November 29, 2015

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FCC Issues EEO Notices

WASHINGTON -- December 30, 2008: The FCC is closing out the year with a flurry of notices of apparent liability to radio and TV broadcasters for alleged EEO violations.

Cumulus received a $14,000 NAL related to the stations in its Macon, GA, cluster. The FCC says Cumulus failed to comply with the FCC's record-keeping requirements and its EEO rules on information on recruitment sources, interviewees, EEO initiatives, self-assessment, and the public file. The stations were audited at random in back 2006, and this NAL springs from that audit.

Dickey Broadcasting received an NAL for $7,000 for alleged violations at WCNN-AM/Atlanta and WFOM-AM/Marietta, GA; and Urban Radio was sent an NAL for $8,000 for alleged EEO violations at WLIB-AM and WBLS-FM/New York. With WLIB's NAL came a grant of its application for renewal.

Also hit with NALs related to EEO rules: Fox Television Stations, which received an NAL for $20,000 for alleged EEO violations at its Washington, DC, stations; W.S. Communications, which received a $14,000 NAL related to two Colorado radio stations, and Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting, which received an $8,000 NAL for its TV and radio stations.

All the companies have 30 days to either pay or file a statement asking for reduction or cancellation of the forfeitures.

Along with all the notices came a joint statement from Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, who say enforcement of the EEO rules "is one of the principal ways we strive to promote employment diversity and opportunities in the communications industry."

They say that in recent years, enforcement has been "inconsistent" and that "as one consequence, employment in broadcasting does not reflect America." The commissioners note that the number of FCC decisions and forfeitures in EEO cases has dropped and say, "Lax EEO enforcement has yielded less diversity in employment."

Adelstein and Copps say other "more proactive" steps should be considered, including compiling and releasing Form 395 data, and conclude, "Having a communications industry that reflects our nation's diversity could best serve a wide range of consumer and societal interests. It is not only a legal obligation, it is also the right thing to do."

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