Martin pushing for minority access to spin-offs


Clear Channel Communications and Citadel Broadcasting have conducted seminars with the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) and NAB Education Foundation to ensure that minority and female entrepreneurs had access to bid on properties being spun off from those large media companies. Fox Television is in the midst of a similar process. Now FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has proposed that such outreach efforts be encouraged across the spectrum of communications industries regulated by the FCC. In a letter to the Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age, Martin applauded the Clear Channel effort in particular and suggested that it should be emulated "whenever a significant ownership-related transaction is proposed to the Commission." Meeting last Thursday, the committee voted to recommend that the Chairman’s proposal become a "best practice" for communications companies.

"It certainly is welcome," MMTC Executive Director David Honig told RBR/TVBR, calling Martin’s letter the FCC’s first move on diversity in seven years. Such seminars don’t guarantee that minority and female bidders will win in the auctions, but Honig says the objective is to "give everyone a fair chance to participate." That, he said, should be good for sellers as well, since "the more vibrant the auction is, the better price you get."