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Black and Latino
broadcasters make case for financial help from fed
(August 5, 2009) On the day that African American and Hispanic broadcasters
were meeting with officials from the Obama administration, Pierre Sutton,
chairman of Inner City Broadcasting and chairman of the National Association
of Black Owned Broadcasters, spelled out the case for these station owners
to receive federal assistance in an op-ed printed in the New York Daily
Sutton writes "as the economic crisis leaves wreckage in its wake,
minority-owned and oriented radio stations are fast becoming an endangered
species, with dire consequences for our diverse democracy."
A series of events have combined to create what Sutton described as "a
perfect storm of bad circumstances." He cites the issues with Arbitron's
problematic measurement of their audiences, the cuts by advertisers to black
and Latino stations, and the recent sale of Pittsburgh's only black-oriented
station, WAMO as example of the peril that's growing.
"We appreciate the administration's attention to these important issues thus
far and hope for its help," wrote Sutton. "No new laws would have to be
passed. The Treasury Department can easily tap into funds already
appropriated under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which has helped to
restore credit flows to the financial and domestic automobile supplier
industries. Bridge financing or government-backed loans could also be
provided until the financial system recovers.
Sutton said "these stations still play a vital role in keeping their
listeners informed, inspired and involved in their communities and their
country, as well as promoting businesses and generating jobs in black and
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are giving their support to the
broadcasters in making their case for federal dollars, including House
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and New York's own Charles Rangel
(D-Manhattan) and Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn).