January 22, 2009 / 10:53 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Democrat Copps says named acting US FCC chief

WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama named Michael Copps on Thursday as acting chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission which regulates telephone, wireless, radio and television communications.

Copps, an opponent of big media consolidation and further deregulation of big telephone companies, has served as a commissioner on the five-member agency since 2001.

Kevin Martin, the Republican FCC chairman under former President George W. Bush stepped down on Tuesday, leaving the commission with two Democrats and one Republican, due to a Republican vacancy.

Democratic sources say technology executive Julius Genachowski will be named to head the agency, although it is unclear when it will be announced, or when Senate confirmation hearings will occur.

The FCC is usually comprised of three members representing the party holding the White House and two from the other party.

Some analysts say big telephone companies like AT&T Inc.(T.N) and Verizon Communications (VZ.N) will have a tougher time at the agency under the Democrats, many of whom say more competition is needed between major communications companies. (Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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