Written by Staff Reports
Tristani committed to fair-access telecommunications agenda
A former member of the Federal Communications Commission has accepted a newly-created position as managing director of the UCC's Office of Communication, Inc. (OC Inc.), a church-related advocacy organization committed to bringing communications issues before state and federal regulatory bodies, Congress and the courts on behalf of under-represented and disenfranchised communities.
Gloria Tristani, who served as an FCC Commissioner from 1997 to 2001, is known for her commitment to ensuring that all Americans are able to share in the benefits of the telecommunications revolution, says the Rev. Robert Chase, executive director of OC, Inc.
"Gloria Tristani elevates dramatically our ability to be heard and to have an impact at the FCC and on Capital Hill," Chase says. While on the FCC, Chase says, Tristani was known for her commitment to preserving and enhancing the affordability and accessibility of telecommunications services, especially in rural and hard-to-serve areas, as well as providing discounted Internet access to schools and libraries.
She was an ardent proponent of safeguarding the FCC's rules regarding equal opportunity for women and people of color, especially minority ownership of media properties and lower-power FM radio.
Chase says she was actively involved in other consumer issues, including concerns about children's exposure to television violence, broadcast indecency and competition in the cable industry.
The granddaughter of the late U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez, who represented New Mexico for more than 30 years, Tristani was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee in New Mexico for a U.S. Senate seat in 2002.
"This is an important opportunity for me to continue keeping the public's agenda in front of the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and other key bodies," Tristani says. "Four decades ago, the Offi ce of Communications of the UCC created the whole notion of the public being in control of the airwaves. As we continue into the turbulent digital era, we face new and even more diffi cult challenges to make sure that the public remains the master of the Information Age, rather than the servant."
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Tristani has twice been named as one of the nation's 100 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine.
Tristani is a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University in New York and the University of New Mexico School of Law. She and her husband, George, have two children and live in Washington, D.C.
About OC, Inc.
The UCC was the first voice to demand that broadcasters who use the public airwaves have a responsibility to operate in the public interest.
An outgrowth of the UCC's historic commitment to civil rights, OC, Inc. was founded in 1959 by the Rev. Everett C. Parker to advocate on behalf of those historically excluded from the media and to demand accountability from those who hold licenses from the Federal Communications Commission. OC, Inc. was formed and incorporated to protect the denomination from legal action when it took prophetic risks in the name of justice.
In the 1960s, through the work of OC, Inc., the UCC earned its place in U.S. broadcasting history by successfully challenging the license of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss., for refusing to broadcast news and information about African Americans.