Broadcasting: Saying Yes To Minorities

Saying Yes To Minorities

In 1978 blacks, Hispanics and other minorities owned a minuscule 1% of the 10,000 radio and TV stations in the U.S. To provide more diversity on the airwaves, the Federal Communications Commission that year adopted rules giving minority applicants preference in acquiring new station licenses and in taking over failing stations. The Reagan Administration tried to kill the rules in the mid-1980s but was blocked by Congress. Under George Bush, the Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to declare such race-based policies unconstitutional.

Last week the court, which has restricted a number of affirmative-action programs lately, surprised civil rights advocates by...

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