Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Assignments and Transfers

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$700,000 to Be Paid By Media General to End Inquiry on its Attempts to Enforce a JSA – What are the Limits on the Enforceability of a Contractual Restriction on an FCC Licensee’s Sale of its Station?

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC yesterday announced a consent decree with Media General by which Media General agreed to pay a $700,000 “settlement payment” to the US Treasury to settle the investigation of its attempts to enforce the provisions of a Joint Sales Agreement with Schurz Communications.  Media General had tried to enforce the JSA when Schurz tried to… Continue Reading

Foreign Ownership of US Broadcast Stations Suddenly the Rage? – FCC Seeks Comments on Two Proposals for Alien Ownership to Exceed 25%, Including One for 100% Australian Ownership

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
In the last two days, the FCC has asked for public comment on two proposals for foreign ownership of US broadcast stations where that ownership would exceed 25% of the company – a limit that has for decades been seen as the upper end of ownership by foreign nationals.  While the FCC three years ago… Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Releases Summary of Media Ownership Reform Proposals – Little Change in Existing Ownership Rules, Reinstatement of JSA Ban

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week released a “fact sheet” setting out a summary of the draft order now circulating among the FCC Commissioners for review and possible approval. This order, if adopted, would resolve the Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules. As we wrote here, the US Court of Appeals for the Third… Continue Reading

Fine for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs List Not Excused by Intervening Transfer of Control of TV Station – Buy Assets Not Stock to Avoid Assuming Prior Owner’s FCC Liabilities

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
In an FCC decision fining a TV station $10,000 for failing to include 15 Quarterly Issues Programs lists in its public inspection file, the FCC refused to reduce the proposed liability based on an intervening “long-form” transfer of control followed by a short-form assignment of license of the station. Thus, even though the station was… Continue Reading

Broadcast Creditors Beware – $11,000 Fine Imposed for FCC Reporting Shortcomings in an AM Foreclosure Action

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, General FCC
The potential perils of foreclosing on a radio station were evident in a Consent Decree released by the FCC’s Media Bureau yesterday, agreeing to an $11,000 penalty to be paid to the FCC U.S. Treasury before a station could be sold by a receiver to help pay off the debts of an AM radio station… Continue Reading

FCC Says No to Court’s Enforcement of Contractual Rights that Limit Broadcast Licensee’s Control Rights – What Does this Mean for Broadcast Contracts? 

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
How far can a court go in ordering broadcasters to comply with the terms of a contract?  By trying to get a court to enforce a contract signed with a broadcaster, is the suing party infringing on a licensee’s control over its broadcast station license? These questions are addressed in a letter that the FCC… Continue Reading

Changes in the Board of Nonprofit Corporation Doom FCC Application for New FM Station – Addressing Control Issues in Noncommercial Broadcasting

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting
In a decision released earlier this week, the FCC dismissed an application for a new noncommercial FM station based on a change in the majority of the applicant’s board of directors within a one-year period after the application was filed.  The change was deemed a major change in ownership, which the FCC rules says requires… Continue Reading

Buyers of Broadcast Stations Through Stock Transfer Beware – Liability for Fines of Prior Owner Can Still be Imposed After the Transfer

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines
In a recent decision, the FCC made clear that when there is a transfer of control of a station through the sale of the stock of the licensee company, the new owners are not absolved of any FCC violations that may have taken place when the old owners controlled the company. In this case, the… Continue Reading

FCC Sets Comment Dates on Proposal to Relax Restrictions on Foreign Ownership in Companies Holding US Broadcast Station Licenses – What Is the FCC Proposing?

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
In Friday’s Federal Register, the FCC published a summary of the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to revise its policies regarding the ownership of broadcast stations by non-US citizens setting the date for comments on its proposal of December 21, with Reply Comments being due by January 20.  The FCC two years ago issued… Continue Reading

FCC Upholds $50,000 Penalty for Noncommercial LMA Where Licensee Paid More than its Operational Expenses

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
A decision that noncommercial broadcasters should note was released by the Commission last week. The decision was one that upheld a 2012 consent decree where, to resolve objections against the sale of a noncommercial radio station owned by the University of San Francisco, the Media Bureau imposed a fine of $50,000 for a pre-sale LMA… Continue Reading

Ten Years After Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Clothing Malfunction, FCC Indecency Rules Remain in Limbo

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Indecency, License Renewal, Programming Regulations
Last night’s Super Bowl didn’t offer much in the way of excitement on the field, as the game was seemingly over by the end of the first half.  But, for the last decade, the half-time show itself may offer some anxiety to the stations carrying the game.  10 years ago, Janet Jackson had her infamous… Continue Reading

Odds and Ends – Divestiture Trusts, Shared Services Agreements and Determinations of Significantly Viewed Stations

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, Cable Carriage, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television, Uncategorized
Sometimes the FCC decisions come out in a flurry, often with little nuggets of importance in each one.  Rather than trying to write about each one, we’ll from time to time, just try to highlight those nuggets for your consideration.  At the end of last week, three decisions came out with just such nuggets –… Continue Reading

$18,000 FCC Fine for Operating Earth Station with Expired License Reminds Broadcasters That Not All of Their Licenses are Covered During the License Renewal or Assignment and Transfer Approval Process

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, License Renewal
Both radio and TV broadcasters either have recently completed the license renewal process, or will be doing so in the next few years. Many broadcasters think that, once their broadcast licenses are renewed, so too are all of the other communications licenses that are operated in connection with their station. While that may be true for broadcast… Continue Reading

FCC To Consider Allowing Alien Ownership of More Than 25% of Broadcast Licensees – Comments Due April 15

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The limits on the ownership of broadcast stations by those who are not US citizens is being re-examined by the FCC according to a recent Public Notice. Under Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act, foreign ownership of a broadcast licensee is limited to 20% of the company’s stock, or no more than 25% of a parent… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Overturns Case Questioning Lending Practice of Taking Security Interest in Proceeds of the Sale of an FCC License

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, General FCC
An uncertainty for the broadcast lending world was by removed by a decision of the US Court of Appeals issued last week. In 2010, a US District Court considering the bankruptcy of Tracy Broadcasting Corporation ruled that a security interest in the proceeds of the sale of a broadcast license could not be enforceable after a bankruptcy action… 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