Founding Director Visit to Quello Center


Great to visit with Professor Emeritus Steve Wildman today at the Quello Center. He came back to MSU for student dissertations and a viva, but colleagues and I were able to fill him in on recent developments.

We had an interesting discussion of set top box decisions by the FCC, which left me wondering if we are witnessing an electronic highway robbery?


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Featured Publication: Governance of Social Media


Quello Professor Steve Wildman and Dr Jonathan Obar, a Quello Research Associate, organized a workshop on the governance of social media that has yielded an excellent special issue of Telecommunications Policy (Volume 39, Issue 9, October 2015). It features articles by the editors, as well as Philip Napoli, Laura DeNardis, Milton Mueller, and Katherine Montegomery, among others. It is a brilliant signpost of how the Quello Center is moving fully into the digital age of policy and regulation issues. You may find the special issue at:

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Steve Wildman’s Odyssey


June 25th, 2015

Steve Wildman is about to depart from the Quello Center, the Department of Media and Information, Michigan State University and Michigan to retire in the mountains of Colorado. We expect Steve to continue as an emeritus member of our Advisory Board, and teach from a distance for the department. And while we have already had a celebration of his work at MSU, we should say more about his contributions to the Quello Center as his Odyssey continues.

First, thanks are once again due for the role Steve has played as founding director of the Quello Center. He started the center from scratch in 1999 to become a key node in a network of telecommunication policy research centers across the US and worldwide. And he contributed to its stature through his own research and publications, which led to his appointment as Chief Economist at the Federal Communications Commission in December 2012. As an economist, he has demonstrated the contributions that the social sciences can make to the interdisciplinary study of the communication revolution that has been underway during his tenure. It remains a key aim of the Quello Center to demonstrate the centrality of economics and the social sciences as a whole to understanding the factors shaping digital media and information technologies like the Internet and their societal, policy and regulatory implications.

Secondly, Steve was fond of collecting quotations of the colorful and influential long serving member of the FCC, James H. Quello, for whom the center was named. One of Steve’s favorites was James Quello’s wonderful blessing: “May the Lord be with you — but not too soon!” Another, more appropriate for today, might be James Quello’s words on departing the FCC: “I’d like my FCC legacy to read, ‘He never forgot where he came from.’” Steve embodies a Midwestern aversion to trumpeting his many accomplishments, and seems to remember where he came from, but we’d like Steve’s Quello Center legacy to read something like ‘He never forgot the center he founded.’

Steve Wildman in Quello Meeting Room 2014

Steve Wildman in Quello Meeting Room 2014

More about Steve’s time at MSU is available online, such as:

Steve’s leaving lecture:

And a video tribute to Steve, compiled by Gary Reid:

Steve Wildman Tribute Video – Founding Director of the Quello Center from Quello Center on Vimeo.

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Steven Wildman Appointed As Chief Economist for the FCC


FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced today the appointment of Steven Wildman to the position of FCC Chief Economist. Professor Wildman, an expert on communications and media issues, will commence his role in January 2013. Chairman Genachowski said, “I’m very pleased that Steve will be joining the Commission. He has a stellar record as an economist and has conducted important research on broadband adoption and spectrum management, among other topics. The Chief Economist’s role and office are critical to the agency’s work and its understanding of complex economic issues related to the communications sector. “I would also like to commend and thank our outgoing Chief Economist Marius Schwartz. Marius was an outstanding Chief Economist, who applied his deep economic expertise and problem solving abilities daily to our most challenging initiatives. The Commission has relied heavily on his input and analysis to make key decisions, and his work substantially bolstered the FCC’s economic capabilities.”

Wildman will take over as Chief Economist from Schwartz, who is returning to his prior role as a Professor of Economics at Georgetown University. Wildman’s teaching and research focus on economics, law and policy across the communications industry, and the impact of information technologies on the organization of economic activities. He has conducted detailed research on broadband adoption examining infrastructure cost structures and demand in rural and underserved areas. He has also studied the efficiency properties of alternative spectrum governance regimes and network interconnection policy.

He has held numerous fellowships and received prominent awards, including the Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association Distinguished Research Award, the Journal of Media Economics Award of Honor for Scholarly Contributions, and the McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research.

Prior to joining Michigan State University, Wildman was an Associate Professor at Northwestern University’s Department of Communications Studies. He has also worked at the University of California’s Department of Economics. Wildman holds a Ph.D in Economics from Stanford University, as well as an M.A. and a B.A. degree in Economics from Stanford University and Wabash College respectively.

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