Civil Rights Groups Push FCC to Investigate Lack of Minority Media Ownership

The percentage of people of color is on the rise, but not in the corporate suite

The percentage of women and people of color running television and radio companies is falling, despite the rise in minority populations, and civil rights groups want the Federal Communications Commission to do something about it. 

In a letter to Julius Genachowski, The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of various rights groups, asks  the FCC chairman to review how ownership rules are impacting opportunities for minorities to rise up the corporate ladder. 

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The letter hits as the commission is revving up for its quadrennial review of ownership regulations. It is signed by a number of prominent organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, and National Urban League. 

"The civil rights community has long regarded the expansion of minority and female ownership in media as an important goal because of the powerful role the media plays in the democratic process, as well as in shaping perceptions about who we are as individuals and as a nation," the letter reads. 

Despite the rise in these various populations, the groups say that the commission has "no meaningful policies" to address racial and gender inequities in media ownership.

To bolster their case that things need to change, the groups cite research that shows, while Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans make up one third of the U.S. population, they own only 7.2 percent of all radio and TV stations.

Women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, yet own less than 6 percent of full-power commercial radio and TV stations, the group also states. 

"As media consolidation grows, people of color and women become less significant players in the media ecosystem," the letter reads. "The Commission must acknowledge that fact and take action to remedy it."