FCC looks into SDBs


Minority Media & Telecommunications Council has asked that the FCC restart its proceeding on media ownership rules since it felt its suggestions on increasing the participation of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses were given short shrift in the FCC’s call for comments. The FCC will not go that far, but has agreed to open a second NPRM requesting comment on SDBs. The FCC says it already "…sought comment on MMTC’s various proposals, as well as on the general issue of fostering minority and female ownership. We urged commenters to explain the effects, if any, that their rule proposals would have on ownership of broadcast outlets by minorities, women and small businesses." A critical aspect of this proceeding will be the definition of an SDB. MMTC notes that "the Prometheus opinion recognizes the importance of establishing a definition for SDBs because, in approving the small business cluster transfer policy, the court indicated that, by the next quadrennial review, the Commission would have the benefit of a stable definition of SDBs as well as implementation experience in order to reevaluate whether an SDB-based waiver policy would better promote the Commission’s diversity objectives." The FCC has noted in turn that this definition may face constitutional challenge if it is tied to either race or gender. The FCC also seeks comment on the extent of its statutory to address such ownership issues. MMTC proposals have been attached in an appendix to the FCC’s Second Further NPRM on this topic, available at fcc.gov.

RBR observation: One thing the FCC can’t do but Congress can is reinstate the minority tax credit program. Just about everybody we’ve ever heard mention it is for it. Hey, Congress, get on the stick and put this back on the books.