Editorial: Heal Thyself

TV station climate not appealing to potential African American entrepreneurs
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We wanted to deal separately with the issue of diversity. The fact that there are only four African-American-owned TV stations in the U.S. is abysmal.

It’s not that there aren’t African-American media entrepreneurs, but they tend to gravitate toward cable networks—Oprah Winfrey, Bob Johnson—that don’t have the content and ownership limits placed on broadcasters by the FCC. With the commission’s unwillingness to allow broadcasters more scale, and its efforts to convince them that having less spectrum to compete in the new spectrum-driven future is somehow a good thing, why is anyone surprised that African-Americans aren’t rushing to place their initial media bets on broadcasting?

Even the ones that are doing so via digital multicast programming nets, rather than station ownership, might be threatened by an FCC auction that could see their smaller, urban stations— some of the most likely spectrum auction targets—wooed out from under them.

The FCC does indeed need to find out how best to promote diverse ownership, but a search for “why” should include a long look in the mirror.

We wanted to deal separately with the issue of diversity. The fact that there are only four African-American-owned TV stations in the U.S. is abysmal.

It’s not that there aren’t African-American media entrepreneurs, but they tend to gravitate toward cable networks—Oprah Winfrey, Bob Johnson—that don’t have the content and ownership limits placed on broadcasters by the FCC. With the commission’s unwillingness to allow broadcasters more scale, and its efforts to convince them that having less spectrum to compete in the new spectrum-driven future is somehow a good thing, why is anyone surprised that African-Americans aren’t rushing to place their initial media bets on broadcasting?

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