Two fines for EEO violations released Friday were among the rush of actions coming from the FCC last week as it tries to finish its work of 2014. Incentive auction procedures, MVPD redefinition, online public file issues, approvals of long-pending TV company mergers and so many other actions were taken in the last week that we can’t keep up. Now, we can add EEO violations to the list of year-end actions, as the FCC’s Media Bureau on Friday released two Notices of Apparent Liability to radio stations operators for violating the EEO rules, proposing fines of $5000 and $9000. While, in both cases, the stations are principally faulted for their failure to engage in wide dissemination of job openings, one case cites a new issue as the issue partially underlying the EEO fine – the failure to actually provide notice of job openings to all of the recruitment sources that had requested that the station notify them when there are job vacancies. Both cases arose from station license renewal applications filed about more than 3 years ago.
Each EEO employment unit (stations under common control, serving the same geographic area and sharing a common employee) with 5 or more full-time employees must engage in the three prongs of the FCC’s EEO outreach requirements. First, they must engage in wide dissemination of information about job openings, using a variety of recruitment sources to ensure that information about job openings at a station reach all of the diverse groups of people that may be represented within the station’s recruitment area. Secondly, they must let groups within the community know that they can ask to be notified of job openings at the station when such openings arise (and in fact provide such notice when the openings do arise). Finally, they must engage “non-vacancy specific outreach efforts” – activities to educate the community about broadcast employment – what people do in broadcast jobs, how they can find out about the jobs, and what sort of training or experience is necessary for jobs in the industry. It was violations of these first two prongs of the FCC’s EEO program that got the stations in trouble in these two recent orders. Continue Reading