Friday, August 1, 2008

Sex, Lies & Media Ownership

For those who still can't wrap their minds around the fact that gender & race are still barriers...

In Calling All Women and Minority Media Owners (But Not Too Loudly), Kristal Brent Zook covers the Access to Capital Conference where Democrats had FCC reform in mind ~ and "a desire to highlight ongoing federal barriers to accessing capital and media licenses."

She writes:

Today it’s virtually impossible for an individual woman to buy a full power television station, said [Barbara] Lawrence. The sentiment was echoed by others. Unless one inherits a station, the only real possibilities are in low-power television, and even then, mostly in small and medium sized markets.

“It takes tens of billions of dollars to own a station,” said Lawrence. “There are FCC issues, legal issues, engineering issues, financial issues. It takes a lifetime of work.”

Diane Sutton of ShootingStar Broadcasting said that she was able to become an owner because she had two things, information and access. Sutton, who now does training for potential media owners, says that it’s important to know “how to write a business plan, how to secure equity, and how to get to know the brokers and bankers before you need the money.”

She also spoke about the virtues of the tax certificate, a federal policy incentive that was repealed in 1995 despite the fact that it increased minority ownership by fivefold during its 17 years of existence. Part of a larger Minority Ownership Policy instituted by an innovative young FCC attorney, Frank Washington, it rewarded radio or TV station owners by allowing them to defer capital gains tax if they sold stations to minority members.

Not only should the tax certificate have been preserved, argued Diane Sutton, but it should have also been expanded to include women “which, surprisingly, it did not.”

This explains so too much.

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