CBC goes to bat for Black radio


Members of the Congressional Black Caucus do not believe the Obama administration is doing enough to help minority-owned businesses skate through challenges brought on by the recession, and have withheld support for an administration-backed program. Inner City Broadcasting figures prominently in the story. But President Barack Obama said relief will come when it comes for all businesses.

Ten CBC members boycotted a key committee vote on financial reform to express their displeasure with the lack of action to help Black-owned broadcast companies, as well as Black-owned companies in other lines of business.

The CBC action took place on the same day that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was grilling Arbitron over the effects of PPM audience measurement on minority broadcasters under the gavel of Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

Inner City and other broadcast companies were identified as a focal point in an article in the New York Times, in no small part because Inner City founder Percy Sutton is a protégé of powerful House veteran Charles Rangel (D-NY).

There have been attempts to acquire economic stimulus money from the US Treasury to help minority broadcasters through their current difficulties, including talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, but thus far the talks have led to no results.

According to the New York Times, the efforts have not been totally fruitless – Inner City’s Pierre Sutton said that creditors are more willing to negotiate than they were prior to the attention being paid in Washington.

But Obama indicated he was not disposed to make a special exception for Black-owned businesses.

“I will tell you that I think the most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again,” said Obama in an interview with USA Today and Detroit Free Press. He suggested that it would be mistake to pay special attention to just one segment of the business community when the current pain is spread throughout.