MMTC Rips FCC On EEO
May 27, 2008 at 12:32 PM (PT)
The MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL's comments in the FCC's docket on changes to the EEO forms doesn't take issue with the proposed modifications but cites recent, widely-publicized industry studies that show trouble with minority and female hiring and ownership in ripping the Commission's track record on EEO enforcement.
The comments cite the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA study showing that minority group members have a harder time getting jobs in the news industry, the RTNDA's study showing minority employment in newsrooms falling for both TV and radio, and the RADIO MIW study showing small increases in female GMs and Sales Managers but a decline in female PDs in radio between 2001 and 2007. The MMTC takes special aim at the numbers from the RTNDA study, calculating that at non-minority-owned English-language radio stations, minority ownership stands at the same level as in 1950, statistically zero. The comments explain that decline by noting that "most recruitment is still done by word of mouth. When the group of employees conducting word of mouth recruitment is homogeneous, the recruitment primarily reaches these employees' generally homogeneous family and social affinity groups. As a result, the homogeneity of employment rosters will increase."
The comments are sharply critical of FCC enforcement, which the MMTC terms "a tiny shell of its former self." "Because the Commission has chosen not to collect Form 395 data," says the MMTC, "it has blinded itself to whether word of mouth recruitment by a particular licensee is harmless or harmful. As a result, the Commission has 'enforced' the EEO rule by imposing enormous fines on some of the nation’s most diverse multicultural broadcasters for technical violations.40 This understandably has bred cynicism among broadcasters, who are barred from pointing out the obvious fact that with a diverse workplace, their recruitment efforts have obviously been successful. At the same time – as shown above – the Commission has given a free pass to virtually every discriminator and serial violator. In a particularly deplorable example, the Commission botched its only large MVPD EEO case in 15 years by missing its own statute of limitations by two years.
"Thus, the Commission’s current EEO enforcement program is a stunning failure. The Commission has presided over the greatest purge of minorities in broadcasting history – a purge made even worse because it happened in radio journalism, a linchpin of program diversity."
Read the comments by clicking here.