Friday, November 15, 2013

FCC Approves Changes In Foreign Ownership Rules

FCC Approves Changes In Foreign Ownership Rules

November 14, 2013

The FCC voted unanimously today to ease limits on foreign ownership of U.S. broadcasting companies, though on a case-by-case basis. The Commission will let broadcasters exceed the former limit of a 25 percent investment in American radio and TV owners.
New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the changes could lead to freeing up capital for broadcasters, as well as improvements in local broadcasting and minority ownership, according toVariety. Wheeler also noted that there will be a "case-by-case detailed review" in any situation involving ownership potentially passing the 25 percent threshold.

Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, also new to the FCC, voiced concerns that the changes did not go far enough in lowering the regulatory barriers, reports Variety.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement, "NAB applauds the FCC for providing flexibility in Commission rules allowing increased foreign investment in broadcast TV and radio stations. We are especially pleased the FCC recognized that local broadcasters routinely provide ‘local news, Amber Alerts and public safety information’ to serve our communities. Today’s vote provides broadcasters greater access to capital that will allow local stations to continue our indispensable role as the primary purveyor of news, entertainment and lifeline information to the American people."

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council applauded the move, saying in a statement, "This FCC policy reform – the very first new initiative to be voted on by the Wheeler Commission – would make much-needed investment capital available to struggling broadcasters – particularly minority owners. The move would also facilitate American broadcasters’ reciprocal entry into diverse overseas markets hungry for African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American information, music, and culture."
The changes were proposed last month by then-Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn.

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