Posted on November 22nd, 2013 by

In the form of a declaratory ruling, the FCC has clarified its policies and procedures for reviewing broadcast station transactions that would result in non-U.S. citizens owning more than 25% of the station.  Currently, the Communications Act imposes a 25% limit on foreign ownership of U.S.-organized entities that control broadcast licensees when the FCC finds that the limit is in the public interest.  The FCC’s ruling clarifies that the restriction is not a bar to higher foreign ownership, but rather a trigger for the FCC to exercise discretion to allow foreign ownership of more than 25%. 

With that clarification, the FCC specified the filing procedures for applicants and petitioners seeking approval for foreign ownership above the 25% benchmark, and the detailed information that must be provided in connection with such an application.  The clarification does not remove the FCC’s responsibility to work with Executive Branch agencies on national security, law enforcement, foreign and trade policy in reviewing proposals for broadcast foreign investment.