Office of Communications Business Opportunities hosted Government Advertising Roundtable

The FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities continued its Supplier Diversity Series with its roundtable discussion on diversity and government advertising which it hosted on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at its headquarters in Washington DC. Government procurement experts joined minority broadcasters in a lively conversation about the procurement process and the obstacles women and minority entrepreneurs face in their efforts to do business with the federal government.

Chanel Bankston-Carter attended on behalf of the Department of Veteran Affairs.  Alice Williams represented the Department of Defense; Leslie Jean, the Department of Transportation; and Timothy Smith described the procurement process for the FCC.  Broadcast industry experts, Sherman Kizart of Kizart Media Partners, Melody Spann-Cooper of Midway Broadcasting Corp, Steve Roberts of the Roberts Companies, and James Winston, President of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters rounded out the panel.

Each year Federal Agencies spend approximately 1 billion dollars on advertising services, but according to James Winston, there isn’t much information on how or where these dollars are being spent.  Roundtable participants examined strategies for reaching minority and underserved communities no matter the platform. They also addressed how women and minority owned broadcasting companies and advertising agencies can participate in procurements for advertising services; and equally important, how diverse business can assist the federal government in getting its message out.  As an initial matter though, the discussion highlighted a significant disconnect between government agencies and minority broadcasters.  Lack of access.  Government panelists noted that minority broadcasters need to be sure they are speaking with the right decision makers.  They even offered to facilitate meetings for panel participants.  Bur first, they had this to say to entrepreneurs who wish to stay on the federal procurement radar:

In short, government procurement experts advised small businesses to “be seen.”  Government customers won’t know you unless you show up on the right registries.

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