The Community Broadcasters Association is looking for relief in order to keep viable business models open for licensees of low power and Class A television stations, hinged of the ethnic and gender diversity characteristics of its licensees. It is pursuing three major goals: access to MVPDs, assistance in moving from analog to digital broadcast, and an option to repurpose spectrum currently occupied by an LPTV or Class A.
The licensees of these stations are small businesses, and according to CBA’s own recent survey, the ownership lineups are highly diversified. CBA said, “The survey showed that 45% of these stations are proud to provide meaningful broadcast minority ownership – (34% — Multi-Racial, 24% — Hispanic, 10% — African American) and that 60% of these stations have significant ownership by women — statistics unrivaled by any other mass medium in America.”
CBA notes that current economic conditions are hitting all broadcasters hard, and lack of government support could make many of them economically unviable, adding that a failure to help “…would demonstrate that all suggestions of the importance of diversity in media are merely propaganda and are not truly being advanced by Government action.”
CBA has taken its case to the Obama administration and the FCC and says it will start working on Congress.
RBR/TVBR observation: CBA thought it had a victory last fall, at least regarding MVPD carriage for its Class A members, only to see the matter tabled. Cable operators certainly are not going to welcome them onto their channel lineups by force. But CBA’s main argument, the diversity of its licensees, would seem to be a natural to garner support from Democrats. You’d think that CBA’s proposals have a chance to gather steam.