G4 comments to FCC on possible ethnicity, gender ID filing requirements

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Providing the FCC with a list of ethnicities and genders of individual pubcasters wouldn’t show a true picture of the role minorities and women play in station programming and services, according to a joint filing to the agency by APTS, CPT, NPR and PBS. The statement is in reaction to a proposed rulemaking that would change the FCC Form 323-E Ownership Report to report those details as well ethnicity ownership data. The four noted that while it wouldn’t necessarily be a problem to submit the information, no one individual holds equity interest in a station. And because ownership varies widely for pubstations, “it would be unhelpful, and potentially misleading,” to lump together data for noncoms and commercial stations if the FCC wants a “comprehensive picture of broadcast ownership.” Any new reporting requirements would strain financial resources of public broadcasting stations, the groups added. Speaking for LPFM stations, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and Prometheus Radio Project favors detailing information about gender and ethnicity. However, they cautioned against excess paperwork requirements and suggested a fine of only $500 for LPFMs who don’t file the proper forms. If the rule is approved, the new forms would be due Nov. 1.