FCC Adopts New Radio Incubator Program – Established Stations May Obtain Exemption from Ownership Rules

Last week the FCC adopted new rules to encourage new entrants into radio (not TV). The incubator program is designed to help small businesses, struggling station owners, and new entrants that do not have any other means to access the financial assistance and operational support. The program seeks to do so by pairing together, in a mentoring and supportive relationship, established broadcasters with either new entrants to the broadcasting industry or small broadcasters, including struggling station owners.  Established broadcasters (i.e., incubating entities) will provide the new entrants or small broadcasters (i.e., incubated entities) with the training, financing, and access to resources that would be otherwise inaccessible to these entities.

At the end of the incubation relationship, the incubated entity (i.e., the new broadcaster) will either own a broadcast station or will retain ownership of a previously struggling station, now set on a firmer footing.  In return for its support, the incubating entity (i.e., the established broadcaster) will receive a waiver of the applicable local radio ownership rule that it can use either in the incubated market or in a comparable market within three years.

This is a final Report and Order and the new rules will become effective 30 days after they are published in the Federal Register.  To see a copy of the FCC’s decision click HERE.


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