NABOB comments in FCC Ownership Proceeding
The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) filed Comments 8/6 in the FCC’s 2014 Quadrennial Review of its broadcast ownership rules. In its Comments NABOB began by stating:
In each of the Commission’s previous quadrennial reviews, NABOB has opposed the relaxation of any of the Commission’s rules, and that is NABOB’s position with respect to the current quadrennial review.
NABOB pointed out that:
The ownership of broadcast radio and television stations has been in steady decline ever since: (1) Congress repealed the minority tax certificate policy in 1995, (2) the Supreme Court decided the Adarand case in 1995, and (3) Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The repeal of the tax certificate and the Adarand decision resulted in the Commission having no meaningful programs to promote minority ownership — a condition that has now existed for 19 years. In, addition, the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed a massive consolidation of ownership of broadcast facilities into a number of large companies. As a result of that massive consolidation, the number of television stations owned by African Americans now is down from 20 to 4. There has also been a decline in African American radio station ownership, but it has not been quite as dramatic as the television ownership decline.
Any relaxation of any of the Commission’s ownership rules will further the ongoing precipitous decline in minority broadcast ownership. In particular, the relaxation of any rules allowing greater consolidation in the radio industry will be particularly detrimental to minority ownership growth. African Americans still own a small number of successful radio stations, and allowing further consolidation in that industry could substantially undermine currently successful radio stations. Thus, the Commission should not relax either its newspaper-radio cross-ownership rule or its radio-television cross-ownership rule.
NABOB supported the Commission’s decision to retain several of its ownership rules:
NABOB supports the Commission’s decision to retain: (1) the local television ownership rule, (2) the local radio ownership rule, including preserving the AM/FM subcap rule, and (3) the dual network rule.
The Commission should delay the issuance of a report and order in this proceeding until it has initiated all of the studies necessary to meet the strict scrutiny standard of the Adarand decision and has adopted a definition of “eligible entity” that can be used to implement rule and policy changes that have the potential to actually promote minority ownership of broadcast facilities.
Said Jim Winston, Executive Director of NABOB: “African American ownership of broadcast stations has been in steady decline for several years. We look forward to working with the Commission to develop policies that can reverse that decline.”