UC Law SF Communications and Entertainment Journal


Under the Federal Communications Commission's "distress sale" policy, a broadcaster whose license has been designated for a revocation hearing, or whose renewal application has been designated for hearing, may assign the license to an FCC-approved minority enterprise at a discount price before the hearing. Under recent Supreme Court precedent restricting the use of race-conscious federal measures, the distress sale policy may soon be declared unconstitutional.

If the distress sale policy is declared unconstitutional, the FCC has two significant alternatives. First, the FCC may abolish the distress sale policy altogether. Second, the FCC may create a color-blind distress sale policy which allows broadcasters who are in danger of losing their licenses to sell their stations at a discount price to any small business, regardless of the race of its owner. This article endorses the latter alternative.