MMTC To FCC: How About a Diversity Commissioner

Gives FCC lots to think about for its reform report

The Minority Media & Telecommunications Council has some reform proposals for the FCC it says can be done now, most of which would not only not cost anything but save the commission money while creating jobs and diversifying the industry.

Among those is to designate what would essentially be a Diversity Commissioner to focus on the issue, similar to the designated Defense Commissioner (who is the point person on emergency communications issues).

On his second day in the job, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler charged special counsel Diane Cornell with having an FCC process reform report on his desk by the end of this month, and sought input from outside as well.

MMTC had plenty of it. In a letter to Cornell Thursday, MMTC President David Honig provided a laundry list of ideas. He points out that MMTC made many of the same recommendations in 2009 when it sought structural reforms to help expand ownership diversity.

MMTC is focused on speeding FCC procedures, improving multistakeholder processes, and a more inclusive and transparent process, to advance minority and women-owned business engagement.

Those recommendations also include instituting shot clocks, streamlined reviews, limit extension of forbearance deadlines, include specific wording in notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), putting individual commissioners in charge of shepherding specific decisions, create a multistakeholder mediation process, create a Civil Rights section of the Enforcement Bureau, and issue a diversity impact statement for NPRMs and orders in major rulemakings.

"Our recommendations are intended to improve the openness, transparency, timeliness and diversity of the Commission, while providing organizations serving the underserved with a more defined procedural framework that will help advance minority inclusion and civil rights enforcement," Honig said.