December 3, 2016
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Minority Groups Send Letter To FCC Asking For "Long Overdue Reports"

 February 16, 2010

Hon. Julius Genachowski
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
 
Dear Chairman Genachowski:
 
RE: The FCC’s Civil Rights Record and Overdue
Section 257 Triennial Report to Congress
 
As you know, in Section 257 of the Communications Act, Congress requires the Commission to
submit triennial reports “identifying and eliminating…market entry barriers for entrepreneurs
and other small businesses….” The Commission submitted the required reports for 1997, 2000,
2003, and (several months late) 2006, but the Commission has not yet submitted its 2009 Report.
From your eloquent letter of January 5, 2010 to Henry Rivera, Chair of the Advisory Committee
on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age, we know that you share our concern for the
fact that minority ownership and employment in our industries are de minimis and in many
respects nearing extinction. Minority television ownership has decreased by 50% since 1999.
Minority radio ownership has declined by 9% just within the last three years. Minority wireless
and cable system ownership levels are near zero. Finally, minority radio journalism employment
has plummeted to less than 1%, a level not seen since 1950.
 
It is therefore unfortunate that, in 2009, the Commission failed to vote on any of the dozens of
pending proposals to advance minority ownership and participation in the industries the
Commission regulates, including proposals endorsed by the Advisory Committee on Diversity
for Communications in the Digital Age (http://www.fcc.gov/DiversityFAC/). The following
examples illustrate the Commission’s shortcomings in areas of concern to us. The FCC has
failed:
 
• To adopt any of the two dozen proposed noncontroversial initiatives that would give
minority businesses an opportunity to acquire FCC-licensed assets.
 
• To restore minimal enforcement of the broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
Rule, and to assign a compliance officer to the 2007 Advertising Nondiscrimination Rule
which, if it were enforced, could restore to minority broadcasters the approximately $200
million every year that they forego because of racial discrimination by advertisers.
 
• To hold a hearing on Arbitron’s “Portable People Meter” (PPM) audience measurement
technology.
 
• For the fifth straight year since Hurricane Katrina – to act on the Spanish Radio
Association/United Church of Christ/MMTC petition to provide for the multilingual
broadcasts of emergency information. The September 8,2009 “FCC Preparedness for
Major Public Emergencies” Report did not even mention this critical issue.
 
• To repeal the 2006 Designated Entity rules that have decimated minority wireless
ownership: of the $19 billion fair market value of licenses sold in Auction 73 last year,
minorities acquired $5 million, or less than three-hundredths of one percent of the total
value of those licenses.
 
• To include even a mention of minorities or minority business enterprises in the December
2009 National Broadband Plan Framework – ignoring the transcripts from four staff
workshops and two field hearings at which the witnesses focused on minority
cyberpreneurship.
 
• To support the only remaining federal initiative aimed at promoting minority and women
media and telecom ownership – the Telecommunications Development Fund. Nowhere
in the Commission’s 2009 legislative recommendations was support for this vital
initiative mentioned. In fact, on January 28, the Administration – without consulting with
diversity advocates – proposed a budget that would eliminate the Fund entirely. The
budget narrative suggested that a proposed loan program and, even more implausibly, the
USF are adequate substitutes for this equity fund for new entrants.
 
To advance the civil rights objectives of the agency and the administration, we would be glad to
assist the Commission with a comprehensive review of what can be done in 2010 to promote
minority ownership and equal employment in the telecommunications sector. We specifically
ask that you place on the agenda of the Commission’s April 2010 public Commission meeting a
Report and Order adopting several of the dozens of long-pending, fully briefed and virtually
unopposed proposals to advance media and telecom ownership diversity.
 
Sincerely,
 
Asian American Justice Center
Black College Communication Association
The Hispanic Institute
Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership
International Black Broadcasters Association
Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
League of United Latin American Citizens
Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters
National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals
National Association of Latino Independent Producers
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Black Coalition for Media Justice
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation-Black Women’s Roundtable
National Congress of Black Women, Inc.
National Council of La Raza
National Puerto Rican Coalition
National Urban League
Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Spanish Broadcasters Association
United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
UNITY: Journalists of Color
Hon. Julius Genachowski
cc: Senator Robert Menendez
Congressman Bobby L. Rush
Congressman Edolphus Towns
Congressman G.K. Butterfield
Delegate Donna M. Christensen
Hon. Michael J. Copps, Commissioner, FCC
Hon. Robert McDowell, Commissioner, FCC
Hon. Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, FCC
Hon. Meredith Attwell Baker, Commissioner, FCC
Hon. Calvin Smyre, President, National Black Caucus of State Legislators
Hon. Iris Martinez, President, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators
Hon. Robin Read, President, National Foundation of Women Legislators
Hon. Sharon Weston-Broome, President, National Organization of Black Elected
Legislative Women
Hon. Robert Steele, President, National Association of Black County Officials
Hon. Sergio Rodriguez, President, Hispanic Elected Local Officials
Hon. Samuel Audwin, President, National Black Caucus of Local Elected Official
Hon. George Grace, President, National Conference of Black Mayors
ccs to FCC Dockets:
GN 09-51 (National Broadband Plan)
MB 09-817 (Portable People Meter)
MB 07-294 (Broadcast Diversity)
EB 06-119 (Hurricane Katrina Independent Panel)
WT 05-211 (Designated Entities)
EB 04-296 (Emergency Alert System)
MM 98-204 (Broadcast EEO
RM-11565 (MMTC Radio Rescue Petition)
The contact person for this letter is David Honig, President and Executive Director, Minority
Media and Telecommunications Council, 3636 16th St. N.W., #B-366, Washington, DC 20010,
(202) 332-7005 and dhonig@crosslink.net.


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