FCC Ownership Diversity Report Shows Not So Much Diversity

FCC shield on phone
(Image credit: Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Federal Communications Commission chose the Friday going into Martin Luther King Day weekend to release the latest media-ownership diversity numbers and the tale of the tape for broadcast TV — as well as radio — still reads majority white and male on both the commercial and noncommercial side, though there is slight progress.

The sixth biennial report on ownership of broadcast stations covers commercial and noncommercial, full-power and low-power TV and radio stations and is based on data as of October 2021.

Looking at full-power commercial TV stations, the report said men had a majority interest in 51% of those stations, down from 56% in 2019, while women held majority interests in 6% of those stations. Female ownership is up a tick from 5% in 2019 (for 39% of the stations, no single entity had a majority interest).

Black/African Americans accounted for 3% of the majority interests in full-power TV stations in 2021, up from 1% in 2019, while Asian Americans had 1%, up from 0% in 2019.

No Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander held a majority interest in 2021, as was also the case in 2019.

On the noncommercial side, men held majority interests in 71% of full-power noncommercial TV stations, down slightly from 72% in 2019. Women accounted for 20% of the majority interests in those stations, up from 20% in 2019. Blacks/African Americans represented only 1% of majority owners, up from 0% in 2019. But no Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander held a majority interest.

Across radio and TV, men had attributable interests in 61% of commercial broadcast stations while women held only 9% and Hispanics/Latinos 6%. White persons held 73% of majority interests while racial minorities only 4%. African Americans had majority interests in only 2% of stations while Asians held 1% majority interests. No American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander held a majority interest.

The FCC said the report should come in handy “to the public, Congress and the commission because they provide an insight into the ownership of broadcast stations, both commercial and noncommercial, over time, that could be relevant to the commission’s policymaking as well as used by interested parties.” ▪️

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.