Sunday, April 20, 2014

John Malveaux: 'Number of Black-Owned TV Stations Plummets to Zero'

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We just experienced a shameful milestone in the history of U.S. media — and barely anyone noticed.

There are now zero black-owned and operated full-power TV stations in our country.

This sorry state of affairs is the culmination of a trend that started in the late 1990s when Congress and the Federal Communications Commission allowed massive consolidation in the broadcasting industry. This policy shift crowded out existing owners of color and ensured that it would be nearly impossible for new owners to access the public airwaves. Recent FCC actions (and in some cases, inaction) have only hastened this decline in opportunities for diverse broadcasters.

From Little … to Nothing

When Free Press released its first report on the state of TV ownership in 2006, we found that there were only 18 African American-owned and operated full-power commercial TV stations — representing just 1.3 percent of all such stations.

By December 2012, those 18 had shrunk to just five. And now they’re all gone.

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