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Broadcasters Ask FCC to Allow Online-Only Recruiting

“Not one member can report having hired a candidate referred from a print ad in the past three years”

Why do broadcast stations still have to run print ads for job openings?

The time has come to update EEO rules to reflect today’s technological and employee recruitment landscape. So says a diverse consortium of broadcasters that filed comment with the Federal Communications Commission.

The group includes local and regional radio and TV broadcasters. It comprises 20 groups that hold about 220 commercial and noncommercial radio and TV station licenses including familiar names like Minnesota Public Radio, MBC Grand Broadcasting, New Hampshire Public Radio and Mount Wilson FM Broadcasting. Also signing on was the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. A full list appears at bottom.

The consortium — calling itself “Local and Regional Broadcasters” and represented by law firm Garvey Schubert Barer — responded to the FCC’s request last month for comments on a petition from two media companies, Sun Valley Radio Inc. and Canyon Media Corp. They’d asked the FCC to give broadcasters the opportunity to rely on Internet recruitment sources and on-air advertising when advertising employment positions to job seekers. (The set of comments we report on here are but one of several filed by broadcast entities about EEO; we’ll report on more tomorrow.)

The time has come, this group says, to update the rules to reflect businesses recruit employees in the real world. Although diverse in size and scope, the consortium said, these broadcasters “are united in support of the petition.” It emphasized that it is “committed to fostering diversity in broadcasting” and is not asking atop-to-bottom revision of the EEO rules. It calls its proposal a “minor change.”

The commission’s EEO rules are designed to prevent discrimination and attract diverse groups of people as employees to the broadcast industry. New vacancies must be disseminated widely, the rules state, including through advertisements placed in print publications. Placing ads for job openings only through Internet postings doesn’t comply with existing rules.

In 2002, the FCC stated that the Internet was not known as a principal resource for job seekers. But in 2017, Americans consume information differently.

The group noted other recent rule revisions, such as those relating to contest rules and local public file requirements, and to support from Commissioner Michael O’Rielly for broadcasters to recruit online.

There’s also the issue of cost. The expense of listing a job in a local paper is incommensurate with results, the group argues. “Not one member can report having hired a candidate referred from a print ad in the past three years,” it said.

“Plain and simple, the FCC’s requirement for paper ads for every vacancy in an area where recruiting is done online imposes an unnecessary burden on broadcasters with little to no gain.”

It said there are many recruiting sources online that allow broadcasters to reach diverse parts of a community — in some cases, in locations where a printed newspaper simply won’t reach.

“Continuing to require broadcasters to utilize newspapers as a recruiting source in order to comply with the ‘widely disseminated’ standard only serves to add an additional burden on broadcasters and does little to nothing to further the goals of the commission’s EEO rules,” the group said.

The deadline to submit reply comments to the FCC (via Media Bureau Docket No. 16-410) is Feb. 14.

Below are entities that are listed as participating in the comments; descriptions are as provided in the filing:

-KOCE-TV Foundation, the licensee of noncommercial TV station KOCE-TV, Huntington Beach, California.

-Bicoastal Media LLC, comprised of commercial radio stations licensed to Bicoastal Media Licenses, LLC; Bicoastal Media Licenses II, LLC; Bicoastal Media Licenses III, LLC; Bicoastal Media Licenses IV, LLC; Bicoastal Media Licenses V, LLC; and Bicoastal Media Licenses VI, LLC.

-Capitol Broadcasting Association, Inc, the licensee of noncommercial FM station KMFA, Austin, Texas.

-Cascade Public Media, the licensee of noncommercial TV stations KCTS-TV, Seattle, Washington and KYVE, Yakima, Washington.

-Minnesota Public Radio, comprised of noncommercial FM stations serving communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Idaho, Southern California, and South Dakota.

-Four R Broadcasting, Inc., the licensee of commercial FM stations KDCD and KMDX serving San Angelo, Texas.

-MBC Grand Broadcasting, Inc., the licensee of commercial stations KGLN(AM), Glenwood Springs, Colorado; KKVT(FM), Grand Junction, Colorado; KMGJ(FM), Grand Junction, Colorado; KMOZ-FM, Grand Junction, Colorado; KNAM(AM), Silt, Colorado; KNZZ(AM), Grand Junction, Colorado; KSTR-FM, Montrose, Colorado; and KTMM(AM), Grand Junction, Colorado.

-Lehigh Valley Community Broadcasters Association, the licensee of noncommercial FM station WDIY, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

-National Federation of Community Broadcasters, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide services that enable locally-based media organizations to best serve their communities.

-Max Media LLC, comprised of commercial radio and television stations licensed to MMK License LLC, MHR License LLC, Max Radio of the Carolinas Licenses LLC, MRR License LLC and Max Radio of Denver LLC.

-BAS Broadcasting, Inc., the licensee of commercial stations WCPZ(FM), Sandusky, Ohio; WFRO-FM, Fremont, Ohio; WLEC(AM), Sandusky, Ohio; WMJK(FM), Clyde, Ohio; WMVO(AM), Mount Vernon, Ohio; WOHF(FM), Bellevue, Ohio; and WQIO(FM), Mount Vernon, Ohio.

-Listeners Community Radio of Utah, Inc., the licensee of noncommercial FM station KRCL, Salt Lake City, Utah.

-Thoroughbred Communications, Inc., the licensee of commercial FM station WRHQ, Richmond Hill, Georgia.

-Quinnipiac University, the licensee of commercial station WQUN(AM) and noncommercial station WQAQ(Fl),Hamden, Connecticut.

-Icicle Broadcasting, .Inc., the licensee of commercial stations KOHO-FM, Leavenworth, Washington; KOZI(AM), Chelan, Washington; KOZI-FM, Chelan, Washington; and KZAL(FM), Manson, Washington.

-New Hampshire Public Radio, Incorporated, the licensee of noncommercial FM stations WCNH, Bow, New Hampshire; WEVC, Gorham, New Hampshire; WEVF, Colebrook, New Hampshire; WEVH, Hanover, New Hampshire; WEVJ, Jackson, New Hampshire; WEVN, Keene, New Hampshire; WEVO, Concord, New Hampshire; WEVQ, Littleton, New Hampshire; and WEVS, Nashua, New Hampshire.

-Texas Public Radio, the licensee of radio stations KCTI(AM), Gonzales, Texas; KPAC(FM), San Antonio, Texas; KSTX(FM), San Antonio, Texas; KTPD(Flvn, Del Rio, Texas; KTPR(FM), Snyder, Texas; KTXI(FM), Ingram, Texas; and KVHL(FM), Llano, Texas.

-All Classical Public Media, Inc., the licensee of noncommercial FM stations KQAC, Portland, Oregon; KQHR, The Dalles, Oregon; KQMI, Manzanita, Oregon; and KQOC, Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

-Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc., the licensee of commercial stations KBOQ(AM), Beverly Hills, California; KIDD(AM), Monterey, California; KKGO(FM), Los Angeles, California; and KNRY(AM), Monterey, California.

-Kayser Broadcast Ministries, Inc., the licensee of noncommercial FM stations WXMF, Marion, Ohio; WX1V1L, Upper Sandusky, Ohio; and WXMW, Sycamore, Ohio.

-Cumberland Communities Communications Corporation, the licensee of noncommercial FM station WDVX, Clinton, Tennessee.