Houston Forward Times

04 September 2013 Written by  Target Market News

NABOB: Recent Radio, TV Transactions Further Weaken Minority Voices

NABOB Jim Winston(TriceEdneyWire.com) - The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters is raising concerns about recent big media transactions which included no minority buyers, and in particular African-Americans. The organization says that circumstances for black media buyers are worst today than they have been in more than three decades. "The station trading picture looks much like it did in 1978, before the FCC established the minority tax certificate," said Jim Winston, (pictured) executive director of NABOB. "In radio, within the past year, no less than 20 radio stations that were owned by African Americans were forced into bankruptcy by their lenders and have subsequently been sold to non-minority purchasers."

NABOB says the failure of lenders to reach out to minority purchasers, particularly in light of the anemic pace for sales to minorities in general, suggests that radio has regressed back to a time when minorities were never given an opportunity to participate as station owners. 

"The potential impact on the African American community cannot be overstated," said Winston. "We are losing our voices, sale by sale. Now, the television trading market has become red-hot, but no black companies are showing up as buyers in the television trading frenzy either."

Among recent television station transactions announced are:

  • $985 Million Sinclair Broadcast Group acquisition of  7 TV stations from Allbritton Communications
  • $373 Million Sinclair acquisition of 19 TV stations and 3 radio stations from Fisher Communications
  • $370 Million Sinclair acquisition of 18 stations and 6 SSA stations from Barrington Broadcast Group
  • $115 Million Sinclair acquisition of Titan Television Broadcast Group's 4 TV stations and 2 LMA TV stations
  • $2.2 Billion Gannett Company acquisition of 20 TV stations and 7 LMA stations from Belo Corporation
  • $.2.7 Billion Tribune acquisition of 19 TV stations from Local TV companies
  • $270 Million Nexstar acquisition of 19 TV stations from Communications Corporation of America

NABOB says these transactions will clearly exacerbate the dearth of minority owners in the industry and increase the excessive consolidation of the industry that Congress and the FCC have allowed to occur for more than a decade. Several of these deals include announced LMAs (Local Marketing Agreements) and SSAs (Shared Services Agreements). 

"LMAs and SSAs allow operators to program stations where the FCC's ownership rules do not permit the operators to own the stations," said Winston. "NABOB has long opposed such arrangements, because they often result in sham transactions in which the titular owner exercises no actual control."

Free Press, a vocal opponent of further media consolidation, has already spoken out about the potential negative impact of the huge consolidation of ownership these recent transactions will create.  

"The deals all must obtain approval from the FCC, Winston said. "NABOB will ask the Commission to consider the potential impact of this string of large transactions on minority ownership and will ask the Commission, once again, to take steps to create policies that promote opportunities for minority owners."

NABOB said the issues raised by recent transactions will at the forefront of its upcoming conference Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C.