The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association, along with other State Broadcasters Associations representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, recently filed Joint Comments in support of a proposal to change the FCC’s EEO Rule to permit broadcast stations to rely solely on Internet-based recruiting to meet their obligation to “use recruitment sources for each vacancy sufficient in [a licensee’s] reasonable, good faith judgment to widely disseminate information concerning the vacancy.” The same unified group of State Broadcasters Associations had first requested this change in 2002, at which time the FCC indicated that the Internet was not yet sufficiently available to minority and rural populations to permit broadcasters to rely exclusively on Internet recruiting. In these Comments, we made the following points:
- Whether the Internet is broadly available to all segments of the U.S. population is beyond question in 2017, and the FCC needs to conform its rules and policies to that reality.
- Because the EEO Rule itself does not expressly prohibit relying solely on Internet recruiting, the FCC need not conduct a formal rulemaking to implement the change, but could instead issue a declaratory ruling or clarification to that effect, which would speed implementation of it
- Had the Internet been available when the EEO Rule was created, it certainly would have been the FCC’s preferred avenue of recruitment, as it is universally available, free (via public WiFi or libraries and schools), instantaneous, and flexible, providing not only an avenue for job seekers to learn about an opening, but to apply for it as well.
- Government and businesses have uniformly moved their recruiting to the Internet, and job seekers, being aware of this, do their job hunting on the Internet
- Broadcasters need to be able to focus their recruiting resources where it will be most effective, and for a young population that relies heavily on the Internet for information, including for job hunts, requiring use of “traditional” recruiting mechanisms is inefficient.
- As most broadcast stations today have digital operations, stations are looking for applicants with digital skills, including the knowledge of how best to utilize social media and other Internet platforms, and the ideal place to find such applicants is on the Internet.
The full language of the Joint Comments