FCC seeks minority recruitment review

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The FCC Friday asked the Federal court of appeals in Washington to rehear a Jan 16 decision throwing out the agency's minority recruitment rules for broadcasters and cable companies.

The FCC said the court should reverse its order to throw out both of the two-options given to broadcasters, even though the judges found only one part unconstitutional. Under the first option, to which the court had no objection, stations would have been required to provide job notices to any organization requesting them. Most stations also would have been required to choose four of 13 recruitment initiatives such as job fairs, scholarships and training programs. Under the second option, which the court found to be a defacto, unconstitutional quota, stations could have designed their own recruitment programs.

But to ensure their efforts were demographically broad, would have had to collect data on applicants' race and gender. If the FCC was unhappy with the number of minority and women applicants generated by a station's outreach, the agency reserved the right to review and order changes to a its employment recruiting program. The FCC said it disagreed with the court's finding that the second option was illegal, but decided to leave appeal of that part of the decision to civil rights groups.

FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, however, said the agency should have appealed the entire court decision.
- Bill McConnell

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