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December 14, 2000

Separate Statement of Commissioner Susan Ness,
Dissenting in Part

Re: Review of the Commission's Regulations Governing Attribution of Broadcast Interests

While I support most of the Order's conclusions, particularly elimination of the single majority shareholder exemption, see Order at Paras. 40-44, I would have preferred narrowly crafting an exemption to the equity-plus-debt ("EDP") rule to better reflect the realities of the banking industry. Specifically, I believe that a bank whose lending arm extends credit to a broadcaster does not implicate our diversity concerns when its equity investment arm invests in a different broadcaster in the same market. In practice, the lending and equity groups in a modern bank do not coordinate their efforts. When our attribution rules contemplate treating such disparate groups as the same source of ownership and influence, the rules misconstrue marketplace realities. As one commenter in this proceeding pointed out, when our rules codify such inaccurate reflections of the financial industry, banks can be discouraged from making investments in the broadcasting industry. See Petition for Reconsideration of Wells Fargo Communications Finance, Division of Norwest Bank MN, NA at 2-3 (October 18, 1999).

Thus, I would have supported a narrowly crafted exemption to the EDP rule for banks and other institutional investors, where the practices of lending institutions demonstrate that our policy interest in viewpoint diversity is not threatened by the investments of a bank's equity and lending entities. I therefore respectfully dissent in part. See Order at Paras. 19-22.