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Mignon Clyburn becomes first female FCC head today, but her tenure will be brief

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When current FCC head Julius Genachowski announced his resignation earlier this year, President Obama nominated former CTIA CEO Tom Wheeler as his long-term replacement. But today, an interim chair will step up and make history: Mignon Clyburn has become the first woman to ever head the FCC. Clyburn has been with the FCC since 2009 as a commissioner; before then, she spent over a decade with the South Carolina Public Service Commission regulatory body. She will be the 30th chair or interim chair since the office was first held in 1934; the first female commissioner, appointed in 1948, was Frieda Hennock.

Clyburn's time as chair will likely be brief, but she'll be in charge of the FCC until Wheeler is confirmed by Congress. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who heads the Commerce Committee, was originally expected to start the process in May, but it's now been moved to June or later. Congress must also approve a replacement for Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican who announced his resignation around the same time as the Democratic Genachowski. Clyburn, meanwhile, will chair her first open FCC meeting in late June.