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FCC Tries Again With EEO

FCC Tries Again With EEO

The FCC is hoping three times a charm with broadcast and cable Equal Employment Opportunity rules. Previous rules were twice struck down as unconstitutional.
The commission seeks comments on a new proposal (MM docket 98-204) that would require broadcast licensees to widely disseminate information about full-time vacancies to all segments of the community to ensure that all qualified applicants have sufficient opportunity to compete for jobs in the industry. In addition, the proposed rules would require the implementation of two supplemental recruitment measures: (1) sending job vacancy announcements to recruitment organizations that request them; and (2) selecting from a menu of non-vacancy specific outreach approaches, such as job fairs, internship programs, and interaction with educational and community groups.
Broadcast stations with fewer than five full-time employees and cable entities with fewer than six full-time employees in the past have not been required to demonstrate compliance with the EEO program requirements. The FCC is asking whether these exemptions can or should be increased.
Broadcasters and cable entities would be required to place an annual EEO report in their public file detailing their outreach efforts. Under the Commission’s former rule, broadcasters were required to file a Statement of Compliance every second, fourth and sixth year of the license term certifying compliance with the EEO rule. The proposed rules would eliminate this requirement in the second and sixth years and require a filing only by radio stations with more than ten full- time employees and television stations with five or more full-time employees, which would be subject to mid-term review of their EEO efforts, in the fourth year of the license term.
Cable entities would be required to file annual reports concerning their EEO efforts and to submit their annual EEO public file reports as part of the supplemental information required by statute to be filed every five years.