FCC Opens Door for More Foreign Ownership in Broadcasting

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week presided over his first Open Meeting of the Commission, and among the issues on the docket was a Declaratory Ruling clarifying FCC policy that could allow increased foreign ownership of broadcasting entities. In a press release the FCC noted, “[T]he ruling potentially removes obstacles to new capital investment, which will support small business, minority, and female broadcast ownership, and spur innovation.” The FCC highlighted, however, “The clarification does not alter the FCC’s obligation to protect the public interest, including national security, localism and media diversity.” While a 25 percent ownership stake had acted as a cap on foreign ownership previously, the FCC has now clarified that 25 percent is a benchmark and efforts to exceed that level of foreign ownership will trigger case-by-case reviews.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: November 15, 2013