FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHMC Statement on FCC Media Ownership AnnouncementWASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler released a blog post revealing steps that the Commission will take to determine whether or not its media ownership rules are adequately advancing the Commission's goals of competition, localism, and diversity. The blog post confirmed recent press reports suggesting that the FCC would retain all existing media ownership limits and abandon earlier proposals circulated by former Chairman Julius Genachowski that would have allowed for increased consolidation within the media industry. It also confirmed that the FCC would move to prohibit certain types of "covert consolidation" arrangements in which one entity controls the activities of a broadcast station without actually owning it. The announcement also comes on the heels of recent Commission action which halted a comprehensive study of the media landscape. The following statement can be attributed to Michael Scurato, Policy Director of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC): "While we look forward to examining all items related to today's announcements once they are released by the Commission, we are pleased that Chairman Wheeler has heeded the advice of NHMC and many others and put the final nail in the coffin of proposals advanced by former Chairman Genachowski that would have favored increased media consolidation at the expense of a greater diversity of voices. We are also pleased that the Commission appears poised to take concrete steps to prevent harmful forms of 'covert consolidation' that allow entities to circumvent existing rules. NHMC has long contended that strong and loophole-free media ownership rules that prevent excessive consolidation are a race-neutral way to ensure that new and diverse voices are given an opportunity to own media outlets. "We also hope that today's announcement represents a tacit acknowledgement by the Commission that it needs to collect and examine additional data on the impact of its rules on ownership of broadcast outlets by women and people of color prior to making any changes. From what little data the Commission has released on this topic, we know that women and people of color own an exceedingly small number of broadcast stations. While we have been disheartened by recent actions that the Commission has taken to halt important research efforts, namely its proposed Critical Information Needs studies, we hope that the Commission puts considerations of diversity front and center as it conducts its upcoming review. To that end, it should immediately move to conduct data collection, research, and analysis intended to help it meet its statutory obligations and respond to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals Prometheus II decision."