A number of us have license renewals due next year--ours is in June. The new renewal form is out, see article and a link to the form here:http://www.commlawblog.com/
One of the new requirements is that you must certify that the station's "advertising sales agreements do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity and that all such agreements held by the station include nondiscrimination clauses."
Of course, if you want to keep your license the only safe answer is "Yes."
All kinds of questions arise:
1. Typical small station "advertising agreement" is a hand shake deal. Where do you put the nondiscrimination clause?
2. The Agencies (who started this mess because some Black station owners whined they were shut out of buys) mostly communicate by phone or e-mail. They ask for rates and avails, we send them the info, they send back an order with a schedule and a link to an FTP site for spot download. Where do you put the boilerplate?
3. What is an "advertising sales agreement?" We run barter programming, with embedded spots.
Is the agreement to carry this program an "advertising sales agreement?" Same thing with network affiliation agreements,where there is an agreement to carry commercials. Typically both agreements are generated by the syndicator, not the station.
4. Are there not First Amendment issues here? (Yes, advertising is covered by the first amendment, although not as broadly as other forms of speech). What if a cluster owns a Spanish language station--and offers commercial packages for ROS spots on one or all of the stations in the cluster (i.e., the infamous "one day sales"). Jason Gonsalves buys a package, but wants all the spots to run on the Spanish language station (in Spanish) for his "Restaurante Mexicana." Ding Ding Ding!!! Discrimination!
5. What about the right to reject advertising? Mr. Chen owns the pussycat lounge--he wants to buy spots in the "family friendly" AC morning show for his "Girls Night Out Wet T Night." Are we discriminating against him or his business when we reject the spot?
(We had a call recently from a fellow wanting rates, he rep'ped Ashley Madison.Com. Never got back to him on that. Yes, I know what that site is about--read about in the Wall Street Journal.
Office staff still doesn't believe me, though.)
Comments on the form are due December 13. Not that anyone at the Commission really cares.
Bow down and kiss our ring, peasants.