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Enforcement Bureau advises broadcasters of nondiscriminatory ad contract requirement

The FCC Enforcement Bureau advised TV and radio broadcasters last week of a new requirement to certify that their advertising sales contracts contain nondiscrimination clauses and don’t discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

According to an advisory released March 22 by the Enforcement Bureau, commercial broadcasters must certify compliance with the new requirement on a new license renewal form, FCC Form 303-S, to renew their broadcast licenses.

The new requirement is aimed at advertising contracts with “no urban/no Spanish” dictates, by which advertisers and their agencies intentionally bypass urban and Latino stations, the announcement said.

If stations can’t certify that their advertising agreements do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, they are required to explain why the discrimination should not impede their license renewal applications, the bureau said. The commission will consider the response and explanation in determining whether to renew the license.

“The advisory puts everyone on notice that the commission has no tolerance for this type of insidious discrimination,” said Michele Ellison, chief of the Enforcement Bureau in a press statement.