The FCC’s Media Bureau rejected a cable company’s argument this week that online-only outreach regarding its job vacancies constituted “wide dissemination of information” of its full-time jobs throughout the community. The FCC long ago declared internet-only recruitment constitutes “inadequate” job outreach but indicated that it would revisit this policy should Internet access become more widespread. Full Channel TV, Inc. tried to get the Bureau to do just that, citing specific percentages of households in its community with Internet access—69% of Rhode Island homes and 72% of nearby Massachusetts’s homes—and arguing that a posting on Craigslist or the company’s website reached a broader audience than one appearing in print. The Commission was not persuaded.
In upholding a $11,000 penalty assessed after an EEO audit, the Bureau steered clear of analyzing the effectiveness of online vs. offline job postings. Instead, the agency focused on the fact that, by the company’s own admission, there was a portion of that community neglected by an online-only job posting—31% for Rhode Island and 28% in Massachusetts.
This decision serves as a rather blunt reminder for those regulated by the FCC EEO rules that a mix of recruitment sources—both offline and online—must be used in advertising all full-time vacancies. It also signals that the FCC remains firm in its stance prohibiting online-only job postings, and doesn’t plan to budge any time soon.
If your station has not recently reviewed its list of recruitment sources, it’s time for a tune up.