Six caught in EEO dragnet


The thrust of equal employment opportunity regulations is to increase diversity in the workforce; for FCC licensees, it boils down to a matter of paperwork and record-keeping, and six companies have come up short on that regard. Two of them, ironically enough, are minority-oriented broadcasters.

Large radio group Cumulus was nailed for $14K for shortcomings at its Macon GA cluster; Dickey Broadcasting (related to Cumulus) was fined $7K for three Atlanta radio stations; big four net/owner/operator Fox Television took a hit of $20K at its two Washington DC TV stations; small market operator W.S. Communications is fined $14K for stations in Ouray and Colona CO; African-American owned Urban Radio/Inner City was subject to an $8K NAL for two New York City stations; and Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Foundation was charged for violations at a pair of television stations and another pair of radio stations on the Caribbean island.

Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein appended a joint statement to the NALs, saying that EEO enforcement has been inconsistent and woefully inadequate, and made the point that it was only the beginning of what could be done. “There are other, more pro-active, steps we should consider,” they observed. “At a minimum, we should make our process more transparent by compiling and releasing FCC Form 395 data, as well as developing annual and longitudinal employment reports.  As we work with industry and advocacy groups in a cooperative manner, these initial steps should help us better understand employment trends in the communications industry and permit us to better craft more effective oversight.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Over the years, the courts have taken the teeth out of EEO. Jobs cannot be offered to a member of a certain ethnic group, or a woman, specifically, leading to the invention of phrases like “socially disadvantaged business” and such to get around the rulings. What items can be enforced amount to bookkeeping rules, which is how two of these current miscreants wound up in the dragnet despite the fact that they no doubt employ a significant number of ethnic minority group members.

One more thing: Take the comments of Copps and Adelstein very seriously. With the Obama administration less than a month away from tip-off, their appended statements are likely to undergo a major metamorphosis from an FCC minority opinion to an FCC majority-backed agenda item.