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Columbia, S.C., Chosen For Info Needs Test Market

There was a flurry of activity late Friday, expected to be the last day of the acting chairmanship of Mignon Clyburn, including the naming of Columbia, S.C., as the test market for critical information needs.

The FCC's Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) said it had picked the city because it was "a medium-sized market that is racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse," as well as "ease of travel for data collection," and the "nearby school of communications/journalism." The University of South Carolina is in Columbia.

OCBO announced last week it would be testing a single market to come up with the methodology it could use in other markets to determine whether the critical information needs of communities are being met.

The FCC said in February 2012 it was commissioning the study with an eye toward collecting evidence to support boosting media participation, including by lowering entry barriers, to entrepreneurs and small businesses, including those run by minorities and women.

Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn was a big backer of the study. She had been pushing for better data to support FCC actions on boosting minority and female ownership, data that will be necessary to buttress any affirmative action measures in court.