FCC Tells XEWW to Shutdown Chinese Programming from Irwindale

The FCC’s International Bureau today dismissed an application to deliver Mandarin Chinese programming from a studio located in Irwindale, California to XEWW-AM in Rosarito, BCN for rebroadcast back into the United States. The application was dismissed because the parties failed to include in their application a key participant, Phoenix Radio, which produces the Mandarin programming in its studio. Phoenix Radio is partially owned by two entities with Chinese government ownership, Extra Steps Investment Limited and China Wise International Limited. The parties have 48 hours to cease broadcast operations related to this application.

The move appears to be an attempt to shutdown Chinese government propaganda broadcasts from the border AM station XEWW 690 kHz, though that goal is not stated in the FCC, but Senator Ted Cruz expressed an intent to introduce legislation intended to block such broadcasts. All US broadcasters, including those operating outlets like XETRA “91X” and XHTZ 90.3 FM, are required to file a Form 325c application. The permit allows companies to transmit programming electronically that will return over-the-air via Mexican or Canadian licensed radio or TV stations.

The FCC Order said, “The Bureau formally dismissed the Permit to Deliver Programs to Foreign Broadcast Stations (section 325(c)) application of GLR Southern California and H&H Group USA as deficient as the application failed to include Phoenix Radio, LLC, as an applicant. Phoenix Radio’s known activities at this broadcast programming studio are such that, without reviewing its role as an applicant, the FCC could not evaluate the proposed service. Specifically, the broadcast programming subject to this application is supplied, created, and produced in a studio used, owned, and maintained by Phoenix Radio. The Bureau also dismissed an associated request to renew Special Temporary Authority to operate pending Commission action on the underlying section 325(c) application.

“If such a revised application is filed that includes Phoenix Radio as an applicant, the Commission would review it under applicable law, including determining whether the grant of the application would serve the public interest under Section 309 of the Communications Act.”