Observers predict that Genachowski, who is widely rumored to be planning to step down this year, will leave the issue for his successor to handle.

“They’ve waited a long time, and if the chairman waits a little bit longer, he may be gone. So it’ll be somebody else’s headache,” said Andrew Schwartzman, a media attorney opposed to the indecency fines.

“All indications are that Chairman Genachowski does not want to deal with this,” said Dan Isett, director of public policy for the Parents Television Council, which favors aggressive enforcement. “I suspect the chairman is trying to run out the clock.”