FCC Announces Upcoming Latino Media Study


Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the leadership of Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, announced that it will undertake a study about Latino television viewing and Latino media ownership. The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) applauds this action and has long spoken out about the lack of ownership and employment opportunities for Latinos in the media industry, as well as the prevalence of hate speech and negative stereotypes that often spring from media outlets that lack diverse voices. With today's action, the FCC has taken the first step in a long process towards understanding how it can achieve its statutory goal of a more diverse media ecosystem in the face of an exceptionally low number of women and people of color owning and controlling media outlets.
 
According to the Commission, the study announced today will be the FCC's "first systematic examination of the Hispanic television market." It will explore:
- The impact of Hispanic-owned television stations on Hispanic-oriented programming and Hispanic viewership in selected local television markets;
- The extent of Hispanic-oriented programming on US broadcast television; and
- The role of digital multicasting in increasing the amount of Hispanic-oriented programming.

The FCC also announced that its Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) will begin the next phase of a long-awaited "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs." During the next phase, the Commission will field test a previously released research design in a single market to determine how best to gather data about the critical information needs of communities and whether the existing media structure is adequately serving those needs. 
 
NHMC, and others, have consistently argued that the FCC lacks the necessary data about media ownership to loosen existing rules about how many media properties a single entity can own.
 
Jessica Gonzalez, NHMC's Executive Vice President and General Counsel, said "Today, the FCC has announced its next steps towards achieving a more full understanding of the media landscape in the United States, a subject that has long required a closer examination. Hopefully, this report and the OCBO field test will be the first steps of many as the Commission attempts to remedy an overwhelming lack of data on the issue of media ownership diversity. It is appropriate that the Commission explores the unique relationship that Latinos have with media. The Latino community is often simultaneously courted and denigrated by existing outlets, it lags in both adoption of new technologies and ownership of traditional media outlets, and yet it leads in usage and engagement when served. The study that the Commission has announced today is research that NHMC has sought for many years as it could go a long way towards better understanding the current situation and future needs of Latinos. Acting Chairwoman Clyburn should be commended for her resolve to push this research forward and for her unwavering commitment to better understanding the needs of underserved communities across the country."