MMTC: FCC EEO program a “stunning failure”


Minorities continue to be underrepresented in broadcast newsrooms, and according to the Media Minority and Telecommunications Council, what little enforcement the FCC has engaged in has not only been ineffective, it’s actually been counterproductive. .” Comments were filed with the FCC by MMTC’s David Honig.

For starters, MMTC says, it “…examined all 300 of the Bureau’s 2003 and 2004 broadcast audits, and found that only 12% of the recruitment sources were minority-targeted while 36% of the job notices still did not contain an “EOE” tag. Yet every one of the stations passed its audit anyway.” Comments were filed with the FCC by MMTC’s David Honig.

But the bigger problem has been the use of word of mouth to fill many newsroom jobs. MMTC says this would not be a problem at a station with a heterogeneous workforce, since it would have ties to a larger heterogeneous population. But if it’s used in a station with homogenous workforce, it tends to exclude members of other ethnical groups from consideration. MMTC says the FCC is working blind on this, since it is not collecting Form 395 data which would illuminate this issue.

Further, MMTC says that many of the punitive actions that have been taken have been hollow actions against “…some of the nation’s most diverse multicultural broadcasters for technical violations.”

MMTC argues, “This understandably has bred cynicism among broadcasters, who are barred from pointing out the obvious fact that with a diverse workplace, their recruitment efforts have obviously been successful. At the same time – as shown above – the Commission has given a free pass to virtually every discriminator and serial violator. In a particularly deplorable example, the Commission botched its only large MVPD EEO case in 15 years by missing its own statute of limitations by two years. Thus, the Commission’s current EEO enforcement program is a stunning failure.” It says the results at radio in particular have amounted to “…the greatest purge of minorities in broadcasting history – a purge made even worse because it happened in radio journalism, a linchpin of program diversity.”

MMTC’s remedy: Strong FCC EEO data collection and the requirement that broadcasters make employment reports public every year.