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Comm. Pai Releases Results of Broadcast Ownership Diversity Research

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Released: March 20, 2014

NEWS
Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: (202) 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: (888) 835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC

, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT

:
March 20, 2014
Matthew Berry (202) 418-2005
Email: Matthew.Berry@fcc.gov

OFFICE OF FCC COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

RELEASES RESULTS OF BROADCAST OWNERSHIP DIVERSITY RESEARCH

Concludes Joint Sales Agreements Disproportionately Benefit Women and African-Americans
On March 31, the FCC is scheduled to vote on a proposal to restrict television broadcasters’ use
of joint sales agreements (JSAs). But the Commission currently doesn’t have the basic facts about JSAs.
For example, last week the Office of Commissioner Ajit Pai (Office) asked how many JSAs there are in
the United States among television stations and how many television stations owned by women and
minorities participate in JSAs. Today, we still don’t have the answers to either of these fundamental
questions.
To partially fill this gap, the Office investigated whether there is a link between joint sales
agreements and ownership diversity. Using publicly available sources, we estimate that:
 43% of female-owned full-power commercial television stations currently are parties to JSAs.
 75% of

African-American-owned

full-power commercial television stations currently are
parties to JSAs.
“These findings raise serious questions,” Commissioner Pai said. “Why is the FCC targeting
pro-competitive sharing arrangements that appear to disproportionately benefit female and African-
American broadcasters? If the Commission forces broadcasters to terminate JSAs, how will that affect
diversity? Why is the FCC rushing to a vote rather than taking the time to gather basic facts and study the
effect of its proposal on ownership diversity? The Commission should not accelerate the troubling trend
of declining minority ownership.”
Because the FCC has not systematically collected data on joint sales agreements, the statistics set
forth above are estimates. Commissioner Pai commented, “Before we vote to restrict the use of JSAs, the
Commission should conduct a formal study to evaluate whether these figures are accurate and how any
action on our part would impact diversity in broadcast ownership. Last year, we delayed a vote on
changing our newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule so that a study of the proposal’s impact on
minority ownership could be completed. The current proposal regarding JSAs should be held to the same
standard.”

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