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Dems Seek Federal Bailout for Minority-Owned Broadcasters

Could there be a federal broadcasting bailout for minority-owned stations?

High-ranking congressional Democrats are leading an effort to convince Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to extend credit to this segment of the broadcasting industry, whose members say they’ve been especially hard-hit by the poor economy.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina has joined with a dozen other House members for the cause. Clyburn is the father of Mignon Clyburn, who has been nominated by the Obama Administration for a slot on the FCC.

In a joint letter to Geithner, Clyburn, as well as representatives such as Barney Frank, D-Mass, Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y. and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ask Geithner to take action to restore credit flows to minority broadcasters until credit markets stabilize.

They suggest temporary bridge loans or government-backed financing, as well as other options. “Let us be clear: It is absolutely essential that we do not allow this once-in-a-generation financial crisis to erase the modest inroads minorities have made into the broadcast industry,” they write.

The representatives ask for a reply by June 5 and also ask that Treasury Department staff meet with representatives of minority-owned broadcast groups and from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.