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From 2001-11, he served as a member of the Federal Communications Commission, where his tenure was marked by a consistent embrace of the public interest. As a strong voice in opposition to consolidation in the media, he dissented in the FCC vote on the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. He has been a consistent proponent of localism in programming and diversity in media ownership. Though retired from the Commission, he has maintained a commitment to an inclusive, informative media landscape. In addition to his work at Common Causes, Michael sits on the boards of Free Press and Public Knowledge.
Before joining the FCC, Michael served as assistant secretary of commerce for trade development at the Department of Commerce and chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) from the early 1970s to 1983. He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.