FCC to Improve Its Collection of Data on Minority and Female Broadcast Ownership


On April 8, the Federal Communications Commission issued an Order and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNRPM) to improve its collection of data on minority and female broadcast ownership to be able to more accurately assess and effectively promote diversity of ownership in the broadcast industry. In its Order, the Commission adopted changes to reporting requirements on FCC Form 323, "Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Stations," which is currently filed by certain full power commercial AM, FM and television broadcasters to identify their organizational and ownership structures and to provide information on owners' race, ethnicity, and gender. In so doing, the Commission addressed and corrected deficiencies in its data-gathering methods that were identified by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, researchers, and commenters. Changes include: 1) Removing the filing exemptions currently applicable to full-power commercial stations owned by individuals or partnerships of natural persons. 2) Adding LPTV and Class A television stations to the class of stations required to file ownership information. 3) Broadening the scope of reportable interests to include not only all interests in the licensee that are attributable but also minority interests in a corporation with a single majority shareholder. 4) Setting a uniform biennial filing date for stations filing ownership information. The Order established November 1, 2009, as the first uniform filing date for all filers, and every two years thereafter. Data must be current as of October 1.

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