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Study Finds Women and Minorities Hurt by Media Consolidation

Media consolidation cuts out women and minority television broadcast stations owners, according to a report released on Wednesday by Free Press, a nonpartisan media reform organization. The report, “Out of the Picture: Minority & Female Ownership in the United States,” analyzed the demographics of television broadcast station owners and found that women and people of color are vastly underrepresented in station ownership. Women own fewer than 5 percent of all broadcast stations but constitute 51 percent of the US population. Minorities own just over 3 percent of all stations but constitute 33 percent of the US population.

The report ties the lack of female and minority ownership to the negative effects of media consolidation and poor decisions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Minority and women owners tend to own fewer stations and “find it difficult to compete with their big-media counterparts for programming and advertising revenue,” according to the report. Free Press calls on the FCC to make a greater effort to decrease media consolidation to make it easier for greater diversity in station ownership to exist.

“There are so few women’s voices on broadcast television, and part of the absence of women’s perspectives stems from the absence of women owners… The increasing consolidation of ownership is making women invisible,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women.

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Sources:

Free Press press release 9/20/06; Broadcasting and Cable 9/19/06; ÒOut of the Picture: Minority & Female TV Station Ownership in the United StatesÓ Free Press 9/06