Rep. Walden Introduces Broadcast Incubator Bill

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has introduced a bill, the Broadcast Diversity in Leadership Act, to promote broadcast diversity by creating the incubator program the FCC tried to create as part of its broadcast dereg order that was remanded by a federal appeals court.

Rep. Greg Walden

The difference is that while the FCC incubator program was radio only, Walden's is for TV as well.

Walden is the ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and a former broadcaster himself.

The incubator program puts established broadcasters together with minority new entrants with the idea of giving them an opportunity to own one or more of the broadcasters' stations, with the broadcaster providing training, access to resources, and more, but with limits on how much equity the established broadcaster can hold in the new entrant and the requirement that the emerging broadcaster have effective control of any incubated station.

Related: NAB: FCC Doesn't Need Diversity Impact Stats to Deregulate

"As a former radio station owner in rural Oregon, I know well that our local broadcasters are often Americans’ primary source of local news, particularly in rural areas," said Walden. "I understand the importance of ensuring broadcast owners and their content reflect the communities they serve."

“NAB thanks Rep. Walden for introducing legislation creating an incubator program that would help aspiring broadcasters realize their dream of owning a radio or TV station," said National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith. "NAB strongly supports efforts to increase media ownership diversity by providing pathways to station ownership for new and diverse voices,” said Gordon Smith, President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters."

"We are pleased that the proposed incubator program would include television," said James Winston, president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB). "NABOB has supported the creation of an incubator program for many years. We are very grateful to Congressman Walden for taking this next step toward its implementation."

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.