The latest report from the Federal Communications Commission shows that the number of women media owners is little changed over the past few years, and is actually down for African Americans.
Looking at numbers from the years between 2009 and 2011, the increase in TV station ownership among women is only 5.6 percent, according to Broadcasting & Cable, owning 91 of 1,348 TV stations. “African-American ownership dropped from 12 stations in 2009 to 10 stations in 2011, or less than 1% of the total. Ownership of the balance of the 30 stations (about 1.5% of the total) was spread among Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asians and others,” the article continues. Nearly a third, 28 percent, of media ownership is split among multiple owners.
In terms of radio, The Root reports that the situation is much the same, with whites overwhelmingly being the media owners.
Media needs diverse voices in order to cover the full depth and breadth of current events in this country. Back in February, NBCUniversal announced a number of new media outlets to come, with owners like Diddy and Magic Johnson. The launches were part of the deal the company made with Comcast when the two companies merged. More recently, we’ve reported on new networks coming to traditional media and online to fill the void in African-American media. And there’s Waywire, Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s online video site, focused on news by and for millennials.
The survival of the existing black media depends on advertising investment and consumers. With the projected increase in minority and female buying power and the diversification of the American population, we’d like to be optimistic and say that the minority- and women-owned media can only go up from here.