In 1978, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Minority Tax Certificate Program, which provided a tax incentive to those who sold their majority interest in a broadcast station to minorities. From 1978 to 1995, the program was highly effective in leveling the playing field for underrepresented broadcasters, increasing diverse ownership in broadcast stations by more than 550 percent.
Unfortunately, Congress repealed this program in 1995. Broadcasters opposed this repeal because of the program's dramatic and positive impact on increasing ownership of broadcast stations for people of color. The tax certificate has proven to be an effective mechanism for bringing more people of color into station ownership and should be reinstated.
During the 117th Congress, the Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act (H.R. 4871) was introduced in the House, by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04). Additionally, Sen. Gary Peters (MI) and Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ) introduced the Broadcast Varied Ownership Incentives for Community Expanded Service Act (Broadcast VOICES Act) (S. 2456) in the Senate. Reinstating the Tax Certificate Program at the FCC would encourage investment in broadcast station ownership for women and people of color and dramatically help underrepresented voices realize their dreams of radio and television station ownership.
In addition to NAB's support, the Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act and the Broadcast VOICES Act has the backing of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB).
The bottom line:
Congress should pass legislation reinstating the tax certificate to ensure owners of broadcast stations are as diverse as the communities they serve.