Economics

Troubled Minority Broadcasters Relief Program?

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The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest in a long line of bailout begs:

A group of minority broadcasters asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Monday for financial assistance akin to the aid that has been extended to the financial and auto industries.

"Minority-owned broadcasters are close to becoming an extinct species," the letter said. "Even in better economic times, minority broadcasters have historically had difficulties accessing the capital markets."

The broadcasters told Mr. Geithner they can bounce back if they are given some temporary assistance while the credit markets are slow. "Unlike the auto business, broadcasting has been healthy for many years," their letter said.

The broadcasters appeal follows a proposal sent in May to Mr. Geithner by a group of influential House members asking for a minority broadcaster support program, bridge funding, or government-backed loans.

The House letter was signed by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) and a group of key committee chairmen, including Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns, (D., N.Y.).

I've always found it strange that a federal agency originally tasked with divvying up then-scarce broadcast spectrum would delve so deeply into the question of how many minorities own broadcast companies, but then I'm easily confused.

Just before last November's election, Jesse Walker wrote about what a Barack Obama FCC might do, concerning minority broadcasters and otherwise.

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