FCC Diversity Chief Says Republican Communications Policies Hurt Civil Rights

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Mark Lloyd, chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), claimed that communications policies enacted by Republicans negatively impacted the civil rights of minorities.

Lloyd made the claim in a 1998 essay he wrote while working for the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He said that two decades of Republican communications policies had eroded the gains made by the civil rights movement in minority ownership in communications.

Lloyd also said that, prior to the Reagan administration, the FCC recognized that civil rights and communications policy were linked, and he said that minority ownership of radio and television stations was necessary to correct the lack of diversity in media.

“In the late seventies, in recognition of the lack of progress made with these [equal opportunity] employment policies, the FCC ruled that minority ownership was essential to create a diverse range of messages over the public’s airwaves,” Lloyd wrote.

Among the requirements the FCC created were licensing rules that required that the public participate in the license renewal process; caps on how many radio and television stations a company could own in one city; three-year license terms; and a process called ascertainment: requiring station owners to canvas the local community to find out what the public was interested in.

Lloyd said that, starting with Reagan, the Republican-dominated FCC had rolled back these rules, and with them the gains of the civil rights community.

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