According to the NAB, the FCC should get to work implementing suggestions from the coalition Diversity and Competition Supporters to encourage minority and female broadcast ownership. In the meantime, it should also allow limited relaxation of certain ownership restrictions.
In reply comments on the quadrennial review, the NAB noted that there are some 47 separate measures on the table at the Commission designed to address the issue of minority ownership. The proposals have widespread support in the broadcast community and endorsements from Tribune Company, the Newspaper Association of America, the National Association of Media Brokers.
In particular, NAB would like to see the incentive-based minority tax certificate program reinstated (which would take an act of Congress).
A high hurdle on the path to greater diversity has been the difficulty defining entities eligible to receive preferential treatment, and the NAB noted DCS’s commendable efforts along this line. It has a race- and gender-neutral definition, and proposes that it be put in place in the context of one single proposal, allowing it to be tested and improved until a minting a general definition that will withstand scrutiny.
NAB believes in the meantime there is no evidence that modest relaxation of television duopoly rules and cross-ownership restrictions will adversely affect the level of ownership diversity. It notes that many assert an adverse effect, but nobody has provided any proof of such an effect. It says the FCC should not act on the basis of a mere assertion.
It further notes that a careful analysis of minority owned television stations yields only two of 69 that would be likely targets of a television/newspaper merger, meaning there is no possibility of a large-scale diminishment of diversity if the rules are relaxed.