Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Fairness Doctrine

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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 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

Recommendations from the Future of Media Report: End Localism Proceeding, Require More Online Public File Disclosures of Programming Information, Abolish Fairness Doctrine

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, FM Translators and LPFM, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC today heard from its Future of Media task force, when its head, Steven Waldman presented a summary of its contents at its monthly meeting.  At the same time, the task force issued its 475 page report - which spends most of its time talking about the history of media and the current media … Continue Reading

Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl Ad – Any Real FCC Legal Controversy Here?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Programming Regulations
Reading the trade press and the blogs, one would think that the Tim Tebow ad that will reportedly air during the Super Bowl presented novel, controversial legal issues.  In fact, while we haven’t seen the ad, from what we’ve read, there do not seem to be significant legal issues – most particularly ones that arise from an FCC … Continue Reading

What is the Impact on Broadcasters of Supreme Court Decision that Corporations Can Buy Political Ads? More Money, More Ad Challenges and the Return of the Zapple Doctrine

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
The Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, freeing corporations to use their corporate funds to take explicit positions on political campaigns, has been mostly analyzed by broadcast trade publications as a good thing – creating one more class of potential buyers for broadcaster’s advertising time during the political season – which seems … Continue Reading

Looking Into the Crystal Ball – What Can Broadcasters Expect from Washington in 2010?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Digital Radio, Digital Television, Fairness Doctrine, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Another year is upon us, and it’s time for predictions as to what Washington may have in store for broadcasters in 2010.  Each year, when we look at what might be coming, we are amazed at the number of issues that could affect the industry – often issues that are the same year to year … Continue Reading

FCC Asks for Comment on MusicFirst’s Petition Against Broadcasters for On-Air Activities Opposing Radio Performance Royalty

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
The FCC today asked for public comments on the petition of the MusicFirst Coalition asking the Commission to take action against broadcast stations who did not fairly address on air the proposed sound recording public performance royalty for terrestrial radio.  The Petition, about which we wrote here, alleges, with very few specifics, that some radio stations have … Continue Reading

The Potential for the Return of the Fariness Doctrine and the FCC’s Assessment of the Quality of Broadcast News – What Would Walter Cronkite Think?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With much of the media world celebrating the life of Walter Cronkite this weekend, we have to wonder what he would have thought about press reports that the FCC is considering the commencement of a proceeding to investigate the status of broadcast journalism - assessing its quality, determining whether the Internet and other new sources are making up for any … Continue Reading

MusicFirst’s Complaint to the FCC: The First Amendment and the Performance Royalty

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Fairness Doctrine, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The MusicFirst coalition last week asked that the FCC investigate broadcast stations that allegedly cut back on playing the music of artists who back a broadcast performance royalty, and also those stations who have run spots on the air opposing the performance royalty without giving the supporters of the royalty an opportunity to respond.  While the NAB and many other observers have suggested that … Continue Reading

Fairness Doctrine (Part 2) – Will It Return? And What’s Wrong With Fairness?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
Last week, we wrote about how the Fairness Doctrine was applied before it was declared unconstitutional by the FCC in the late 1980s. When we wrote that entry, it seemed as if the whole battle over whether or not it would be reinstated was a tempest in a teapot. Conservative commentators were fretting over the re-imposition, while … Continue Reading

Fairness Doctrine Back in the News (Part 1) – What’s It all About?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
Since the election of President Obama and the Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, the fears of the return of the Fairness Doctrine have been highlighted on talk radio, online, by emails and in conversations throughout the broadcast industry.  Even though President Obama had stated that he was not in favor of its return, … Continue Reading

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball – The Outlook for Broadcast Regulation in 2009

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Digital Radio, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Fairness Doctrine, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Radio, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Come the New Year, we all engage in speculation about what’s ahead in our chosen fields, so it’s time for us to look into our crystal ball to try to discern what Washington may have in store for broadcasters in 2009. With each new year, a new set of regulatory issues face the broadcaster from the … Continue Reading

George Will and Keith Oberman on the Fairness Doctrine – Who Least Wants It To Return?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
In a Sunday column, George Will revisited conservative commentators’ biggest fear – the return of the Fairness Doctrine.  Will went into depth on the history of the doctrine, the growth in the number of broadcast outlets in recent years, and growth in talk programming since the doctrine was abolished, all to argue against its reimposition.  … Continue Reading

Obama’s Radio Address is Streamed on the Internet – Demonstrating Why There Need Not Be Any Return of the Fairness Doctrine

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
Last week, President-elect Barack Obama delivered his first weekly radio address since he was elected President.  The broadcast made news, not only for its content, but also because it was streamed on the Internet, particularly on You Tube, but also retransmitted on many other websites.  The fact that the Internet makes such transmissions not only possible, … Continue Reading

No Candidate, No Fairness Doctrine and No Equal Time

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
The New York Times ran an article about how certain African-American radio hosts were acting as cheerleaders for the Obama campaign, and contrasting that to past elections where talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh gave a boost to Republican candidates on their programs.  How is it that these programs can take political positions without triggering requirements that … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Fines for Political Sponsorship ID Violations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Fairness Doctrine, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
The FCC has taken the unusual step of issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability, i.e. an announcement that it has fined a broadcaster, against two TV station owners for failing to provide a sponsorship identification for political material sponsored by another Federal agency–the Department of Education ("DOE").  The proposed fines for these two broadcasters totaled over $70,000.  … Continue Reading

The Return of the Fairness Doctrine?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
Last week, House Commerce and Energy Committee Chairman John Dingell reportedly stated that he favored the return of the Fairness Doctrine, and couldn’t see why broadcasters would be opposed.  We’ve suggested reasons, here and here.  But the reports are that Congressman Dingell may try to move legislation to accomplish the return of the Doctrine later this year. But, … Continue Reading

Editorials Oppose Return of the Fairness Doctrine

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
Last week, we wrote about the potential return of the Fairness Doctrine, reminding broadcasters what the doctrine had really meant – free commercials to groups that wanted to respond to purchased ads addressing controversial issues of public importance, and few if any editorials or controversial programming that took a position on issues, as that would also have meant … Continue Reading

The Fairness Doctrine – Prescription for Bland Broadcasting

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
The new Congress has started its oversight of the FCC, and one of the first topics to be brought up is the reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine. Presidential candidate and head of the House of Representatives Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee, Dennis Kucinich, was the first to call for hearings about the … Continue Reading