MMTC's Keenan Says Digital Issues Need Explaining

Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council president Kim Keenan called on attendees at the 14th annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to help make important D.C. telecom issues understandable to the wider public they are affecting.

In opening remarks for an FCC luncheon, Keenan said she was deeply concerned about the spectrum auction and that the media landscape in terms of minority ownership following that auction could look like it did "100 years ago."

The two-day MMTC conference includes a panel session on the impact of the auction on diversity.

One concern is that the auction will reduce the number of channels—including multicast channels—owned by or programmed for minorities given that the FCC is incentivizing broadcasters to give up spectrum.

Keenan said that while D.C. tends to have "wonky conversations with ourselves" about those issues, when she talks to groups outside Washington about issues like set-top boxes or network neutrality, their eyes "glaze over."

But she suggested it is important to open those eyes to the digital future and called on her audience to help make those issues understandable and encourage dialog.

"If we have a digital future that does not connect everyone, we don't have a digital future," she said, adding, "we don’t want it to be easier to be stopped by police than to get access to capital by people of color."

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.