The National crisis in minority media ownership

by Rep. Hilda Solis, Stop Big Media

The state of minority media ownership in America is in crisis. According to a study by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group Free Press, people of color own just three percent of all local TV stations and eight percent of all local radio stations, even though they make up 35 percent of the U.S. population. In another study, we find that women comprise 51 percent of the entire U.S. population, but only own approximately five percent of all full power broadcast stations. These numbers are shamefully low.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Chairman Kevin Martin has simply failed in recent years to address the enormous disparity in minority ownership, including women. Their historic neglect is simply unacceptable and cannot be allowed continue. The FCC must not allow new media ownership rules to move forward and further potential consolidation to occur without first addressing minority ownership issues.

For this reason, I recently sent a letter to Chairman Martin in strong support of a proposal by Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein to create an independent task force to examine proposals to increase minority ownership. Furthermore, I requested that the FCC forgo any new media ownership regulations until the work of the task force is completed and the FCC adopts its recommendations.

Given the incredibly low levels of minority ownership in the United States, it is obvious that the FCC needs to establish a Minority Ownership Task Force immediately. Until that happens, it is entirely irresponsible for the FCC to move forward with any plans to draft new ownership regulations.

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