New Bill Aims to Boost Diversity and Black Broadcast Station Ownership

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A freshly introduced bill could make more African Americans TV and radio stations owners in the U.S.

G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is sponsoring the Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act of 2017. The bill would bolster ownership prospects for people of color and women in the broadcasting space, by intensifying data and reporting rules at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The legislation calls for rekindling a tax certificate program, providing existing broadcast owners a tax incentive if they sell stations to minority owners.

Butterfield’s office claims 287 certificates for radio stations and 40 certificates for TV stations were granted by the FCC over 17 years when a minority tax certificate program existed, between 1978 and 1995. Congress eliminated the program in 1995, but Butterfield is urging lawmakers to revive it.

Furthermore, Butterfield’s bill requests that the FCC develop a pilot incubator program that would include providing existing licensees to assist new minority or women owners of broadcasting stations.

Butterfield added the bill, which empowers the FCC to assist historically disadvantaged groups, is an important step forward, encouraging new entrants into the broadcast industry.

The stakes are high, with the nation’s TV and radio stations amassing nearly $70 …read more      

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