Black-Owned Broadcasters See Red Over Lack of Green

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Groups representing minority owners in TV were not happy with the recent decision on where and how “Big Tobacco” companies will have to advertise that they failed to disclose in spots that their products could cause cancer and death.

In a final consent order agreed to by the Justice Department and those companies, only ABC, CBS and NBC will be eligible for some 200 “remedial” primetime spots over the course of a year. (That is likely due to those being the nets on which the original ads aired.)

But that did not sit well with either the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council (MMTC) or the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB). “It’s surprising that [the Justice Dept.] forgot to include minorityowned media in this major advertising buy attendant to the tobacco litigation,” said MMTC president David Honig. “DOJ should ask the judge to revise the order to correct this extraordinary omission.”

“NABOB is very disappointed that the U.S. Department of Justice failed to include black-owned media in the advertising campaign established in the recent settlement with the tobacco industry,” added NABOB executive director James Winston. “The health of the African-American community has suffered disproportionately from the advertising campaigns of the tobacco companies, and black-owned media has been demonstrated to be the best way to engage the African-American community. Yet, now that the tobacco companies are being required to educate the public about the harm that tobacco products have caused, the companies and the DOJ have no plan to direct any educational advertising to our communities.”

NABOB says it plans to petition the Justice Department to rewrite the ad order to include minority outlets. Fox, meanwhile, had no comment about the government-mandated ad time and money going to the competition.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.