Maryland Public TV Settles FCC EEO Complaint

The FCC's Media Bureau and Maryland Public Broadcasting have settled the FCC's investigation into the noncommercial broadcasters' compliance with EEO rules.

The issue dates from a 2011 FC audit about compliance between June 2008 and May 2010, so the issue has been most of a decade in resolving.

The consent decree entered into by the FCC and MPT this week settles a 2013 FCC notice of apparent liability (NAL) that found that MPT had failed to notice each of its full-time vacancies to one organization it had asked for, and had failed to “analyze the recruitment program for the licensee’s unit on an ongoing basis to ensure that it is effective in achieving broad outreach to potential applicants, and address any problems found as a result of its analysis."

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The FCC had proposed a $20,000 penalty and reporting conditions. MPT had asked that both be canceled, arguing that to the extent there had been an EEO reporting omission, it was due to a clerical error.

Per the settlement, MPT will pay $5,000 and agree to a compliance plan, including making its VP of human resources the compliance officer, who will conduct EEO training for all station employees.

The stations involved are WMPB-TV Baltimore, WCPB-TV Salisbury, WFPT-TV Frederick, WGPT-TV Oakland, WMPT-TV Annapolis, and WWPB-TV Hagerstown.

MPT can't challenge the validity of the settlement, though it could contest the terms or interpretation of the consent decree.

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.