Today, a group of 46 signees sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski urging the Commission to make diversity a central focus of its upcoming Quadrennial Media Ownership Rule Review.
The letter calls for the FCC to:
1. Evaluate the impact of its media ownership rules on ownership opportunities for women and people of color.
2. Take proactive measures to promote ownership of broadcast stations by underrepresented groups.
3. Guard against further erosion of media ownership among these groups by maintaining existing media ownership limits.
Our media system best serves the public interest when it draws on the diverse backgrounds, perspectives and talents of the population. Unfortunately, ownership of the nation’s media outlets consistently fails to reflect this diversity, as women and people of color historically have been grossly underrepresented in ownership of radio and television stations. Radio and TV rank as our nation’s most popular and influential outlets; they should also rank as reflective of the diverse makeup of our national community. While women comprise over 51 percent of the population they hold only 6 percent of radio and TV station licenses. And while people of color make up over 36 percent of the U.S. population, they hold just over 7 percent of radio licenses and 3 percent of TV licenses.
Diversity in ownership is crucial for a vibrant and effective media space. We wrote about the importance of minority and female ownership on low power FM and AM stations back in October; ownership diversity, which generally coincides with greater diversity in programming, is crucial to maintain in an already consolidated radio space. Read the full letter here.
FMC’s comprehensive 2006 report False Premises, False Promises: A Quantitative History of Ownership Consolidation in the Radio Industry
FMC’s fact sheet on Media Ownership
The FCC Media Ownership page lists the current media ownership rules that are revisited every four years
FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps on media ownership and consolidation at the 2011 Future of Music Policy Summit