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FCC Reiterates Plans to Enforce New Station Advertising Certification

MMTC commends action against ‘no urban/Spanish’ dictates

The FCC is going out of its way to say it intends to enforce a new requirement that stations must certify they have a non-discrimination clause in advertising sales contracts.

The clauses are meant to push back against “no urban/Spanish” ad buys that urban and Spanish broadcasters say sometimes are demanded by clients or agencies. The rule is part of several changes announced earlier in license renewal Form 303-S.

The commission this week issued an advisory about the clause. Genachowski said its action should make it clear the FCC will “vigorously enforce its rules against discrimination in advertising sales contracts.”

“Discrimination simply has no place in broadcasting,” wrote FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski about the new clause.

Commercial broadcasters must complete the certification in order to qualify for renewal of their broadcast licenses. If they can’t, they must explain why this shouldn’t affect renewal.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council commended the action. President and Executive Director David Honig called it a “huge step forward for minority broadcasters,” estimating that no urban/no Spanish dictates “drain away about $200 million a year from minority broadcasters.”

FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said the advisory “puts everyone on notice that the commission has no tolerance for this type of insidious discrimination.” The Enforcement Bureau will work with the Media Bureau, she said, to “to give this new requirement meaning.”

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