Efforts to enable a more diverse media industry gained bipartisan steam in Washington on Tuesday. By a vote of 319 to 105, the House of Representatives passed a bill and a resolution intended to thwart barriers to media ownership for underserved populations.
The MEDIA Diversity Act or Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access for Diversity Act (H.R. 1754) was introduced by Reps. Billy Long (R-MO) and Marc Veasey (D-TX). It would require the Federal Communications Commission to consider, with the input of the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities, market entry barriers for socially disadvantaged individuals in the communications marketplace.
In addition, the House passed a resolution (H. Res. 277) that reaffirms its commitment to media diversity by working with media companies and diverse stakeholders to develop “common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity.” The resolution was introduced by Reps. Val Demings (D-FL) and 67 cosponsors.
Both actions received a quick thumbs-up from the National Association of Broadcasters. “NAB applauds the bipartisan passage by the House of Representatives of legislation promoting solutions that address barriers to entry into the media industry for underserved populations,” said NAB President Gordon Smith. “We thank Reps. Val Demings (D-FL) and Billy Long (R-MO) for their leadership on today’s advances and will continue working with lawmakers on legislative proposals that would help achieve a media industry that better reflects our nation” he said.
The bill and the resolution were among five communications and technology bills passed in the House on Tuesday. Among the others were the Emergency Reporting Act (are H.R. 1250), which would require the FCC “to establish formal processes to take effect in instances when the FCC activates the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS).” Introduced by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA, the bill also passed by a vote of 319-105.
The NAB used the opportunity to plug legislation proposed earlier by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) that would reinstate the minority tax certificate. Smith said it would “create new opportunities for diverse voices to own local radio and TV stations.” As Inside Radio reported Tuesday, in recent weeks there have been rumblings that the bill could be part of an infrastructure spending deal being negotiated in Congress for the upcoming fiscal year.