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FCC Continues Programs for Small/Diverse Broadcast Finance

Nov. 6 virtual symposium will include broadcasters, lenders, policymakers

“The Path to Media Ownership and Sustainability,” an all-day virtual symposium on Nov. 6, is the FCC’s next program in its initiative “to empower disadvantaged communities and accelerate the entry of small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities” into the media and programming industries. In addition to financial speakers and station executives, the program will include Capitol Hill staff members who will outline policies to expand media ownership diversity.

The Nov. 6 symposium comes on the heels of Oct. 23’s “Tech Supplier Diversity Opportunity Showcase.” Both events are being organized by the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE).

For the “Access to Capital” program, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, the focus will be on broadcaster financing and sustainable revenue. Media executives and lenders will describe current tactics to obtain financing for broadcast station transactions “in today’s challenging financial circumstances,” according to the FCC announcement of the program. In addition, experts will examine the history of the previous broadcast tax certificate policy and the potential for a new tax certificate policy to increase ownership diversity.

The symposium will include presentations from Nielsen Global Media, led by senior VP for Community Alliances Stacie deArmas and Senior VP for Product Leadership Bill Rose. Their panel will examine ratings measurements for multi-ethnic broadcast stations and will feature a discussion of how small and diverse broadcasters can attract increased advertising revenue.

Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment, FCC
Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment group photo, Oct. 2019. Photo: FCC

Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group and chair of the ACDDE Access to Capital Working Group will open and close the day-long program. The lineup of speakers and panelists includes Jeffrey Smulyan, chairman/CEO of Emmis Communications; DuJuan McCoy, president/CEO of Circle City Broadcasting, LLC; Raúl Alarcón, president/CEO/chairman of Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc.; Russell M. Perry, CEO, Perry Broadcasting; James Winston, president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters; Tomás Martinez, co-owner, Solmart Media; Adonis Hoffman, founder of The Advisory Counsel, LLC; Wiley Rein LLP partner Anna Gomez (representing the Hispanic National Bar Association); Wiley Rein LLP partner and former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera; and Maurita Coley Flippin, president of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council and a member of the ACDDE Diversity in the Tech Sector Working Group.

In addition, Congressional staffers will offer updates on pending legislation intended to increase diverse media ownership.

Additional information and registration is available from Jamila Bess Johnson, the Designated Federal Officer for the ACDDE: 1-202-418-2608; [email protected] or at the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment web page.