FCC moves to increase minority/female ownership


And at issue is whether or not that will be the effect of yesterday’s action, all hinging on the definition of businesses which will benefit from a number of measures put in place or put out for further consideration. One of the latter measures is an improved definition.

The definition put into use is a small business definition according the Small Business Administration revenue-based standards. The Democratic commissioners said this was not specific enough and rendered the effort useless in many regards. Both Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein dissented against all definition-dependent planks, while supporting others.

The proposals included modification of attribution standards to facilitate investment in SBAs; modification of distress sale policies; allowing the transfer of grandfathered clusters to any buyer if buyer sells excess to eligible SBA within 12 months; barring discrimination in advertising buys (prohibiting so-called no Urban/no Spanish dictates); prohibits ownership fraud and fast tracks complaints; encouraged local banks to cooperate with SBAs; extends divestiture deadlines where SBAs are involved; and focuses on investment banks for financing.

It seeks comment on constructing a better definition of eligible companies, and looks for ways to upgrade the FCC’s ownership data. On the issue of the definition, Robert McDowell reminded everybody of the difficulty of threading the needle through Supreme Court casework, pointing out that whatever they come up with must be legally sustainable. Chairman Kevin Martin said that the regardless, the current SBA definition and immediate action was better than doing nothing, contrary to the opinion of watchdogs and the Democratic commissioners that no action was preferable to action with the SBA definition in place.