Pandora files first petition for declaratory ruling
In November, the FCC changed its policy regarding the foreign ownership of broadcast stations. In its decision, about which we wrote here, it agreed to entertain applications seeking “alien ownership” exceeding the 25% limit for foreign ownership of broadcast stations that had previously been in place. In the modern communications era, with its diversity of media outlets, the Commission determined that the risk of increased foreign ownership was outweighed by the potential for new entrants into the broadcast industry, backed by new sources of capital from outside of the United States. The FCC did not adopt any blanket rules for permitting higher levels of alien ownership, but instead agreed to consider specific requests for a declaratory ruling on a case-by-case basis to show that foreign ownership of a broadcast station in excess of 25% was not contrary to the public interest. Despite the invitation to file such requests, as far as we know, none have been filed – until now, and that comes from what is perhaps an unexpected source – Pandora, which is best known as an Internet radio operator.