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Non-profits don't have flesh-and-blood owners

The FCC seeks to diversify the non-profit broadcast community, but ownership data won’t help

I was thinking about the persistence of disbelief earlier this year. I filed comments at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when it asked holders of noncommercial and educational broadcast licenses to identify their owners. (C-SPAN operates an FM radio station in Washington, D.C.) It was part of an ongoing effort to encourage minority and female ownership of radio and television stations. Six years earlier, the FCC asked the same question, and it got answers that it apparently did not believe. Hence, we had to answer the question again.

Back in 2009, we told the FCC that non-profit organizations don’t have any owners. When the agency asked the question again this year, it was put to us this way, essentially: “Last time you told us that non-profit organizations don’t have any owners, but … really?” My answer took five pages to say, essentially, “Really.”


Bruce D. Collins

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