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Category Archives: Digital Television

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Stage 3 of the Reverse Auction is in the Books at $40 Billion – Forward Auction to Begin on Monday

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
The FCC last week announced that Stage 3 of the reverse auction portion of the FCC Incentive Auction is now complete, and the amount necessary to be paid to TV stations to vacate the required spectrum in this stage is $40,313,164,425.  This represents a drop from the $54,586,032,836 clearing cost that resulted from Stage 2 reverse… Continue Reading

FCC Extends for 18 Months the Requirement for TV Stations to Convert Visual Emergency Information to Audio on SAP Channel

Posted in Digital Television, Emergency Communications, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC released an order last week giving TV stations an additional 18 months to comply with a requirement that emergency information conveyed to the TV audience during non-news programming in a visual or graphical manner (e.g. on-screen weather maps during entertainment programming) be converted to audio that is broadcast on the TV station’s SAP… Continue Reading

FCC Reminds TV Broadcasters that Reports on Ancillary and Supplementary Services (and Required Fees) Are Due By December 1

Posted in Digital Television, FCC Fees, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice reminding all TV broadcasters (full-power, LPTV, translator and Class A stations, both commercial and noncommercial, if they have digital operations) that they must, by December 1, file a report as to whether or not they provide ancillary and supplementary services through their broadcast spectrum. If they do provide such services,… Continue Reading

Eliminating the UHF Discount and Limiting the National Ownership Reach of Television Groups Without Reviewing the Media Marketplace

Posted in Digital Television, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
Last week, the FCC released its order eliminating the UHF discount. Under this discount, a TV broadcaster, in determining its compliance with the national ownership limit prohibiting any owner from having attributable interests in stations serving more than 39% of the nationwide television audience, would include in its count only one-half of the audience of… Continue Reading

Regulatory Fees Due By September 27 – Fee Filing Guides and Instructions for Waivers or Deferrals Released by FCC

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, FCC Fees, FM Radio, Television
The FCC today released a series of public notices setting September 27 as the deadline for the filing of Annual Regulatory fees.  We wrote here about the FCC Order setting the amount of those fees, and reminding TV stations, even ones looking to surrender their licenses in the incentive auction, that they must still pay… Continue Reading

FY 2016 FCC Regulatory Fees Released – With a Reminder to Incentive Auction Participants

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
Right as everyone was set to enjoy the last glimmer of summer over the long weekend, the FCC issued its Report and Order on the regulatory fees for 2016.  The FCC adopted all the fees for broadcast stations as proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (about which we wrote about here) with some adjustments… Continue Reading

Incentive Auction Stage 2 to Begin September 13 – FCC Proposal to Clear 114 MHz

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Incentive Auction Stage 2 to Begin September 13 – FCC Proposal to Clear 114 MHz Given Tuesday’s declaration by the FCC that Stage 1 of the TV incentive auction did not meet its clearing target (in that enough was not bid in the forward auction to cover the amount needed to compensate television stations for… Continue Reading

How To Follow the FCC Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
As the leaders of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force said in opening a post on the FCC’s blog last week, “Who says nothing happens in Washington in August?”  Bidding in the initial stage of the FCC Incentive Auction’s forward auction phase begins on Tuesday, August 16th, and with it, the longest pre-auction run-up period… Continue Reading

Debunking a Few Myths about the FCC’s Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Jonathan Cohen, one of my partners at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, has been closely following the incentive auction by which the FCC is looking to clear a significant part of the television band and take that spectrum, slice it up into different size blocks, and resell it to wireless companies.  He has been guiding numerous companies through… Continue Reading

Legal Issues for Broadcasters – Updates on Pending Matters

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
There are so many legal issues that facing broadcasters that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with them all. This Blog and many other activities that those at my firm engage in are meant to help our clients and other broadcasters keep up to date on all of the many regulatory challenges with which… Continue Reading

Countdown to the Incentive Auction – FCC Announces Details of May 24 Workshop for Reverse Auction Participants, and Reminds Them to Preview the Auction System

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Yesterday, the FCC released a Public Notice setting out the agenda for the May 24 Workshop to explain the process of bidding in the reverse auction. The reverse auction is of course when broadcasters can bid to surrender their current channel to the FCC so that the FCC can repackage the surrendered spectrum and then… Continue Reading

126 MHz Incentive Auction Clearing Target Set – Reverse Auction for TV Stations to Bid to Surrender their Spectrum to Wireless Users to Begin May 31

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
This morning, the FCC released a Public Notice, announcing that the spectrum clearing target for the initial stage of the Incentive Auction will be 126 MHz.  That means, that if the Incentive Auction is completed in the initial stage with the 126 MHz spectrum clearing target, TV channels 30-36 and 38-51 will be reallocated for… Continue Reading

May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, Comments on EAS, ATSC 3.0 and Set Top Boxes

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Emergency Communications, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Political Broadcasting, Television
May is one of those off months in which there are not the kind of routine filings that pop up in most other months – no EEO Public File Reports, no quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports, no Biennial Ownership Reports for noncommercial stations (which will soon disappear anyway when noncommercial stations transition… Continue Reading

FCC Requests Initial Public Comments on ATSC 3.0 Proposal for Next Generation of Over-the-Air TV

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
The FCC has released a Public Notice, as promised by FCC Chairman Wheeler at last week’s NAB convention, asking for public comment on the proposal filed by the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Technology Association and others requesting that the Commission approve ATSC 3.0, the next transmission system for over-the-air television broadcasting. We wrote… Continue Reading

As Incentive Auction Draws Near, Focus Begins to Shift to TV Spectrum Repacking – and Even FM Broadcasters Take Note of Potential Issues

Posted in Digital Television, FM Radio, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television, Tower Issues
At the NAB Convention last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed the timing of the incentive auction and how some of the remaining issues may soon be resolved. One subject of talk in a number of NAB sessions, as well as in the trade publications, has been how the repacking of broadcast television spectrum will… Continue Reading

FCC Says Pre-Auction Expenses Can Be Reimbursed to Stations that Have to be Repacked After the Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Can expenses incurred by a TV station now in making moves to prepare for the post-incentive auction repacking of the TV spectrum be reimbursed if that station in fact is forced to move after the auction?  In a clarification “Declaratory Ruling” released on Monday, the FCC said that they can – in an aim designed… Continue Reading

Petition Asking FCC to Approve Next Generation of Over-the-Air Television, ATSC 3.0 – What is Being Requested?

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
On the eve of this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, the FCC has been asked to approve the next generation of TV transmission – ATSC 3.0.  A broad coalition – broadcasters through the NAB and APTS (the public television association), technology manufacturers (through CTA – the Consumer Technology Association formerly the Consumer Electronics Association),… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Expansion of Requirements for TV Stations and MVPDs to Provide Audio Description of Video Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Emergency Communications, Programming Regulations, Television
Last week was a busy one for the FCC, with decisions or proposals on a number of issues that can affect broadcasters, including changes to the EAS rules and proposals for the expansion of video description – the requirements that TV stations carry a certain amount of programming that is accompanied by audio descriptions to… Continue Reading

Incentive Auction Moves Forward – Two Requests for Stay Denied and SecureID Tokens Distributed to Reverse Auction Participants

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
The only significant legal issues that were potentially standing in the way of the broadcast incentive auction are slowly being removed. So far this week, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC has denied two requests for stays of the commencement of the reverse auction, scheduled to begin on March 29 with the submission… Continue Reading

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Incentive Auction Commitments, New Webcasting Royalties, and Comments on AM Revitalization and Copyright Safe Harbor for User-Generated Content

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
March appears to be another busy month on the FCC’s regulatory calendar.  While March is one of those months where there is not the usual assortment of EEO public file reports, quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports and noncommercial ownership report obligations (see our Broadcasters’ Regulatory Calendar here for some of these dates),… Continue Reading

FCC Announces Previews for TV Broadcasters of Incentive Auction Initial Commitment Software; Denies Auction Stay Request from LPTV Applicant

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice dealing with the upcoming March 29 commitment deadline for TV broadcasters who filed their applications back in January indicating a possible intent to participate in the incentive auction to surrender their TV channel so that the FCC can use it to repack the TV band to free spectrum… Continue Reading

Grandfathered JSAs Need Not Be Broken Up For Ten Years Pursuant to Congressional Omnibus Spending Bill

Posted in Digital Television, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
As one of the many legislative changes that made their way into the Congressional Omnibus Spending Bill set to be voted out of Congress this week and signed by the President to keep the government operating for the next year, there is a provision authorizing TV stations to continue through September 30, 2025 operating with Joint Sales… Continue Reading