While acknowledging that the “designated entity” rules have helped smaller players get into the communications field, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council is backing a new definition — “Preference for Overcoming Disadvantage” – proposed by the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age.
According to Latoya Livingston, who recently joined MMTC after performing pro bono work for the group in the past, “…the amendment would adopt and implement an additional new preference program for individuals who are otherwise qualified for an FCC license, but who have faced substantial disadvantages, and who have since overcome those disadvantages. Moreover, in situations where the FCC licenses are to provide broadcast services to the public, the preference program would have the added benefit of opening up the process to candidates who might not otherwise be able to compete in FCC license auctions, thereby contributing to viewpoint diversity on the air.”
Describing how one might qualify for POD status, Livingston wrote, “. The Advisory Committee’s list of disadvantages covers such circumstances as poverty, discrimination, and trauma from military service or from a natural disaster, among others.”
An expected benefit in the case of broadcast licensees would be the promotion of diversity of viewpoint “…so that a wider array of people can have an opportunity to be heard and seen.”
As with other similar definitions, the scope of this definition will be broad. Livingston observed, “In my humble view, the adoption of this amendment would be a great step toward making a difference and opening doors previously closed to many people.”