Diversity Still Lacking In Media Ownership
November 15, 2012

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an assessment of female and minority ownership of commercial broadcast radio and television stations, and the data shows that diversity is still lacking in the marketplace. The FCC's numbers show that as of 2011, whites own almost 80 percent of all AM and FM radio stations, with more than 70 percent being owned by men. Women own just under 7 percent of all full-power commercial radio and television stations, while racial and ethnic minorities control only 5 percent of these TV stations and 8 percent of radio stations. More specifically, African-Americans went from owning 1 percent of all commercial TV stations in 2009 to just 0.7 percent in 2011. Asian ownership slipped from 0.8 percent in 2009 to 0.5 percent last year. Latino ownership increased slightly from 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent. Females owned 6.8 percent of all commercial TV stations in 2011, compared to 5.6 percent in 2009.

Media watchdog group Free Press said in a statement that "ownership of broadcast radio and television stations by women and minorities remains at abysmally low levels." Furthermore, with the FCC considering further deregulation of its media ownership rules, many fear it could lead to even less diversity of ownership.

It's baffling that the FCC is ignoring the court's instructions and rushing to further water down its cross-ownership rule without fully evaluating the impacts of doing so on female and minority ownership," stated Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron. "Providing a count of who owns what is the first step, but the FCC should not proceed with its proposed rule changes without answering those questions. Past research shows these communities are the ones that are harmed most by further consolidation, particularly the proposal the FCC is poised to adopt."

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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