Rep. Butterfield Introduces Bill to Support Minority Station Ownership

WASHINGTON—A new bill has been introduced in Congress that looks to support the growth of minority broadcast station owners through a pair of FCC programs. The Expanding Broadcast Opportunities Act of 2019 was introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and would reestablish the Minority Tax Certificate Program from the FCC and expand the commission’s incubator program to encourage investment in minority and women owned broadcast stations.

“Media outlets play a critical role in the messaging and perspectives that are voiced and revealed; and ownership of media broadcast stations should be just as diverse as our nation,” said Butterfield. “Women and racial minorities deserve more than a seat at the table, they deserve equal access to leadership and key decision-making positions in the media, including broadcast station ownership.”

Butterfield points out that the number of minority-owned broadcast stations in the U.S. has never been higher than 3.1%. A reestablished Minority Tax Certificate Program could assist with this, Butterfirled argues, by providing broadcast station owners a tax incentive for selling to women or racial minorities.

FCC Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith and Jim Winston, president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters shared their support for the proposed bill.

“NABOB has been seeking restoration of the tax certificate program ever since it was eliminated by Congress,” said Winston. “The tax certificate helped significantly increase minority broadcast station ownership from 1978 to 1995. We are very grateful to Congressman Butterfield for taking the first step toward its restoration. We look forward to working with him, other members of Congress and other industry organizations to obtain passage of this very important legislation.”