Kim Makuch
Date Issued: 
January 13, 2023

OEA Working Paper 54

Abstract: This study examines the ownership of commercial full-power television stations. It finds that since 2013, there has been a decrease in the number of female-, Asian-, and American Indian/Alaska Native-owned stations and an increase in Black/African-American- and Hispanic/Latino-owned stations. Further, as of 2019, most TV households did not have access to stations identified as majority-owned by women or people of color. Less than 20% of TV households resided in a market with a female-owned station, just over 5% of TV households resided in a market with a Black/African-American-owned station, about 7% of TV households resided in a market with an Asian-owned station, and about 25% of TV households resided in a market with a Hispanic/Latino-owned station.

The paper also finds that stations owned by women were more likely to be affiliated with the major broadcast networks than stations owned by men. Stations owned by racial minorities and Hispanic/Latino individuals, however, were less likely to be affiliated with the major broadcast networks than stations owned by white individuals and not Hispanic/Latino individuals, respectively. Further, women, racial minorities, and Hispanic/Latino individuals owned major network-affiliated stations in smaller markets compared to men, white individuals, and not Hispanic/Latino individuals, respectively. In addition, stations owned by women, racial minorities, and Hispanic/Latino individuals earned less advertising revenue, on average, compared to stations owned by men, white individuals, and not Hispanic/Latino individuals. However, once network affiliation, market size, and other station characteristics are taken into account, there is no effect of gender, race, or ethnicity on advertising revenue.

Women, racial minorities, and Hispanic/Latino individuals owned smaller station groups, on average, than men, white individuals, and not Hispanic/Latino individuals, respectively. Entities with no majority interest in gender, race, or ethnicity owned by far the largest station groups, on average. Most stations classified as having no majority interest in gender, race, or ethnicity had very little attributable voting share at all, making it impossible to ascribe majority ownership to an individual or group of individuals in any single gender, racial, or ethnic group.