FCC, Justice Department reviewing so-called 'covert radio network' in U.S. from China

Nov 02, 2015 11:48 pm
Reuters reports that the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are both looking into a California company broadcasting in more than a dozen major American cities, backed by a subsidiary of the Chinese government. Reuters uncovered what it is calling it a, "covert radio network," broadcasting in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and other cities. “Based on reports, the FCC will initiate an inquiry into the facts surrounding the foreign ownership issues raised in the stories, including whether the Commission’s statutory foreign ownership rules have been violated,” FCC spokesman Neil Grace said. G&E Studio is owned by James Su, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Shanghai. G&E Studio is 60 percent owned by a subsidiary of Chinese state-run radio broadcaster China Radio International. The FCC does not allow foreign governments or their representatives to hold radio licenses in America. Foreign individuals, governments, and corporations can only hold up to a 20 percent interest in a station and up to 25 percent in a U.S. parent corporation of a radio or television station. Content on G&E stations, Reuters reports, is produced at G&E's West Covina, California studios or by China Radio International in Beijing. "The news programming on these CRI-backed stations sticks closely to the Chinese government line on a host of issues, including the current military standoff in the South China Sea between China and the United States," Reuters claims. James Su’s spokeswoman declined to comment on Nov. 2, but on Sept. 16 told Reuters his radio network abides by U.S. law because he leases all the air time from stations, rather than owning them outright. Read the full story from Reuters.