deal. I will take it under the advisement. As you know, I used to host a different podcast and back then I had the pleasure of interviewing you. And I agree, it's a great medium to tell stories—especially stories that can't be captured in the three minute TV hit people are accustomed to or maybe a 5 minute radio hit. And speaking of Puerto Rico, you mentioned our first episode, which is in your feed, listeners, is on the FCC's response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. Our guest is Roberto Mussenden. He's from the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and he talks about what the FCC did and his experience being on the ground. He's a native of Puerto Rico so pretty fascinating stuff. Looking forward to that. We'll also have other episodes featuring guests within the FCC and maybe outside the FCC as well. So we're hoping to tell you more about this agency, and I'm looking forward to it. And I appreciate the obvious clear vote of confidence. It's clear that the Chairman is trusting me with this forum, and I totally might not let him down.

Chairman Pai: I'm not sure if it was a clear vote of confidence. I think it was somewhat moderated vote of confidence. But yeah, certainly the probationary period is going well so far.

Evan Swarztrauber: That's good. So I might be your host for the next couple of episodes, we'll see. But thank you and hope you enjoy the first couple episodes. And of course leave us a review on iTunes—only if it's five stars, we're not interested in negative reviews—and just talk about how great my voice is and all the other things you enjoy about listening to us.