Entertainment mogul Byron Allen has filed a petition with the FCC, claiming Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has not lived up to program diversity conditions imposed on it amid regulatory approval for its purchase of NBCUniversal five years ago.
African-American-targeted networks Aspire and Revolt were launched in the wake of Comcast's memorandum of understanding with the FCC, which stipulated that the MSO launch two channels owned by African-Americans within two years after closure of the NBCU merger. Allen argues that those channels do not adequately meet the merger conditions.
"Rather than negotiate in good faith with an established program provider that is 100 percent owned by an African-American, Comcast has chosen to deal with organizations that are nothing more than front organizations, fronts to each of which one prominent African American has lent his name while non-African-Americans call the shots and reap the benefits," Allen said in his petition.
Aspire counts Magic Johnson as an investor, while Revolt counts Sean Combs as its principle investor.
Allen owns Entertainment Studios and the National Association of African-American Owned Media. He is the midst of a $20 million racial discrimination suit against Comcast and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), which the cable companies have been unable to make go away.
Allen has filed similar program-diversity complaints against Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and DirecTV (NYSE: T).
In his FCC petition, Allen also criticized FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn for not doing enough to scrutinize Comcast.
"Commissioner Clyburn should be leading the charge in this effort, because it was she who sternly warned, in her concurrence to the grant of the Comcast merger, that she 'would be watching closely with a large megaphone in hand' to ensure Comcast's compliance."
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