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NAB Gives Thumbs Up to Minority Tax Bills

Industry group would like to see program that ran from 1978 to 1995 reinstated

The National Association of Broadcasters has endorsed legislation on Capitol Hill that would reestablish a Minority Tax Certificate Program.

Democratic lawmakers in both houses have introduced bills to provide a tax incentive to those who sell a majority interest in a radio or TV station to underrepresented broadcasters. NAB has long been on record as favoring such a move.

The original FCC program started in 1978 and was in place for about 17 years. “The program was highly effective in leveling the playing field for underrepresented broadcasters, increasing diverse ownership in broadcast stations by more than 550%,” NAB wrote in a policy statement. Congress repealed it in 1995.

“Reinstating the Tax Certificate Program at the FCC would encourage investment in broadcast station ownership for women and people of color and dramatically help underrepresented voices realize their dreams of radio and television station ownership,” NAB said.

It noted that supporters include the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB).

The backers of the bills are Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Reps. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Steven Horsford of Nevada. The Senate bill is called the Broadcast VOICES Act; in the House it’s the Expanding Broadcast Opportunities Act of 2021.

President and CEO Gordon Smith released a statement: “NAB and its members are strongly committed to market-based initiatives that expand radio and television station ownership opportunities for women and people of color. A tax incentive program is a proven solution that significantly diversified the ranks of broadcast owners over its nearly two decades of existence.”

He urged swift passage of the legislation.