Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type

Special Feature

Publication Date


Publication Citation

51 Federal Communications Law Journal 665 (1999)


In 1995, Congress eliminated the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Minority Tax Certificate Program—a nonintrusive method of encouraging increased participation of minority entrepreneurs as owners in the broadcast and cable industries. Since that time, minorities have faced increased difficulties competing in all facets of the communications industry. These difficulties can be attributed to: (1) increased consolidation within the broadcast industry as a result of provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 relaxing certain broadcast ownership limitations; (2) recent court decisions adverse to minority-specific programs; and (3) continued obstacles faced by minorities in accessing sufficient capital to acquire licenses and compete in the communications industries. This Article examines the history and benefits of the FCC’s Minority Tax Certificate Program and Congress’s reasons for eliminating it. This Article also suggests ways in which a new tax certificate program could be created to address Congress’s concerns.

Forum: New Approaches to Minority Media Ownership, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia University.