The FCC need look no further than its own statistics to find a reason to adopt strong measures to address the lack of diversity among its licensees, and to further report to Congress in search of further remedies, say advocates.
DCS, the Diversity and Competition Supporters coalition, has 47 proposals pending at the Commission to address the problem, and says the recent FCC releases on diversity points to the need to start putting them into effect. It says the matter is “urgent.”
It points out that minorities own only 8% of the nation’s broadcast radio licenses, and women own only 7%; and the numbers are even worse by a wide margin for television licenses.
DCS says this is a market failure and is more than enough justification for the FCC to take corrective measures.
It also says it is incumbent for the FCC to enumerate the barriers to minority and female participation in license ownership and report to Congress with an eye toward corrective legislative measures. Chief among these is lack of access to capital; but there are many others, and the FCC should address them all.
It called again for FCC action on the 476 proposals that it has already placed on the table, which are primarily intended to incentive incumbent broadcasters to do business with disadvantaged entities when transferring licenses.
It also calls for incubator programs as recommended by the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters, as well as relaxing foreign ownership limits in order to expand the field of financing providers for companies seeking entrance into the business.
DCS would also like to see Congress reinstate the minority tax certificate program, which encourages those selling stations to deal with minority or female buyers.