The Price And Privilege Of Television Ownership Should Not Be Taken Lightly

Owning a broadcast television station is a great privilege in America. It gives the owner the opportunity to bring news, weather, entertainment and other important stories to thousands of local communities throughout our nation.

Local television is often the first place that most Americans look whenever there is a natural disaster, storm or, God forbid, catastrophes like bombings, mass shootings or terrorist incidents that have become part of our fabric.

Local TV is also the place we expect to see coverage of our local high school football and basketball games and the celebration of our neighbors’ milestone birthdays, anniversaries and good deeds.

Along with this great privilege comes tremendous responsibility. I have had the good fortune and great privilege of becoming one of the largest minority broadcast television owners in the United States, with stations in South Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. Over a decade, I have built a series of local TV stations that are dedicated to bringing relevant news, documentaries and feature stories to all viewers in those communities.

Of course, none of this would have been possible for me without the commitment, character and partnership of a major broadcaster who made a corporate decision to help advance minority media ownership and diversity. Acquiring and operating television stations is a particularly capital-intensive business. It requires millions of dollars to buy them and millions to keep them up and running. While there have been many minorities interested in buying stations, few have assembled the necessary financing experience and partnership to make it work. Today, there are only four African American owners of television stations in the U.S.

The sorry state of affairs for minority ownership makes the case of Marshall Broadcasting Group vs. Nexstar Media Group, filed last week in New York state court, very troubling. 

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Howard StirkComment