The Coalition for Broadcast Investment believes that allowing greater access to foreign capital will make it easier for women and minorities to finance deals and increase airwave ownership diversity. NAB filed with the FCC in support.
It said, “…granting this request would help inject vital investment capital into the broadcast industry, thereby promoting a more competitive, diverse and innovative industry. The Commission’s exercise of its statutory discretion as requested by CBI thus would serve the public interest.”
The NAB made several points:
1. The rules already grant the FCC the authority to exercise its discretion to revoke a license with greater than 25% control, which implies that it can choose not to revoke a license for that reason if it finds the arrangement to be in the public interest. The fact that the FCC has not so far ever done so does not mean that it cannot.
2. NAB quoted Commissioner Ajit Pai, who said, “Broadcasters need to access capital in order to grow their business.” Gaining the ability to invest in the quality of broadcast service will ultimately benefit the general public.
3. There is no rational reason not to grant CBI’s request, said NAB. It said that “…the past security-focused rationales for strictly limiting foreign investment in broadcast entities appear outdated and unpersuasive.” NAB echoed CBI’s comment that a more likely path for a foreign communications attack on the US is in the cybersecurity realm these days, not by exercising editorial control over broadcast transmissions.
NAB concluded, “As Commissioner Pai recently stated, ‘our current policy on foreign investment as applied to the broadcast industry is anachronistic, illogical, and bad for minority ownership.’ For these reasons, NAB encourages the Commission to grant CBI’s request as expeditiously as possible.”