by WorldTribune Staff, August 15, 2018
The sale of a Mexican radio station, which broadcasts into the United States, to a Hong Kong firm with ties the Chinese military and intelligence has raised alarm bells in Washington, a report said.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), XEWW AM 690, a 77,500-watt station capable of reaching all of southern California, was sold to Phoenix Satellite Television US, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Phoenix TV.
XEWW is located in Rosarito, Mexico, about 10 miles from the U.S. border.
The radio station could soon switch from a Spanish broadcaster into a Chinese-language outlet “capable of reaching over 600,000 Chinese Americans living in the San Diego-Los Angeles area with Beijing’s propaganda themes,” Bill Gertz reported for the Washington Free Beacon on Aug. 13.
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, called on the FCC to investigate the sale of the radio station.
“The FCC must protect American security and economic interests, and deny any attempt by the Chinese government to broadcast Communist Party propaganda and other programming into the United States,” Rubio said.
The Trump administration has begun an investigation into the national security implications of the sale, government sources said, according to Gertz’s report.
“Phoenix TV has been identified by U.S. intelligence agencies as a major overseas outlet used to spread propaganda and promote the policies of the communist government in Beijing. The Hong Kong television station also has close ties to China’s intelligence service and military,” Gertz wrote.
Rubio said he will introduce legislation requiring all media outlets owned, directed, or otherwise controlled by the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party to register as foreign agents.
Gertz’s report noted that, “even though the sale involves a foreign broadcaster, the FCC has a role because the Mexican radio station broadcasts into the United States. Under a 1992 U.S.-Mexico agreement limiting foreign broadcasts from Mexico that can reach the United States, the FCC can block the sale if the agreement will be violated.”
The station was sold by GLR Southern California. GLR, or Grupo Latino de Radio, is the U.S. subsidiary of PRISA Radio, the world largest Spanish-language radio group, the report said.
The FCC application by GLR states the new ownership will provide “a full range of Mandarin Chinese programming on station XEWW-AM including music, entertainment, weather report, local (LA) traffic report, and local Chinese community news.”