Broadcasters Urge End to Discriminatory Advertising ‘Dictates’

The groups sent a letter to some 4,200 advertising agencies.
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Discrimination in station ad buys “has no place” in today’s media market.

So say the NAB, RAB and the Television Bureau of Advertising. They joined forces in opposition to “urban dictates,” a practice in which companies refuse to place ads on radio and television stations with formats that attract African-American, Latino and Spanish-speaking audiences.

The groups sent a letter to some 4,200 advertising agencies, signed by NAB President/CEO David Rehr, RAB President Jeff Haley and TVB President Chris Rohrs, urging the agencies to join them in working towards free and fair competition in the market for broadcast ad time.

“Although it has not been the subject of an empirical study, there is significant anecdotal evidence of ‘dictates’ or policies against the purchase of advertising time on stations with formats that attract African-American, Latino and Spanish-speaking audiences,” NAB, RAB and TVB state in the letter.

“Under these policies, regardless of whether a station or its sales representative could show that the station’s viewers or listeners met the target criteria that the advertiser sought, the advertiser or its agency refuses to buy time.”

The policies curtail the amount of ad dollars that an affected station can generate and hamstring stations seeking to serve communities while delivering to advertisers audiences who spend hundreds of billions of dollars per year, the group added.

“Discrimination against broadcasters based on racial, gender or ethnic stereotyping has no place in today’s media marketplace,” wrote NAB, RAB and TVB.

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