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MMTC: Online Recruitment Alone Not Sufficient

Internet EEO outreach must not supplant recruitment relationships with local sources, group argues

Recruitment via the internet is a good thing but should not be the only way stations are allowed to fulfill their EEO obligations. So says the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council.

President Emeritus David Honig laid out the organization’s position in an “ex parte” letter summarizing a recent call with David Grossman, chief of staff for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. The topic was raised recently in a petition by two broadcasters who asked the FCC to allow stations to “rely on Internet recruitment sources, coupled with their on-air advertising, when conducting outreach for new job openings.”

MMTC “generally endorses” the idea of allowing broader credit for use of the internet for EEO recruitment. “Virtually all broadcast applicants are reasonably expected to know how to access the Internet because it is a job requirement in the industry,” Honig wrote.

Noting that free Internet postings usually have wider reach than paid print advertising, he said on-air advertising for job recruitment is an appropriate means by which broadcasters use their spectrum to serve the public interest.

However, he said, licensees should not be allowed to fulfill their obligations by simply posting openings online, he told the commission; rather, that should be viewed as a supplement to maintaining recruitment relationships with local sources. “Despite the ubiquity of Internet postings and widespread use of internet for job search by people of color, most jobs still are filled through relationships,” Honig wrote.

He also said Internet recruiting is but one of numerous pending EEO issues that have awaited FCC action since 2004 as part of Docket 98-204. The commission should pledge to complete the proceeding by the close of 2017, Honig feels, “thereby improving EEO enforcement by targeting discriminators, putting an end to the punishing of non-discriminating broadcasters who recruit primarily by word of mouth but from highly diverse workforces, and embracing EEO best practices that hold out the greatest promise for enhancing diversity across all technological platforms.”