FCC To Vote On Foreign Ownership Change

The commission will consider a request by the Coalition for Broadcast Investment that the FCC consider on a case-by-case basis proposals for foreign investment in broadcast companies in excess of the de facto 25% limitation.

The FCC announced today that at its Nov. 14 open meeting it will vote on a declaratory ruling concerning a request by the Coalition for Broadcast Investment that the FCC consider on a case-by-case basis proposals for foreign investment in broadcast companies in excess of the de facto 25% limitation.

Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said the action “clears the way for increased access to capital and potential new investors for the broadcast sector. Approval of this item will clarify the commission’s intention to review, on a case-by-case basis, proposed transactions that would exceed the 25% benchmark that restricts foreign ownership in companies holding broadcast licenses. I look forward to working with my colleagues toward a final commission vote next month.”

NAB President-CEO Gordon Smith issued this statement: “NAB applauds Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn for proposing that the commission should consider foreign investment in U.S. broadcast properties the same way it considers such investments in other telecommunications properties. This is fundamentally fair and will serve the public interest. Permitting new potential sources of capital for American radio and TV stations will  strengthen our ability to continue providing compelling news, entertainment and sports programming and to remain competitive in a multichannel digital world.”

In response, Mace Rosenstein, a Covington & Burling partner who advises the Coalition, said: “We are gratified that the commission is taking this significant step, and we appreciate Chairwoman Clyburn’s leadership on this important issue. The proposed ruling would enable broadcasters to access capital on the same terms as their cable, wireline, wireless and online counterparts, and could be especially important to minority and women broadcast entrepreneurs.  We are pleased the commission will consider the request from a broad array of diverse stakeholders to clarify its existing statutory authority to permit broadcast foreign investment that is consistent with the public interest and our national security,” Rosenstein said.

The Coalition includes many community and civil rights organizations including the League of United Latin American Citizens, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce; and broadcasters including Entravision Communications Corp., Bustos Media Holdings, Hearst Television Inc., CBS Corp., The Walt Disney Co., Univision Communications and Clear Channel Communications.


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