Part of the FCC’s proposal on media ownership rules and cross-ownership is a renewed focus on promoting diversity of ownership in the broadcast sphere. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council said the use of local radio cap incentives to further the participation of minorities and women was a welcome step.
MMTC wrote, “In yesterday’s media ownership rulemaking notice, the Commission specifically seeks comment on an Incubation Plan, proposed by MMTC and supported by 29 national organizations. Under the plan, if a radio broadcaster incubates a new voice, such as a minority or woman owner, in its own or a larger market, the broadcaster would be permitted to acquire an additional station above the existing local ownership caps or AM/FM subcaps.”
Minorities are 1/3 of America, and the airwaves are public property, “MMTC continued. “Yet minority full power radio ownership is down 9% from 2007-2009; it stands at just 7% of all stations and represents only about 1% of industry asset value. In full power television, the duopoly rule has decimated minority ownership, which in 2009 had dropped to 29 stations – about half of where it stood in 1999.
MMTC also focused a spotlight on the comments of outgoing Commissioner Michael Copps, hoping that those remaining at the FCC would take them to heart. Copps wrote, “I am of the strong opinion that we should be farther along in correcting the inequities of minority and women ownership of broadcast outlets. While I am pleased to see the proposal for an incubator program teed up for comment in the NPRM before us, I would have preferred us to have already taken action on such proposals as ‘Overcoming Disadvantages’ and any number of other proposals submitted over the past several years to the Commission by our Diversity Advisory Committee.”