The National Coalition of African American Owned Media
(NCAAOM) branded the FCC "incompetent and unfair" for not filing its
triennial report on eliminating market entry barriers to small businesses
before it vetted the Comcast/NBCU merger proposal.
That complaint came in a press release issued late
Thursday as the FCC commissioners vet the FCC transition team's conditional
approval of the $30 billion deal.
"FCC Chairman Genachowski's shameful disregard to [sic]
fulfill the statutory mandate of the Communications Act is utterly appalling
and frustrating on many fronts, especially in light of
Chairman Genachowski's recent submission of the Comcast-NBCU merger order
to the FCC Commissioners prior to filing the overdue Triennial Report to
Congress," said NCAAOM President Stanley E. Washington.
"The FCC had sufficient time to produce the report and
their flagrant disregard of their critical obligations to the law is no longer
tolerable," said Washington.
While Comcast has signed memoranda of understanding
with various minority advocacy groups, including promising to add 10
minority-controlled channels to its programming lineup over the next eight
years, NCAAOM says that is far from enough.
NCAAOM has been a long-standing critic of the deal
whose "About Us" section on its Web site identifies only two individuals,
Washington and former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a partner at law firm Patton
Boggs who has represented a number of opponents of the deal. It has threatened
to boycott Comcast if it did not add 50 channels 100% owned by minorities.
Martin himself caught flak for reports that did not get issued on time
when he was chairman, notable among them its 2006 cable competition report,
which wasn't issued until early 2009.
NCAAOM is also a member of the Coalition for
Competition in Media, whose members include deal critics Bloomberg (another
Martin client), Media Access Project, Common Cause, and Wealth TV, among
Among its promised diversity initiatives, Comcast has also
said it would expand its distribution of African American VOD content,
commit $20 million to a capital fund to help minority entrepreneurs and to
using "commercially reasonable efforts" to provide "first
priority" to minority ownership groups if it decides to sell any TV
stations, cable systems or channels.
The FCC is widely expected to vote to approve the deal as early as next week,
with the Justice Department reportedly working closely with the commission on
coordinating their respective reviews.