FCC introduces procedures, oversight to eliminate 'no urban dictates'

The Federal Communications Commission has released an Enforcement Advisory to alert commercial television and radio broadcasters to an important new requirement. Each outlet must certify that their advertising sales contracts contain nondiscrimination clauses and do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

A new Form 303-S, used for broadcast license renewals, announced by the Media Bureau last week, is aimed at advertising contracts that contain "no urban/no Spanish" dictates. It seeks to end the practice by which advertisers and their agencies intentionally by-pass urban and Latino stations, supposedly because the client has dictated that its ads not be placed with those outlets. Commercial broadcasters must complete the certification in order to renew their broadcast licenses.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "It should be clear from today's advisory that the Commission will vigorously enforce its rules against discrimination in advertising sales contracts. As the Commission stated in its order adopting the rule, discrimination simply has no place in broadcasting."

The Enforcement Advisory also designates Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, Michele Ellison, to respond to inquiries from the public and licensees. "The advisory puts everyone on notice that the Commission has no tolerance for this type of insidious discrimination, said Ellison, "We will work in close collaboration with the Media Bureau to give this new requirement meaning."

Urban radio executives and advocates praised the FCC on its latest actions. "NABOB applauds the FCC for adopting a strong enforcement program to implement its policy against racial discrimination in advertising," stated Jim Winston, NABOB Executive Director. "By designating key enforcement officers, the FCC has given a clear message to the industry that it is taking serious measures to enforce the policy. NABOB looks forward to working with Chairman Genachowski and the FCC to make the enforcement system work."

"'No Urban' and 'no Spanish' dictates drain away an estimated $200 million a year from minority broadcasters," said David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. "By enforcing the Advertising Nondiscrimination Rule and eradicating these discriminatory practices, the FCC will help minority stations garner a 5-to-10- percent increase in revenue. Today's announcement is a huge step forward for minority broadcasters and for the nation."

"The FCC's announcement is a huge development to rid the industry of 'no Urban, no Hispanic dictates,' said Sherman Kizart, Managing Director of Kizart Media Partners "The FCC's movement in this area by devoting specific staffers to help eliminate NUDS brings a much needed internal resource to help address this problem."

For additional information regarding compliance and enforcement of the nondiscrimination certification requirement, contact Amelia Brown of the Enforcement Bureau at 202-418-2799 or at
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