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Newton Minow

former FCC Chair

Newton Minow was one of the most controversial figures ever to chair the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Appointed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, Minow served only two years, but during that time he stimulated more public debate over television programming than any other chair in the history of the commission. Trained at Northwestern Law School, Minow's public career began with his involvement in the administration of Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson during the 1950s. At a very young age Minow became a leading figure both on the governor's staff and in his presidential campaigns of 1952 and 1956. During the latter, Minow became acquainted with members of the Kennedy circle and in 1960 worked for the Kennedy presidential bid, becoming close friends with the President's brother, Robert. Reportedly, the two men frequently talked at length about the increasing importance of television in the lives of their children. It therefore came as little surprise that after the election Minow eagerly pursued the position of FCC Chair. Some observers nevertheless considered it unusual given his lack of experience with the media industry and with communication law.