Does Pandora Really Want To Own Radio Stations?


    Perhaps not, according to a letter attorney David Oxenford has written to the FCC. Apparently Pandora isn’t really sure it wants to own KXMZ in South Elder, South Dakota, a station it purchased from Jeff Warshaw’s Connoisseur Media for $600K. The main reason Pandora wanted to own the station was to skirt around the ASCAP fees by saying it should be charged the same fees as radio stations — not a pure-play streaming company — now that it was a broadcaster. That did not work out. The Oxenford letter says Pandora is “reevaluating its broadcast strategy.”

    Pandora ran into issues purchasing the station immediately after it was announced in June of 2013. Because they are a public company with many shareholders, some they don’t even know, Pandora was unable to show the Commission whether or not foreign ownership of the company exceeded 25%. However, in 2015, despite the fact the Pandora was still unable to prove foreign ownership levels, the Commission decided the public would be served if the company owned the station. The one condition the Commission placed on the sale was that Pandora get shareholder approval.

    Pandora is holding its shareholder meeting in June and has asked the Commission to ok a delay in getting shareholder approval. The reason…so Pandora can determine if it really wants to be a broadcaster after all or whether it will sell the station. The Oxenford letter says, “Pandora does not want to request its shareholders to make substantial changes to Pandora’s organizational documents. Amending documents to include these foreign ownership provisions unduly burdens the shareholders of Pandora by imposing transfer restrictions, disclosure requirements, and the possibility of the unilateral redemption of their shares.”

    You can see the Oxenford letter to the FCC HERE.


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