African American Groups Hold Press Conference, Announce Filing of Unofficial Complaint with FCC
By Peggy Hunt
Upset with Ownership, Hiring, Programming at Radio Stations in Ventura County
VENTURA, CA — A coalition of African American community groups held a press conference in front of the Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Road, to announce the filing of an informal objection with the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) audio division against the license renewals for the following radio stations in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties: KCAQ 104.7FM, KFYV 105.5FM, KKZZ 1400AM, KOCP 95.9FM, KUNX 1520AM, KVTA 1590AM, KHAY 100.7FM, KBBY 95.1FM, KVYB 103.3FM, KVEN 1450AM, KRUZ 97.5FM and KRRF 106.3FM.
The group expressed concerns about existing formats, hiring practices and concerns about media ownership diversity.
“Some commercial radio stations in Ventura County aren’t doing enough to serve the African American and other minority communities in the county,” said Byron K. Ward, Chairman of Community Advocacy Coalition. “They are not in compliance with the requirements to serve all segments of the population for which they are licensed to operate.”
Another member of the group said, “We have done our due diligence by examining their public records, meeting with them to present our findings and attempting to reach a peaceful resolution, but to no avail forcing us to take this action,” said Don Montgomery. “Our coalition is compiled of the following members: Ventura County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Ventura County Chapter of Black American Political Association of California, Ventura County Council of African American Pastors, Community Advocacy Coalition and others.”
Combined, Gold Coast and Lazer own nine of Ventura County’s 15 commercial radio stations. The county’s other major owner is Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, which has four. SOURCE: Arbitron Inc.
Pastor Micheal McCurtis expressed concerns about the mandates set in place by the FCC. “The law mandates inclusion of the underserved population of communities. We feel strongly that the African American community be heard on the radio.”
“There is a greater problem that goes along with this. When any part of the community is treated as invisible or irrelevant, it sends a signal to the community. They are not important therefore we do not have to deal with them. We believe that when everyone is at the table, it will provide a platform for many of our social ills to dissipate,” concluded Pastor McCurtis.
The FFC official, who asked not to be identified, spoke on and off the record with the publisher of the Tri County Sentry Newspaper. She stated, “I am unable to comment about any complaint going before the FCC.” However, she offered the following website for tracking the FCC’s decision: http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/app_sear.htm.