NAB: Encourage diversity, but keep filing manageable


NAB / National Association of Broadcasters
The arduous tale of ongoing efforts to increase the number of minority and female broadcast owners has been front and center at the FCC of late, and the NAB is a strong supporter of the goal. However, needlessly complicating filing requirements is not a path it wishes to follow.

One area of concern for the organization is adding reporting requirements for individuals with a non-attributable interest in a license.

In a filing, NAB argued that not only is the information of no use, it’s collection would only serve to muddy the waters, diluting and rendering good info less useful.

NAB said the whole point of the diversity effort is to make sure minorities and women have a voice in the electronic media, and that means having at least some operational control of a license. Since non-attributable share holders have no operational interest whatsoever, gathering information on them is of no use. And adding their stats into the pool of those who do have an operational interest would only make them less accurate and less useful.

NAB also said that in the long run, increasing reporting requirements to include non-attributable interests would discourage investment in broadcasting companies. Given the choice of two more or less equal investments, most people will go with the one that does not include additional paperwork. In the case of a broadcast license, NAB said the requirement could heap consulting and legal fees on top of an investment, sending such money away from broadcasting and to less-encumbered investments.

Filling out the enhanced ownership forms is already a burden as it is, pointed out NAB, and adding a new layer of reporting for no good end will do harm without any positive benefit in the balance.

Finally, NAB agreed with a proposal to add a month to the preparation time. Currently, forms must be in by November 1 every other year with data current to the October 1. Leaving the October date as is and making the due date December 1 would provide beneficial flexibility to broadcasters, particularly those with numerous stations and complex ownership structures.