WASHINGTON D.C.—State broadcast associations representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have sent a letter to Congressional leadership in the House of Representatives and the Senate in support of legislation that would reinstate the tax certificate program to encourage investment in TV and radio broadcast stations by women and people of color.
The National Association of Broadcasters has previously announced support for H.R.4871, the Expanding Broadcast Opportunities Act of 2021 introduced by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) and Steven Horsford (D-NV-4), and S.2456, the Broadcast VOICES Act introduced by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
The bills would authorize the Federal Communications Commission to reestablish a Diversity Tax Certificate Program, which would provide a tax incentive to those who sold their majority interest in a radio or television station to underrepresented broadcasters.
“From 1978 to 1995, the Minority Tax Certificate program established at the FCC provided a tax incentive to individuals who sold their majority interest in a broadcast station to people of color,” the letter said. “During that time frame, TV and radio broadcast station ownership by people of color increased by more 550 percent. Fast forward to 2021, diverse ownership in our industry has drastically changed not due to lack of effort or interest, but due to lack of access to capital. Currently, women make up less than 6 percent of broadcast TV station owners and people of color make up less than 3 percent. When it comes to broadcast radio station owners, women make up around 7 percent of owners and people of color make up less than 3 percent.”
To help rectify those disparities, the broadcast associations argued that the “tax certificate program will help us build a local media landscape that reflects our communities on the air, both in the control booth and boardroom. Additionally, the Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act of 2021 and the Broadcast VOICES Act will help with building a pipeline for a new generation of broadcast station owners that is inclusive of women, people of color and other underrepresented individuals. We therefore urge Congress to act swiftly and pass H.R. 4871 and S. 2456 to make sure that all voices are accurately represented in the broadcasting industry.”
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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