MIAMI — Does foreign ownership of a three-signal network of signals pumping EDM beats across South Florida serve the public interest?
The FCC on December 19, 2017, put that question to the public. On Friday, a declaratory ruling and memorandum opinion and order finally came for the petitioners.
Can the sale of Revolution 93-5 to a group of Italian citizens led by a longtime star at Mediaset’s Radio 105 Network, who aired a show his U.S. company is named after proceed?
The answer is yes — and it is a minor blow to a company that sold its Class C3 FM in Palm Beach County, Fla., to the party that wishes to transfer control to Marco Mazzoli‘s Zoo Communications LLC.
In November 2017, Zoo joined together with ANCO Media Group in filing a petition for declaratory ruling seeking FCC consent to transfer the Palm Beach-area facility — WBGF-FM 93.5 in Belle Glade — along with Class C2 WZFL-FM 93.5 in Islamorada and Miami-based translator W228BY at 93.5 MHz from ANCO to Zoo.
ANCO is comprised of three U.S. citizens, whereas Zoo is wholly comprised of Italian citizens. As such, exceeding the 25% foreign ownership rule required Commission approval.
This was granted Friday (2/22).
This means that the three signals that make up “Revolution 93-5” will now be under Mazzoli’s direct ownership. He’ll hold 40% of Zoo, with Claudio Castiglioni Dompe holding another 40%. Two other individuals, both Italians, will each hold 10% interest in Zoo. Marco is GM and Marketing Director for Revolution.
A petition to deny was filed by John Caracciolo‘s JVC Broadcasting in January 2018. However, the Media Bureau denied this petition. To Caracciolo, questions as to whether Zoo’s putative ownership “ever reflected reality or was always a convenient sham designed to evade legal limits of foreign ownership” were raised.
JVC emphasized that the Purchase Agreement indicates that all of the monetary consideration for the transaction is to be paid to Zoo, and that two current members of Zoo, who hold an 80% voting and equity interest, “will have their membership interests taken away and sold to Anco, but will receive nothing in return.”
Zoo did not address the merits of JVC’s allegations. Rather, it argued that JVC’s pleadings constitute an improper abuse of the Commission’s processes to “advance its own private agenda in non-FCC related state civil litigation.”
In denying JVC’s petition, Audio Division Chief Albert Shuldiner said, “Although a licensee or permittee may delegate certain functions on a day-to-day basis, the ultimate responsibility for these three essential station operations is non-delegable … There is no evidence … that Mazzoli usurped control over the stations, as JVC alleges, or that the Zoo principals did not retain ultimate authority over station operations.”