Grilling the Comcast/NBC execs on diversity worked… Rep. Maxine Waters has long questioned whether allowing Comcast to merge with NBC was a good thing in terms of minority participation, hiring and diversity — particularly since viewership is heavily minority. Looks like Comcast is actually coming through on their end. The issue of diversity on the station has come up in several hearing over the past two years. Waters and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee pointedly questioned a group of 99% male NBC and Comcast executives during a hearing in March 2010. With the news of Melissa Harris Perry’s show and the already established Al Sharpton Show Politics Nation, there is more diversity at NBC than any other network other than BET. As a result, many issues that might never come up on a major network are discussed regularly. At NBC starting to get like what the NFL did years ago with black coaches. The NFL made it mandatory that at least one black coach had to be interviewed for an open coaching position (not hired, just interviewed..). As a result, there are so many black coaches coming and going (some fail, some succeed…) no one notices when one is hired or fired.
From Rep. Waters: Congresswoman Waters Congratulates Magic Johnson, applauds Comcast’s Launch of Minority-Owned Channels
Washington, February 22- Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) released the following statement commending Comcast-NBC Universal’s launch of four new independent minority-owned channels. Throughout the course of the Comcast-NBC merger review, Rep. Waters: initiated congressional hearings, pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend the comment period for additional public input, filed comments with the FCC, and led congressional efforts to ensure that if the merger was approved, it contained conditions that expanded opportunities for women and minorities in media ownership, programming, and advertising. I am pleased that Comcast-NBC Universal has taken steps to honor its commitment to media diversity in programming and ownership. All throughout the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice’s reviews of the Comcast-NBC Merger, I challenged both companies to present credible voluntary commitments and proposals that would expand media diversity by extending ownership opportunities to minority and women-owned enterprises. With the scheduled launches of both Magic Johnson’s “Aspire” and Sean Combs’ “Revolt” television networks, Comcast-NBC appears to be making progress in efforts to fulfill its public interest commitments. In addition to these two new networks, I am also pleased with the announcement of the two new Latino-owned channels and look forward to learning more about Robert Rodriguez’s “El Rey” and Constantino “Said” Schwarz’s “BabyFirst Americas” television networks.
From the launch of new MSNBC shows from the Rev. Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris Perry, Tamron Hall, and Martin Bashir, to Comcast-NBC’s recently-announced deals with Suzanne DePasse, Magic Johnson, and Sean Combs, it is clear that Comcast has begun to act on the concerns that I, and the community of independent minority media professionals, raised throughout the course of the merger review. While these initial steps are commendable, I urge the company to continue to cultivate diversity among its executive leadership, showrunners, and other studio heads with “greenlighting” authority, all across its owned and operated media properties. In doing so, Comcast-NBC Universal would be a trailblazer within an industry that continues to struggle with diversity and inclusion. To that end, I offer heartfelt congratulations to the all of the new networks, led by diverse talent, who will now be in a position to extend opportunities to untapped talent, who without Comcast-NBC’s voluntary commitment to support diversity, may not have had the chance to showcase their talents. It is also my sincere hope that Comcast-NBC will support these new ventures with the same channel placement, marketing, and promotional muscle they provide other channels on their systems, and that other companies will follow Comcast-NBC’s lead in diversifying their pool of suppliers and content producers.