SBAs To FCC: OK Internet-based Recruiting


FCCA coalition of nearly every state broadcasters association in the U.S. on Monday (1/30) filed joint comments with the FCC that the Commission clarify that Internet-only recruitment would qualify as broad employment outreach for job vacancies under its revised EEO rule.

The Petition for Rulemaking addresses a long-sought clarifications from the broadcasters associations — one that first arose nearly 15 years ago. At the time, the FCC believed the internet was “not sufficiently mature” to rely upon as an exclusive recruitment tool.

“There can be no serious debate that it achieved the needed maturity long before 2017, and that the Commission should have years ago ceased faulting broadcasters utilizing Internet-based recruiting,” the petitioners assert. “In that regard, this proceeding is merely an effort to rectify the anachronistic disconnect between the Commission’s 2002 decision and the current reality of job recruitment for all businesses, whether or not they hold an FCC license.”

In fact, the state broadcasters associations note, if the current circumstances existed when the EEO rule was first created, recruiting via newspaper would be questioned because it increasingly lacks universal reach.

“The Commission could issue either a clarification or a Declaratory Ruling that Internet-only recruiting is, given the growth of the Internet as a communications and recruiting tool, adequate to meet a broadcaster’s obligation to engage in wide dissemination of information concerning a job vacancy, and not, as the Commission has previously suggested, a faulty exercise of a licensee’s good faith judgment on how best to achieve wide dissemination of job vacancy announcements,” the petitioners state in a letter submitted on their behalf by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP partner Scott Flick and Dick Zaragoza, General Counsel of the
National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations.

“Thus, while the State Associations certainly do not object to the Commission conducting a rulemaking to formally embed this change into the EEO rule, the current rule is not inconsistent with the proposed change, and such change could therefore be implemented without the delay inherent in conducting a formal rulemaking should the Commission elect to do so,” they opine.

RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION: It’s time, FCC. The last time we can recall a job search that involved the placement of a print ad, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was the No. 1 song and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was still months away from being signed into law by a new Congress. The Internet still largely involved America Online, and we were buying out-of-town newspapers at a Farragut North newsstand to stay connected to the world outside the Beltway. We live in a world where has already rose and fell, and we are talking about print ads? Why, so we can give printed publications one final opportunity to make their classified section relevant? Everyone uses the internet to conduct a job search. Mobile-friendly apps make it super-easy. Make the change, Mr. Pai.