NHMC to FCC: Protect and Expand Opportunities for People of Color to Own Broadcast Stations

For Immediate Release
August 6, 2014

            Contact
Brian Pacheco, NHMC
bpacheco@nhmc.org
(213) 718-0732  

NHMC Urges FCC to Study Ownership Diversity and Retain Broadcast Ownership Limits 

WASHINGTON - The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) today filed comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Quadrennial Review of its broadcast ownership limits, urging the Commission to retain and expand media ownership rules. These rules limit the number of broadcast stations that any entity may own in a given metropolitan area, preventing further media consolidation.

NHMC supports retaining and strengthening media ownership rules because the record demonstrates that media consolidation leads to less opportunities for people of color to overcome the high barriers to entry into the broadcast industry, and decreases viewpoint diversity in the media.

“Media consolidation leads to a less diverse, less responsive, and less responsible media,” stated Michael Scurato, NHMC’s policy director. “In today’s media landscape, most TV news, radio programs and newspaper stories do not represent the concerns, culture, and knowledge of Latinos, other people of color and rural people.”

In its comments to the FCC, NHMC highlights the deplorable state of Latino media ownership. According to recent figures, Latino broadcast ownership has remained stagnant from two years ago, and has significantly declined over the past couple of decades. In 2013, despite being 17% of the U.S. population, Latinos owned only 42 out of 1,386, or 3 percent, of full power commercial television stations, and 3.2 percent of FM radio outlets. Latinos did not fare much better in AM radio, once thought to be a key entry point for people of color, owning only 192 out of 3,737, or 5.2 percent, of AM radio stations. Broadcast ownership by women, Asian Americans, and American Indians has remained similarly stagnant over the past two years. African American ownership levels continued to decline.

In addition, NHMC also urges the FCC to:

  • Begin to analyze its own data to determine the impact of its media ownership rules on diversity;
  • Set an aggressive research agenda to ensure that it has the necessary tools to take positive steps to promote diversity;
  • Reinstate collection of Equal Employment Opportunity data to measure trends in workforce diversity in the broadcasting industry; and
  • Tighten radio ownership limits, which would stem the hate speech proliferating over many radio conglomerate stations and create opportunities for Latinos to enter the broadcasting business.

“NHMC is deeply troubled by any calls to further relax any radio ownership limit,” Scurato added. “Radio substantially contributes to viewpoint diversity, particularly when considering the importance of radio to Latinos as a source of news and information.”

To view NHMC’s comments, visit: http://bit.ly/V2TUQP.

NHMC has long advocated for strong and loophole-free media ownership rules as a race- and gender-neutral way to reduce barriers for Latinos, other people of color and women to own media outlets. Earlier this year NHMC’s executive vice president and general counsel, Jessica J. González, testified before the U.S. Congress’ Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications & Technology on this issue.

To watch her testimony, visit: http://bit.ly/1kJiZfV.

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About NHMC

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Learn more at www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter @NHMC.