Hill Dems Seek Restart of FCC Broadcast Diversity Reporting

Said that is essential to broadcast diversity efforts
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FCC chair Ajit Pai

A pair of Democrats have called on FCC chair Ajit Pai to start collecting data again on workforce diversity.

It has been well over a decade since the FCC collected information (form 395-B) from broadcasters on the gender and diversity of their staffs--stretching over Republican and Democratic Administrations--a point the FCC's Democratic commissioners made back in February when the FCC voted to eliminate an EEO reporting form.

The holdup has been whether or not to keep that info confidential, with the data collection suspended since 2004. The Dems say that should have been resolved by now, and should be resolved, and the form reinstated, before the FCC weighs in again on diversity, as Pai has signaled it will do via a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on EEO compliance and enforcement.

"Earlier this year, the commission decided to review certain of its equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules for the broadcasting sector," wrote Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) to Pai. "We are writing to express concern that this review has thus far failed to address the status of FCC Form 395-B. Any conversation regarding the FCC’s EEO practices is incomplete if it does not contemplate the full reinstatement of Form 395-B, which is essential to allow the Commission to fulfill a long-ignored statutory mandate to collect data about broadcast workforce diversity.”

Related: FCC Votes to Move EEO Enforcement

The FCC is currently reviewing its media ownership rules and a court has mandated that the impact on broadcast diversity must be a factor in whatever decisions it makes about regulating or deregulating.

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