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FCC Could Be Poised to Reinstate EEO Data Collection Form

- 395-B Focuses on Race, Gender of Broadcast Employees

The FCC appears poised to reinstate a requirement that each Radio and Television station collect data on the gender, race, ethnicity and job function of each station employee, a filing requirement that was suspended more than 20 years ago by court order.

The court order indicated that the use of Form 395-B was discriminatory because it appeared the FCC was using it to penalize stations “that did not meet specific racial or gender quotas in their workforce,” explained David Oxenford, attorney with Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

Broadcasters can anticipate seeing the decision on “Broadcast and Cable EEO Rules and Policies” this week. Oxenford and other FCC legal experts say the “further notice” portion of the expected decision will likely solicit proposals for ways to reform the FCC’s EEO policies for the broadcast and cable industries.

TAB instigated the pushback on FCC efforts beginning in 1994 and was joined by its counterparts representing the rest of the country’s 49 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, arriving at the current policy state 10 years later after extensive legal wrangling.

Past could be prologue, depending on what the FCC proposes.

Oxenford offers these insights into the regulatory tensions at play with the FCC’s Form 395-B.

Questions? Contact Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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