MMTC Takes FCC To Task On Slow Progress On Minority Issues
February 23, 2011 at 7:06 AM (PT)
The MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL sent a letter to FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI YESTERDAY (2/22), complaining about the "slow progress on minority entrepreneurship and equal employment issues."
The letter, titled "The FCC's Civil Rights Record, Overdue Section 257 Triennial Report to
Congress, and 2011 Budget," was a followup by 23 national organizations which wrote the FCC a year ago about the matter.
The MMTC noted, "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."
The MMTC touched on several other "shortcomings" with the FCC's agenda, and concluded in regards to the recently released budget, "the only two FCC offices with substantive responsibilities whose funding was cut in the 2011 Budget were the two offices focusing on minority issues: the Office of Workplace Diversity (cut 8%) and the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO - cut 12%). These offices are already vastly underfunded relative to need. The Workplace Diversity Office should be focused on why there are almost no minority SES or high GS employees on the 8th floor or in some of the Bureaus (including even the Media Bureau). And OCBO, with its current low staffing, has been unable to get a single minority ownership proposal on the agenda for a Commission vote in a year."