Skip Navigation
Get updates:

We respect your privacy

Thanks for signing up!

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, a majority of FCC commissioners voted to reinstate the collection of workforce Equal Employment Opportunity information from licensed broadcasters. More than two decades ago, the agency suspended the requirement that broadcasters annually file Form 395-B, which collects race, ethnicity and gender information about a broadcaster’s employees within specified job categories. That decision has since made it difficult for the FCC to comply with statutory requirements to determine whether the agency is fulfilling its commitment to promote diversity in a broadcasting sector where women and people of color own hardly any radio and television stations.

“With today’s action, we restore the process of giving broadcasters, Congress, and ourselves the data needed to better understand the workforce composition in the broadcast sector,” the agency wrote in its order. “We find further that continuing to collect this information in a transparent manner is consistent with a broader shift towards greater openness regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion across both corporate America and government.”

“We know how critical it is to have diversity in our media organizations,” FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a statement. “It’s clear — a successful media organization serves its viewers, listeners, and readers. And an organization does that by ensuring that its employees, its decision makers, reflect those viewers, listeners, and readers, and can speak for and to them.”

Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González said:

“This long-overdue order will help the FCC, Congress and the American public better understand how the broadcast sector is serving the public interest — or failing to serve it — in viewpoint diversity and racial equity. Since its inception, the radio and television industries have been dominated by white men in ownership, management and employment up and down the ranks. This means that we’ve lacked a diversity of perspectives over our nation’s public airwaves, and it has resulted in racist and harmful coverage that has made the United States less democratic and less safe for people of color. Even today, ownership data reveals that people of color are severely underrepresented in broadcast ownership. We applaud the FCC for taking this important step toward increasing transparency in broadcast licensing.”

More Press Releases