WASHINGTON -- President Reagan Friday nominated Washington lawyer Mark S. Fowler, the communications counsel for his 1976 and 1980 campaigns, to head the Federal Communications Commission.
Fowler, 39, a member of the communications law firm of Fowler and Meyers, is a lawyer for the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. He worked for Reagan both as a key member of the FCC transition team and as co-director of the Legal and Administrative Agencies Group, which included the FCC team.
From 1959 to 1969, he worked for various radio stations.
Under former Chairman Charles Ferris, the commission moved quickly to deregulate several portions of the broadcasting, cable-TV and telecommunications industries, to promote more competition, especially for new technologies. Fowler is expected to take more of a go-slow approach.
Ferris, a Democrat, has not participated in any FCC decisions since Reagan's inauguration, but has remained on the commission as chairman in name only in order to accumulate 25 years of federal service. That anniversary will occur April 10, when Ferris will retire.
Fowler's appointment is expected to be effective on that date, assuming Senate confirmation.
A native of Toronto, Ont., Fowler graduated from the University of Florida at Gainesville. He is married and has two children.
Reagan was able to appoint a permanent chairman early in his administration because of the resignation of Tyrone Brown, the only black member and a Democrat, on Jan. 31.
Besides the Ferris vacancy coming up in April, Reagan will have the opportunity to fill two other positions. Republican Commissioner James Quello's term was up last June, although he is expected to be reappointed to Brown's term. In addition, acting FCC Chairman Robert E. Lee's term expires in July.
'Broadcasting' magazine has reported that Sen. Robert Packwood, R-Ore., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC, is pushing hard to get his top aide, Mimi Weyforth Dawson, appointed as a commissioner.