MMTC Says FCC Fees Can Be Barrier to Broadcast Diversity - Broadcasting & Cable

MMTC Says FCC Fees Can Be Barrier to Broadcast Diversity

Asks Commission to waive, delay them for eligible entities
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The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has told
the FCC that if it wants to promote diversity, one way would be waiving or
deferring regulatory and application fees, which it sees as yet another barrier
to minority entry into the broadcast market.

In comments on an
FCC proposal to update those fees,
which would raise them substantially in
some cases, MMTC pointed out that the FCC's own diversity committee endorsed
the regulatory fee break for some broadcasters and the application fee waiver
for small businesses and nonprofits.

It also said that the FCC's snail's pace on new
diversity-promoting policies, combined with the absence of a tax certificate
policy to encourage investment in diversity, is already accelerating the
decline of minority ownership.

"Under these conditions, requiring small broadcasters
to pay sizable regulatory fees can pose a threat to the viability of their
operations and impede the Commission's efforts to comply with congressional
directives to increase broadcast industry diversity," the group said.

MMTC wants the FCC to grant eligible entities a
"rebuttable presumption" that they should get waivers, reductions or
deferrals of commission fees, and should issues one-year waivers of application
fees, on a case-by-case basis, to small businesses and nonprofits.

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