Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2011

FCC Issues Report to Congress on Access to In-State Television Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC just issued a Report to Congress concerning the access of television viewers to in-state television stations.  This report was requested by Congress as part of STELA (the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act), which extended the compulsory license for direct to home satellite television operators (DISH and DirecTV) - a license which gives them copyright clearances to retransmit all the … Continue Reading

Digital Low Power Television Rules Go Into Effect; Sept. 1 is Deadline for Out-of-Core LPTV Stations to Seek Displacement

Posted in Low Power Television/Class A TV
The Commission’s recent Order establishing the rules and time line for low power television stations to convert to DTV has now been published in the Federal Register, meaning that most of the new rules regarding the conversion of low power television stations to digital television are now in effect.  As we wrote about extensively here,on July 15, 2011, the … Continue Reading

FCC Clarifies Rural Radio Order for City of License Changes Within a Market and From One Market to Another

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio
Changing the city of license of a broadcast station was made more difficult by the FCC’s rural radio order.  That order, about which we wrote here, imposed substantial obstacles on broadcasters attempting to move their stations from rural areas into urbanized areas – making such moves difficult if not impossible in many cases.  However, in … Continue Reading

FCC Extends to September 6 the Comment Deadline for LPFM/FM Translator Proceeding

Posted in FM Translators and LPFM
The FCC just issued a public notice extending the comment deadline in its proceeding to determine how to process the FM translator applications pending from the 2003 FM translator window so as to not unduly preempt opportunities for new LPFM stations.  Comments were originally due to be filed today, but the deadline has now been … Continue Reading

Securing a Loan to a Broadcaster – Part 1 – FCC Case Clarifies How a Creditor Enforces Its Rights After a Default

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, General FCC
How do you secure a loan to an FCC broadcast licensee? This was the issue discussed by a case released by the Commission last week – addressing the FCC’s policies prohibiting a station creditor from foreclosing on a broadcast license and also restricting the sale of a “bare license.” While this case involved an action for collection by … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Order Reinstating Television Video Description Rules

Posted in Digital Television, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Yesterday, the FCC released its Report and Order (available here) reinstating its “video description” rules, which require that certain broadcast stations and nonbroadcast networks provide audio narration of the action depicted in the video portion of the television programming.  The Commission originally adopted such rules back in 2000, but they were subsequently vacated by the D.C. Court of … Continue Reading

Hurricanes and Earthquakes – Emergency Communications In the Spotlight With CAP Conversion and National EAS Test Coming Soon (Though, For CAP, Maybe Not As Soon As We Thought)

Posted in Emergency Communications
There has been much focus on emergency communications recently, with the East Coast earthquake re-igniting the debate over FM-enabled mobile phones, and with Hurricane Irene forcing stations to gear up for emergency coverage in the coming days.  But even without these unusual events, the emergency communications world has been much in the news, given the current requirement … Continue Reading

Text of Deletion of Broadcast Rules Released – Nothing More Substantive than Repeal of Fairness Doctrine, Though Congress Wants More

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, General FCC
We wrote about FCC Chairman Genachowski’s announcement of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine as part of the FCC’s repeal of 83 media related rules.  Well, the full text of the repeal was released today, and the Fairness Doctrine really was the only real headline.  For broadcasters, all of the other deleted rules were even less … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Filing Date to December 1 for 2011 Form 323 Biennial Ownership Report – New Significance After Prometheus Court Decision

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules
In 2009, the FCC adopted a uniform deadline for all commercial broadcast licensees to file an FCC Form 323 Biennial Ownership Report.  The due date for that report was supposed to be November 1 of that year, but was postponed until July of 2010 when problems popped up with the new forms.  The next Biennial Ownership reporting date was … Continue Reading

FCC Repeals the Fairness Doctrine – Who Cares?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Yesterday, FCC Chairman Genachowski issued a press release stating that the FCC was abolishing the Fairness Doctrine as part of its clearing of its book of 83 obsolete media rules.  What should the reaction of broadcasters be now that the Fairness Doctrine has been officially abolished?  Probably, a collective yawn.  In 1987 – almost 25 years ago … Continue Reading

FCC Freezes TV and LPTV Applications for Channel 51 – Encourages Users to Vacate the Channel

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV
The FCC today froze all applications for TV channel 51 by both applicants for full-power and low power facilities.  Channel 51 is immediately adjacent to the parts of the television bands that were reclaimed for wireless uses during the DTV transition.  Wireless users, including CTIA and the Rural Cellular Association, have sought to restrict use of Channel 51 because of … Continue Reading

The Debate Continues Over Using TV Spectrum for Wireless Broadband – Incentive Auctions, International Considerations, Deficit Reduction, and Public Safety All Play a Role

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
The debate over repurposing some of the television spectrum for wireless broadband have been raging over the normally quiet Washington summer, as issues as diverse as the budget negotiations, the tenth anniversary of 9-11 and international treaties all play their part in the discussions.  Whatever changes are made could have a profound impact on TV broadcasters nationwide, not just … Continue Reading

FCC 2011 Annual Regulatory Fees Due by Sept. 14, 2011

Posted in FCC Fees
The FCC has now released its Public Notice formally announcing the payment deadline for the 2011 Annual Regulatory Fees, which will be due by 11:59 pm E.T. on September 14, 2011.  The fees must be processed electronically using the FCC’s Fee Filer website, which can be accessed here.   That site is now ready to accept the payment of the 2011 Regulatory Fees, … Continue Reading

Broadcast Auxiliary Channels for TV Pick-Ups to be Partially Repurposed for Broadband Backhaul

Posted in General FCC
Microwave frequencies used by television stations for their TV Pick-Ups for the transport of programming, and by cable systems for their CARS relays, were the subject of an FCC order last week looking to repurpose these frequencies to provide backhaul for wireless broadband and other telecommunications uses.  The Commission’s order sets out to protect existing users, but to allow these frequencies … Continue Reading

Colbert Super PAC Ad Rejected by Iowa TV Station – Can They Do That?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
Advertising from Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC was rejected by Des Moines television station WOI-TV, based on its belief that these commercials would be confusing to Iowa voters.  Colbert, the host of Comedy Central’s the Colbert Report, has formed his own Political Action Committee to run ads during the upcoming Presidential election.  The first ads ran in Iowa this past … Continue Reading

FCC Once Again Declines to Intervene In Format Dispute – US Broadcasters Have it Easy Compared to Much of the World

Posted in Programming Regulations
US broadcasters often complain about FCC regulations on programming, but they don’t realize how easy they have it compared to much of the rest of the world.  I recently spent several days in one of the former Soviet Republics discussing broadcast regulation with broadcaster representatives, employees of the country’s regulatory agency, and members of citizen advocacy … Continue Reading

FCC Makes Clear Noncommercial Broadcasters Get No Breaks on FCC Fines, Nor on Financial Hardship Showings

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Noncommercial broadcasters get no breaks when dealing with proposed FCC fines, said the Commission’s Media Bureau in two cases released this week.  While many noncommercial broadcasters may yearn for a day when they were treated leniently if violations were discovered – getting off with perhaps an admonishment letter – those days are over, as they have been for some time. In … Continue Reading

Another EEO Audit Announced By the FCC – Radio Stations Only

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity
Another EEO audit was announced by the FCC today – hitting about 100 radio stations this time around. The Commission has pledged to audit 5% of all broadcast stations and cable systems each year to assure their compliance with the Commission’s EEO rules - requiring wide dissemination of information about job openings and supplemental efforts to educate their communities … Continue Reading

$7000 Fine for Radio Operator Who Builds Construction Permit But Forgets to File a License Application

Posted in FCC Fines
The failure to follow FCC filing rules when a station finished construction of new facilities under a construction permit will apparently cost a radio station $7000 according to a recent Notice of Apparent Liability released by the Commission’s Media Bureau.  Before a broadcast station can make most changes to its technical facilities, it must apply to the FCC for approval, which … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Gives SoundExchange Permission to Use Proxy Information to Distribute Royalties

Posted in Internet Radio
What does SoundExchange do when it collects royalties from an Internet radio operator, but the operator doesn’t provide complete information about the songs that were played?  That question was raised by the Copyright Royalty Board in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a proposal by SoundExchange for the distribution of such royalties, about which we wrote here.  … Continue Reading