Charlie Firestone is Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and a Vice President of the Aspen Institute. Since his appointment in December 1989, this program has focused on the impact of new technologies on democratic, economic and social institutions, the development of new communications policy models and options for the public interest, and the implications of communications and information technologies for leadership. For three years he was also the Institute’s Executive Vice President for Policy Programs and International Activities.
Prior to his positions with the Aspen Institute, Firestone was Director of the Communications Law Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and Adjunct Professor of Law at the UCLA Law School, 1977-90. 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.
Firestone’s legal career includes positions as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, as director of litigation for a Washington, D.C. public interest law firm, and as a communications and entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He has argued several landmark communications law cases before the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts.
Firestone holds degrees from Amherst College and Duke University Law School. He is the editor, author or co-author of several books and numerous articles on communications law and policy. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a GLOCOM Fellow of the Japanese Institute of Global Communications in Tokyo, Japan, and was a Visiting Professor at the Duke University Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy in 2003.
He resides with his wife, sculptor Pattie Porter Firestone, in Santa Barbara, CA.