FCC Vote To Eliminate EEO Mid-Term Report Denies Responsibility To Encourage Diversity in Broadcast Industry

Today, the FCC voted on a Report and Order to eliminate the Broadcast Mid-Term Report, which requires broadcast stations to provide information related to their equal employment opportunity (EEO) practices. Despite requesting comment on the agency’s track record on EEO enforcement,  the Report and Order fails to consider recommendations provided by Common Cause and its allies on how the agency can make improvements to EEO compliance and enforcement. Rather, the item punts these questions to a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  The Report and Order also fails to address the agency’s failure to collect industry-wide broadcast employment data, an ongoing problem that the Commission has ignored for more than 15 years.

Statement of Michael Copps, Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Advisor

“This is a crude and cruel denial of the Commission’s responsibility to encourage diversity in broadcast industry employment.  The FCC is statutorily mandated to conduct mid-term reviews of broadcast licensees’ EEO compliance. Rather than fulfill its mandate, the Commission eliminates the reporting requirement without replacing it with a transparent function to improve the usability of EEO data that broadcasters submit on their online public files.

More importantly, this is not just another in the long litany of the Pai majority’s vacuous deregulation when it comes to the broadcast industry. Since 2004, the FCC has failed to collect industry-wide broadcast employment data as required by law. Data collection is critical to the agency’s obligation to ensure broadcasters engage in nondiscriminatory hiring practices and for the Commission to track the impact of its EEO policies. Workforce diversity is incredibly important in making sure all voices are heard and broadcasters adequately represent the communities they serve. Unfortunately, today’s decision completely ignores the FCC’s failure to collect employment data but instead chooses to further deregulate its existing EEO rules.”

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