FCC Proposes Revisions To Relax Reviews Of Foreign Ownership Of Broadcast Licensees
October 22, 2015 at 11:29 AM (PT)
The FCC has proposed revising foreign ownership reviews to streamline the inquiries into compliance with the 25% foreign ownership cap in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released TODAY by a unanimous vote.
The changes would keep the 25% limit but would affirm and codify in the rules the current policy of allowing licensees to ask for approval for its parent to have up to 100% foreign ownership, subject to a public interest review; allow licensees to allow that a proposed controlling foreign investor be allowed to increase ownership to 100% after initial approval without the need to file a new petition; give broadcast licensees the permission allowed to other licensees to have pre-approved non-controlling foreign ownership increase to 49.99% without a new petition; not requiring licensees to get approval for non-controlling foreign investors of 5% (or, in some cases, 10%) or less; and allow licensees to continue to use the broadcast attribution rules to disclose their principal U.S. and foreign owners and to rely on broadcast insulation rules.
NAB EVP/Communications DENNIS WHARTON issued a statement saying, "NAB applauds the FCC for opening a rulemaking exploring opportunities for easing foreign investment in local radio and TV stations. We share the Commissioners' belief that relaxing these ownership regulations will spur new investment in broadcasting leading to job creation, increased production of locally oriented programming, and greater public service to communities."
FCC Approves NC Station Sale With Consent Decree, Fines Niagara Station Owner Over STL Location
In other FCC actions, the Media Bureau adopted a Consent Decree approving the sale of Silent WLFA/ASHEVILLE, NC by ASHEVILLE EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION, INC. to RADIO TRAINING NETWORK, INC. but fining the parties a collective $10,000 due to a time brokerage agreement that amounted, in the Commission's views, to a premature transfer of control by including escalating payments unrelated to the cost of broadcasting and by delegating core responsibilities to RTN.
And M.J. PHILLIPS COMMMUNICATIONS, licensee of Oldies WJJL-A/NIAGARA FALLS, NY, has been fined $6,400 by the FCC for operating studio-transmitter link WHB714/NIAGARA FALLS from an unauthorized location in WEST SENECA, NY.