NAB: Incentivize minority ownership


The National Association of Broadcasters concurs with the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council that efforts should be made to boost the number of female and minority owners in the broadcast ranks. In remarks filed with the FCC on the topic, it noted that it and associated entities are already pursuing voluntary efforts along these lines, in particular its Broadcast Leadership Training program.

Other strong recommendations include reinstating the tax incentive program formerly used to encourage sales to socially disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). NAB notes that Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Charles Rangel (D-NY) have both offered legislation and should be encouraged to move forward. NAB says several MMTC proposals "provide a sold framework that could increase minority and female ownership." It put particular emphasis on "equity/debt plus" attribution rules which it says are defined to narrowly and prevent interested broadcast corporations, who understand the business, from investing in SDB-run broadcast operations. NAB also suggested looking at changes in grandfathered sales as recommended by MMTC, as well as increasing leased access to broadcast facilities. NAB recommended industry-wide efforts to improve access to capital.

NAB warned about the thorny subject of defining an SDB for the purposes of this initiative, noting that if not done carefully, it could send the entire thing into court for who knows how long. And in conclusion, NAB urged the FCC "…to avoid unwarranted and unproven assumptions that modernizing the local broadcast ownership rules will result in fewer opportunities for women and minorities…Initiatives to promote diversity in broadcasting would be moot in an environment where radio and television stations are held back from effectively competing in an ever-expanding digital media marketplace."