FCC loosens TV, radio ownership rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Thursday to loosen rules restricting foreign ownership of broadcast TV and radio stations.

The decision brings the agency's rules for broadcast foreign ownership more in line with its rules for cable companies, wireless carriers and other industries. 

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The old rules had mostly banned a foreign company from owning more than 25 percent of any TV or radio station. The new rules will maintain case-by-case reviews of every transfer of broadcast licenses. 

The commission approved the rule in the first meeting led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, who took office last week. 

Gordon Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, praised the decision. 

"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," Smith said in a statement.