Low power org pushes back on minority report


While the Community Broadcasters Association is all in favor of improving the broadcasting lot of women and minorities, when it looks at the FCC’s minority data gathering proposal, it sees nothing except lost man-hours and lost dollars.

It recently completed a survey of its own service, LPTV and Class A television, and discovered that it was providing a home for both groups. 43% of the stations have “substantial” minority ownership and 60% include females on the ownership list. CBA is proud of this record and would like to see the minority/female presence at full-powered radio and television licensees move toward a better reflection of the population as a whole.

It just doesn’t think its stats are entirely necessary to move the ball forward. “We do have some concerns about the paper work burden that will result from requiring so many stations that were previously exempt to file ownership reports every two years,” explains CBA. “This burden will require tens of thousands of man-hours and cuts against the concept of LPTV as a lightly regulated service.”

It also thinks that since this is the FCC’s baby, the government, not licensees, should fund it. “Applying the existing ownership report fee to owners of multiple LPTV stations will impose a heavy tax that we do not believe Congress intended, just as it did not require a fee for EEO reports.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Couldn’t something like this be kept simple? The argument to do so is twofold. It would avoid an undue burden on the licensees, and it allow the FCC to quickly tally up the data it wants to guide its policy-making.

The FCC should strive to keep this on one page. Station calls, ID, and city of license, class, and some way to get a handle on market size. Licensee name. Ultimate owner/shareholding entities. M/F and a few ethnic categories with a blank for percentages.

A large company like Clear Channel or CBS will have one answer for many stations on the bottom part of the chart, and a small owner-operator will be either 100% male or female, and 100% in one ethnic group or another. And CBA is right – there should be no add-one filing fee.

With this, the FCC should be able to isolate ownership data by broadcast service and roughly by market size. What else does it need?