Diversity makes us smarter — it fosters innovation and competition, it makes us creative and hard-working, and it forces us to look at things differently. With all of this in mind, it seems that encouraging diversity should be a easy, right?
No, It’s really hard.
In the United States, the “melting-pot” of the world, white males own about 75% of full-power commercial TV stations. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 made it a whole lot easier for the biggest media companies to merge, and with giant mergers like NBC and Comcast, media ownership by females and minorities have significantly dwindled.
For example, with a lack of restrictions that limit mergers and ownership limits, media groups can own upwards of thousands of radio stations. The U.S. is made of roughly 50% of females, and a disappointing 6.5 percent of females own full power commercial TV stations and FM radio stations. The numbers don’t match.
So how do we fix it? How can we encourage diversity in all aspects of media ownership? Here’s my thoughts:
- Start in the heart of the company. Hire diverse editors, executives, and employees, because all media begins through the lived experiences of those who share it.
- Encompass all aspects of diversity — going beyond race and gender and looking at economic, geographic and social backgrounds ensure true diversity.
- Enact government regulations. Nobody likes when the government steps in to regulate, but when mergers happen and and monopolies appear, we lose diversity and lack of choice for consumers.