Incubator program may be part of ownership review


The FCC may consider once again a proposal that has been kicked around for years now – a system under which a radio owner could exceed local ownership caps in a given market in exchange for making another station available to a socially-disadvantaged entity. MMTC says the idea was hatched by NABOB in 1990, and now may have a Commission which would give it the necessary votes.

A strong proponent for such a program is also sitting in the US Senate – Bob Menendez (D-NJ) would like to see the FCC take strong steps to increase the diversity of ownership of America’s broadcast outlets.

The MMTC report also cites the presence of two very strong pro-civil rights commissioners: Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps. However, Copps is unlikely to be around by the time such a measure would come to a vote. His final day of service with the FCC will be 1/1/12 if not sooner.

However, if Clyburn is present to drive the measure, there is nothing to say that a well-crafted program could not earn a unanimous 5-0 vote.

The issue has been vetted before the public before, and MMTC expects that the FCC may soon put the matter out for comment in advance of the upcoming quadrennial review.