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May 01

LISTA, MMTC and 48 National Organizations Write to the White House about FCC Nominations

diversityFifty national organizations sent a letter to the White House today urging the Obama Administration, when filling positions as chair and commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, to nominate candidates committed to promoting diversity and inclusion.
The representation of women and minorities in media and telecom ownership, procurement, and employment remains disproportionately low in industries overseen by the FCC. These industries collectively represent onesixth of our nation’s economy. The letter notes that “[m]inority and women’s participation in broadcast ownership are particularly at risk, as they continue to decline rapidly.” As the nation becomes increasingly diverse, the signators encourage our President to address these issues by nominating leaders “who will assign
the highest priority to racial and ethnic minority and women’s participation in the nation’s most influential
industries.”
The letter specifies methods of solving our nation’s historic racial and gender divide, pointing out that “a
coalition of 57 national organizations has on file with the FCC 71 proposals to advance MWBE [Minority and
Women Business Enterprises] entrepreneurship and procurement in media and telecom,” some of which have
been pending before the Commission for more than ten years. Although former FCC Commissioners Michael
Copps and Deborah Taylor Tate have encouraged the Commission to vote on these proposals, they remain
unaddressed.
The organizations have offered the Administration any assistance it needs “in delivering first class digital
citizenship to all Americans[.]”

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Letter to the President 

April 23, 2013
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The imminent departures of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and
Commissioner Robert McDowell present your administration with an opportunity to nominate candidates who will assign
the highest priority to racial and ethnic minority and women’s participation in the nation’s most influential industries. The
FCC needs leaders committed to reversing the extraordinarily low representation of minorities and women in media and
telecom ownership, procurement and employment.
Minority and women’s participation in broadcast ownership is particularly at risk, as they continue to decline rapidly. A
2009 study by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) found that minorities owned just 7% of the
nation’s 11,000 full power radio stations and 3% of the nation’s full power television stations. Last year, the Women’s
Media Center found that in 2011, women owned fewer than 7% of our nation’s radio stations and television stations.
Much could be done about this: a coalition of 57 national organizations has on file with the FCC 71 proposals to advance
MWBE entrepreneurship and procurement in media and telecom. Several of these proposals have been pending for more
than ten years, and a proposal for incubation of new radio entrants has been pending before the FCC in seven dockets for
23 years. Former Commissioners Michael Copps and Deborah Taylor Tate have encouraged the FCC to vote – up or
down – on the 71 proposals.
The employment market for minorities and women in communications is also rather bleak. A Radio and Television
Digital News Association (RTDNA) 2012 survey reports that minority and women employment in television and radio
management and journalism is static and underinclusive. In 2007, MMTC found that minority employment at nonminority
owned, English language radio news departments was statistically zero – about where it was in 1950. Yet FCC
EEO enforcement levels, measured in forfeitures and caseload, are but 2% of their levels during the Clinton
administration.

As you know, the Commission oversees industries constituting 1/6 of our economy, creating over 70% of new jobs, and
producing our greatest exports. In the next three years, FCC will be called upon to modernize our telephone systems,
rationalize our spectrum policy, and achieve your administration’s goals of universal broadband access, adoption and
informed use. As part of the unprecedented transformation of our economy from the industrial to the digital age, it is
imperative that the FCC has leaders firmly committed to delivering first class digital citizenship to all Americans,
including historically marginalized populations. We ask that you appoint such people. We are pleased to offer your
administration our assistance in achieving this objective.
Sincerely,
Fifty National Organizations:
Alliance for Community Media
Alliance for Women in Media
American Indians in Film and Television
Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies
Benton Foundation
Black College Communication Association
Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association
Black Leadership Forum, Inc.
Hispanic Elected Local Officials
International Black Broadcasters Association
Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association
2
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
League of United Latin American Citizens
MANA – A National Latina Organization
Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
NAACP
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
National Association of Black County Officials
National Association of Black Elected Legislative Women
National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals
National Association of Hispanic Publications
National Association of Latino Elected Officials
National Association of Latino Independent Producers
National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs
National Bar Association
National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials
National Black Caucus of State Legislators
National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.
National Black Chamber of Commerce
National Black Farmers Association
National Conference of Black Mayors
National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc.
National Congress of American Indians
National Congress of Black Women, Inc.
National Council of Negro Women
National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts
National Indian Telecommunications Institute
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
National Newspaper Publishers Association
National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce
National Puerto Rican Coalition
Native American Journalists Association
Organization of Chinese Americans
Public Knowledge
Rainbow PUSH Coalition
United Negro College Fund
UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, Inc.
Universal Impact
Vision Maker Media
Women’s Institute

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