Congressman says FCC doesn’t care about minority media ownership

A senior Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus says that that minority ownership of public airwaves is remarkably disproportionate to the population and minority ownership is continuing to fall behind.

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-IL, said he’s concerned by the lack of minority and female ownership of telecommunications properties and that the lack of such ownership is “particularly disturbing” given that spectrum is a public asset.

Congress, the FCC and the federal government “simply does not care” that minorities, women and black people do not participate in the ownership of public airwaves, Rush said.

Speaking to a Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund symposium on how to democratize the airwaves, the lawmaker said the lack of women and minority participation in broadcast, wireless and satellite companies is “downright shameful.”

Calling for the introduction of some new faces into spectrum ownership as the country gets closer to next year’s auction of airwaves in the 700MHz band, Rush said he had a proposed legislation that would ensure greater diversity. His bill would “provide for a deferral of tax on gain from the sale of telecommunications businesses in specific circumstances, or a tax credit and other incentives to promote diversity of ownership in telecommunications businesses.”