MMTC gives legislators a laundry list


Diversity advocate Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, in partnership with the National Urban League, is wasting no time putting its agenda before the 111th Congress and the brand new Obama administration. Although broadband and other telecommunications matters are high on the list, there are many broadcast planks as well.

MMTC wants to make sure that the government takes “an aggressive role” in promoting various diversity issues. High on the list is making sure minority-owned stations are included in federal advertising budgets. It also includes reinstatement of the minority tax certificate and changes in localism/city of license rules to help promote diverse ownership.

Here are a few broadcast-related selections from the MMTC/NUL document.

* Strengthen federal advertising diversity. The “an aggressive role” to make sure minority-owned broadcast included in federal ad buys., at fair market rates. “Unfortunately, the Bush administration was anything but ‘aggressive.’”

* Require FEMA, NEW and NOAA to provide multilingual emergency services.

* Ensure that broadband stimulus funds reach postsecondary educational institutions historically and predominately serving minority students.

* Extend the DTV converter box program to underserved multilingual communities

* Restore and expand the tax certificate policy

* Authorize an annual media and telecom diversity and digital divide census

* Provide for universal K-12 education in media, telecom and internet literacy, including skills, proficiency and policy.

* Eliminate language barriers to public safety.

* Amend the FTC Act to prohibit racial discrimination in advertising placement and terms.

* Provide comprehensive oversight of the FCC and executive branch to ensure that civil rights objectives are achieved.

* Amend localism rules, particularly involving city of license rules (and their gaming) to allow minority owners more opportunity to serve minority population centers.

* Allow foreign investors to back minority broadcasters.

* Expand EEO rules.

RBR/TVBR observation: MMTC has had some success finding sympathetic ears at the FCC. But we have to think their many proposals, which may have seemed like wish lists during the past eight years, may seem more like to-do lists given the new political reality in Washington. The minor chord underlying all of it may turn out to restraints on affirmative action put in place by a number of court rulings. Nevertheless, developments in this arena – many of which are also NAB-endorsed — most definitely will bear watching.