4A's

Nearly a decade after the FCC began to require radio and television stations to certify that all their advertising contracts contain anti-discrimination clauses, the 4As has launched a new effort designed to eliminate all discriminatory media buying. The trade group, which advocates on behalf of ad agencies, on Tuesday announced the Fair Play Charter to put an end to so-called “No Urban/No Hispanic” dictates.

Such dictates have cost African American and Hispanic broadcasters over $300 million in revenue annually by keeping ad dollars from flowing to their stations, according to Kizart Managing Partners managing director Sherman Kizart. Discussions with Kizart’s company and the multicultural media owner community helped inspire the charter, which was written by the 4A’s Media Leadership Council. It asks agencies to commit to the charter or to incorporate the charter into agency policies and procedures.

NUDs as they’re known have been the dirty little not-so-secret method advertisers and agencies use to avoid placing buys on stations targeting Blacks and Hispanics.

The Fair Play Charter also extends to include targeted media of other special-interest communities.

“It’s important that we match the conversations and policies around fairness and equality in the work space with equal attention, energy and action around being fair in how we choose our media partners,” Louis Jones, executive VP of Media & Data at the 4As, said in a news release. “This diversity and equality issue surfaces from time to time, and it is important that we remain cognizant of unfair treatment and not let it let affect industry practices or societal perception.”

Kizart called the charter “an important step toward helping to create a level playing field in the trillion-dollar media landscape.”

The initiative has the support of FCC chair Ajit Pai who told an MMTC conference Tuesday that he hopes the new policy will help even the playing field for minority broadcasters. “In my view, these dictates have no place in the American media marketplace,” Pai said.

In 2008, the FCC released a Report and Order on diversity requiring that all broadcasters’ advertising contracts contain clauses ensuring that there is no discrimination based on race or gender in the sale of advertising time.