In the last few weeks, we have received several inquiries from broadcasters about the FCC’s enforcement of its requirements that broadcasters conduct non-vacancy specific outreach efforts to educate their communities about broadcast employment opportunities and to train their staff to assume greater responsibility at stations and otherwise assist them in their career development (not to train them for their current positions, but to prepare them to assume a position with more responsibilities as their careers advance). Stations are required to undertake a variety of activities to educate the public about broadcast employment opportunities (and the experience and skills that will be helpful to obtain these broadcast positions) and to train their employees to advance in their careers beyond their current positions. These outreach efforts must be undertaken even when stations don’t have job openings. The FCC has a whole list of “menu options” to meet these obligations (see them listed in the EEO training presentation that I did last year for a state broadcast association, available here). While these menu options were designed for a “normal” work environment, many can be adapted to today’s world where so much business and education is being done virtually.
When asked if these rules are still in effect, I have been telling broadcasters that the FCC has not said that these obligations are suspended during the pandemic. In fact, the FCC has been conducting EEO audits throughout the course of the pandemic (see our article here, for instance), so it appears that enforcement of the EEO rules continues unabated. While I expect that the FCC will be somewhat flexible in assessing compliance in these present circumstances, stations can accomplish many of the activities listed in the menu options even in the pandemic. In a webinar that I conducted recently for many of the states with upcoming radio license renewal deadlines, and in another webinar for a public broadcasters group in a midwestern state, I discussed some of those opportunities.
Continue Reading Looking at FCC Non-Vacancy Specific EEO Outreach Efforts – the “Menu Options” – in a Pandemic World