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Dems Seek Federal Bailout for Minority-Owned Broadcasters

Seek a response from Treasury Secretary Geithner by June 5

Could there be a federal broadcasting bailout for minority-owned stations?

High-ranking congressional Democrats are leading an effort to convince Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to extend credit to this segment of the broadcasting industry, the members of which say they’ve been especially hard-hit by the poor economy.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina has joined with a dozen other House members for the cause. Clyburn is the father of Mignon Clyburn, who has been nominated by the Obama Administration for a slot on the FCC.

In a letter to Geithner, Clyburn and representatives such as Barney Frank, D-Mass, Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y. and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ask Geithner to take action to restore credit flows to minority broadcasters until credit markets stabilize.

They suggest temporary bridge loans or government-backed financing, as well as other options. “Let us be clear: It is absolutely essential that we do not allow this once-in-a-generation financial crisis to erase the modest inroads minorities have made into the broadcast industry,” they write.

The representatives ask for a reply by June 5 and also ask that Treasury Department staff meet with representatives of minority-owned broadcast groups and from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.