Radio Ink is reporting the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is looking for a hearing with the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee to make the case for reinstatement of a tax incentive program that is designed to increase diversity and the representation of women and people of color in broadcasting.
“NAB strongly supports the reinstatement of a tax incentive program…” writes President and CEO David Rehr last week in a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York.
In an interview with Meredith Beal earlier this year, he told me about this for the first time. In the eighties the Reagan administration discontinued the IRS/FCC Telecommunications Tax Credit. It was designed to offer tax incentives to station owners who sold licenses to women and people of color.
“Congressional reinstatement of a similar program should also prove to be successful and, in the opinion of many including the FCC Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age, would be one of the most direct and effective methods of encouraging minority ownership in broadcasting,” Rehr added.
The letter also noted that Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois has already introduced tax incentive legislation, according to Radio Online. This ought to set off alarms for media activists who are unafraid to dig deep. Congresspedia reports Rush has taken big bucks from the telecommunications industry. Since 1998, Rush’s total telecom donations have amounted to over $20o,ooo.
I will try to get Meredith Beal back on the show to discuss. He is one of too few minority radio station owners in Texas, and one of too few minority directors on the board of the Texas Association of Broadcasters. I first heard about this from him. Plus, he’s a great interview guest.
If you haven’t heard the interview from February, please listen to it now.