Although the number of FCC-licensed radio stations has increased in the past three years, minority radio ownership has remained flat during that time period, according to a study released by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC).

The study, authored by Santa Clara University professor Catherine Sandoval, in partnership with Professor Allen S. Hammond and David Honig of the MMTC, found that there were 815 minority-controlled commercial radio stations in 2009, compared to 812 in 2007. During the same time period, the overall number of commercial radio stations grew from 10,506 in 2007 to 11,249 in 2009.

The number of minority-controlled stations represents 7.24% of all commercial radio stations, down from 7.76% in 2007.

The study also found that 324 distinct owners control those 815 commercial stations. Of those owners, 139 are Hispanic and 129 are African American. Sixty one percent of the owners-or 198 of them-control only one station.

More telling, 53% of those 324 minority owners were awarded their first license prior to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, at a time when the FCC took race into account as a factor to promote diversity in broadcasting. The study also found that the majority of these stations-74.7% of them-broadcast minority oriented formats.

In related news, Austin has lost three Spanish language stations after Border media flipped them to English language talk radio over the weekend. KHHL-FM (98.9 La Ley), which since 2005 had broadcast regional Mexican music, is now 98.9 “The Big Talker.” Simulcast Digital 104.9/92.5 FM (KXXS/KXBT), which used to broadcast Latin pop, is now an ESPN station, “The Horn.” Border Media now has only a single Spanish language station in Austin, 1490 AM Juan, which broadcasts Spanish language oldies.

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