(November 2, 2009) A study by Professor Catherine Sandoval of the Santa Clara University School of Law — partnering with SCU School of Law Professor Allen Hammond and Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Exec. Director David Honig — found that minority radio ownership has remained virtually flat over the past two years: A 2007 Free Press report found that 812, or 7.76 percent, of 10,506 licensed commercial stations were minority-owned, while the new report, as of mid-2009, found that 815, or 7.24 percent, of 11,249 stations were minority-owned.
The new study looked at records from the FCC’s Consolidated Database System and at Internet sources on ownership and formats to analyze the effect of FCC policies on minority ownership, program diversification, and public service.
The study found that 324 different minority owners control the 815 full-power stations, with 139 of those Hispanic and 129 African American. Sixty-one percent of those owners own a single station. About three-quarters of the minority-owned stations air minority-oriented formats — a Spanish format, Urban, Urban News, Asian, Ethnic, or minotiry-targeted religious formats such as Gospel or Spanish Christian.
The study found that 53 percent of minority owners received their first license before the Telecommunications Act of 1996, at a time when race was taken into account by the FCC in its efforts to promote diverse radio service.
The study recommends that the FCC consider the findings in the 2010 review of the broadcast ownership rules and the auction rules used to assign broadcast construction permits. Other recommendations are that the FCC use the findings to improve its databases “to enhance the ability to analyze these trends over time and among a wide range of broadcasters” and to analyze the effect of consolidation and licensing policies on broadcast entry by minorities. The study also recommends that the FCC conduct additional studies based on the findings