NAB 2016

Diversity Could Take A Hit Following Auction

Wheeler aide Jessica Almond says that it’s possible minority and LPTV owners may sell their spectrum in the upcoming auction, but there are other means available to promote diversity in ownership and programming.

A top aide to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler acknowledged that the FCC’s incentive auction could diminish diversity in broadcast ownership and programming by inducing stations that provide such diversity to sell out.

“As you know, it is completely voluntary for stations to participate” in the auction, said Jessica Almond at an annual NAB Show breakfast hosted by communications attorney Erwin Krasnow.

“If a minority or a diverse programming station chooses to participate, I have no business telling them what to do with their business,” she said, responding to a question following her speech.

“So, while we wish such stations to stay in business, that’s not what the purpose of the auction is.”

She also said that the incentive auction could impact low-power TV stations offering diverse programming.

“In areas that are already quite dense in broadcasting where a smaller TV band necessarily means everyone will be a little more squeezed, I think there is a possibility that LPTV stations may have some difficulty.”


The space “available for LPTV is highly dependent on the amount of participation, the amount of spectrum that is bought and the size of the TV band after the auction,” she said.

However, she added, the FCC could mitigate any loss of diversity from LPTVs by allowing the stations to share channels.

“We have also said we will make our repacking analysis available to help [LPTVs] more easily find channels after the repack.”

Defending the Wheeler record on broadcast diversity, Almond also said that the FCC’s tightening of its local ownership limits and enforcement of the national ownership cap have caused buyers of stations groups to spin off stations to woman and minorities. “We see that as improvement.”

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Comments (5)

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Ellen Samrock says:

April 21, 2016 at 1:14 am

And this is what happens when one or two frustrated bullies are allowed to roam freely on a website like this. Industry professionals stay away and any attempt at intelligent, civil discussion ends.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    April 21, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Someone’s coming around to what I’ve said for 2 years.

Wagner Pereira says:

April 21, 2016 at 2:04 am

As stated previously, any Diversity Briadcaster who exits for the money was in it for the money, not the cause. Shocking? Not really. Greed has many colors.

Catherine Herkovic says:

April 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I question the FCC ability and explanation of how the TV station keep the money since they don’t own the frequencies? Explain this to the people of this country who are out of the dark of what is going on!