MMTC Proposes Broadcast Diversity Package

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is promoting a group of seven proposals designed to boost minority ownership, employment and diversity. It also says the package “would likely be met with industry and civil rights organization consensus.”

In meetings with FCC staffers, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council presented a package of “Seven Proposals on Broadcast Regulation” that the group says “can greatly impact minority ownership, employment, and diversity within the media industry. Considered as a package, they address each element of diversity – access to capital, spectrum, employment and information.”

The proposals are:

  • Reinstate and expand the Tax Certificate Policy. “The FCC should demonstrate support for the tax certificate policy’s restoration, since this policy was so effective in advancing diversity. The FCC should work with the White House to determine how a tax certificate could be worked into a plan to incentivize broadcasters to participate in incentive auctions. MMTC would like to see the FCC designate a staff team to coordinate with the White House in designing legislation.”
  •  Structural rule waivers for companies that “incubate” SDBs (small disadvantaged businesses).
    •  Clarify that eligible entities can take up to 18 months to construct major modifications of authorized facilities. “The eligible entity standard, in the proposal for clarification that eligible entities have 18 months for major modifications, should be changed from small business to a less dilute standard once the FCC enacts one.”
      •  Establish an AM Transition Federal Advisory Committee to make recommendations for the use of TV chs. 5 and 6 as a new home for most AM and LPFM stations.
        •  Extend all civil rights rules (EEO, transactional non-discrimination, advertising non-discrimination, procurement non-discrimination) to all platforms; create a new Civil Rights Branch of the Enforcement Bureau with enforcement and compliance staff for the EEO, transactional, advertising and procurement nondiscrimination rules across all platforms. “Civil rights in the communications industry needs a global push for all industries to get on board, in a manner analogous to how realtors banded together to enforce fair housing in the early 1970s. If the FCC applies all apply civil rights regulations to all industries, there will be more overall buy in.”
          •  Relax broadcast foreign ownership restrictions. “The commission would specify its intention to apply, case by case, a hard limit of 40% if the interest is voting, and 49% if it is nonvoting. Relaxation of the foreign ownership policy would provide struggling broadcasters with capital and open the door for potential reciprocal investment in other countries.”
            •  Grant the Katrina Petition and require multilingual emergency broadcasting on a “designated hitter” model during and in the critical days after emergencies such as hurricanes. “The FCC should issue an NPRM on multilingual emergency broadcasting. The NPRM should not look like a Notice of Inquiry, but should instead contain specific proposals that get to the heart of the issue on how to ensure that emergency information immediately reaches those who cannot speak English.”

               MMTC went on to say that each of the seven proposals has these attributes:

              • High impact on minority ownership, employment or service by the broadcast media.
              •  Absence of significant opposition.
                •  Ease of adoption.
                  •  Ease of implementation.

                     In addition, it added: “They are offered as a package that, taken as a whole, would likely be met with industry and civil rights organization consensus.”


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