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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Local news groups will miss Ajit Pai when he leaves his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on January 20.

Why it matters: Despite the fact that the Trump administration broadly was seen as having a hostile view towards the press, Pai was considered by several trade groups as a loyal supporter of local news.

Details: Under the Trump administration, the FCC and Chairman Pai fought to deregulate traditional media companies, including TV and radio broadcasters, and newspapers, so that they could better compete with technology giants.

  • Most notably, he ended a decades-old media cross-ownership ban between newspaper publishers and broadcasters that inhibited consolidation within the industry. (The outcome of that ban is still being debated in court.)
  • Pai was considered a champion especially for radio, which has taken a hit thanks to the rise of streaming.
  • He approved lots of consolidation, both in the wireless market through approval of the blockbuster T-Mobile-Sprint merger, and in the local broadcasting space.
  • He initially supported a merger between Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Tribune Media, but later voted to block it after was revealed that Sinclair deceived the FCC.

What they're saying: "We view Chairman Pai as a very thoughtful and forward-thinking leader for the FCC," News Media Alliance president David Chavern told Axios. 

  • "He was willing to look at the media market as it actually exists today and make clear-eyed decisions about how to foster a more vibrant system going forward."

"Chairman Pai has been a champion of free and local broadcasting since he joined the FCC," the National Association of Broadcasters said in a statement.

  • "His fair, thoughtful approach to regulation led to many common-sense reforms that were long overdue."

What's next: Republicans are expected to lose their commissioner majority at the FCC under the Biden administration.

  • Jessica Rosenworcel, the senior Democrat on the commission, is considered a leading candidate for Pai's job.
  • Rosenworcel has been an outspoken voice against many of the deregulatory measures that Pai championed.

Go deeper

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
14 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.