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Offering “more complete, reliable, and accurate data,” FCC report shows a decline in minority station owners. With growth in number of stations, representative coverage a growing gap to fill.

Report on Ownership of Commercial Broadcast Stations

The Federal Communications Commission just released its report on the ownership of commercial broadcast stations which reveals that as of 2011, whites own 69.4% of the nation’s 1,348 television stations. That’s up from 63.4% in 2009, when there were 1,187 stations.

While white ownership increased, most minority ownership decreased. Blacks went from owning 1% of all commercial TV stations in 2009 to just 0.7% in 2011. Asian ownership slipped from 0.8% in 2009 to 0.5% last year. Latino ownership increased slightly from 2.5% to 2.9%.

Females owned 6.8% of all commercial TV stations in 2011, compared to 5.6% in 2009.

It is a similar story in radio. Whites own almost 80% of all AM and FM radio stations, with more than 70% being owned by men.” Source: The Los Angeles Times

1. In 2009, the Federal Communications Commission revised its biennial commercial broadcast ownership report, FCC Form 323, to obtain more complete, reliable, and accurate data on racial and ethnic minority and female broadcast ownership – data that would provide a statistically valid and ultimately searchable and aggregable compilation of broadcast ownership information. As a result of these changes, the Commission now requires full power commercial television and radio broadcast stations and low power and Class A television stations, including any of these stations owned by sole proprietorships and partnerships of natural persons, to file a biennial ownership report using the same “as of” date (October 1) for reported data during each filing cycle.

A station’s report must identify all of its attributable interest holders. The revised Form 323 also requires all attributable interest holders to obtain and provide FCC registration numbers (FRNs) to facilitate the tracking and cross-referencing of reported ownership interests. Under prior biennial filing requirements, low power and Class A stations were exempt, as were sole proprietorships and partnerships comprised solely of natural persons. Moreover, under the Commission’s prior ownership reporting requirements, the “as of” filing date for the reports was keyed to the renewal anniversary date of the filing station, which varies from station to station depending upon each facility’s location. And only licensees were required to obtain and provide FRNs. These factors made valid trend analysis of ownership patterns based on gender, ethnicity, and race virtually impossible.

2. The Commission’s first data collection using the revised Form 323 reflects attributable ownership interests as of November 1, 2009. The second data collection reflects attributable ownership interests as of October 1, 2011. These data represent the first two snapshots of broadcast ownership in a series of planned biennial data collections that, taken together, should provide a reliable basis for analyzing ownership trends in the industry, including ownership by racial and ethnic minorities and women.” Source: Federal Communications Commission

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