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Category Archives: General FCC

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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 Chairman Pai Promotes Transparency – Releases Draft Orders on Next-Generation TV and FM Translators for AM Stations – What Will Be Considered for Radio at February FCC Meeting?

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Television
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced yesterday that he plans to test a new FCC procedure – releasing drafts of FCC orders to be considered at future FCC meetings at the same time as the proposed agenda for the meeting is released, weeks in advance of the meeting. On the draft agenda for the February 23rd… Continue Reading

FCC Votes to Abolish Requirement for Retaining Letters From the Public on Station Operations – First Step in Broadcast Deregulation?

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC on Tuesday voted to abolish the 44 year old requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain, in their public file, letters (and emails) from the public dealing with station operations (see the full Order here). As noted by the Commissioners in their comments at the FCC meeting (and as we suggested here and here… Continue Reading

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports and Comments on Ownership, EEO and Copyright Issues

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Television
While there is a new administration in charge at the FCC, there are still those regular regulatory dates that broadcasters must face, as well as dates unique to pending proceedings that arise from time to time. Before we get to the February dates, we should remind broadcasters of those January 31 dates that they should… Continue Reading

Ajit Pai Named New FCC Chair, Appoints Temporary Head of Media Bureau and Speaks to Commission Staff

Posted in AM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting
This week, the appointment of Commissioner Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC became official.  Since his appointment on Monday, he has released a list of acting bureau chiefs at the FCC (here), including naming Michelle Carey, a long-time FCC employee, as Acting Chief of the Media Bureau upon the departure of Bill Lake who… Continue Reading

Bill Introduced in Congress to Repeal FCC Information Collection Requirements for Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports

Posted in General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting
A bill was introduced in Congress this week (see press release here) proposing to roll back the FCC’s requirement that noncommercial broadcasters, in connection with the Biennial Ownership Reports that are due by December 1 of this year, get an FCC Registration Number for every person who has an attributable interest in a noncommercial licensee.… Continue Reading

First Chance for New FCC to Deregulate – Abolition of Requirement to Maintain Public File of Letters from the Public About Broadcast Station Operations on January 31 Tentative Agenda

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC yesterday released its tentative agenda for its January meeting, to be held on January 31. This will be the first meeting of the post-Chairman Wheeler era, and the two Republican commissioners will be in the majority for the first time in 8 years. There is a single item on the tentative agenda –… Continue Reading

A Broadcasters Calendar of Regulatory Obligations for 2017

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Internet Radio, Political Broadcasting, Television
At the beginning of each year, we publish our broadcaster’s calendar of important dates – setting out the many dates for which broadcasters should be on alert as this year progresses.  The Broadcasters Calendar for 2017 is available here.  The dates set out on the calendar include FCC filing deadlines and dates by which the… Continue Reading

FCC Denies Reconsideration of Noncommercial Broadcasting Ownership Report Requirements – But Signs that New Commission May See Things Differently

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The FCC’s Media Bureau yesterday issued an order denying reconsideration of the full Commission decision from last year, synchronizing the Biennial Ownership Report filing requirement for noncommercial broadcasters with that of commercial broadcasters, and requiring that all individuals who have attributable interests in these stations obtain an FCC Registration Number (an “FRN”)(see our summary of… Continue Reading

FCC Approves Up to 49% Foreign Ownership of Univision – What Guidance is Provided to Potential Foreign Investors in US Broadcast Stations?

Posted in General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
In a decision released yesterday, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling permitting certain identified foreign companies and individuals to own up to 40% of the voting interests in Univision, and allowed aggregate foreign ownership of up to 49% of the equity of the company. This decision noted that it was based not on the new… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Ownership and EEO Comments, Copyright Issues and More

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Here we are at the start of a new year, and right away we have numerous regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. By the 10th of the month, all broadcast stations need to have placed in their public inspection files (online for TV and for those radio stations that have already converted to the online public file,… Continue Reading

And Then There Were Three – Chairman Wheeler to Step Down on Inauguration Day Leaving a Republican-Controlled FCC – What’s It Mean for Broadcasters?

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules
After months of speculation, Chairman Wheeler today announced that he will step down from the FCC on Inauguration Day. Together with the Senate not confirming the renomination of Commissioner Rosenworcel (as the Senate is effectively on recess and not expected to return before the end of the term, her renomination will almost certainly not be… Continue Reading

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports, Ownership and Ancillary Revenue Reports, Ownership Review and Incentive Auction Updates

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fees, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting
While we are into the holiday season, that does not stop the routine regulatory obligations for broadcasters. December 1 brings a host of routine obligations for stations in many states. EEO public file reports must be added to the public files of Commercial and Noncommercial Full-Power and Class A Television Stations and AM and FM… Continue Reading

Looking at the Last Night’s Election Results and the Future of Washington Policy For Broadcasters

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules
Early this week, in some of the legal journals that circulate in Washington, there was much speculation as to potential appointees to various government positions after the election. For positions such as the chairman of the FCC, many of these publications listed familiar DC names as likely appointees if, as expected by most pundits, Hillary… Continue Reading

November Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, EAS, Political and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Emergency Communications, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Political Broadcasting
November is one of those few months where there is a very light load of routine regulatory filings for broadcasters.  This is a month with no routine FCC ownership or children’s television reports.  There are no routine EEO reports for the public file, and no other FCC regularly-scheduled deadlines. Of course, there are several other… 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

Summaries of the Legal Issues Facing Radio and TV Broadcasters – Staying on Top of Your Regulatory Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Drones, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Television
Each quarter, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters. That list of issues is published by TVNewsCheck and is available on their website, here. This update was published today, and provides a summary of the status of legal and regulatory issues ranging from the… Continue Reading

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Obligations, Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports, and Incentive Auction Comment Deadlines

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
Another month has started – and it is one with regulatory dates for broadcasters. All broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial, have an obligation to complete their Quarterly Issues Programs lists and place them into their public inspection filed by October 10. For TV stations and large-market commercial radio, that means that these lists need to be… Continue Reading

FCC Updates Foreign Ownership Compliance Policies for Broadcast Companies

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television, Uncategorized
At the FCC’s open meeting last week, the Commission adopted new policies for assessing and computing foreign ownership of broadcast companies – particularly such ownership in public companies. The Commission’s Report and Order on this matter is dense reading, dealing with how companies assess compliance with the rules which limit foreign ownership to 20% of… Continue Reading

Reminders: Nationwide EAS Test and Reg Fees Filing Deadline This Week!

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, General FCC, Television
Tomorrow, September 27, is the deadline for commercial broadcasters to submit their annual regulatory fees. We wrote about those fees and this deadline here and here. Don’t forget to get them in by the deadline, as the failure to file on time will result in processing holds on any subsequent application that your station may… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: EAS Test, Reg Fees, Lowest Unit Rates, Incentive Auction Stage 2

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Television
September is one of those unusual months, where there are no regular filing dates for EEO public inspection file reports, quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports.  With the unusual start to the month with Labor Day being so late, and the lack of routine deadlines, we didn’t get our usual monthly highlights of… Continue Reading

September FCC Meeting To Be a Big One for Media Companies – Set Top Boxes, Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations and Promotion of Independent Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television
September 29 will be a big day for broadcasters and other media companies when the FCC holds its next open meeting. In the tentative agenda for that meeting released on Thursday, the FCC identified several issues that deal with the media including two big items on video issues – the decision as to what to… Continue Reading

FCC’s Audio Division Case Clarifies Processing Rules for FM Upgrades and Forced Channel Changes

Posted in FM Radio, General FCC
Rules regarding the processing FM applications – particularly those involving upgrade applications that require the forced change of the channel on which another station is operating – can be very complicated.   In a decision released the week before last, the FCC looked at all sorts of issues that can be raised by one of these… Continue Reading