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Comcast, NBCU Sign MOU With African American Groups

Comcast and NBCU have reached a
memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the NAACP, National Urban League and
National Action Network (Rev. Al Sharpton) on the steps, most
already outlined, it will take to promote diversity in corporate
governance, employment/workforce recruitment and retention, procurement,
programming, and philanthropy and community investments.

"This historic agreement is a template for
how major corporations should commit to concrete ways they will make equity
and fairness part of their business plan," said Sharpton in a
statement. "This agreement supports workers, businesses,
artists, and charities in our community. It is a major step toward changing the
corporate culture in how it relates to our community and will help
define 21st century Civil Rights."

"This agreement represents a positive step in the
right direction for the principle of diversity, inclusion and economic
opportunity," added Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. "We
applaud Comcast and NBC Universal for its willingness to enter into
written commitments toward the goal of building a first-class communications
concern. We thank them for their insight and commitment."

Comcast has already made numerous commitments to
boosting African American participation in its business, including outlining
them in a letter to Congress
in connection with a Chicago forum on the proposed
But Thursday's announcement puts those commitments in the form of a binding
pledge to these groups, similar to ones struck with Hispanic and Asian American groups, the latter announced just this week
as the FCC and Justice wrap up their review of the deal.

The three African American groups have already
been supportive of the deal, but will file a new letter to that effect with
the FCC Friday, according to a spokesman for the NAACP. Comcast will also file
the new agreement in the FCC docket on the deal.

Comcast is still hoping for an FCC and Justice Department decision by
the end of the year, though January is more likely. The chairman may circulate
a draft before year's end, but the commissioners have at least 21 days to vote
it out and a source close to one commissioner suggested they would have needed
to see a draft by November to vote it out by the end of the year.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

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.