Imagine that you’re driving down a residential street – and when you stop at a stop sign, a person in a car labeled “official government business” pulls you over.
They walk up to your window and I announce – “hello, I am officer Smith from the Internal Revenue Service. I noticed that you were speeding through this neighborhood. Please give me $500 for your speeding infraction or I’m going to impound your car”. You ask if they know what the speed limit is – they don’t know, but tell you that in their opinion you looked like you were going fast.
That’s a pretty close analogy to what the FCC just did to Iheart (formerly known as Clear Channel). The FCC is not even technically part of the federal government – it is an independent commission that has been given limited powers to regulate communications. The only enforcement mechanism they have is to not renew your license. They can’t even issue fines that a court would enforce. The FCC only can issue demands for “voluntary contributions” to the U.S. treasury.
Someone at the FCC – probably the same person who advocated that the FCC should force national advertisers to advertise on black radio stations – has just fined an iHeart radio station $9000 for failing to aggressively recruit minority employees. The determination is not that the EEOC report wasn’t posted on the web site, but that the station’s recruitment efforts weren’t “good enough”.
Congress has never given the FCC The authority to tell radio stations who they have to hire – a federal court already told them this. Even if this was referred to the EEOC, the radio station would have an opportunity to refute the assertion at a hearing with a judge familiar with EEO laws who would look at the evidence that they were not complying with federal law regarding how they choose their employees.
In this country, our government is given the power to enforce laws made by the consent of the governed. Radio station owners better be paying attention. Even if you hate clear channel, they’re coming after you next. Welcome to President Obama’s fourth quarter. It’s a shame that Bob Pittman thought President Obama was his friend. Communists always round up their supporters first and chop their legs off. Look forward to Premiere Radio replacing Rush Limbaugh with Radio Havanna.