Washington, D.C. 20554
Remarks of Commissioner Gloria Tristani
To Discuss the Newly-Released Study
Relating To Advertising Issues and Minority Broadcasters
January 13, 1999
The specific issue we're here to discuss is advertising, but really the broader and more important topic is minority participation in the broadcasting business. Promoting minority participation in broadcasting is something that the FCC has long been committed to and that is a special concern of mine.
Advertising is the lifeblood of the broadcasting business. With access to advertising dollars, good things happen -- talent can be hired, stations can expand and modernize, new stations can be bought so that economies of scale can be achieved. Conversely, those stations that aren't able to attract their fair share of ad dollars aren't as likely to do those things, which ultimately means that they are less able to get their voice out to the public.
Today's study is a first step in determining whether advertising practices unfairly hamper minorities who want to enter and succeed in the broadcasting business. But it is only a first step. It raises some important questions and draws some initial conclusions from the data that warrant more in-depth follow-up. For instance, although the study concludes that minority-targeted stations attract less ad revenues per listener than stations that program for the general market, the study can't draw definitive conclusions about why this may be so. Follow-up is needed to determine whether these differences are due to legitimate business reasons or whether they're based on unfounded stereotypes about the minority market.
As long as I am privileged to be on the FCC, I will continue to work to ensure that all voices have an opportunity to be heard over the public airwaves. I look forward to our continuing dialogue on how to accomplish that overarching goal.