Communications and Society Program

Charles Firestone, Executive Director
Communications and Society Program

Charles Firestone, Executive Director, Communications and Society ProgramCharles M. Firestone is executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Since his appointment in December 1989, this Program has focused on the implications of communications and information technologies for leadership, the impact of new technologies on democratic and social institutions, and the development of new communications policy models and options for the public interest. He was also the Institute's executive vice president for policy programs and international activities from 1997-2000.

Prior to his positions with the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was director of the Communications Law Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and an adjunct professor of law at the UCLA Law School. He was also the first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, which advises the Mayor and City Council on all regulatory matters relating to the cable and telecommunications fields.

Mr. Firestone's career includes positions as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, as director of litigation for a Washington DC public interest law firm, and as a communications and entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He has argued several landmark communications cases before the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. Mr. Firestone is the editor or co-author of seven books, including Digital Broadcasting and the Public Interest (The Aspen Institute, 1998) and Television and Elections (The Aspen Institute, 1992), and has written numerous articles on communications law and policy. He holds degrees from Amherst College and Duke University Law School and resides with his wife, sculptor Pattie Porter Firestone, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Voice: (202) 736-5818
Fax: (202) 467-0790
Mail: One Dupont Circle, Suite 700; Washington, DC 20036

Ellen P. Goodman,
Distinguished Visiting Scholar, FCC Future of Media team, at panel hosted by the Progress & Freedom Foundation, May 20, 2010:

“Charlie Firestone has what I think is the hottest venue in town in his Aspen Roundtables. And I’ve learned a lot of substance as a participant in and observer of those gatherings – gatherings that I think more efficiently produce knowledge than any other method I’ve seen. One of the things I’ve learned is about the importance of convenings. Aspen hasn’t given away money or built businesses or passed regulation, but it has generated a ton of policy, business and public service ideas that are now circulating and are very influential in the media space…just by getting people together and asking the right questions.”

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman & former CEO of Google, at the Aspen Institute Summer Celebration Awards Gala, August 4, 2012: