WASHINGTON, July 21, 2009 – The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council today received four radio stations and equipment from Clear Channel radio. The gift was promulgated on the second day of the MMTC’s twelfth annual conference, a meeting of minority leaders to discuss current telecom trends and policies as well as to pool interest.
Clear Channel had earlier this year donated a transmitter to the MMTC and is now donating four AM stations: KYHN in Fort Smith, Ark.; WTFX in Winchester, Va.; KMFX in Rochester, Minn.; and WHJA in Laurel, Miss. .
MMTC has not yet made known publicly what they intend to do with these gifted stations.
Minority ownership in the media market has been disproportionate to minority populations, say presenters at the MMTC conference. That includes Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, who stated that “people of color own just three percent of all local TV stations,” citing numbers by the advocacy group Free Press.
Rep. Sanchez also expressed confidence in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s broadband stimulus funds, particularly the $4.7 billion supervised by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
She said she believes that there is “big gap in their ability to access” but that she will do her own part as a minority, and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Judiciary Committee to “whisper in the ear of the chairman.”
The NTIA was represented at the conference as well as the Rural Utilities Service, as both of these agencies expressed interest in the value of minority contributions to telecom.
Anna Gomez of the NTIA said that the “seed money” that the federal government is putting out should “significantly alter minority entrepreneurship… and improve procurement and increase competition.”
Gomez also answered questions about the NTIA’s reviewing process that is going to include volunteers in the initial phase. “It is just policy at the RUS,” she said responding the questions about volunteer reviewers, “we have strict conflict of interest requirements.”