Minority broadcasters urged to think small

Small markets, digital multicasts and overlooked media companies offer the best route for minorities to get into broadcasting with consolidation giving major urban properties to corporate conglomerates, panelists for the Black Broadcasters Alliance said Tuesday.

Today, minorities and other small business people considering getting into the ownership side of the business might have to start with low power TV stations or settle for providing programming to traditional full power stations that need help taking advantage of their digital spectrum's capacity to broadcast multiple channels.

Brunson and other panelists also urged the federal government to reinstate a tax break that allowed non-minority owners to save on capital gains when they sold to minority owners. Although Congress abolished the program in 1995 following instances of abuse, the credits helped roughly 300 minorities to acquire broadcast properties.

"That was very, very effective," said Robert Branson, general counsel for the Association of Local Television Stations. FCC Chairman Michael Powell and several key lawmakers have endorsed the tax credit's revival.
- Bill McConnell