McDowell: The Color Green

Wants to foster minority ownership that can be legally sustained

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell told a RainbowPUSH audience in Washington Friday that the key to minority ownership is, well, ownership.

Addressing the group's Media & Telecommunications Symposium, McDowell said that he wanted to foster minority ownership that can be legally sustained--like a minority tax certificate program--and that will "first do no harm," but he also said it was not primarily an issue of color, at least not political hues or skin color.

"To boil it down," he said, "if you want to own something, somehow you have to find the money to buy or build it. This isn’t a matter of 'blue' America versus 'red' America. It’s not about focusing on the differences among black, white or brown America. Instead, we should focus on the color that can unify us all, the color that can empower small entrepreneurs to change a dream into a reality. And that color is the color green."

McDowell said he is concerned that some localism proposals might violate that "first do no harm" credo. They include proposing to reinstate the rule that stations be staffed throughout the day even though remote operation is possible. He said that could be a burden on samller stations, and had heard as much from one African American station owner.

He said he was concerned about other localism proposals, including what he called an overly complex disclosure form. McDowell said he feared that the proposals "would have a disproportional negative effect on minority broadcasters and other small licensees because of their size and limited capital."