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Category Archives: FCC Fines

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Modernization of Media Regulation – What Rule Changes Should Broadcasters be Requesting?

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It is not every year that the FCC seriously asks broadcasters for suggestions as to what rules it should abolish or modify, but that is exactly what the FCC is doing in its Modernization of Media Regulation proceeding (about which we wrote here and here). Comments due the week after next, on July 5, and… Continue Reading

Comments on FCC Proposal to Abolish Broadcast Main Studio Rule Due July 3

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
In today’s Federal Register, the FCC has given notice of its proposal to abolish the main studio rule.  That notice, here, sets the date for comments on this proposal as July 3.  Reply comments are due two weeks later on July 17.  We wrote about the FCC’s proposal and the questions being asked in this… Continue Reading

TV Station Agrees to $55,000 Payment for EAS Tones Used in Promotional Announcement

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
The FCC yesterday announced a consent decree with TEGNA, the licensee of a television station in Jacksonville, Florida, which used simulated EAS tones in a promotional announcement for the Jacksonville Jaguars football team. According to the consent decree, the station ran the announcement only 4 times. It was apparently produced by the team and inserted… Continue Reading

FCC Officially Starts Proceedings to Abolish Main Studio Rule and Review All Other Broadcast Rules

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
As expected, at its monthly open meeting yesterday, the FCC started two proceedings of particular importance to broadcasters. The first looks at the abolition of the main studio rules. The second asks for comments on all of the other rules affecting broadcasters and other media companies to see which are ripe for appeal. For the… Continue Reading

5 Questions on the Meaning of the FCC’s Recent Ruling on Online Recruiting – How Does it Change a Broadcaster’s EEO Obligations?

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Television
The FCC recently issued a declaratory ruling (which we summarized here) addressing the requirement that broadcasters widely disseminate information about all of their job openings in such a way as to reach all of the groups within their communities. The recent FCC decision stated that a broadcaster can now rely solely on online sources to… Continue Reading

Making Good on Deregulation – FCC Proposes to Eliminate Main Studio Rules and Review All Other Broadcast Regulatory Requirements

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
In his speech at the NAB Convention (available here), Chairman Pai promised to pursue a broadcast regulatory regime that made sense in today’s competitive media environment. He promised to move quickly to eliminate a number of the unnecessary broadcast rules, and specifically to repeal the main studio rule (see our articles here and here about… Continue Reading

Plan Your April Fools’ Day On-Air Pranks with the FCC in Mind

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With April Fools’ Day only a few days away, we need to play our role as attorneys and ruin the fun by repeating our annual reminder that broadcasters need to be careful with any on-air pranks, jokes or other bits prepared especially for the day.  While a little fun is OK, remember that the FCC does have a… Continue Reading

What’s Up for Broadcasters in Washington Under the New Administration – A Look Ahead at TV and Radio FCC Issues for the Rest of 2017

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
A new President and a new Chair of the FCC have already demonstrated that change is in the air in Washington. Already we’ve seen Chairman Pai lead the FCC to abolish the requirement that broadcasters maintain letters from the public about station operations in their public file (which will take effect once the Paperwork Reduction… Continue Reading

FCC Releases First EEO Audit for 2017 – Over 200 Radio and Almost 80 TV Stations Named in the Audit Notice

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Television
In the swirl of news about the deregulatory efforts of the new FCC, one could almost forget that there are still many regulations in place that require significant amounts of paperwork retention by broadcasters. That point was hammered home yesterday, when the FCC released its first EEO audit letter of 2017 for radio and TV… Continue Reading

FCC Sets Hearing to Determine if Station License Renewal Should Be Denied For Conducting Unsafe Contest

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal
Last week, we wrote an article which received much attention, addressing the legal issues that could come up if contests are not conducted properly. One issue that we did not anticipate was reflected in an FCC order released yesterday, designating for hearing the license renewal of the Entercom Sacramento radio station that was involved in… Continue Reading

What Could Possibly Go Wrong With a Broadcast Contest? – From the Legal Side

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Earlier this week, our friends at the broadcast and digital media consulting and research firm Jacobs Media posted an article on their blog called “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” dealing with the financial and reputational issues that can arise if a contest is not fully thought out. That article reminded me of all of the… Continue Reading

Long Periods of Silence Can Jeopardize a Station’s License – $5000 Fine and Short-Term Renewal Given to a Station that had Been Silent for Extended Periods

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
In a decision released last week, the FCC made clear that stations that have long periods in which they are not operated (perhaps being put back into operation for a day or two every year to avoid the automatic cancellation of their licenses) are not operating in the public interest, and are putting their license… Continue Reading

August Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – New Fees, EAS Registration Requirement, EEO Obligations and More

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FCC Fines, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report
As we enter the last full month of summer, when many are already looking forward to the return to the more normal routines of autumn, regulatory obligations for broadcasters don’t end. Even if you are trying to squeeze in that last-minute vacation before school begins or other Fall commitments arise, there are filing deadlines this… Continue Reading

$11,000 FCC EEO Fine for Recruiting Solely Through Online Sources – Time to Revisit the FCC Rules?

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines
An FCC decision fining a cable company $11,000 for not adequately recruiting for job openings should be viewed as a warning to broadcasters as well as well as MVPDs – failure to recruit for job openings by disseminating information about those opening through diverse sources will likely result in a substantial fine under the current… Continue Reading

$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

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – FM Translators for Class A and B AMs; Quarterly Issue Programs and Children’s Television Reports; Comments on EAS, Letters from the Public and Regulatory Fees, Cable Royalty Claims; and More

Posted in Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FCC Fines, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
While TV broadcasters can enjoy an incentive auction respite in July as attention shifts to the “forward auction” where we will see whether wireless carriers come up with enough money to fund the $86,422,558,704 (plus $1.75 billion for repacking costs, plus auction-related administrative costs) needed for the buyout of TV stations who agreed to surrender… Continue Reading

Quick Reminder – New FCC Online Public Inspection File Goes Live Today – Top 50 Market Radio Stations To Start Transition

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Television
As we’ve written many times (see, for instance, the articles here and here), today is the day that the FCC’s new online public inspection file goes live.  For TV stations, the system is supposed to be more dependable and user friendly.  For radio, commercial stations in the Top 50 Nielsen radio markets are supposed to… Continue Reading

Using Text Messages in Promotions and Contests? – $8,500,000 Settlement Provides Reminder to Make Sure You are Aware of TCPA Obligations

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Privacy
In the last few days, the trade press has been full of stories about a settlement of a lawsuit brought against a large broadcaster for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). Given that the settlement was for $8.5 million, it has commanded lots of attention. While much of this attention seems to… 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

Looking at the FCC’s Indecency Rules – Does Anyone Know What’s Prohibited and What’s Permitted?

Posted in FCC Fines, Indecency, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
A Washington Post article published this weekend was titled “Is there anything you can’t say on TV anymore? It’s complicated.” And, it really is. The Post article presents a very good overview on the status of the FCC’s indecency rules. What will happen with those rules has been a matter of conjecture for several years,… Continue Reading

Does the FCC Use the Online Public File to Spot Rule Violations? $20,000 Fine to TV Station for Late-Filed Children’s Television Reports Suggests it Does

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
In a Notice of Apparent Liability released yesterday, the FCC proposed to fine a TV station $20,000 for being late in the filing of 4 years of Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398). While the penalty is consistent with the size of penalties that the FCC has been imposing for similar violations in… Continue Reading