By Mike Snider
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to announce his resignation Friday.
He has held the top post at the Federal Communications Commission since 2009 after being appointed by President Obama. The FCC is the nation's key regulator of radio, TV, wireless, satellite and cable communications.
Late Thursday, The Wall Street Journal and online news site Politico reported Genachowski's resignation plans, citing unnamed sources. A spokesman in Genachowski's office declined comment.
Genachowski, 50, was top technology advisor during Obama's first presidential campaign. Like many of Obama's top administration officials who worked with the president at the Harvard Law Review, Genachowski worked as an editor there when Obama was its president.
Since the start of Obama's second term in office, the FCC has been expecting turnover. Robert McDowell, who has been a commissioner since 2006, has announced that he will resign within a few weeks.
In anticipation of Genachowski's resignation, public interest group Public Knowledge issued a statement urging President Obama to appoint a new chair "who will restore the agency's ability to protect the values so critical to our communications system and to our democracy - service to all Americans, openness, competition and diversity."
The group credited Genachowski with several accomplishments, including his prevention of AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile, his support for satellite provider Dish Network's terrestrial wireless service and his work on data roaming and unlicensed spectrum.
However, Public Knowledge also described his term as "one of missed opportunities. He had the opportunity, but declined, to solidify the agency's authority and ability to protect consumers with regard to broadband -- the communications system of the present and future. As a result, there is a real danger that the FCC will become a powerless and irrelevant agency as the nation's communications networks change."
Genachowski has experience as an executive at TV and film studios, as a clerk for Supreme Court judges and as a top staffer for then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., before joining the FCC as chief counsel in President Clinton's first term.