FCC Equal Employment Opportunity Program

General EEO Policy

     Equal opportunity in employment shall be afforded by all licensees or permittees of commercially or noncommercially operated AM, FM, TV, Class A TV or international broadcast stations (as defined in this part) to all qualified persons, and no person shall be discriminated against in employment by such stations because of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.

EEO Rules

The Commissions new EEO rule became effective on March 10, 2003.

5 basic requirements for broadcasters:

  1. Do not discriminate.
  2. Recruit broadly for all job openings.
  3. Develop a list of referral sources entitled to receive notice of all job openings.
  4. Engage in supplemental non-vacancy specific outreach efforts.
  5. Keep records and file reports with the FCC

    Practice Nondiscrimination (on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or gender).

    1. Engaging in discrimination would raise serious character questions as to the fitness of the broadcaster to remain a Commission licensee.
    2. The Commission has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.
    3. Discrimination on the basis of disability is subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    4. Stations with 5 or more full-time employees must have specific EEO program with the following:

      • Define the responsibility of each level of management to ensure vigorous enforcement of its policy of equal opportunity, and establish a procedure to review and control managerial and supervisory performance.
      • Inform its employees and recognized employee organizations (outreach list) of the equal employment opportunity policy and program and enlist their cooperation.
      • Communicates its EEO policy and program and its employment needs to sources of qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, national origin or sex, and solicits their recruitment assistance on a continuing basis.
      • Conducts continuing program to exclude all unlawful forms of prejudice or discrimination based upon race, color, religion, national origin, or sex from its personnel policies and practices and working conditions.
      • Conducts continuing review of job structure and employment practices and adopt positive recruitment, job design, and other measures needed to ensure genuine equality of opportunity to participate fully in all organizational units, occupations, and levels of responsibility.

    5. The Commission has specific types of activities for stations with 5 or more employees. These must be periodically analyzed.

      • Disseminate station’s EEO program to job applicants and employees.
      • Review seniority practices to ensure that such practices are nondiscriminatory.
      • Examine rates of pay and fringe benefits for employees having the same duties, and eliminate any inequities based upon race, national origin, color, religion or sex discrimination.
      • Utilize media for recruitment purposes in a manner that will contain no indication, either explicit or implicit, of a preference for one race, national origin, color, religion or sex over another;
      • Ensure promotions to positions of greater responsibility are made in a nondiscriminatory manner.
      • Avoid the use of selection techniques or tests that have the effect of discriminating against any person based on race, national origin, color, religion, or sex.

    Conduct Mandatory Outreach

    1. Prong 1

           Widely disseminate throughout the community information concerning each full-time job vacancy, except for job vacancies filled in exigent circumstances (example: employee departs without notice and the duties cannot be fulfilled by another station employee). Must use a variety of recruitment sources to reach all segments of the community. (example: Internet postings, over-the-air announcements, print, etc.)

           NOTE: The Commission stated very rare instances, exigent circumstances where it is not possible to conduct full recruitment. Commission also recognizes circumstances where there is a need for confidentiality to not alert an existing employee who is being replaced or the broadcaster’s competitors. Blind recruitment might be appropriate.

        Commission stated it will review the entirety of the broadcaster’s recruitment efforts when assessing whether the exigent circumstances truly exist or are being used merely to avoid normal recruitment. Finally, the Commission has stated that it would in rare circumstances recognize as an exigent circumstance, the availability of a truly unique and exceptional talent that is unlikely to be found through recruitment, but has stated that this exception cannot be used every time a broadcaster has identified a “preferred” candidate because it would make recruitment effectively optional, especially for the best jobs.

    2. Prong 2

           Provide notice of each full-time job vacancy to recruitment organizations that have requested such notice. Once an organization asks to receive notices, the organization is permanently on the mailing list unless and until the organization notifies the broadcaster that it no longer wishes to receive the notices or the organization ceases to exist. Broadcasters may mail, fax or email such notices as well as use a third party, such as a state broadcasters’ association, to send such notices so long as the broadcaster understands that it remains legally responsible for compliance.

           According to the Commission, this requirement provides a “safety value” to ensure that no segment of the community is inadvertently omitted from recruitment efforts. Organizations or other entities with ties to specific segments of the labor force, such as persons with disability, college students, or members of different racial, ethnic or religious groups could help broaden the reach of recruitment efforts. Accordingly, these organizations must be in addition to those used under Prong 1, not as a substitute therefore.

           Importantly. Broadcasters must make such organizations aware of their right to receive such notifications: “We also expect broadcasters to make reasonable efforts to publicize the notification requirements so that qualifiying groups are able to learn of the new procedure. Joint announcements by broadcasters or state broadcasters’ associations – such as press releases, newspaper ads, and notices posted on the web site – would satisfy the requirement to publicize. Similarly, broadcasters could satisfy this requirement by individually issuing such announcements, or by providing on-air announcements.”

    3. Prong 3

      Broadcasters are required to complete for (stations with more than 10 full-time employees located in larger markets) longer-term recruitment initiatives during each two-year period in a given license term.

      The FCC said that stations required to complete four menu options over each two-year period should accomplish one for each six months of the period remaining after the effective date of the rule.


      • participation in at least four job fairs by station personnel who have substantial responsibility in the making of hiring decisions;
      • hosting at least one job fair;
      • co-sponsoring at least one job fair with organizations in the business and professional community who membership includes substantial participation of women and minorities;
      • participation in at least four events sponsored by organizations representing groups present in the community interested in broadcast employment issues, including conventions, career days, workshops, and similar activities;
      • establishment of an internship program designed to assist members of the community to acquire skills needed for broadcast employment;
      • participation in job banks, Internet programs, and other programs designed to promote outreach generally (example: that are not primarily directed to providing notification of specific job vacancies);
      • participation in scholarship programs designed to assist students interested in pursuing a career in broadcasting;
      • establishment of training programs designed to enable station personnel to acquire skills that could qualify them for higher level positions;
      • establishment of a mentoring program for station personnel;
      • participation in at least four events or programs sponsored by educational institutions relating to career opportunities in broadcasting;
      • sponsorship or attending at least two events in the community designed to inform and educate members of the public as to employment opportunities in broadcasting;
      • listing of each upper-level category opening in a job bank or newsletter of media trade groups whose membership includes substantial participation of women and minorities;
      • provision of assistance to unaffiliated nonprofit entities in the maintenance of websites that provide counseling on the process of searching for broadcast employment and/or other career development assistance pertinent to broadcasting;
      • provision of training to management level personnel as to methods of ensuring equal employment opportunity and preventing discrimination;
      • provision of training to personnel of unaffiliated nonprofit organizations interested in broadcast employment opportunities that would enable them to better refer job candidates for broadcast positions;
      • participation in other activities designed by the station to be reasonably calculated to further the goal of disseminating information as to employment opportunities in broadcasting to job candidates who might otherwise be unaware of such opportunities.

      The Commission requires that stations claiming credit for job fair sponsorship or scholarship programs do more than merely lend their names or money to the effort to receive credit and that the number of stations seeking credit for the same effort be comparable to the impact the effort had. Accordingly, merely donating to a state broadcasters’ association scholarship will not be sufficient. Station personnel must be involved in some way such as interviewing applicants for the scholarship, or establishing selection criteria. Similarly, station personnel must be in attendance at or participate in the development of a job fair or event presented by a corporate owner in order for that station to claim credit.

    Collect, But Not Routinely Submit

      All stations with five or more full-time employees must collect the following information:

      1. Listings of all full-time job vacancies filled, identified by job title;
      2. For each such vacancy, the recruitment sources contacted to fill the vacancy identified by name, address, contact person and telephone number.
      3. Dated copies of all advertisements, bulletins, letters, faxes, emails or other communications announcing job vacancies;
      4. Documentation demonstrating performance of the Prong 3 menu choices;
      5. The total number of interviewees for each vacancy and referral source for each interviewee; and
      6. The date each job vacancy was filled and the recruitment source that referred the hiree.

      Prepare, and Place in the Station Public Inspection File, Annually on the Anniversary of the Filing of the Station’s License Renewal Application, a Report Which Includes the Following:

      1. A list of all full-time job vacancies filled during the preceding year, identified by job title;
      2. Recruitment sources used to fill each of those job vacancies including the address, contact person, and telephone number of each recruitment source;
      3. A list of the recruitment sources that referred the individuals hired for each full-time job vacancy that was filled;
      4. Data reflecting the total number of persons interviewed for full-time job vacancies during the preceding year and the total number of interviewees referred by each recruitment source; and
      5. A list and brief description of Prong 3 menu choices that the station implemented during the preceding year.

      The annual public inspection file report is due on August 1 each year for stations in Pennsylvania. The report must also be posted on the station(s)’s website. Reports for the preceding two years must also be submitted to the FCC with FCC Form 397 at license midterm for those stations that are subject to midterm review (stations with more than 10 full-time employees). Reports for the preceding two years must also be submitted as part of the station’s license renewal application. (Two years’ worth of reports are required since broadcasters have two years in which to complete Prong 3 menu choices).


      The Commission has said that it will monitor compliance via the mid-term review and at license renewal time. In addition, FCC will conduct random audits and targeted investigations when it is informed of possible violations. The standard potential penalties will apply, including admonishment, reporting conditions, forfeitures, short-term renewal, designation for hearing and license revocation.

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