In order to meaningfully diversify media ownership and ensure access to local programming for communities of color, the Federal Communications Commission must approve hundreds of new community radio licenses in urban centers. African Americans live in cities in significantly higher percentages than the total population, but we are able to tune in to just 7 community radio stations — out of more than 800 in the nation — in our largest 50 urban centers.
The FCC is responsible for ensuring that the public airwaves serve all of the public. But until now, the big commercial media outlets — the ones that monopolize most of what we hear on urban radio — have successfully pressured the FCC to keep community radio out of their most lucrative markets.
Later this year, more than a thousand new community radio broadcast licenses are expected to become available. Depending on an FCC ruling that will be made after May 7, these licenses may for the first time be specifically allocated to urban areas. If the FCC rules in our favor, it could more than double the number of channels available for community radio in the urban centers of the top 150 radio markets.
The FCC's public comment period ends today, so please take a moment to let them know: our cities need community radio!