FCC’s Chief Diversity Officer Wants Private Broadcasters to Pay a Sum Equal to Their Total Operating Costs to Fund Public Broadcasting

August 12, 2009 - 7:08 PM
The newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer of the FCC has called for making private broadcasters pay licensing fees equal to their total operating costs to allow public broadcasting outlets to spend the same on their operations as the private companies do.

Seal of the Federal Communications Commission

(CNSNews.com) - Mark Lloyd, newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer of the Federal Communications Commission, has called for making private broadcasting companies pay licensing fees equal to their total operating costs to allow public broadcasting outlets to spend the same on their operations as the private companies do.
 
Lloyd presented the idea in his 2006 book, Prologue to a Farce: Communications and Democracy in America, published by the University of Illinois Press.
 
Lloyd’s hope is to dramatically upgrade and revamp the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through new funding drawn from private broadcasters.
 
The CPB is a non-profit entity that was created by Congress and that currently receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal subsidies each year. In fiscal 2009, it is receiving an appropriation of $400 million.
 
“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) must be reformed along democratic lines and funded on a substantial level,” Lloyd wrote in his book.
 
“Federal and regional broadcast operations and local stations should be funded at levels commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded,” Lloyd wrote. “This funding should come from license fees charged to commercial broadcasters. Funding should not come from congressional appropriations. Sponsorship should be prohibited at all public broadcasters.”
 
Along with this money, Lloyd would regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focused on “diverse views” and government activities.
 
“Local public broadcasters and regional and national communications operations should be required to encourage and broadcast diverse views and programs,” wrote Lloyd. “These programs should include coverage of all local, state and federal government meetings, as well as daily news and public issues programming.
 
“In addition, educational programs for children and adults, and diverse, independent personal and cultural expression should be encouraged,” he wrote.
 
Dennis Wharton, Executive Vice President of Media Relations at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) told CNSNews.com that his organization, which represents radio and television broadcasters, supports public broadcasting, but that that support should come from the public in general not broadcasters alone.
 
“NAB supports federal funding for public broadcasting,” said Wharton. “However, we would oppose efforts to fund public broadcasting through fees assessed against free and local broadcasters who are experiencing the worst advertising recession in 50 years.”
 
Lloyd wrote Prologue to a Farce while a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress.  In that capacity, he co-authored the 2007 report The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio, which concluded that 91% of talk radio programming is conservative and 9% is “progressive.”
 
The report argued that large corporate broadcasting networks had driven liberals off the radio, and that diversity of ownership would increase diversity of broadcasting voices.