Federal Communications Commission members late last week were mulling whether
to keep alive prospects for new annual employment reports that would require
broadcasters and cable systems to report demographic hiring data.
The debate is part of the FCC's effort to rewrite minority- and
gender-recruiting rules scheduled to be approved Nov. 7. The rules will require
broad outreach programs to solicit job applicants.
Fearing that the demographic employment data could subject stations to
discrimination complaints, the state broadcast associations want the FCC to
reject the idea now. Minority advocates want the FCC to hold off pending a new
round of public comment on their constitutionality.
Potential for FCC abuse of demographic data led judges to strike down two
previous incarnations of recruiting rules.